Kosovo ombudsman Marek Novicky has criticised the state of human rights in the province, under United Nations administration since 1999, saying it was “far from international standards”.
Novicky, appointed by the international community five years ago to supervise the human rights situation in Kosovo, said that ethnic minorities in Kosovo, particularly Serbs and Romanics, "are still not in a position to move around freely", which is limiting their living conditions and economic activities.
At a press conference in Pristina on Wednesday evening, Novicky warned that the situation is likely to get worse unless the international community appoints a new human rights watchdog.
Chief UN administrator, Soren Jessen Petersen, who has wide arbitrary powers in the province, has decided to pass the human rights supervision to local ethnic Albanian authorities, a move that Novicky considers premature.
Petersen has also come in for criticism from Serbian officials in Belgrade for starting the formation of Kosovo justice and police ministries, under majority ethnic Albanians’ control. The judiciary and police have been under international control since Serbian forces were pushed from the province by NATO bombing raids in 1999.
Dusan Batakovic, an aide to Serbian president Boris Tadic, argued that Petersen had overstepped his competences and that his move would increase the pressure on the remaining 100.000 Serbs in the province.
Over 200.000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have fled Kosovo since 1999, whose majority ethnic Albanians demand independence, AKI reports.