Today’s Kosovo is marked by a deepening insecurity and hate and growing social and political chaos. Radical Albanian extremists are working to replace a decade of dominance, violation of rights, violence, persecution, murders and devastation of Albanian homes and settlements, as was the general policy of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, by retaliating with violence, prosecution, and murder of Serbian and other non-Alabanian population. The aim of such policies is the creation of ethnically clean territory of Kosovo. Continuing such policies and allowing extreme Albanian leaders to pursue their agenda would be the collapse of basic protection of human rights, protection of minority communities as well as international mediation in conflict resolution. This would destabilize the region, primarily Macedonia (FYROM).
In the name of principles of dignity, peace, democracy, human rights, regional stability and development, this must not be allowed! We therefore call upon:
– leaders of the Albanian community to stop the moral and political downward spiral of some of their fellow countrymen and to fight for the basic moral and political principles of contemporary societies, as well as to actively and sincerely cooperate with representatives of the international community on the establishment of order, peace, security as well as institutions for the protection of human rights, the rule of law and democratic self-government of Kosovo. We remind them that it is their duty to uphold the old Albanian principle to protect their neighbors from terror and collective retribution. We appeal to the citizens of Albania, to the most prominent Albanian families, to the most influential democratic politicians, intellectuals and NGO activists to publicly condemn violence, and other forms of intimidation and abuse currently taking place against their fellow citizens, Serbs and persons of other nationalities, allegedly in the name of the Albanian community;
– We are reminding the authorities in Serbia and the FR of Yugoslavia that they are vastly responsible for the current situation in Kosovo, as well as in the whole country, and that they have assumed the obligation to cooperate with representatives of the international community on the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Serbs and other citizens of Kosovo need concrete support in solving difficult living, humanitarian, work, social and other problems. It is the duty of the authorities and of the opposition not to abuse and unreservedly address the issue of people in Kosovo for the purposes of their blinding internal political conflicts and confusion. It is the duty of the authorities to cooperate with the ethnic and religious figures who are living in Kosovo and to support their work in the protection of the interests, rights and freedoms of Serbs and other Kosovo citizens. It is in the interest of Serbia, Serbs, and all citizens of Yugoslavia and Kosovo and the entire region, that the authorities of Serbia and the FR Yugoslavia build cooperation with KFOR and the interim civil authorities. That is why we call for end to these campaigns aimed to stir up conflict, the unilateral condemnation of KFOR, and gun wielding. Instead of meaningless and dangerous conflict with the international community and Albanians, the government is obliged to seek ways for cooperation. A first step towards reducing tensions and building trust in Kosovo should be the amnesty for Albanian political prisoners in prisons in Serbia. Also, prosecution of war crimes, who has done so, will end fear, violence and insecurity. That is why both the authorities and all have a duty to cooperate with The Hague Tribunal, and the court is obliged to investigate war crimes committed by Albanians;
- It is high time to strengthen and make more efficient the activities of the international community on instituting the rule of law and democratic institutions, and establish stable peace in Kosovo. We invite OSCE to take an active part in political activities in Kosovo. It is also necessary to initiate the process for Serbia and Montenegro membership to OSCE. A first step towards that goal is to set up OSCE mission offices in Belgrade and Podgorica.
We invite representatives of the UN and other international governments and non-governmental organizations operating in Kosovo to be open for cooperation with non-governmental organizations from Serbia who may and wish to help resolve the Kosovo problem. Active and real support for the establishment of the Citizens House Pristina, initiated by 56 non-governmental organizations and UGS “Independence”, could be a significant step in that direction.
For the Forum for Ethnic Relations
Dr Dušan Janjic
For the Forum for Sustainable Community and Development
Dr Snežana Pejicic – Tarle
For The Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights
Biljana Kovačević – Vučo