Platform for Joint Action Regarding Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian Communities
This Platform for Joint Action is based on the Declaration made by Kosovar Albanian leaders and leaders of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities following the Humanitarian Roundtable held in Pristina on 12 April 2000. The foundation of this Platform is the commitment made by these leaders to adhere to the pledges in the Declaration, and to uphold, promote and pursue the ideals of tolerance, non-discrimination, and inter-ethnic harmony within and among all communities in Kosovo.
The immediate objective of this Platform is to bring an end to discrimination, harassment and persecution of members of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities. The longer-term objective is to achieve the emancipation of these communities, and to ensure that they fully participate as free and equal members in Kosovo society.
The implementation of this Platform is the responsibility of the leadership of Kosovar Albanians and leaders of Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities. The role of UNMIK, international organisations and the international community as a whole is to provide institutional assistance and support to the various communities as necessary.
Dissemination of the Declaration of 12 April 2000
The leadership of the Kosovar Albanian community and the leadership of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities will take concrete steps to disseminate the Declaration of 12 April 2000 among their respective communities within and outside Kosovo. In distributing and publicising the Declaration, community leaders will emphasise its importance as a central frame of reference for all inter-ethnic contacts.
As a first measure towards dissemination, the full text of the Declaration will be published as soon as possible in the local press.
The leadership of Kosovo Albanians will urge its representatives at the local level, including its members in the Municipal Administration, to adhere to the Declaration and to actively work towards the implementation of this Platform.
Promoting the rule of law
The leadership of the Kosovar Albanian community and the leadership of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities will continue to stress in their public statements that they condemn all acts of violence and harassment, and reject the notion that whole communities should be held collectively guilty for the crimes of individuals.
The leaders of these communities will call for their constituents to cooperate fully with legal and judicial processes so that all crimes can be prosecuted and punished according to the rule of law.
The Department of Justice will see to it that individuals who have committed major crimes during and after the conflict of 1999 are prosecuted and punished according to law.
Steps towards better understanding of the needs of Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities
Members of the Kosovar Albanian leadership or their representatives will undertake as soon as possible visits to the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities in Gnjilane/Gjilan, Urosevac/Ferizaj, Prizren, Pec/Peja, and Djacovica/Djacova. A schedule for the first round of these visits will be finalised at the adoption of this Platform. Other visits will be organised on a regular basis.
During these visits, the leadership of Kosovo Albanians will call on the local population to end all discrimination, violence and harassment still targeted at members of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities.
The visits will also aim to: promote the Kosovar Albanian leadership's understanding of the needs of Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities, particularly with regard to living conditions, freedom of movement, health, education and access to social services; and facilitate contact and exchange of views between Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities and Kosovar Albanian leaders.
Return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo
Community leaders of Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptians, in close consultation with UNHCR, will identify specific groups among the displaced communities in Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and within Kosovo, who wish to return to their homes.
Representatives of groups who wish to return may undertake assessment visits to the areas of return. These will be organised in close consultation with UNHCR, and will be in accordance with UNHCR guidelines. At the community level, Kosovar Albanian leaders within and around the areas of return will facilitate assessments by representatives of Kosovar Roma, Ashakalija and Egyptians who wish to return, including by doing whatever is possible to enhance the security of the visitors.
The Department of Reconstruction and the Municipal Housing Committees will ensure that returnees will have access to reconstruction assistance in accordance with existing criteria and procedures, and on a non-discriminatory basis.
Following each visit, representatives of returnees, in consultation with UNHCR, will draw up plans for returns with details such as the phases of return, lists of prospective returnees, destination of returnees, security and assistance during transit, and support upon return.
Steps to change perceptions through the media
The Kosovar Albanian leadership and UNMIK will use their influence to promote positive portrayal in the media of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities. To this end, they will also initiate with the active involvement of the OSCE, a series of televised programmes on the cultural and other contributions of these communities to Kosovo society.
The leadership of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities will present to UNMIK and OSCE for consideration a proposal for the establishment of radio and print media devoted to their respective communities.
Access to education
The Department of Education, in cooperation with the local administrations, will develop a special programme to ensure that all Kosovar Roma Ashkalija and Egyptian children have access to education, particularly at the primary level. This programme will include efforts to promote Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian enrolment in secondary and tertiary institutions and to enhance the communities awareness of the benefits of formal education.
The Department of Education, local administrations and UNMIK will promote the introduction of optional non-Albanian language classes in the regular curriculum, and financially support educational institutions that provide instruction in non-Albanian languages.
In primary and secondary schools throughout Kosovo, civic education classes will be designed to strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to promote understanding, and tolerance of all ethnic and religious groups. Lessons will be introduced on the history, culture and traditions of all ethnic communities.
Access to social welfare and humanitarian assistance
The Department of Social Welfare and the Centres for Social Work will ensure that members of the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities are not discriminated against in the allocation of social welfare, food assistance and other humanitarian aid. The Department and the Centres will take a proactive approach to ensuring that the welfare needs of these communities are met.
Emancipation through participation
The Kosovar Roma, Ashakalija and Egyptian communities will within one month from the adoption of this Platform decide on their participation in the Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC).
The Departments of Public Services and Local Administration will actively promote the recruitment of members of the Kosovar Roma, Ashakalija and Egyptian communities into public functions in accordance with existing criteria.
UNMIK (Pillar II) will present a report to the JIAC on the extent to which Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptians are represented on Municipal Administrative Boards and Municipal Councils throughout Kosovo. In cases where such representation has not been achieved, the report will describe the obstacles to representation and make proposals as to how they can be addressed within a specific time-frame.
The OSCE and the Department of Civil Society and Democratic Governance will take active steps to encourage, develop and support the creation of civil society institutions among the Kosovar Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities.
Review of this Platform
All Departments mentioned in this Platform will present to the IAC within a period of three months of its adoption a detailed progress report on the implementation of the relevant action points. Upon receipt of this report, the IAC will organise a Roundtable at which UNMIK and all concerned parties will review the implementation of this Platform, and propose further steps towards its goals.