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(Brussels, July 15, 2015) – Journalists in the Western Balkans work in a hostile environment that directly affects their ability to do critical, independent reporting essential to a democratic society. Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,…
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 Vladimir Mitrić, a Serbian journalist, has always been drawn towards unearthing the darker side of life: human and drug smuggling; war crimes; corrupt politicians, war profiteers, tycoons and murders shielded by…
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It’s not easy to be an investigative journalist in the Western Balkans. Besides the inherent challenges of the job, reporters can face physical attacks, intimidation, even death threats. Reporting an attack to the authorities rarely brings justice.…
A cartoon in Serbian Blic satirizing Olja Bećković’s weekly TV show Utisak Nedelje
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If Kosovo is serious about its European future, whoever forms the next government faces a big job to improve its justice system and human rights record. Kosovo took another step toward this European future on June 8, with its second general election since…
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Parliament Should Strike Criminal Defamation, Compulsion to Reveal Sources

(Berlin) – Kosovo’s National Assembly should remove provisions from the draft criminal code that criminalize defamation and compel journalists to reveal their sources, Human Rights Watch said yesterday in a letter to members of the National Assembly’s…
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Officials from Serbia and Kosovo met in Brussels last week for a second round of negotiations aimed at establishing a formal relationship. Because of the potential for the talks to be politically fraught, negotiators have agreed to limit themselves to…
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People with disabilities, minorities, remain exposed to grave abuses

For many in Europe, the western Balkans still evoke images of the brutal conflicts that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The legacy of those wars continues to shape European Union and US policy toward the region. Repairing the damage…
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Protecting the health of vulnerable, displaced people

This fall, the European Commission (EC) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) began closing down lead-contaminated camps in Kosovo, where displaced Roma were living in abysmal health conditions for a decade. Human Rights Watch…
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With Brussels increasingly the most influential actor in Kosovo, the European Commission annual progress report is a key benchmark for its performance on human rights. The latest report, published yesterday, rightly highlights the ongoing weakness of…
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Western Europe Should Halt Deportations and Assist Roma Forced Back to Kosovo

(Pristina) - Roma and related minority groups deported from Western Europe to Kosovo face discrimination and severe deprivation amounting to human rights abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 77-page report, "Rights Displaced:…
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When Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, there was optimism that after almost a decade of drift, greater self-government and a newly energized international presence led by the EU might finally move it in the right direction.  Two years on,…
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Crisis Conditions for Roma Stuck in Lead-Tainted Site for a Decade

(Brussels) - The Kosovo authorities need to work with international donors  to close lead-contaminated camps occupied by internally displaced Roma without delay, relocate their inhabitants, and provide medical treatment for lead poisoning, Human Rights…
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Government Should Condemn Threats and Defend Press Freedom

(Brussels) - Kosovo's president and prime minister should forcefully condemn recent threats against the independent journalist Jeta Xharra in a newspaper that receives substantial advertising revenues from the government, Human Rights Watch said today.…
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EU Should Press Zagreb to Take Stronger Action on Security, Housing, Employment

Serb refugees returning to Croatia face significant obstacles to the full enjoyment of their human rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Croatia is a candidate for European Union membership, and respect for minority rights is a…
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European Court of Human Rights Should Reconsider Tenancy Rights Case

The European Court of Human Rights should reconsider a landmark case on housing rights in Croatia, Human Rights Watch said today. The case concerns the wartime termination of the right to occupy socially-owned property (so-called “tenancy rights”)—a…