Global Response Acts
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Global Response Acts: Emerg Act: Save Roma Families / Kosovo; etc..
Campaign Update / Lead Poisoning in Kosovo
For the Roma families who are forced to live in Kosovo's lead-contaminated camps, each day further imperils their health and life chances.
If you have not already sent messages to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama, please do so today. Urge them to rescue and relocate the suffering Roma families and provide emergency medical treatment for lead poisoning.
Global Response's action alert and a model letter are HERE.
Click HERE to see a short but very moving video of the Roma families'
vigil at the lead-contaminated camps on International Roma Day, April 8.
Click HERE for an April 14 article about the ongoing tragedy.
Add your comments to this website.
Thank you for joining Global Response, The International Society for Threatened Peoples, and human rights advocates around the world in our determination to stop the tragic and preventable illness and death among the Roma in Kosovo.
Emergency Action: Save Roma Families / Kosovo
Today is International Roma Day, celebrating the heritage and promoting the rights of the Roma (Gypsy) people. In Kosovo, the day is being observed in a solemn vigil in refugee camps where Roma children suffer the highest levels of lead poisoning ever recorded. For ten years they have lived on the site of an abandoned lead smelter, accumulating toxins in their bloodstreams.
Global Response is working with the Germany-based Society for Threatened Peoples to find a way to relocate the Roma families from the toxic camps and treat them for lead poisoning. Today we are encouraged that the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has spoken out for safeguarding the rights of the Roma people, especially the children (see the video clip of the Secretary's short address here:
Please send a letter to Secretary Clinton today, with a copy to President Obama, asking for State Department action to rescue the Roma families who have suffered this horror much too long.
For more information, please see
Note: To send emails, go to the State Department
and White House websites.
Tell President Obama what you think, etc. :)
Phone: To just leave a comment message: 202-456-1414
Direct Comment: 202-456-1111
TTY/TDD Comments: 202-456-6213
E-Mail: You can use BOTH of the following:
Office of Public Liaison:
Mrs. Hilary Clinton, Secretary
US State Department
PA/PL, Rm. 2206
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington , D.C. 20520
Mr. Barack Obama, President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Madam Secretary,
I am so glad to hear you speak out for the rights of Roma people throughout the world, and especially for the children.
You may know that on International Roma Day, April 8, 2009, hundreds of Roma people held a vigil outside their lead-contaminated "Osterode" and Cesmin Lug/Cesmin Llug refugee camps in Kosovo to draw attention to the intolerable living conditions and their demand for the camps to be evacuated. They lit candles in memory of 81 Roma who have died in these lead-contaminated camps, praying that they and their children will escape that tragic fate.
The camps were established by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR on waste from a former lead mine. Roma, Ashkali and Kosovo-Egyptians were housed in the camps in 1999 after being subjected to violent attacks by extremist Albanians at the end of the NATO intervention in Kosovo. Today 560 Roma are still condemned to live in Osterode and Cesmin Lug/Cesmin Llug.
Ten years ago Dr Bernard Kouchner, formerly Director of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and now France's Foreign Minister, promised to close down these toxic refugee camps within 45 days. All residents unable to return home to the Roma quarter (mahala) in South Mitrovicë / Mitrovica, within that time were to be evacuated to another location outside Kosovo.
In November 2000 UN doctors advised the Director of UNMIK that the refugees should be evacuated immediately because the blood lead levels measured in children were life-threatening. In 2004 and 2008 the World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommended that the camps be urgently closed. But the Roma families are still there, being further poisoned each day.
"We want evacuation and medical treatment!", says Roma leader Skender Gushani: "Why have we been condemned - first by the UN and now by the government of Kosovo - to live out our lives on this killing field? We are living in hell!"
Please, Secretary Clinton, use your good offices and your influence with other international decision-makers to implement an immediate emergency medical evacuation and provide appropriate intensive medical treatment to these Roma families. I know you and the State Department can help save these stranded Roma families -- most of whom are women and children.
Much more information is available here:
With sincere thanks,
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Paula Palmer, Executive Director
PO Box 7490
Boulder, Colorado 80306
Global Response organizes effective international letter-writing campaigns to protect the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples. See action alerts for adults, teens and children at
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