Hindus ask world to wake up to continual lead poisoning of Roma in Kosovo

Sunday, July 18, 2010

NEVADA - Hindus are calling the world to wake-up to the reported tragedy of Roma people continually suffering from lead poisoning in northern Kosovo for nearly about a decade.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was highly shocking to learn that that the world let this environmental health and humanitarian disaster happen in 21st century Europe, which boasted of its human rights record. Zed described it as simply inhuman.

According to reports, lead poisoning caused severe and sometimes irreversible organ and brain damage, including death and abortion, to Roma and other families relocated to these camps in a polluted area near a lead smelter in Mitrovica temporarily (some say for maximum 45 days) in 1999 by the United Nations following the Kosovo war on land reportedly highly contaminated with lead, zinc, arsenic and other metals. They still remain on this toxic land, thus further aggravating already existing health problems.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that United Nations, European Union, Kosovo Government, World Health Organization and others involved should formally apologize to affected families besides compensating each victim (family of the victim in case the person died due to lead contamination) with minimum one million Euros each.

Rajan Zed stressed that an independent enquiry should be instituted into this reportedly preventable disaster. Immediately relocate affected families from this so called toxic wasteland, arrange thorough medical treatment for them, find them safe permanent housing, improve their health condition, and provide them livelihood support, Zed adds.

Europe’s most persecuted and discriminated community, Roma were reportedly facing apartheid conditions in Europe. Roma reportedly regularly encountered social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, etc., Zed pointed out.

Rajan Zed argued that references to Roma people in Europe reportedly went as far back as ninth century CE and asked, “How many more centuries Roma have to reside in Europe to prove that they are ‘real and equal’ Europeans like any other.” (ANI)

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