In the SDC exhibition "The Fates behind the Numbers”, those who were forced to leave their property behind during the Kosovo War are given a chance to speak out. The loss of their homes remains to this day a great emotional burden to those affected. The displaced were cut asunder from their entire lives - their cities or villages, friends and neighbours, and their material possessions. They still mourn the loss of their former way of life.
It is therefore important for these property owners to know that their legal rights are being recognised, even if they will never be able to return to their former property. Using images and audio contributions the exhibition presents the faces and fates of the people behind the strict legalities of property rights determinations.
Reconciliation and the Kosovo Property Agency
The exhibition also has the goal of raising the profile of the Kosovo Property Agency (KPA), which has been supported by the SDC since its foundation in 2006. When the end of the Kosovo War was announced in 1999, the subsequent explosion in disputed property claims caused considerable legal uncertainty. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) established the KPA and tasked it with clarifying the ownership of residential properties, commercial premises, and agricultural land.
Up to now the KPA has received 42,759 requests for recognition of property ownership rights. Of these, 90% involve agricultural land. In 39,570 cases a final decision has been taken. The remaining applications are expected to be settled in 2014. The processing of legal claims not only contributes to strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo, but also supports the resolution of outstanding issues of the past and creates a foundation for reconciliation.
Switzerland will have contributed a total of 9.3 million francs towards the work of the KPA by the end of 2014.
Switzerland’s commitment in Kosovo
June 2014 marks the 15th anniversary of the end of the Kosovo War. Switzerland has supported Kosovo during this entire time in its transition to a regional and Europe-wide integrated democracy with a social market economy.
As part of its 2013-2016 strategy in the field of international cooperation, Switzerland is active in different sectors in Kosovo: democratic governance and decentralisation, the economy and employment, and water, sanitation and health.
Locations and dates
17-29 June 2014: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Ausserholligen, Bern
1-5 October 2014: Street action, Biel
9-11 October 2014: Institute of Geography at the University of Bern
After Bern and Biel the exhibition will travel to other cities in Switzerland.
For further information please contact