Man who fled Kosovo in 1999 now heading Newfoundland's Human Rights Commission

Steve Bartlett
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Remzi Cej knew he wanted to work in human rights the day he crossed the Albanian border after fleeing conflict in Kosovo.

Almost 13 years later, he finds himself in a position dedicated solely to that.

Cej is the new chairman of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Human Rights Commission.

“I’m not daunted,” the 28-year-old says. “I think I’m thrilled because I wanted to do something of this kind for a long time.”

Cej knows full well the importance of human rights.

He and his parents fled wartorn Kosovo in April 1999 after the Serbian paramilitary said they had to leave.

The family walked hundreds of kilometres over a week as part of a mass exodus. They crossed over into Albania, where they stayed at a refugee camp for a year and a half. He said it was a difficult journey; Cej’s uncle was one of many people lost along the way.

The family immigrated to St. John’s in October 2000. Cej was days short of 17 and enrolled in high school at Holy Heart.

While grateful for the new beginning, there were heavy hearts. They had lost contact with Cej’s older brother, Adnan, who had left Kosovo for Turkey a year earlier.

“At the time (he left) the Serbian paramilitary was going house to house, taking any able-bodied men away, and holding them in awful conditions,” Cej says.

“They later would round them up and kill them, which is how 20 members of my extended family were shot. (Mom) was worried this would happen to (Adnan) and she sent him away.”

The family had began searching for Adnan in Albania, but there was no trace of him.

A world away in St. John’s, Cej says it was difficult as they tried to console each other.


Amazingly, four years after they landed in Newfoundland, cousins and friends in Kosovo started calling out of the blue. A TV station had run a clip about Adnan, who is hearing impaired.

“It was a report from a Kosovar teacher who had been in Turkey on vacation and she had heard this story on Turkish TV of a man who was deaf being interviewed about his missing family from Kosovo, and trying to get in touch with them.”

The family soon reconnected with Adnan.

“It was just miraculous,” Cej says. “It was obviously like being reborn. I’ve said that many times. It’s like being reborn. You feel someone is gone from your life and they’ll only live in your memories, and they’re back in the flesh. It’s incredible.”

After regular phone contact with him for about a year, Cej and his mother brought Adnan to St. John’s to live in 2005.

Cej’s experience with human rights doesn’t end with his family’s experience.

He became heavily involved in organizations such as Amnesty International and War Child Canada. His efforts were recognized with a 2007 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.

“Remzi Cej is at the very forefront of young people I have known in my personal and professional life over the course of my 65 years,” John Fleming of Amnesty International said in a write-up for that award.

“He is not only willing but passionate in his determination to be of service to his world-wide community, especially in promoting respect for human rights.”

Cej also advised the Department of Justice when it amended the province’s Human Rights Code a few years ago.

Besides the rights work, Cej has excelled academically in Newfoundland.

After graduating Holy Heart, Cej did a joint honours degree in French and German studies at Memorial.

In 2008, he was the province’s Rhodes Scholar, obtaining a masters in philosophy in international relations.

Cej now works for the government, as a program and policy development specialist with the Department of Advanced Education and Skills.

He was surprised when an official recently approached him about being chairman of the Human Rights Commission.

He thought about the offer and accepted the honorary position, knowing it was work he always wanted to do.

“One of the most important things I bring to the commission is that perspective of witnessing discrimination first-hand and seeing what it’s like,” Cej says.

“But I also bring a sense of community experience, of speaking about what I’ve gone through and what other people have gone through.”

Last year, the commission received 70 complaints and close to 1,000 inquiries.

Thirty-two of the complaints, Cej says, were based on disabilities. Others were based on factors like pregnancy and martial status.

The new chairman hopes to bring a balance of empathy and rational thinking in dealing with such issues.

He also wants to put a major focus on human rights promotion, and is impressed by the commission’s recent awareness efforts.

Cej says he would like to think he’s used his hardships and struggles to do something positive.

His mother, Hafize, is not surprised he has made something of his opportunities.

