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INFO   :::  Region > Kosovo - PAGE 5 > Report on the visit of group of women and men from the Serb enclaves to Pristina...


Report on the visit of group of women and men from the Serb enclaves to Pristina on the 3rd November 2008


Priština office of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia on the 3rd of November 2008 organized a visit of women from the Serb enclaves, without the police escort (Kosovo Police Services were informed of the visit, but the aforementioned escort was not requested). In that group of visitors there were 36 women and 3 men, members of the Serb community from villages Grace and Priluže (Prilluzhë) in the municipality of Vucitrn (Vushtri) and from villages Ugljare and Bresje, in the municipality of Polje (Fushë Kosovë). They toured the shopping centre "Grand Store" near Caklavica, Youth Centre "Boro i Ramiz" in Priština and also took a stroll along the main street and around the "Majka Tereze" (Nëna Terezë) Square.

All participants of this visit moved freely, communicated in Serb language, and even talked to Albanian salesmen. The visit was incident-free. Not a single provocation was recorded. On the contrary, the group was kindly welcomed and received by all Pristina denizens. When an Albanian youngster recognized a group of Serbs in the vicinity of former UNMIK, and current EULEX seat, he cried out: "These Serbs are protesting again." Then a women from the Serb group retorted: "No, we came to fraternize and take a stroll along the main street." Then the same youngster said: "Well, then, your are welcome and you merit a treat." And he invited them to have coffeee with him. Some Serb women addressed the Albanian salesmen in Albanian, while those very salesmen answered them in-Serb. Some of them discounted the goods (bags and souveniers) bought by the Serb women. The very group from enclaves by their correct and polite conduct contributed to such a pleasant mood. At the beginning of the visit, Serbs from enclaves were visibly reserved, but during the stroll they relaxed and acted naturally.

Everyone was pleased with the visit. They told us that it served to dispel and allay their fear and that now they felt more free. They expressed their gratitude to us and also their wish to see the repeat of such visits, possibly with broader programs. They demonstrated their maximum readiness to co-operate with the Helsinki Committee. They also invited us to visit them.

The visit which lasted from 9,30 a.m. to 17,00 p.m. took place during a very tense inter-ethnic situation, due to a recent development in North Kosovo, that is, in Kosovska Mitrovica, in the vicinity of which are the enclaves of our visitors. The fact that UNMIK and Serbs are preventing an Albanian family to reconstruct its house, received an extensive coverage by the Albanian media. That obstruction was sharply contested and criticized by the Albanian political representative.

This visit was made possible thanks to efforts of the entire staff of Pristina office, who moreover developed a good co-opreation with representatives of the Serb enclaves and their NGOs, notably, "Korak napred" from Grace, "Luna" and "Lepša Buducnost" from Priluža, then "Ruka-Ruku" from Kosovo Polje, and also with UNMIK, Kosovo Police Services and the tourist agency "Selo Tours" from Priština.



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