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Kosovo: Multiethnic Police Force Key To Security

Kosovo's Police Key To Preserving Democracy And Human Rights -- UN Official

Addressing the latest graduating class of Kosovo's multiethnic police force, a senior United Nations official there today said they are responsible for advancing the goals of peace and democracy.

"There is no profession more noble, or more necessary, than the police to the preservation and maintenance of human rights principles and basic democratic freedoms," said Lawrence G. Rossin.

He said the chief task of the new recruits will be "upholding and enforcing the laws of Kosovo equally for all, for the benefit of all, for the benefit of this great Kosovo itself."

The police must be trusted and respected by those they serve, he said, in contrast to past practice in Kosovo. "I remember visiting Kosovo in 1998, and seeing a different cadre of police officers standing on corners, stopping cars, stealing money from ordinary people like yourselves and your neighbours," he said. "They are long gone. You represent a new start, a different model of policing, a model of service to the people."

He stressed that the graduates must never hold themselves above the law. "You must have the courage to stand up against those officers who by their actions might damage the reputation and character of the Kosovo Police Service," he said. "A police service that tolerates officers who are corrupt and dishonest will never gain that trust or respect."

"The people of Kosovo expect the best, and you can fulfil their expectation," he said.

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