“I had hope for him, and I come here just because of him. ... I always knew he will do something and I would be proud.”

She said she is thrilled with his appointment because it’s the type of thing he’s wanted to do since boyhood.

“He was always talking about rights, about people’s rights.” Twitter: @bartlett_steve

Organizations: Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Department of Justice Department of Advanced Education and Skills.He Human Rights Commission.He

Geographic location: Kosovo, Newfoundland and Labrador, Albania Turkey

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Recent comments

  • Eh
    May 09, 2012 - 10:32

    Mr. Cej's wealthy knowledge, skill and ability did not fall from the sky. Keep in mind that most of us are victims of things that we did not ask for. The very fact that Mr. Cej equipped himself with the tools to better himself and the things he can around him is more than admirable. He was but a boy upon arriving here and has clearly gone above and beyond. How can people lash out at him in this manner. Last time I checked Universities don't hand out credentials and communities don't positively acknowledge you just because. He is an inspiration; his mother must be so proud. Unfortunately Universities don't hand out "magic wands"! If they did, all these negative critics would not be here....POOF! I am happy you are here, happy to have met you and happy to call you my friend.

  • Orlando Duarte
    January 29, 2012 - 19:38

    Congratulations Remzi: You continue building your future, climbing step by step, starting from the very bottom. When Ludwing, my son, produced that documentary, at Memorial University, about your you remember my wife comments about your future?...They were right and we were very proud of your friendship and of your goals achivements every time. Good for Newfoundland & Labrador...the right person for the right position... people like you deserve the best. Keep it up!

  • ed power
    January 27, 2012 - 19:16

    Oh, Ms Potter, the sweet irony. "Your comments are offensive, racist and full of hate". I'm guessing that you haven't actually read any of the "offensive, racist" and comments "full of hate" that you posted, otherwise you wouldn't have deliberately written what proves you to be the ultimate example of the kettle calling the pot black arse. I don't know which particular religious cult it is that you belong to, but I pity the children raised in any home you have access to. They will have a miserable life, courtesy of your hate and vitriol. It is unfortunate that you practice so little of the Christian faith you claim membership in, but then, Jesus did warn about people such as yourself. Keep it up, and it won't the" nice place" that you will be spending eternity in, it will be the hot and nasty place. Hopefully with pitchforks, long and pointy pitchforks.

    • Kathy Potter
      February 01, 2012 - 00:30

      Kind sir please tell me where there was hate, yes all you know how to do is accuse meanwhile Christians are being raped and murdered all over the Islamic world. Why don't you go try and build a church in Saudi Arabia and see what happens to you, actually I just wish you were from Pakistan and you had 3 sisters to see how they would be treated. Please sir, until Muslims learn "to love thy neighbor as themselves" then the devastation and horror that Christians lived in Bosnia and Kosovo will continue. Now please you are embarrassing yourself...

  • Ken O'Brien
    January 27, 2012 - 08:16

    The choice of Remzi Cej to head the NL Human Rights Commission is an inspired one. I know him personally from our local Amnesty International human-rights group. He is intelligent, personable, kind-hearted, broad-minded, and has seen the results of war and hatred first-hand. Some of the comments made here, full of venom and vitriol, make me shake my head. We as a province should be looking for the best people to fill positions in government. In Mr. Cej, we have found one of the best. He is an adopted Newfoundlander who will do great work.

  • ed power
    January 25, 2012 - 10:55

    I see that the Mr Regal and Ms Potter are still at it. Funny how many of their "facts" are so similar, almost like they were reading from a list of talking points. Blah...blah...blah...500 Christian churches....blah...blah....500 Christian Serbian teenagers,,,,livers and kidneys removed....blah....blah ....500 years of Moslem oppression....(funny how that nice round figure of 500 keeps popping up), 300,000 Sebian refugees in one post, 500,00 in another and, in Mr Regal's last (hopefully) post, 1, 000,000 Serbian refugees, and so on ad infinitum, ad nauseum. I noticed that neither of these people saw fit to provide and identify the source material for their data, other than one reference to a Toronto Star article, and neither has seen fit to stipulate their credentials or quallifications to speak to these matters. In response to Ms Potter, I have travelled throughout Europe, the Middle East and other parts of the world in the course of my military career and wonder just how much exposure to the world outside of her computer, and particular religious sect, she actually has. Most likely, she and Mr Regal exist inside their own little echo chamber of religious fundementalism, half truths, untruths and fables. In short, it's time for them to put up, or shut up.

