Translation from the Serbian. To download original click HERE

A Joint Presentation By



About KMEG



We, the undersigned, are leaders of the refugee camps of Osterode, Çesmin Llug/Cesmin Lug and Leposaviq/Leposavic, in northern Kosovo. We represent approx. 200 families (numbering roughly 600 people). In June 1999, after the arrival of NATO forces, we were chased out by Albanians living in the southern part of the town of Kosovska Mitrovicë/Mitrovica . We used to live in the Fabricka quarter of Kosovska Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. Our Roma community was the largest Roma community in Kosovo, with approximately 1000 homes housing 8000 people.

homes housing 8,000 people.

Though many of our relatives went abroad, some 40 of our community's families found refuge in a military hangar/warehouse located in Leposaviq/Leposavic. Others took up an abandoned school in northern Kosovska Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. In September of 1999, UNHCR moved the families from the school into tents located on a contaminated rubbish dump in the village of Zhitkovc/Žitkovac.

Dr. Bernard Kouchner visited our tent camp in Zhitkovc/Žitkovac at the end of September 1999. He promised that we would be moved from the contaminated land within 45 days, either back to our homes, or abroad as refugees.

Unfortunately, in January 2000 half of us were then re-housed into makeshift shacks in located on a larger plot of land - which was also contaminated - near the Trepcina waste dump in northern Kosovska Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, while the rest were housed in similar shacks provided for by UNHCR and its implementing partner ACT - on the contaminated land in Zhitkovc/Žitkovac.

In the summer of 2000, Dr. Kouchner ordered his UN medical team to assess the extent of lead contamination in the Mitrovicë/Mitrovica region. They found the highest quantities of lead contamination exactly where Çesmin Llug/Cesmin Lug and Zhitkovc/Žitkovac had been built. His UN medical adviser, Dr. Andrej Andrejew, recommended that our camps be evacuated immediately. The fact that the blood tests carried out on our children showed that they had very high levels of lead in their blood led the Belgian laboratory - which had initially carried out the tests - to request that the tests be repeated to be able to confirm that they had come across the highest lead-poisoning levels in medical history.

Despite the recommendations of his medical team, Dr. Kouchner did not follow through on the medical recommendations, and he did not evacuate our camp.

In December 2004 the World Health Organisation and the International Red Cross recommended that our camps be evacuated following new tests which indicated that many of the children in our camps have the highest lead-poisoning levels ever registered in medical history. At that time a number of our children had died. Doctors who were aware of their symptoms stated that lead-poisoning was the cause of their deaths.

In 2006, the Zhitkovc/Žitkovac camp was closed and the families living there were moved into a supposedly lead-free camp called Osterode.

Nevertheless, recent blood tests carried out at Çesmin Llug/Cesmin Lug and Osterode indicate that lead levels in our blood continue to be high. International doctors have warned us that each child born in the camp will be born with incurable brain damage, and that they will not be able to live long enough to ensure that another generation is born, as their fathers did.

On 31 January 2009, the World Health Organization and its Regional Office for Europe reiterated that the camps should be evacuated as a matter of urgency.

Up until now, only one family has been saved from our camps. In 2006, seven of the children of the Mustafa family and their father were evacuated by a medical team to Germany, following the death of the children's pregnant mother. They still continue to receive medical treatment and housing. German doctors have said that they will need roughly 10 years of continuous medical treatment to be able to completely remove the lead from their bones and bodies.

All the families of Çesmin Llug/Cesmin Lug Osterode and Leposaviq/Leposavic require the same kind of evacuation, urgent medical treatment and housing - the same as that received by the Mustafas. Our children also have to be saved.


Representatives of the three IDPs  (The signatures and contact details for the representatives have been removed to protect the identities) but are available to Key Decision Makers on request.

Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation

Toxic Waste Poisoned Children of Mitrovica, Kosovo

The Fundamental Human Rights of an Ethnic Minority Abused, as the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights is flouted by its Custodians