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Kosova reports 1998
Kosova report from the Centre for protection of Women and Children

Lopend Vuur Malden (In The Netherlands) has contact with the Centre for protection of Women and Children in Pristina, Kosova.

Koos Willemse can provide more info.
E-mail: koosw@sci.kun.nl

Forwarded message

Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 01:02:58



One of the regions in Kosova, completely inhabited by Albanians, Drenica - central Kosova, ex-Yugoslavia, was subjected to massive attacks by the Serbian special police and paramilitary. Attacks were used against ethnic Albanians. Information from the spot say that at least 32 ethnic Albanians were killed. All villages around are in the state of siege. According to the information of ICRC family Ahmeti, for example lost 12 members. Number of wounded people is big. Due to reliable information, number of victims can be higher, number of wounded also. Among the victims there are women, children and old people. The most shocking information is that even a pregnant woman was killed. Bodies remain on the field. Wounded people do not have access to state hospital treatments and interventions. A boy (14) shot at 9 a.m. died at 2 p.m. only because of not having the right to medical intervention. This region is isolated from media and no journalist is allowed to approach. Not even the humanitarian organizations can go and offer help to these people.

On March 1, at 5 p.m. ethnic Albanian women - thousands of them organized a protest in front of the USIS office in Prishtine. The protest was well organized, although within 40 minutes. Women expressed their concern about the aggravating situation, about the victims, women and children in Drenica that remain unprotected, without food and medicine. Women asked for help, but also said that the world should not underestimate their potential. If they are able to gather within 40 minutes in thousands, they can cross barriers in their own way too. "Our time is running, and it is 12.00 noon by now" they said assessing that "this is the cry of a swan", meaning that a swan cries only once in her life, she cries the day she dies. As this protest was not known to police before, they did not intervene.

OnMarch 2, at 8 a.m. ethnic Albanian women protested in front of International Committee of Red Cross office because of not being able to do anything this instance. They urged ICRC to show the role they have in conflict areas, or at least ease the way for them to go and help women and children in Drenica.

On March 2, citizens of Prishtina, Podujeve, Vushtrri and other places organized massive protests against the masacre, against violence, against war, against terrorism. In Prishtine there 300.000 citizens protesting in the streets. Slogans were silence, peace, we solidarize with Drenica, no violence, no war, etc. But, police forces well equiped turned against the peaceful protesters with truncheons, rubber sticks, water canons, tear gas and armoured vehicles. Hundreds of protesters are injured. Among them, we have women and children injured too. Police forces were helped by Serbian citizens, mainly women, who were so precious to show their "patriotism" by throwing bottles, bricks and other means from high buildings over the heads of the protesters. One Serbian elite force policeman called "Zveko", how protesters recognized him, went over the protesters with his car on a speed over 150 km an hour. Many broken legs, ribbs, heads and other parts of bodies were crashed and broken as a result. We have testimonies of the injured. One of his victims of injuries was a girl who finally was received at the state hospital; her two legs are on bits and pieces.

29 injured people of different ages - women, children, old people, men were brought to the Centre for Protection of Women and Children to be treated. We had a very "busy day" after the protests. Yet, not even women of the Centre were not spared by police. Vjosa Dobruna, coordinator of the Centre was beaten. She was hit by a rubber stick on her right arm and underarm.

This brief chronicle of tragic events is making even stronger the STATEMENT, POSITION PAPER FOR RESOLUTION addressed some days ago to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Reported by

Sevdie Ahmeti

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