    • Kathy Potter
      January 25, 2012 - 21:51

      Your comments are offensive, racist and full of hate.. it speaks volumes of your Islamic agenda. You will not win, your lies and oppression have found it's end. You and those you serve have been exposed. The Islamic wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, are and will continue to be one of the greatest stains on humanity. All that was mentioned is FACTUAL, why don't you go to Sarajevo tough guy, and why don't you go to Kosovo. We work there, we see it, I don't care what military you were in, your agenda has been exposed - deal with the fact that you will, nor Islam will NOT defeat Serbians. We are rebuilding the churches, and we are fighting for the rights of Christians to not be persecuted, murdered, raped and that hands of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo and every Muslim country. You have lost.

  • Bill Regal
    January 24, 2012 - 15:46

    @SIULTI prove that your family members were killed? We have been in contact with thousands upon thousands of Christian Serbs who were raped and murdered by Albanians of all religions. Might I remind you the proud nazi history and killings of Albania as a state in WWII? The facts speak for themselves your people whatever the religion, cleansed Kosovo of any multi-ethnicity and killed human rights. I love how you claim Mother Teresa as the foundation for your lies, it is the same story with you people over and over. I don't know where you learned it but your stories all sound exactly the same, you make yourselves out to be the victim, talk about mother Teresa and talk about what a hard life you have had at the hands of butcher Serbs. My friend there are over 1 million Serbian refugees and tell me please why are they NOT allowed to go back to Mr. Cej's beloved Kosovo? Why don't you work to get those people back into their homes, and to get a proper burial for the hundreds of teenage Serbian girls that were raped and whose livers, kidneys and organs were sold to Turkey and even to a Canadian read the news! Give their families their children's bodies back, then open your mouth.

    • Kevin Power
      January 25, 2012 - 08:47

      Bill (and other cowards): I wonder if you had to place your picture with every comment instead of hiding (cowardly I might add) behind internet discussion boards you would post such, excuse the language, crap. Great job Remzi, perhaps you could set-up a one-on-one meeting with good ol' Bill here and try to educate him. Best of luck in your new position!

    • Leka
      January 26, 2012 - 04:12

      Hi "Bill" When you talk about "we" who do you mean? How can you be in contact with murdered people (unless you claim to be a medium)? How can you kill human rights? Does anybody understand this part "killings of Albania as a state in WWII"? "Bill" please let somebody explain your thoughts if you are not able to.1 million Serb refugees from that means you were a majority there-NOT. Fabricating lies is one thing but believing them is completely something else. I am proud that Canadians can see through your lies. You and "Kathy" can be just envious of Mr. Cej.

  • Kathy Potter
    January 24, 2012 - 15:38

    @ED you see you can't face the facts, you just say the same thing like a parrot over and over, why don't you go to Sarajevo and go to Kosovo yourselves to see what the Muslims are doing to Serbians and see what torture really is, I dare you to go. Get on a plane and go. You think that you can just say whatever you want and people will believe you, all you guys know how to do is falsely attack, when you are confronted with the fact that Muslim Sarajevo is completely ethnically clean and the streets are painted in green and their founder wrote the Islamic Declaration, where he declared that Muslims and Non-muslims in Bosnia could never live in PEACE. Why don't you comment on that friend? Why don't you comment on the fact that 500 churches have been erased in Kosovo since 1999. Why don't you go rebuild something in the name of human rights? Instead of repeating the same deception and lies. Shame on you!

