At the time of the renovation and official inauguration, the Cultural Center in South Mitrovica was called “Mitrovica” – not “Rexhep Mitrovica”. The name has since been changed by the municipality, the UNDP in Kosovo reacted today after Serbia’s Museum of Genocide Victims said they are pleased that the renovation works on the house of Xhafer Deva have been suspended, while also recalling that these international organizations have supported similar projects in the past. UNDP also strongly condemned anti-semitism, xenophobia and hatred, in all their manifestations, including rising intolerance and discrimination towards ethnic minorities and communities in vulnerable situations.
In early February, the announcement of the initiation of the restoration works on Xhafer Deva’s house in South Mitrovica caught the attention of the public and media, both in Kosovo and Serbia, as well as in the region and beyond.
The project, which was supposed to be implemented by the Kosovo Ministry of Culture along with the EU and UNDP, has since been canceled, after several parties, including the German ambassador to Kosovo and the EU rapporteur for Kosovo, highlighted Xhafer Deva’s role as a Nazi collaborator.
In addition to Xhafer Deva, another controversial figure from World War II also caught the public eye – former Albanian Prime Minister Rexhep Mitrovica, and the Cultural Center in South Mitrovica named after him.
Following the news that the restoration works have been suspended, Serbia’s Museum of Genocide Victims reacted, saying they are pleased that the project has been halted.
The Museum of Genocide Victims reminded that the attempt to rebuild the Deva house is not isolated, as the EU, UNDP, and institutions in Pristina have worked on similar projects in the past.
„The building housing the Cultural Center in Kosovska Mitrovica, named after war criminal Rexhep Mitrovica was renovated with EU funds, organized by UNDP and Pristina’s institutions,“ they add.
KoSSev wrote about the investments in the Cultural Center named after the controversial figure and Deva’s contemporary and associate – Rexhep Mitrovica, back in 2014, as well as about the then plans to renovate Xhafer Deva’s house. Read about that: Kulturni centar „Redžep Mitrovica“ nosi naziv po saradniku nacista, ili albanskom heroju?
According to the museum, the tenacious support of EU and UNDP representatives of the authorities in Pristina is worrying, as it aims to „blatantly glorify the most notorious war criminals.”
They asked the representatives of the EU and UNDP „why they continuously support openly revisionist and anti-civilization, undemocratic and shameful actions of the authorities in Pristina.“
UNDP in Kosovo reacted today to the allegations of this museum, strongly condemning anti-semitism, xenophobia and hatred, in all their manifestations. They also claim that at the time of the renovation and official inauguration, the Cultural Center in South Mitrovica was called “Mitrovica” – not “Rexhep Mitrovica” and that the name has since been changed by the municipality.
We publish the UNDP’s statement in its entirety:
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kosovo would like to provide clarification and additional information in response to the recent articles mentioning the renovation of the Cultural Center in Mitrovica.
The renovation of the Cultural Center in Mitrovica took place during late 2000 and early 2001 as part of the Village Employment and Rehabilitation Programme (VERP) project implemented by UNDP and funded by the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR), with additional financing provided by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Italy.
At the time of the renovation and official inauguration in May 2001, the building was called the Cultural Center of Mitrovica. Following the UNDP’s and EAR’s engagement in the renovation, the name has been changed by the municipality.
UNDP strongly condemns anti-semitism, xenophobia and hatred, in all their manifestations, including rising intolerance and discrimination towards ethnic minorities and communities in vulnerable situations.
We are committed to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, dignity and fight misinformation and hate speech.
In the meantime, KoSSev asked UNDP whether they took certain measures or sent a protest note regarding the fact that, as they claim, the municipality of South Mitrovica changed the name of the Cultural Center and named after it a suspected Nazi collaborator.
We received a reply from the UNDP, however, not to the questions we asked.
„We would like to thank you for publishing our response in full. We reiterate that UNDP has always been committed to protecting the vulnerable population, promoting basic human rights and preserving freedom, dignity and the fight against misinformation,“ they said.
Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.