Friday, January 9, 2009

Ethnic Integration in Kosovo

Can you imagine living in a country where it is legally acceptable to segregate your neighbors simply because they have different religious or cultural beliefs? It's hard to believe that since the creation of Yugoslavia in 1943, Kosovar Albanians have been ethnically segregated and have suffered violent discrimination. Luckily, the United Nations came to the rescue in 1999 following the war that erupted between Kosovar Serbians and Kosovar Albanians.

In order to prevent further ethnic conflicts from arising, the United Nations Development Programme has teamed up with CARE Kosovo to promote democratic governance and the societal integration of minorities into society. Not being able to call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency was a reality for Kosovar Albanians. Instead of providing security, the pan-Serbian police force was known to carry out atrocities against Kosovar Albanians. Thus one of the UN's first measures was to provide all the citizens of Kosovo security by desegregating the police task force.

In addition to providing security to Kosovars, the UNDP is working to incorporate minorities into government affairs and local organizations. By assisting citizens with the creation of reliable ethnically-mixed democratic governments that guarantee the equality of all persons regardless of religious or cultural heritage, the UNDP hopes to create a Kosovar society in which all ethnicities are accepted.

For more on the United Nations' work to improve ethnic relations through Democratic Initiatives, click here