June 1, 1999
Volume 1/ Number 3
Dear Friend and Colleague:
During times of war, population reduction programs often take on new names. We are concerned about reported instances of war crimes committed in Yugoslavia against the Kosovar population. Our concern over human rights abuses extends to within the refugee camps, even those policed by the United Nations. PRI calls upon the UNFPA to account for their actions within the refugee camps, and encourages our elected leaders, and all members of free press, to do the same.
Steven W. Mosher
Serbian War Crimes, UNFPA and Crimes Against Humanity
The Population Research Institute has raised concerns over a recent document released by UNFPA, titled Assessment Report on Sexual Violence in Kosovo.
The UNFPA report provides only second- and third-hand reports of ethnic rape committed by the Serbs against Kosovar women in Albania. While PRI agrees with UNFPA in that “[w]hatever type of rape, however frequently it occurs, does not change the seriousness of the act for each individual,” PRI also contends that UNFPA is has failed in its responsibility to meet the needs of the Kosovar women who are victims of rape.
The report concludes that “there is no concrete evidence of the ‘systematization’ of sexual violence” committed by the Serbs against Kosovar women in Albania; but that “emergency contraception should continue to be provided “for unprotected sexual relations and/or sexual violence within the camps themselves.”
The failure of the UNFPA to document, or even recommend ways to document or mitigate, instances sexual violence in refugee camps is consistent with PRI’s concerns that the UNFPA is exploiting the situation of sexual violence within the Yugoslavian conflict to justify its shipments of reproductive health supplies to the region.
PRI recognizes the difficulties in addressing, assessing, and eventually bringing to justice, issues of sexual violence committed during times of war. PRI grieves for the victims of the genocide, whose suffering form the basis for the indictments brought against the Yugoslav leader. PRI continues to lament for the victims of war crimes, including the victims of ethnic rape.
By the UNFPA’s own admission, however, the purpose of the report was not to accumulate testimony for the sake of retributive justice in the war crimes tribunal. (Interview with UNFPA Spokeswoman Corrie Shanahan, 28 May 1999.)
PRI charges that the UNFPA, by failing to present rape — as a war crime — in its proper context, is insensitive towards the Kosovar population. PRI also requests that all verifiable evidence accumulated by the UNFPA be submitted to the War Crimes Tribunal as evidence against crimes against humanity.
Given the customs of the Kosovar refugee population, along with the trauma of the refugee population, the administration of “reproductive health” supplies, which include provisions for sterilization, abortion and “morning after” pills administered by participating NGOs, raises serious concerns about human rights violations, lack of informed consent and malpractice.
PRI also requests that the UNFPA immediately cease and desist its population reduction campaign against the Kosovars within the refugee camps, until a verifiable report of human rights abuses committed within the camps can be established.