The name of Elizabeta Hasani has been added to a memorial commemorating the Green Market massacre in Mitrovica following calls from civil society activists.
The Municipality of Mitrovica has added the name of Elizabeta Hasani to a memorial commemorating the civilians killed in the Green Market massacre in Mitrovica in March 1999.
Earlier this month, human rights activists petitioned the municipality to include Hasani, a Roma girl, after research conducted by Shkelzen Gashi uncovered evidence that she was amongst the victims of the attack.
The memorial had previously only included the names of six ethnic Albanians killed, sparking concerns over ethnic bias in commemoration.
Initially, Faruk Mujka, the Deputy Mayor of Mitrovica dismissed the complaints, before the Municipality eventually apologised for the exclusion of Hasani from the memorial and promised to correct the mistake “without hesitation.”
On Monday, Agim Bahtiri, the Mayor of Mitrovica, alongside Albert Kinolli, an MP from the United Roma Party, unveiled the corrected memorial, which includes Elizabeta Hasani among the listed victims of the massacre.
At the unveiling, Bahtiri insisted that Hasani’s absence from the memorial was a mistake made due to “absence of information”, while Kinolli thanked the mayor for keeping his promise to include Hasani among the names of the victims.
“This proves that Kosovar society is open and democratic,” Kinolli stated. “Victims must be treated fairly and equally, because the victim does not know race, color, community or political party.” The Roma MP added that he hopes the perpetrators of the attack would soon face justice.
Shkelzen Gashi meanwhile praised the civil rights activists who petitioned the municipality to include Hasani’s name on the memorial. He told Prishtina Insight that if there had not been a fierce reaction from members of civil society and other citizens, this issue would have passed with “indifference.”
“I was surprised by the reaction, I was convinced that this issue will pass without being a big deal,” Gashi said, adding that ethnic and racial discrimination in Kosovo continued to be an issue.
“The problem is deeply rooted in the way we treat the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo. They are treated not as second hand but as third hand citizens,” he said.
18 August 2020 - 10:30