Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Public Hearing Held on Drawing a Social Map for the 200 Families whose Close Relations Were Kidnapped or Missing in Kosovo-Metohija

Today, the National Assembly House hosted a public hearing on Drawing a social map for the 200 families whose close relations were kidnapped or missing in Kosovo-Metohija, organised by the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues.


The project of drawing a social map for the 200 families whose close relations were kidnapped or missing in Kosovo-Metohija was initiated by the Family Association of Missing and Kidnapped Persons from Kosovo-Metohija and the Association of Women from Kosovo-Metohija, and supported by the International Commission on Missing Persons.

The Chairman of the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues, Meho Omerovic stressed that, as internally-displaced persons, the families of the kidnapped and missing live in exceptionally difficult conditions. Those forced to seek private housing are particularly materially endangered, as are those who live in collective housing. Addressing the difficult position of the families of those kidnapped or missing in Kosovo-Metohija, as well as getting information on their fate requires a concerted effort from the international community and state authorities, concluded Omerovic.

The President of the Family Association of Missing and Kidnapped Persons from Kosovo-Metohija Verica Tomanovic said that the project was to investigate the position of the 200 families with the status of internally displaced persons on the territory of Belgrade and to what degree they exercise their rights. She stressed that there was no clear and precise record on the exact number of missing and kidnapped persons on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija, emphasising the need for cooperation between the state institutions and international community. The families of the missing and kidnapped have not realised their rights stipulated by international law, stressed Tomanovic. The representative of the Association of Women from Kosovo-Metohija, Desa Toplicevic, also underlined the lack of proper records and discrepancies between the data from various sources relating to the number of missing and kidnapped persons in Kosovo-Metohija.

The Secretary of the Partner Project for the drafting of the social map, Vukosava Stevanovic, briefed the participants on the data collection methodology and results of the research done for the needs of the project of drawing a social map for the 200 families whose close relations were kidnapped or missing in Kosovo-Metohija.

The participants were also addressed by the National Assembly Secretary General Veljko Odalovic, as the President of the Commission for Missing Persons of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, who stressed that the lack of answers about the fate of the kidnapped and missing in Kosovo-Metohija was one of the most difficult topics and most dire consequences of the conflict. He noted that the judiciary bodies in Serbia have processed the crimes against the Albanian population of Kosovo-Metohija, but that the other side has failed to do the same. Like the other speakers, Odalovic mentioned the lack of a unified and consolidated list of the missing and kidnapped on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija.

Matthew Holliday, President of the International Commission on Missing Persons which financed the project, highlighted the key role of the Family Association of Missing and Kidnapped Persons from Kosovo-Metohija and the Association of Women from Kosovo-Metohija in the launching of the project and the collection of data relevant for the project.

The addresses were followed by a discussion between the members of the families of the kidnapped and missing and the representatives of the organisations dealing with the issue.


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