Most Serb cemeteries in Kosovo in Poor Shape

Tanjug
27/10/2011

Serbian Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo are in poor shape, the mission of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kosovo-Metohija stated, adding that a majority of municipal administrations pay no attention to maintenance and preservation of the graveyards.

Serbian Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo are in poor shape, the mission of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kosovo-Metohija stated, adding that a majority of municipal administrations pay no attention to maintenance and preservation of the graveyards.

OSCE drew up an assessment of 392 Orthodox cemeteries in the entire territory of Kosovo, save for the northern part, and established that 229 of them are in a poor or very bad shape, while only 46 are in an exceptionally good shape.

Numerous cemeteries were devastated in 1999 and 2004 and the consequences of the damages inflicted in this period are still visible, because many tombstones were torn down or broken, the report states.

The cemeteries are overgrown with weed and even piled with garbage from time to time, OSCE stated in the report presented in the Media centre in Caglavica.

For most Kosovo municipalities, the obligation of cemetery maintenance is envisaged in the Statute but hardly any municipality sets aside permanent funds for the purpose.

OSCE established that only three municipalities in Kosovo allocated necessary funds for cemetery maintenance last year.

The Kosovska Mitrovica municipality set aside EUR 30.000, Vucitrn allocated EUR 6.000 and Obilic EUR 10.000 for the purposes of cleaning and maintenance of cemeteries.

Even in the municipalities which set aside certain budget for cemetery maintenance, many graveyards are in poor shape because the funds are used for a small number of local Orthodox cemeteries
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The most important factor that contributes to the poor shape of Orthodox cemeteries is the absence of Serbs in the nearby villages.

Despite the municipalities’ clear obligations as regards maintenance of both Orthodox and all other cemeteries as envisaged in relevant laws, only seven municipalities set aside funds for this purpose in the course of 2010.

Although the obligation of cemetery maintenance rests on the municipalities themselves, the Serb community and the Serbian Orthodox Church played the most important role in the maintenance, repairs and recovery of graveyards, the OSCE report points out.

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