During resource center visit, SRSG Tanin reiterates UNMIK’s support on missing persons
On 28 April, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Zahir Tanin, visited the recently opened and UNMIK-funded Missing Persons Resource Center in Pristina, where he was received by representatives of Kosovo-Albanian and Kosovo-Serb families of missing persons. The representatives, after proudly giving SRSG Tanin a tour of the new facilities, expressed their deep gratitude to UNMIK for supporting the establishment of the center.
“Without your support, this office would not even exist,” said one of the representatives, with both subsequently asking the SRSG to be an ambassador for the participating families and organizations.
The resource center, whose launch and setup in March was funded by UNMIK’s confidence-building measures for the current fiscal year, aims to bring the Kosovo-Albanian and Kosovo-Serb families of missing persons together and encourage dialogue and reconciliation among them. The resource center is envisaged to serve as a neutral meeting and information point on missing persons, for both the families and the general public. In addition, the center will support the integration of the Kosovo-Serb families of missing persons into the Kosovo framework on missing persons.
During an open and heartfelt discussion, SRSG Tanin said he was overwhelmed by the kind words of the family representatives regarding UNMIK’s support for the resource center. He also praised them for their leadership and commitment – not only in setting up the resource center, but also more generally in working together for the sake of the families affected.
“For UNMIK, the question of missing persons is one of the most important ones facing Kosovo,” explained SRSG Tanin. “We are committed to supporting local initiatives that could lead to a resolution with any means possible.”
Both SRSG Tanin and the family representatives agreed that more commitment was needed by all aspects of society, including government institutions, in order to move forward and solve the 1,664 cases that remain open as of today.
Still, SRSG Tanin noted that “the prospect for peace and stability is strongest at the community level,” emphasizing the critical role that leaders like the family representatives play in forging direct cooperation between affected communities to achieve concrete results.
In an early sign of the resource center’s potential, the representatives of the families noted that many like-minded associations had already come forward asking to be registered in the center, enlarging the network and building momentum for the cause of missing persons. Further, they noted that UNMIK’s support for this initiative would lead to even more actors supporting it.