Another day, another attack on Serbs in Kosovo, this time Serb returnees trying to resettle in their homeland.
It has been over a decade since Yugoslav forces withdrew from Kosovo after the NATO bombing ended with UN Resolution 1244 .
In that 10 years, the International community, the Kosovo Albanian majority and the Kosovo government have completely failed the Serb, Roma and Gorani minorities in Kosovo.
These minorities have suffered multiple pogroms, ethnic cleansing, discrimination, intimidation, violent attacks, interruption of basic services and near constant abuse at the hands of ethnic Albanian politicians, criminals, paramilitaries and mobs.
It is worth reminding ourselves what Resolution
1244 promised, especially with regard to security and rights.
Here are selections from two paragraphs (emphasis mine):
9. Decides that the responsibilities of the international security presence to be deployed and acting in Kosovo will include:
(a) Deterring renewed hostilities, maintaining and where necessary enforcing a ceasefire, and ensuring the withdrawal and preventing the return into Kosovo of Federal and Republic military, police and paramilitary forces, except as provided in point 6 of annex 2;
(c) Establishing a secure environment in which refugees and displaced persons can return home in safety, the international civil presence can operate, a transitional administration can be established, and humanitarian aid can be delivered;
(d) Ensuring public safety and order until the international civil presence can take responsibility for this task;
(h) Ensuring the protection and freedom of movement of itself, the international civil presence, and other international organizations;
11. Decides that the main responsibilities of the international civil presence will include:
(i) Maintaining civil law and order, including establishing local police forces and meanwhile through the deployment of international police personnel to serve in Kosovo;
(j) Protecting and promoting human rights;
(k) Assuring the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo;
Most Serb, Gorani and Roma refugees cannot return home to Kosovo. Those that do are, like all minorities in Kosovo, are subject to violent attacks, intimidation and discrimination.
In addition to the violence, there is low level harassment and intimidation, ranging from having basic utilities cut off (Electricity and Mobile Phone coverage) through to more serious human rights abuses.
Minority communities do not have freedom of movement nor pubic safety. NATO troops need to camp next to Serb villages to guard then against mobs or paramilitary forces taking pot-shots at Serb villagers. Buses are stoned, landmines are laid to
obstruct returnees convoys, people are beaten up and knifed as they walk home, petrol bombs are thrown at houses, there are drive-by shootings.
All of this has happened since the war was ostensibly over. The worst thing is that this is still going on, 10 years later, and there is very little sign that things are getting any better for the minority communities.
So whilst we acknowledge the crimes of the Milosevic regime committed a decade ago, and we must still account for that crimes of that regime, but we must hold the Kosovo Government and Kosovo Albanian people to account for what has happened and continues to happen now in their country.
The crimes of Yugoslav forces 10 years ago are not and have never been an excuse for the continuing brutal treatment of non-Albanian minorities in Kosovo.
If these Human Rights abuses continue against Kosovo minorities, we should start preparing a cell for Kosovo Prime Minister Thraci at the Hague.
Perhaps in 10 years we will have apologetic Kosovo Albanians denouncing “the Thraci regime” and acknowledging with shame the crimes committed in their name?
The decent Albanian people of Kosovo need to speak up and act. Their country is widely seen as an absolute disaster. It is riddled with corruption, with no real economy and it is an international organised crime hotspot. Add into that gross Human rights abuses of minorities and one has to wonder: Why do Kosovo Albanians deserve help and support? It is a question being asked in capitals around the world.
Its central role in Human Trafficking alone should be enough to agitate decent people of Kosovo into a frenzy of action. One day Human Trafficking and its attendant sex slavery, child rape, mass exploitation and murder, will be considered one of the most shameful practices in the modern era. When the history books are written, Kosovo will be central to the that story, and like the Atlantic slave trade, it will be a badge of shame for generations. Right now you are collaborationists with a regime that tolerates slavery and human rights abuses.
So Kosovan’s, what is happening now in your country is deeply wrong and will haunt you forever. Stop pointing at the past, and what you suffered. That is no excuse. You are accumulating shame. Your history is being blighted by your crimes. Do something about it.