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Most of the human rights violations being committed in both conflicts stem from the use of force and terror by Serbian authorities to assert control over territory and to expel or marginalize the non-Serbian population.

These tactics, which now form a familiar pattern, were first used by Serbian authorities in Kosovo, a formerly autonomous province in southern Serbia in which ethnic Albanians comprise approximately 90 percent of the population.

Since 1990, Serbian authorities in Belgrade have directly administered Kosovo, systematically violating the human rights of ethnic Albanians in the province.

Yet little attention was paid by the international community.

This report documents violations investigated by Helsinki Watch during missions to Kosovo and Serbia proper in May, June and December 1991.

Through an incessant propaganda campaign in the press in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Serbian government repeatedly manipulated the patriotism of its people and exaggerated the scope and nature of human rights abuses against Serbs in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.Serbian authorities in Kosovo are responsible for the torture and killing of ethnic Albanians in detention.Adequate investigation, prosecution or punishment of those responsible for the murder, torture or mistreatment of Albanians in Kosovo is rarely undertaken.Even now, little attention is paid to the ongoing suppression of the rights of the Albanian population in Kosovo.Yet if the violence in the former Yugoslav territories were to spread to Kosovo, with the potential of involving neighboring Albania and Macedonia, it could lead to a conflagration that would threaten the entire Balkan peninsula.

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