Stop deporting Roma to Kosovo, Council of Europe tells Germany
Sep 22, 2010, 15:47 GMT
Strasbourg, France - Germany should suspend its plan to return some 8,500 Roma living in its territory to Kosovo, Europe's top human rights watchdog warned Wednesday.
An estimated 100,000 Roma left Kosovo after the 1999 conflict, fearing retaliation from the majority Albanian population, which accused them of helping occupying Serb forces.
In a resolution, the committee on migration in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said they should not be returned 'until it is proved that they could live safely and sustainably' in Kosovo.
The panel stressed that half of the Kosovo Roma threatened with expulsion from Germany are under 18 years old. It also pointed out that 'up to three-quarters of the Roma forcibly returned to Kosovo have already left' the Balkan country, often returning to the country that was hosting them.
The non-binding resolution was approved as France is embroiled in a furious row with the European Commission over its own Roma eviction policy. EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, has threatened legal action against France for breaching EU laws on anti-discrimination and free movement of people.