children and rights
-In dire need of outside support and a call for justice




By Alice Mead, April 30, 1999  

The outside world has made no response to this arrest

April 28, 1999, YHRF reported that student leader, Albin Kurti, age 24, was arrested along with his father, and two younger brothers, ages 20 and 15. The owner of Kurti boy was released and showed signs of beatings. The arrest was reported to be extremely abusive.
No mention was made of their access to medical care, the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, or what their future would be.

The outside world has made no response to this arrest, nor to a series of other arrests and disappearances over the past few days.

From August, 1997 until March, 1998, Albin was one of the major organizers of the UPSUP, a union of Albanian students numbering 20,000, who demonstrated peacefully in the hopes of regaining access to their school buildings.
Ironically, Albanian students were finally granted full access to the buildings just as the Serb military attacks made attending school far too dangerous.

During the time of the student demonstrations, UPSUP received broad public and diplomatic support from the U.S. State Department, which negotiated with them directly to support their non-violent, democratic approach to the problem of Albanian educational discrimination.
In particular, Ambassador Gelbard and later Ambassador Chris Hill met with them repeatedly as did Richard Huckaby of the USIA office in Prishtine.

Now that this young man and his even younger brothers are in dire need of outside support and a call for justice, the US government officials I spoke with declare no familiarity with this brief history. Ambassador Gelbard has been "transitioned" out of his former position.
Ambassador Dobbins has no knowledge of the role UPSUP played. Matt Palmer is no longer the Serb desk officer. He has been replaced by the Macedonian desk officer. Asst. Secretary of State Eileen Malloy, who knew a great deal about the arrests and trials within Kosova in the past, now works at the Department of Energy. Even at the National Security Office,
Jack Covey, the former assistant in charge of Kosova affairs, is gone. With them goes the history, the accountability, the insistence on real justice for the extraordinary individuals who played roles in the agonizingly slow liberation of Kosova from ten years of brutality.

Alice Mead
AM, US writer, has travelled extensively in Kosova, Albania and Macedonia since 1984.

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