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HRW Says Serbia Must Do More To Protect Minorities

A human rights group has criticized Serbia for failing to solve a series of ethnically motivated crimes against its small Albanian minority.

In its report, Human Rights Watch noted that in February and March, more than 200 incidents against ethnic Albanians had been reported, and added that only 10 had resulted in convictions.

In most cases, authorities "appear to have done little to identify or vigorously pursue perpetrators of attacks" even in situations where police officers were themselves witnesses or videotapes were available, the report said.

"Ethnic Albanians have been particularly vulnerable particularly when developments in Kosovo inflame tensions," HRW said.

The February declaration of independence by Kosovo, which has an Albanian majority, was followed by series of violent protests in Belgrade where angry mobs attacked the United States, German, British, Croatian, and Turkish missions. Throughout Serbia, people smashed windows of Albanian-owned shops and wrote hate graffiti on walls.

"Authorities still do not take attacks on minorities and their property sufficiently seriously," the Human Rights Watch report said.

(by Reuters)

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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