Kosovo: UN and Council of Europe sign important human rights accords

23 August 2004

In an effort to enhance the establishment of human rights in United Nations-administered Kosovo, top UN and European officials today signed two agreements that seek to monitor compliance with important international principles and prevent torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment.

“The agreements are a significant milestone providing practical monitoring arrangements which extend coverage of important human rights protections under Conventions of the Council of Europe to Kosovo,” the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said in a statement in Pristina, capital of the ethnically-divided province.

The signing by Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Søren Jessen-Petersen and Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer marks the successful conclusion of more than 18 months of negotiations.

UNMIK has administered Kosovo for the past five years since North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) intervention forced the withdrawal of Yugoslav Serb troops after fierce fighting between ethnic majority Albanians and minority Serbs.

Under an accord on technical arrangements related to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers will monitor compliance with the Framework Convention in Kosovo and UNMIK will provide the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers with relevant information.

The second agreement on technical arrangements related to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment allows an independent committee of experts to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in Kosovo by UNMIK.

 

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