Supporting the process of solving the fate of those who went missing during the events in Kosovo between January 1998 and December 2000 is central to the work of the Human Rights Section. The Chief of the Section is as a member of the Pristina Delegation of the official mechanism on missing persons between Belgrade and Pristina, known as the Working Group on Missing Persons, and chaired by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The UNMIK Human Rights Section supports a victim-centred approach on missing persons, bolstered through the establishment of the Missing Persons Resource Center (MPRC) in Pristina for the families of victims from all communities. On 30 June 2018, UNMIK Human Rights Section concluded a project that empowered MPRC to become an indispensable stakeholder in the process of clarifying the fate of missing persons, having steadfastly advocated for the families’ right to the truth and commensurate reparation. The section has worked closely with the donor community in Pristina to ensure the sustainability of the MPRC.
As of July 2019, there are still 1,653 persons who remain unaccounted for as a result of the Kosovo conflict. Discovering their fate is critical for families to help heal wounds. UNMIK’s Human Rights Section provided a state-of-the-art ground penetrating radar machine to the Working Group on Missing Persons. This technology enabled the Pristina and Belgrade delegations to jointly conduct five assessments of potential mass grave sites on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line in 2018.
UNMIK also produced a short film entitled Something Still Missing which highlights the efforts of local families’ associations to determine the fate of their missing loved ones while building trust across communities.
In June 2017, UNMIK organized a roundtable on Missing Persons in Geneva on 29 and 30 June 2017, which provided a unique occasion for representatives of family associations, both Kosovo-Albanian and Kosovo-Serbs, to gather and discuss the way towards clarifying the fate and whereabouts of missing persons, while benefitting from the presence of international experts.
In addition to work on missing persons, UNMIK’s Human Rights Section interacts with Kosovo authorities on existing and emerging mechanisms on dealing with the past. The Section is closely monitoring the process of establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and promotes a human rights-based approach to securing justice for the victims.
Something Still Missing:
Helping Those Left Behind: