From: Exit Staff
EP Calls for Investigation into Removal of Ethnic Albanians from Voter Lists in Serbia

The European Parliament has called for an investigation into Serbia’s removal of ethnic Albanians from voter lists and civil registries in the Presevo valley through passivisation.

In approving the Commission’s 2021 report on Serbia, the Parliament highlighted the plight of Albanians in southern Serbia whose names were deleted from civil registries and were subsequently deprived of their right to vote.

“[The European Parliament] is deeply worried about the allegations and studies indicating that the Serbian authorities are abusing the law on the residence of citizens and about the ‘passivisation’ of residential addresses of Albanian ethnicity citizens living in southern Serbia in a systematic and discriminatory manner,” states the report.

It also calls for “an independent and thorough investigations into these allegations and on the Serbian authorities to cease all discriminatory practices and targeting.”

Over 6200 Serbian citizens of Albanian ethnicity have been illegally removed from voter lists in the region over the last few years through “passivisation,” the tactic of declaring that a person no longer lives at their declared residential address. This practice was detailed by researcher Flora Ferati-Sachsenmaier for Exit.

Passivisation has deprived thousands of the right to vote and rendered them stateless and unable to access health care, education, or even buy or sell property, in what the Helsinki Committee has called “administrative ethnic cleansing.”

Ethnic Albanians Removed from Voter Lists ahead of Serbian Elections

Following the recent parliamentary, presidential and local elections in Serbia, Albanian parties in the region lost much of their representation, as many of the electorate were prevented from voting.