  • Bill Regal
    January 24, 2012 - 15:34

    @ABDUL no no you can keep your god, my God does not cover up women's faces.. or exclude whole peoples. As for your bigot remark, you see your problem is that you cannot respond to the 500 churches desecrated in Kosovo and Muslim Bosnia. You cannot answer for Sarajevo being 100% muslim when there used to be 300,000 Serbian Christians.. You can't account for the fact that Bosnian Muslims fought for an Islamic Republic and that they started the war. You can't account for scientific facts that Serbian Christians in Kosovo are being killed daily and that over 400,000 have been cleansed from their homes. You can't account for the 500 years of slavery your religion enslaved Serbian Christians in ... i can go on and on but you and your peoples only response is Milosevic, they are butchers, don't you know how tired and old your story is... your accusations and stories that were made up in PR firms offices in NYC are boring.

    • Anonimo
      January 24, 2012 - 16:05

      It's unfortunate that you continue to defend the actions of the Serbian paramilitary group and government that committed the first case of genocide in Europe after the Holocaust, murdering innocent Bosniak Muslim men and boys in the most inhumane way possible. It's unfortunate that in none of your comments do you mention the mass killing and massacres committed against the majority Albanian population in Kosovo between 1998 or 1999, or about the Serbian policy of expelling Albanians to unsettled rural Turkey in the early years of Yugoslavia in return for Turkish gold. It's also unfortunate that you don't focus on the human angle of the loss, but pit Christian against Muslim - your hatred is unfit of a Christian.

    • Anonimo
      January 24, 2012 - 16:10

      How are you speaking on human rights by picking one group over another? why aren't you talking about Serbs who have created an ethnically cleansed Republika Srpska? Why aren't you saying anything about Serbs destroying most mosques and Catholic churches in Bosnia and Kosovo? Why aren't you saying anything about the Serbian Orthodox Church spreading hatred through its sermons before the war in Bosnia and Kosovo? You can't because you are obviously one-sided, you focus on favoritising Serbs and seeing them as the victim. The world knows better.

  • Max Black
    January 24, 2012 - 09:00

    Great job! You failed out of Oxford, now your back to using your life hardship to get in front of the line. We have all had hardship, but no one shoves it into peoples face like you. What ever this job is, please keep it, so we don't have to hear from you again for a while. Or at least till you want something else in life.

    • Sharon
      January 24, 2012 - 13:25

      Congratulations to Mr. Cej. That such a young man be appointed to this position is evidence of his deserving attributes. I am sorry to see so much hatred below this beautiful story, and, unfortunately, the best I can do is add my voice to try and balance it out.

  • Arwen
    January 24, 2012 - 08:47

    Great Job Remzi! You're an inspiration to all the youth of Newfoundland and Labrador!

  • Rihards Graudins
    January 24, 2012 - 08:23

    Keep up the good work Remzi!

  • John C
    January 23, 2012 - 21:51

    Great story, I wish him every all the best, as usual Religion poisons everything.Most of the worlds problems are caused by religions, be it Christian, Muslim or whatever..Oh, for a world without religion.........

  • yo mama
    January 23, 2012 - 20:05

    THESE are the type of people we need emigrating to to contribute to society. Never mind religion or the past, you are making a difference here, that's what matters. You are more than welcome here brother!

  • ed power
    January 23, 2012 - 19:56

    For a moment there, as I read through the comments, I thought I had stumbled into a Fox News site by mistake. The comments made by Ms Potter and Mr Regal are as outrageous as any you would find on the outer fringes of the far right , factually challenged web sites. They are either former Serbian nationals hiding behind pseudonyms, or members of one of the wackier Christian Fundementalist sects that have yet to emerge from the Dark Ages. In either case, Ms Potter and Mr Regal, your blathering is tiresome. Please return to whichever dark hole you normally lurk in.

