Ethnic cleansing continues in UN-ruled Kosovo, under the eye of the international actors

Press release - Pristina/Brussels, August 7, 2000 - More than one year since the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and Kosovo Force (KFOR) took on the responsibility for the civil and military administration, a significant number of people there still live in a state of extreme insecurity.

The civilian populations of different ethnic groups are being terrorised by constant and organised acts of violence which target them specifically. These acts of terror include killings, drive-by shootings, hand-grenade attacks, verbal abuse, threats, robbery and black mail. These acts have forced more and more people to flee their homes.

The Belgian teams of the international medical relief agency Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in charge of medical and mental health programmes in the enclaves, are eyewitnesses to the daily harassment and terror against the Serb minorities in Vushtrri/Vuãitrn and Skenderaj/Srbica as well as the Albanian minority in North Mitrovica. This ongoing violence is resulting in a forced ethnic homogenisation.

MSF refuses to be either a passive accomplice to this process or remain silent about the lack of efficient action by the international community.

MSF questions the appropriateness of humanitarian medical and psychological assistance when, in the presence of internationally mandated protection forces, the fundamental rights of people are being denied.

The Belgian section of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has decided to call back its teams and to stop its present operations in the Kosovar enclaves. The humanitarian organisation refuses to continue its operations on behalf of the ethnic minorities in a context where basic protection for these populations is not being guaranteed by the military and civilian administration of Kosovo.

MSF can no longer tolerate the serious and continuous deterioration of living conditions of the ethnic minorities in Kosovo.

MSF has been working in Kosovo since 1993. Since June 2000, MSF medical teams have been providing home-based care to Kosovar-Albanian, Kosovar-Bosnian and Kosovar-Turkish families in several areas of North Mitrovica. Team members have documented numerous cases of physical threats and acts of intimidation. MSF teams in the Serb enclaves of the Vushtrri/Vuãitrn and Skenderaj/Srbica districts have also documented the violent harassment which the Serb habitants of various regions are subjected.




MSF has been working in Kosovo since 1993.

Since June 2000, MSF medical teams have been providing home-based care to Kosovar-Albanian, Kosovar-Bosnian and Kosovar-Turkish families in several areas of North Mitrovica. Team members have documented numerous cases of physical threats and acts of intimidation.

MSF teams in the Serb enclaves of the Vushtrri/Vuãitrn and Skenderaj/Srbica districts have also documented the violent harassment which the Serb habitants of various regions are subjected.