Daily ‘ZERI’ – 3 March 2006,
A CoE delegation is interested in the position of Roma
in Gjilan (Kosovo)
The Council of Europe Delegation considers that Gjilan deserves to be praised
for a quiet environment
The international community in Kosovo is favoring the Serbs and this can also be
noticed in the Local Office of Communities where no Roma are employed, said
Gjilani Romas, adding that job positions should also be found for the Roma
By Enver Sadiku
Council of Europe officials are interested in the position of Roma in the city
of Gjilan and after a visit to this city, Mr. Henry Scicluna, CoE Coordinator
for Roma and Travelers Activities, stated that Gjilan has made evident
improvements with regards to the integration of Roma and this good experience
should be taken as an example and should be transferred to other areas as well.
He visited Roma houses in Gjilan together with Ian Naysmith, Chairman of the
Committee for Roma Issues in the Council of Europe, and in a direct meeting with
the Roma, where the head of Municipal Assembly, Xhemajl Hyseni, was also present,
the Roma said that they have no problems concerning the freedom of movement but
they asked for more jobs for them.
Xhemajl Hyseni, the Head of Municipal Assembly of Gjilan stated that 30 Roma
families have returned to Gjilan in “Abdullah Presheva” neighborhood, whilst it
is expected that the second phase of the project for reconstruction and
reintegration will start soon. The first phase of this project, financed by the
Dutch Government and implemented by ARC, is considered to be one of the most
successful return programs in the region and the municipality of Gjilan deserves
to be praised for this success as well.
“In order to achieve this we had to go through a long way and overcome many
obstacles and problems that were left by the war in Kosovo. The year of 2004
represents the year when the highest number of Roma returned, that is, 24
families, whilst in 2005 this number was lower. We hope that this process will
continue”, said Xhemajl Hyseni, head of Municipal Assembly. He added that the
Municipality of Gjilan is engaged towards treating and serving equally all its
citizens through respecting the specific attributes of each community. He
reiterated the offer of this municipality for a school space for the Roma
students, without imposing to them the language in which they want to be
educated or the curriculum.
“I always believed that most problems can be resolved on a local level”, said
Henry Scicluna, CoE Coordinator for Roma and Travelers Activities, who
considered as very important the fact that security problems and the fear among
the people here are in a minimum level. According to him, the municipality of
Gjilan deserves to be praised for creating a peaceful environment where return
is made possible.
The Roma who took part in the meeting, Galip Hyseni, Shpresa Agushi, Suvat
Mehmeti and others, said that they do not face any inter-ethnic problems and
they are free to move. They also said that they do not have any critique for the
public services, but the main problem is the high rate of unemployment.
According to them, the international community in Kosovo is favoring the Serbs
and this can also be noticed in the Local Office of Communities where no Roma
are employed, they said, adding that jobs should also be found for the Roma