  • Beaner
    January 23, 2012 - 18:28

    I have known Remzi for many years, and the fact that his appointment is being met with such bigoted comments and borderline hate speech breaks my heart. Remzi is a highly educated, compassionate, inspirational individual who has had to overcome more hardship and tragedy in his lifetime than any of us can fathom. I, as a Newfoundlander, am ASHAMED that this is the reaction he has received. I consider Newfoundland and Labradorians LUCKY that Remzi and his family have decided to call this place home. Remzi could be working overseas performing humanitarian relief anywhere he wanted, but he chose to return home and use his education and experience to better THIS PROVINCE. The place that he and his family call home. The place his family chose above all others to call home. Shame on you, for attempting to taint Remzi's accomplishments and subjecting him to little more than a witch hunt because of his heritage, culture and religion. Today, I must say, I am ashamed to be a Newfoundlander and I hope he and his family NEVER see these atrocious comments.

  • Nancy Burden
    January 23, 2012 - 18:09

    Bill, Abdul's first sentence was ironic. Where is The Telegram moderator? No insulting, discriminatory or inappropriate content.

  • Sulioti
    January 23, 2012 - 17:49

    First of all, congratulations to Mr. Cej on his appointment. And secondly, shame on all of you trying to cast a dark shadow on Albanian people no matter where in the world they are. Mr. Cej is now a proud Canadian yet Serbs (and supporters) keep slandering Albanians' acheivements. I am a Christian-Albanian and a member of my family was murdered by Christian Serbs, not by Muslim Albanians. Stop the propoganda that Serbs want to save Europe from Muslims. Serbia's biggest supporters and best friends are Muslim countries. For example, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ex-dictator of Libya Moammar Gadhafi, and ex-dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein etc. It is rather ironic that Serbs claim that Kosovars have created a Muslim state in Europe, yet they are the only country in Europe that support the Muslim dictators. Drop the facade, because the world has already seen your true colours. Albanians, no matter their religious views, are always altruistic humanitarians - like the Catholic Mother Theresa and the NEW chairman of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Human Rights Commission Mr. Cej. Congratulations once again.

  • Neil Conway
    January 23, 2012 - 17:30

    Congrats to you Cej, even though I think you can and will do much better. To all the people arguing about Christians and Muslims, sorry -you got the wrong story. You may want to go to the Fox website and get your anger and bigotry on. This is a story about a guy who escaped a war torn country and made a better life for himself. It's the story of a man you want to take his second chance and make a better world for others. Nobody (especially Cej) is trying to justify or don play atrocities. If you're, y blaming him for what happened to anyone in that war, you need to exercise your brain a lot more.

  • Neil Conway
    January 23, 2012 - 17:26

    Congrats to you Cej, even though I think you can and will do much better. To all the people arguing about Christians and Muslims, sorry -you got the wrong story. You may want to go to the Fox website and get your anger and bigotry on. This is a story about a guy who escaped a war torn country and made a better life for himself. It's the story of a man you want to take his second chance and make a better world for others. Nobody (especially Cej) is trying to justify or don play atrocities. If you're, y blaming him for what happened to anyone in that war, you need to exercise your brain a lot more.

  • Neil Conway
    January 23, 2012 - 17:23

    Congrats to you Cej, even though I think you can and will do much better. To all the people arguing about Christians and Muslims, sorry -you got the wrong story. You may want to go to the Fox website and get your anger and bigotry on. This is a story about a guy who escaped a war torn country and made a better life for himself. It's the story of a man you want to take his second chance and make a better world for others. Nobody (especially Cej) is trying to justify or don play atrocities. If you're, y blaming him for what happened to anyone in that war, you need to exercise your brain a lot more.

  • Bill Regal
    January 23, 2012 - 16:40

    @ABDUL your false accusation is HATE speech, I am sure you are not used to freedom of speech and what constitutes HATE speech judging by your name and it's origin Arabic origin. Please tell me one Arabic country I can go to and build a Christian church in? You want to talk about human rights, STOP the inhumanity of thinking a man is able to rule over and force women to do what he pleases and cover their faces because of their insecurities.

    • Abdul Saieed
      January 23, 2012 - 17:06

      Why do you assume I am not used to freedom of speech or that I am somehow responsible for the policies of a whole region (most of which are backed by the United States and Canada) and a religion based on... my name??? By the way, the Beothuck remark was a shot at the ignorant sterotyping generalizations made by small, xenophobic, bigoted minds... such as yours. And what should we say about you, not based on your name, but in your words? You and Kathy are an embarassment to us Newfoundlanders. Allah be with you.

