Western powers overseeing Kosovo have announced the end of their supervision of the Balkan nation, the last to be born out of the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
Since its unilateral declaration of independence from Serbian in Febraury 2008, Kosovo had been overseen by a group made up of 23 EU countries, the US and Turkey. On September 10, 2012 Pieter Feith, the Dutch diplomat serving as both serving as the European Union Special Representative(EUSR) and as the International Civilian Representative in Kosovo, declared the end of international supervision. What does this mean to the ethnic minorities of Kosovo is too early to say.
In 2008, in the months following the declaration of independence, I carried out fieldwork in Kosovo, interviewing several Roma, Askhali and Egyptian Kosovans and wrote two concept papers (Integrating minorities in a post-conflict society and Towards the social inclusion of RAE in Kosovo) to inform the implementation of the Kosovo’s strategy for RAE integration (funded by the EC). This article published recently in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2012, vol. 38, n.8) discusses some of the findings of the work and portraits the challanges that the supervision status was posing to ethnic minorities. Stemming from my time in Kosovo, I have also published an interview with two very active Roma leaders in Romani Politics in Contemporary Europe (Sigona & Trehan, 2009) and a number of posts on this blog (both texts and photos).
“I would recommend this book to those who may be tempted to see Romani issues only in terms of localised ethnic mobilisations and of increasing racialised violence, as well as to anyone interested in issues around European citizenship, or in understanding the parallel evolution of human rights discourses and neoliberal policy” (Katheirne Hepworth, 2011).
The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies has published a very positive review of Romani Politics in Contemporary Europe (Sigona and Trehan, Palgrave 2009). Besides the overall positive assessment of the collection, I am particularly pleased with the ability of the reviewer, Katherine Hepworth, to crystallise in a few words the originality and uniqueness of the work and its aspiration to mainstream the debate on Romani politics. As the reviewer rightly notices, the book aims to show how relevant the situation of the Roma and their political trajectory is to understand current transformations in the EU and to unpack the intimate link between neoliberal policies and the affirmation of the human rights regime as dominant frame to understand and address the ‘Roma issue’.
A year or so ago I wrote an article on Mitrovica for an Italian magazine, if you read Italian, here is the link: https://nandosigona.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/una-citta-e-il-suo-doppio/
A short documentary by Andrew Lampard features the case of two brothers, German-born Roma children, who are grappling with their new life in Kosovo after being deported from Germany. Thousands more like them are about to be deported to Europe’s youngest country from other parts of Europe.