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Balkans Task Force (BTF)
Situation Report No. 21

UNCHS (Habitat)

Thursday,   9 September 1999
  • The BTF biodiversity technical assessment mission started its work in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on 7 September. The experts will visit selected sites in order to collect data and assess the current situation of biodiversity.

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bernard Kouchner, signed on 2 September a regulation allowing the use of foreign currency for payments and contracts in Kosovo. UNMIK will keep its budgets and accounts in Deutsche Marks (DM). Obligatory payments to authorities, such as customs duties, taxes and fines, can also be paid in DM. Such payments can be made in other currencies, but an administrative fee will be levied to cover administrative and handling costs.

  • Violence continues in Kosovo, although the situation is stabilising according to KFOR. Inter-ethnic arson, intimidation and murder against Serb and Roma are still occurring on a regular basis. In addition, there are indications that organised crime rings are active throughout the province.

  • The European Union announced on 6 September it would lift oil and flight embargo on Kosovo and Montenegro.

  • Mr. Tom Koenigs took up his post as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, heading UNMIK's Civil Administration component, on 6 September. Mr. Koenig's mandate includes overseeing municipal and district civil administrations, the judiciary, police, customs, taxation, banking, utilities, transport and all the basic functions involved in running a government.

  • Dr. Kouchner re-launched on 7 September the Kosovo-wide childhood immunization programme that was disrupted in March 1999. Kosovo has one of the lowest childhood immunization rates in Europe.

  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Mary Robinson, called on 7 September on the people of Kosovo to end violent attacks against minorities and asked the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to cooperate with the UN in investigating such crimes. A UNHCHR report of 7 September attributes human rights abuses as being among the root causes of the mass exodus of ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo. The report includes specific information on the killings which took place during the NATO campaign, when an estimated 10,000 Kosovo Albanians died, with several thousand more still missing. In addition, the report examines violations of the rights of minorities in today's Kosovo, including murder, eviction, rape and kidnapping.

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