Despite progress in Kosovo, minorities still face discrimination, UN reports

Despite progress in Kosovo, minorities still face discrimination, UN reports

Ethnic minorities in Kosovo continue to face security problems and lack access to basic services despite the general improvement of the situation in that province, a joint assessment by the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has revealed.

Kosovo's minorities lack access to education, health services and equitable employment, stated a report issued today by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The report says one concern is primarily the minority Serb and Roma populations, which find it harder to move around freely and therefore to live normal lives in Kosovo where ethnic Albanians are an overwhelming majority.

Despite three internationally supervised elections in which the all residents chose their municipal and central leaders, there has been no "fundamental" improvement in the overall welfare of minority communities, the assessment concluded. Consequently, only a small number of minorities who fled Kosovo in 1999 have returned.

Within the overall framework of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the OSCE plays the leading role in matters relating to institution- and democracy-building and human rights.