Wednesday, September 1, 2010


A Special Appeal for Advocates on behalf of Lead-Poisoned Children

The World Health Organisation has called on many occasions for Immediate Evacuation and Medical Treatment for the Romani children and their families that the United Nations placed in the toxic camps of North Mitrovica in Kosovo eleven years ago. This demand has been ignored by the UN, the Kosovo government, the USA and all countries of the European Union. It is easy to understand why in the light of Europe-wide discrimination against Roma people. No country is willing in the current political climate to offer succour to these poor families. In fact, France, Germany, Sweden and others have been actively deporting more Roma families to Kosovo, where they are receiving almost no support and are living in simply appalling conditions. Some have even ended up in these toxic camps and are now also suffering from dangerous levels of lead poisoning.

Instead of evacuation, the only action that has been taken is to fund a long-term resettlement plan to rehouse the families. This is a painfully slow process, and in the meantime nothing is being done to take the families from the lead-polluted environment. No treatment has been possible for the seriously sick children whose brains and other organs have become badly damaged. Furthermore, those families that already took up offers of rehousing in their former area at Roma mahalla in South Mitrovica, have received no medical treatment for their lead-poisoning. Nor does the the current resettlement plan, administered by Mercy Corps, the US based NGO, intend to offer treatment to these families.

A petition has been recently launched by Kosovo Medical Emergency Group and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation which calls upon President Obama to intervene and offer temporary living space and medical treatment at Kosovo's largest military facility, Camp Bondsteel, while these resettlement plans progress. Bondsteel has ample spare capacity to house the families in safety and security with the very best of medical facilities.

Our petition has already achieved more than one thousand signatures, but in order to maximise signatures worldwide, and particularly among Roma people themselves, we need individual volunteer advocates familiar with either Romanes, Serbian, Albanian, Bosnian, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Israeli, as well as English. The role of each advocate will be to encourage concerned people from his/her own particular national/linguistic group to sign the petition.

Please sign the petition at

Thank you on behalf of

Kosovo Medical Emergency Group

Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation



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