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A Population-Based Assessment of Human Rights Abuses Committed Against Ethnic Albanian Refugees from Kosovo

Citation: American Journal of Public Health, 2001, 99, 12, 2013-2018

Objectives: This study assessed patterns of displacement and human rights abuses among Kosovar refugees in Macedonia and Albania. Methods: Between April 19 and May 3, 1999, 1180 ethnic Albanian refugees living in 31 refugee camps and collective centers in Macedonia and Albania were interviewed. Results: The majority (68%) of participants reported that their families were directly expelled from their homes by Serb forces. Overall, 50% of participants saw Serb police or soldiers burning the houses of others, 16% saw Serb police or soldiers burn their own home, and 14% witnessed Serb police or soldiers killing someone. Large percentages of participants saw destroyed mosques, schools, or medical facilities. Thirty-one percent of respondents reported human rights abuses committed against their household members, including beatings, killings, torture, forced separation and disappearances, gunshot wounds, and sexual assault. Conclusions: The present findings confirm that Serb forces engaged in a systematic and brutal campaign to forcibly expel the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo. In the course of these mass deportations, Serb forces committed widespread abuses of human rights against ethnic Albanians.

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