DAILY CATHOLIC MONDAY October 5, 1998 vol. 9, no. 194
NEWS & VIEWS
VATICAN REPEATS CALL TO SAVE KOSOVO
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Holy See has renewed calls for international action to save Kosovo.
At a meeting of the permanent council of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Msgr. Mario Zenari, the permanent Vatican representative to that body, stressed the "constant concern" of the Holy See for the situation in Kosovo, where recent massacres have prompted new international scrutiny.
Msgr. Zenari noted that the Vatican has been consistently calling for international help for Kosovo, "since February of this year." He observed that the Pope has issued statements "on four separate occasions" calling world leaders to recognize the potential for bloodshed there, and seeking diplomatic efforts to stave off the impending violence.
Msgr. Zenari said that the latest "unjustifiable atrocities" should prod the world's leaders to intervene immediately, and urged OSCE to reach a consensus on the need to "arrive at a just and equitable solution to the crisis."
In Geneva, Human rights groups last Wednesday called for an international investigation into the massacre of 16 men, women, and children in village in the war-torn Serbian province of Kosovo.
At least 16 ethnic Albanians, including 10 women and children, were killed last weekend in the village of Gornje Obrinje as they took refuge from fighting in a nearby forest. The victims were shot at close range and some bodies were mutilated, and local people said Serbian police or Yugoslav Army soldiers were responsible. Yugoslav officials deny involvement, but have refused to allow an independent investigation.
The outlawed Kosovo Liberation Army, made of ethnic Albanians who make up the majority population of the province, are fighting for independence from greater Yugoslavia which is dominated by Serbia. Human rights group have documented cases of abuses by Serbians against the population which they believe are supporting the independence movement.
"The pattern of human rights abuses and impunity for
perpetrators in Kosovo is indisputable," Amnesty
International said. "Abuses like those alleged at Obrinje
spotlight the need to protect the displaced and refugees
from Kosovo and put their human rights on the agenda as
much as their humanitarian needs." NATO countries are
preparing air strikes on Serbian targets in Kosovo if
Belgrade does not recall military forces from the region,
although Russia has vehemently opposed such a move.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS