Serbia | Croatia | Montenegro | Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Dear Prime Minister Mustafa,
On the International Day of Enforced Disappearances, we come to you and the Government of the Republic of Kosovo with this letter and the request that you devote yourselves more to the issue of the missing people from the last war in Kosovo.
We, the youngsters of the Republic of Kosovo, are deeply concerned with the neglect that the missing people and their families face. Even though 17 years have passed since the war, and 8 years since we have gained our independence, our country still has not prioritized this matter. This has left the families of the missing people wondering about the potential locations of their graves, while hoping that they might hear from their loved ones. The Kosovar society remains imbued with great uncertainties.
We have been persistent in our requests that the needs and rights of the victim’s families in particular, and of general society, be fulfilled. As activists of My Initiative, through symbolic actions, we continually bring to attention the issue of the missing people by relying on Article 5 of the Law for the Missing, which states that the families have the right to know about the fate of their missing family member.
We are certain that we have the right to know about all the facts of the crimes that happened during the war and immediately after. As generations which have endured the war, and as the generations that might have been too young to remember, we need and have the right to know the consequences of this war.
We have witnessed that a lack of reliable facts leaves space for manipulation, nationalistic agendas and breeds hate and intolerance.
We are concerned that our representatives are not pushing forward the issue of the missing people as part of the dialogue with Serbia. By doing so, you are slowing down the process of dealing with the past and the heavy burden of the war. Out of the total number of the missing people in Kosovo, over 1600, there are still 116 children and minors from 2 to 16 years old who still have not been found. In addition to this, we learn so little about what occurred during the war as our school literature, which is approved by the Government of Kosovo, lacks information about these events. Furthermore, the narratives which are being used in schools and in the public discourse are not inclusive and do not offer a clear picture about what happened. We do not learn about our peers, whether they are Albanian, Serb, Bosniak, Roma, Egyptian, Ashkali, Turkish, Goran and others who have not been found.
Being aware of the responsibility that the government has towards its citizens, we demand that you do everything in your power to prioritize this issue and treat it with seriousness, and that the Government which you lead demonstrates the same commitment towards all ethnicities that reside in Kosovo.
Through this letter we remind you that the fate of the missing people from the last war in Kosovo is in your hands and that your work determines if our generation, and the generations to come, will be in danger of experiencing the same misfortunes. Moreover, through these shoes, which often are the only thing left to the families of the missing people, we remind you that it is your work which can soothe their pain and anxiety. It is the job and commitment of this country’s institutions to be the voice of the missing people and their families.
For this, we are persistent in demanding that the public and the Government acknowledge the injustices inflicted upon the victims, such that their approach towards them be one of solidarity as opposed to disguising the truth and humiliating them. Only through this, can we restore the dignity of the victims.
Finally, we ask you to support the establishment of the Regional Commission for the establishment of facts about war crimes and other serious violations of human rights committed during the period from 31 January – 31 December 2001(RECOM) as something which can benefit our society, the victims and most importantly, future generations.
We will not stop fighting until this issue is prioritized by you and the institutions of Kosovo. We will not stop asking for information about the war. We will keep the past alive in our present.
We thank you for your time and attention.
Sincerely,

The activists from My Initiative

 

Photo credit: Jetmir Idrizi
Photo credit: Jetmir Idrizi

 

Photo credit: Jetmir Idrizi
Photo credit: Jetmir Idrizi
Photo credit: Jetmir Idrizi
Photo credit: Jetmir Idrizi