    • Sue Hickey, coordinator, Amnesty International
      January 23, 2012 - 20:52

      I know Remzi well through our Amnesty International work together and any negative comments by the trolls on this board are not warranted. He is so dedicated to human rights and always has been. When was the last time, trolls, you sent a letter, signed a petition or organized activities on behalf of those whose human rights are violated?

  • Kathy Potter
    January 23, 2012 - 16:33

    @Nancy you are wrong, it is Mr. Cej again projecting and trying to make himself a victim when in fact it is Christian Serbs who need armoured vehicles to take their children to school. How would you feel if everyday you sent your child by armed escort to school! That is happening everyday in "liberated" Kosovo. Countless churches are gone, we work in Kosovo and we see the truth and it is time your country Canada stands up for human rights and sends some experts to see how the Christian Serbs have been living. You have no clue what a jungle it is in Kosovo and how the Muslims Albanians have treated and continue to perpetuate all kinds of unimaginable crimes against them... and you guys just sit back on this forum and praise a man playing the victim when it is his people are the oppressors and who have cleansed Kosovo of human rights, diversity and countless Christian Serbs. FACT! Visit KOSOVO and see for yourself!

  • Kathy Potter
    January 23, 2012 - 16:26

    @ABDUL please tell us about the 30,000 Mujahadeen soldiers that left Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other countries to fight their war in Bosnia and Kosovo, and killed countless Christians, why don't you talk about that? You only know how to say killers, killers, well your story is done, it is old, tired and nobody is listening anymore to lies. And all you guys do is claim and accuse HATE speech when Christians are killed and you are confronted with it, well enough is enough. Pathetic and desperate.

    • Abdul Saieed
      January 23, 2012 - 17:10

      Why do you assume I am responsible for the Mujahadeen? Why don't you tell me about the Christian Fascists in Lebanon and what you intend to to about them? I do know this about the Muahadeen: they were sponsored and armed by the West, most notably by the great Christian, Ronald Regan.

  • Marie-Beth Wright
    January 23, 2012 - 15:56

    Irregardless of ethnic group, when elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers,i.e. regular decent folk on either side of a conflict. I saw Remzi Cej in action at the time of the Romeo d'Allaire lecture a year or so ago.Very impressive! He is a stand out Canadian and I understand has also been selected as a member of a group of young policy developers across the nation. Congrats to him and his Mother who kept the faith and turned the promise of his bright future into a reality

  • Kristen
    January 23, 2012 - 15:24

    It is always nice to see a story about someone trying to do good in the world. Congrats to Mr. Cej on your new position. I am sure you will do a lot of positive things for many people. You have many accomplishments to be proud of.

  • Leka
    January 23, 2012 - 14:43

    Congratulations to Mr. Cej and best wishes in his carrier. I am proud as a Canadian of Kosovar Descent to have such a man represent us all. As for the comments of the bigots out there...shame on you. My family is Catholic and that didn't stop the Serbs from expelling my parents from their jobs and close the University in Albanian Language. Let the hate speech be a thing of the past and look how we can improve our lives and the lives of the needy. Mr. Cej congratulations again and Godspeed.

  • Nancy Burden
    January 23, 2012 - 14:15

    Abdul Saieed. Well said.

  • t
    January 23, 2012 - 14:00

    This message board is so sad. A great story about a young person who can actually make a difference, and a bunch of hateful comments. This board illustrates completely the problems with NL society.

  • Nancy Burden
    January 23, 2012 - 13:56

    I find suspect these attempts to turn this good news story into something negative with grandiose, attention-seeking, backward-looking perspective. This is not the place for that history lesson, particularly one that stems from hatred and bias. This is your truth? Maybe so. But it’s not appropriate here. THIS STORY is wonderful news. Mr. Remzi Cej is kind, loving, highly intelligent, motivated. He has done more for Human Rights GLOBALLY, and indeed for a man on the street -- your neighbour, your friend, your brother -- than you realize. Meanwhile, please ask yourself: What have YOU done? To save a life? To give someone back their dignity?

