KOSID discusses the forcible reallocation of Hade village residents

Prishtina – 15 December 2016 – Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID) organized a press conference to announce the findings of the Investigation Report of World Bank's Inspection Panel for the forcible dislocation of residents of Hade village in Obilic. The report assesses and confirms that considerable and un-repairable damages were caused to the residents of Hade village, during displacement, in order to open the way for the mines of the proposed power plant "Kosova e Re".

Long ago, the Government of Kosovo, along with the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, announced Hade village as an area of special economic interest, due to surface mines. As a result, many residents were displaced from their homes, while the rest of Hade village remains in total isolation, and with polluted air. For a long time now, difficult situation still prevails, where a large number of residents of this village, present at the conference, said they have been left without basic living conditions, to make room for the mines for the planned plant, Kosova e Re.

KOSID’s coordinator, Visar Azemi, said that it is urgent to find a solution for the residents of the Hade village, whom for many years have been victims of selfish goals of Institutions in the country, just to advance what they refer to as country’s economic development. "We as representatives of civil society have always been close to residents of Hade, supporting them on protests and meetings with relevant institutions, but we only were faced with the stagnation of the situation and continuous violation of the rights and properties of the residents in question. We will continue to demand from the Government of Kosovo and World Bank to find a solution for these inhabitants. Therefore, we will not tolerate this situation to continue to remain the same, since we strongly oppose the violation of the rights of inhabitants, and we urge relevant institutions to take concrete steps to ensure the remaining residents of Hade, a dignified living – what they actually deserve," stated Azemi.

Dajana Berisha, the Executive Director of the Forum for Sustainable Initiatives (FIQ, a member organization of KOSID, said that the situation is still prevailing for many years, where many residents of villages around Obilic were removed forcibly from their properties by the police, seeing the destruction of their homes overnight. "KOSID filed a complaint to the World Bank’s Inspection Panel, an independent institution established by the bank in question for monitoring of projects in which the Bank is involved, where we have expressed concerns about the process of the resettlement of Hade’s inhabitants. The Inspection Panel has come to investigate the situation on the field, and has published a report on which it confirms the complaints of residents for substantial and non-recoverable damages incurred during the relocation, to make way for "Kosova e Re" power plant mining. According to the Inspection Panel, setting Obilic municipality as an area of special economic interest is not in accordance with international practices. Moreover, the report says that the process of relocation for years now, and separation of the community, is not in accordance with World Bank’s standards and policies. Therefore, in such conditions, we consider as a failed process the intervention of World Bank for the provision of assistance and monitoring for the project hauled for so many years," Berisha concluded.

While, Ragip Grajqevci, the representative of Hade inhabitants, voiced the concerns of the residents, who are seeking their immediate relocation, because according to him, for a long time are hearing only false promises. Grajqevci stated: "For the sake of the overall economic development, we agreed to announce our lands and properties as areas of special economic interest, but all that we were faced with were successive manipulations and frauds by the institutions included in this process. Our agricultural lands have been taken from us, our sole source of survival; therefore, we have struggles to live in such conditions. We have sent many complaints to relevant institutions; however, we were constantly faced with ignorance and indifference. It is worth mentioning that in order for the cost of the power plant to remain low, the burden is falling on our shoulders as inhabitants, dragging the provision of minimum conditions for survival. If we do not find understanding for proceedings in the Assembly and there is no budget for immediate reallocation, for us as residents of Hade village, there is nothing left but to organize protests before the World Bank - responsible for the delay of reallocation - and the Government of Kosovo, ignorant of our numerous complaints."

After the conference, representatives of KOSID along with the inhabitants of Hade attended the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Spatial Planning; where as a topic for debate, was the issue of relocation of these residents. After many debates and presentations of damages that the remaining residents of Hade are facing continuously, they were asked by the Commission to draft a request, in order to proceed with finding a solution.

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