Issue of missing persons not be politicized, but treated as humane

August 30, the International Day of Enforced Disappearances, finds Kosovo with over 1,600 still missing people.

More than 20 years after the armed conflict in Kosovo, the families of more than 1.600 missing persons are still looking for their loved ones. Behind every missing person, families are suffering from the anguish and uncertainty of not knowing the fate of their loved ones and struggling with the multiple consequences this has on their lives. For every missing person, countless people are missing them.

August 30, the International Day of Enforced Disappearances, finds Kosovo with over 1,600 still missing people.

Family members demand that the issue of the missing be not politicized but treated as a humanitarian issue.


Ahmet Grajcevci from the Association of Family Members of Disappeared Persons, tells RTK that Belgrade will never voluntarily show the location of the mass graves, but with constant pressure from the international community, such a thing can be achieved.


Kosovo has stepped up exhumations of suspected graves of people who disappeared during the 1998-1999 war, amid suggestions from officials that a deal could be reached with Serbia to help find the remaining missing.

Large mass graves were found not long after the war at police training centers in Batajnica near Belgrade and Petrovo Selo in eastern Serbia. More recently, a mass grave containing the remains of more than 50 people was found in Rudnica in southwestern Serbia in 2013, and another in nearby Kizevak, where the remains of around ten wartime victims were found in 2020.

Meanwhile, Serbia and Kosovo have repeatedly asked each other to open wartime military archives to shed light on the hidden graves, but no steps have yet been taken to do so. When the 1998-1999 Kosovo war ended, a total of 6,044 people were registered as missing. 23 years later, more than 1,600 of them, mostly ethnic Albanians, but also Serbs and Roma, have still not been found.

During the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, there were 40,000 missing people, including 30,000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina alone. And around the world, 65,000 in Colombia, 60,000 in Syria, and also in other countries like Kashmir, Nepal, Uganda, and others countries. While 150,000 biological profiles are still being reviewed, from the tsunami in Thailand, Hurricane Katrina, from the conflict in Bosnia, Iraq, South Africa, Chile, and Libya.

Autor: Radio Kosova/RTK