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Lessons to be learned from the Milosevic era

14 March 2006

MRG Letter – printed in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper, Tuesday 14 March 2006

In terms of reducing the scale of killings, such as those allegedly wrought by Milosevic, Max Hastings may well be right about the need for the UK and others to countenance a more robust military interventionism in times of ethnic conflict. (It is better to halt mass murder than to clean it up afterwards, Monday March 13).

But the death of a man that caused so much suffering in the name of ‘race’ should surely invite intense focus on how to ensure ethnically motivated violence is prevented in the first place.

The international community does not appear to have learned many lessons. Ten years after the Dayton accords Bosnia and Kosovo are still societies firmly segregated by ethnicity, despite international rule.

Reducing the threat of violence will only be achieved if the international community ensures that minorities are fully protected. The complex ethnic relationships that Hastings points out baffled the international community in the 1990s need to be reconciled based on the rights of every ethnic, religious and linguistic group to live freely, not segregated.

For many, justice cannot be delivered now that Milosevic is dead. However the west can ensure that those who inherited the territory fractured by his nationalism are can live in an integrated, safe society.

Clive Baldwin, Minority Rights Group International

This letter was submitted in response to a comment piece by Max Hastings entitled ‘It is better to halt mass murder than to clean it up afterwards‘ that appeared in the Guardian newspaper on Monday 13 March 2006.

For further information/comment on our work in the Balkans, please contact the MRG Press Office on [email protected].