Daily ‘ZERI’ – 3 March 2006, page.9

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 community


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 community.