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Site Profiles: Interviewee Areas of Kosovo

Obilic/ Obiliq & Vučitrn/ Vushtrri Municipality: Plemetina Village, Plemetina Camp, Crkvena Vodica and Prilužje
Site Profiles: Plemetina Village & Plemetina Camp | Crkvena Vodica | Prilužje  | Kosovo Polje

Obilic/ Obiliq & Vučitrn/ Vushtrri Municipality : Kosovo Polje 

Kosovo Polje

Kosovo Polje includes the areas of Bresje, Ugljare, Batuse, Kuzmin, Kosovo Polje town, and several contained Roma/ Ashkalija Mahalas. Kosovo Polje also hosts a number of IDP containment areas.

Kosovo Polje lies 7 KM southwest of Pristina City . Bresje is 1 KM south of Kosovo Polje Town ; Ugljare is 1 KM east of Bresje and 1.5 KM southeast of Kosovo Polje Town . Kuzmin lies 2 KM west of Bresje. Batuse is roughly 5 KM southwest of Kosovo Polje Town .

Security & Transportation

Ashkalija have limited impediments to their freedom of movement due to their use of Albanian. Roma and Serbs have more difficulty, although they shop in the Albanian areas of Kosovo Polje town. Insecurity results in them shopping in the mornings, and in groups. Roma and Serbs are subject to harassment and verbal abuse; immediately after the 1999 war’s end, minority areas were subject to shootings and grenade attacks. One attack injured 40 when a Serb market was bombed. A few Albanians were assaulted when they were mistaken for Serbs.

The Serb graveyard in Bresje was burned on August 13, 2003 .

The infamous murder of three Ashkalija heads of family and one teenager in the Drenica in November of 2000 occurred when they, as IDPs in Kosovo Polje, sought to return and rebuild their destroyed homes. They were all shot on the first night.

Roma and Serbs have access to Preoce, Gracanica and the other minority areas of southwestern Pristina municipality via the KFOR roads that run through Bresje and Ugljare.

Several kidnappings and murders occurred when Kosovo Polje residents ventured into Pristina. Minorities have increased their security precautions accordingly and no longer go to Pristina.

Economy & Infrastructure

Before 1999, KEK employed thousands of Kosovo Polje Serbs and hundreds of Roma/ Ashkalija. The Kosovo Polje train station and Ramizadak Construction Company were also primary employers of minorities. All were fired after the war. Outside of a few token Ashkalija hires, none have gotten their jobs back. UNMIK employs many Serbs, Ashkalija and Roma in the civil service sector.

There are no shops or businesses in Kosovo Polje’s Mahalas. Unemployment is close to 100%. Serb areas are economically characterized by shops selling beer and cigarettes, a few cafes, and locally grown produce sold in front yards.

Outlying areas were cultivated by Serbs. Many of these fields can no longer be safely utilized.

Electricity is intermittent. Kosovo Polje has a severe water shortage.

Almost 400 minorities received UNMIK social assistance. Many Ashkalija & Roma families were entirely dependent on these payments.

Many NGOs were initially involved in the municipality, providing food aid, reconstruction & winterization assistance and education/ children’s programs. The NGO presence in Kosovo is currently waning.

Education

The minority areas of KP are laces with primary and secondary schools, often underfunded and understaffed. IDPs reside in some schools. Theoretically, Ashkalija have access to Albanian schools; in reality parents fear for their children’s safety there, and many children are kept at home because of harassment- sometimes in school, and sometimes on the route the children must travel to get there. Poverty and its manifestation in poor clothes and hygiene keep many Ashkalija and Roma children at home.

The International Rescue Committee conducted remedial education programs for Ashkalija, and vocational/ technical training for Ashkalija teens and young adults.

Demographic Information- Roma & Ashkalija

 

Roma

Ashkalija

Pre-war

300

2500

Current

300

3000

43 Roma families and 477 Ashkalija families live in Kosovo Polje town. 23% are IDPs. Lismir is a return site for Ashkalija who fled the village in 1999.

Roughly 3500 Serbs live in Kosovo Polje and its environs, from a pre-war population of 8240. Currently 38,000 Albanians live in the municipality. 22 Ashkalija houses have been reconstructed, while 150 Serb families are waiting for housing.

The Roma/ Ashkalija population is unstable. Numbers have increased in already overpopulated Mahalas due to the influx of IDPs from less-secure areas of Kosovo. Many IDPs reside in collective centers- the Viaduct Barracks, Klanica Barracks and the Sveti Sava School . Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia reside in these centers.



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