  • Anonymous
    January 23, 2012 - 13:38

    Remzi could do far better than to get mixed up with the thought police at the Human Rights Commission. This organization is a quasi-legal kangaroo court of political correctness. An utterly useless waste of taxpayer dollars. This is the sort of organization that someone who has experienced real human rights abuses should be protesting. Google it if you're interested. There's far too much dirt on Canadian Human Rights Commissions for me to possibly fit in one post.

  • Kathy Potter
    January 23, 2012 - 13:06

    @CHRISTIAN D. shame on you for reducing the deaths of hundreds of Serbian children, teenagers at the hands of Muslim radicals. Why don't you read about your fellow Canadian hero that is standing up for those poor children..

  • Bill Regal
    January 23, 2012 - 13:02

    @CHRISTIAN D'AVARO do you ever get tired of repeating the same false accusatory attacks? Don't you know that your story is tired and boring, it is old - please think of something new. Do you think the balkan wars happened in antiquity that there does not exist factual scientific evidence of what happened there? Do you know 200 Jugoslav non-armed conscripts got killed in Slovenia and that is the "war in Slovenia" you are talking about. Do you know Sarajevo used to have a population of over 300,000 Christian Serbs and today has less than 2,000? Do you know that in 3 days over 500,000 Serbs were forced to walk and leave everything they had and walk to safety. They have NEVER gotten the chance to go back? tell me have you been kicked out of your home? Mr. Christian, please enough of the same tired old stories made up at the Rudder Finn offices in NYC in which the Muslim and Croat and now Muslim Kosovo government paid and continue to pay 10s of millions for... they are tired and old, please stop embarrassing yourself..

  • Betty Favre
    January 23, 2012 - 12:38

    I hang my head in shame at a few of the comments here but am proud to see that the positive remarks far outnumber the negative. Congratulations to Mr. Cej on his fortitude and hard work. I have lived in and visited many countries where the young people are not afforded the privileged lives that our own western children are. I often think how blessed they would feel to be given the opportunities that our own children so often take for granted. This is a wonderful article about a fine young man who, in my opinion, would make any mother proud! Thank you.

  • Abdul Saieed
    January 23, 2012 - 12:26

    This, from one of those Beothuck-murderers. Why is the Telegram allowing this kind of hate speech? Your work is cut out for you Cej. Best wishes.

  • Nancy Burden
    January 23, 2012 - 11:57

    Saddened to see some people trying to create controversy over this. I only have one question for Kathy Potter and Bill Regal. "Do you know this man, Remzi?" I know the answer to that: You don't. You couldn't, given your comments here.

  • Republic-of-NL
    January 23, 2012 - 11:36

    Nice to see all the bigots in here. If you go back through history no race or religion are free from committing atrocities at some point. Mr. Cej worked hard, and obviously from his credentials a very intelligent person. I'm shocked at some of the comments on in here. I certainly hope the negative people in are for outside the Province. I thought us Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans are suppose to be welcoming and respectful?

  • Christian D'Avaro
    January 23, 2012 - 11:32

    @ Kathy First of all this is not the Crusades. So lets not make this Christians against Muslims. Secondly Albanians exist of Christians (Greek Orthodox and Catholics) and muslims. Thirdly allegations are made by the 'truth loving' Serbs and Russian Governments, and Dick Marty a Russian Sympathiser and yet no proof.. Fourthly, lets not forget about the atrocities made by the Serbs, against Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians, and Albanians, lets not forget they almost started a war in Montenegro too. Those 400 000 Serbs you are saying the Milosevic resettle them there giving them land which belonged to others.

  • ed power
    January 23, 2012 - 11:26

    Congratulations, Remzi Cej. Well done and well deserved. What a remarkable story of despair, devastation, survival and success. I can think of no one more deserving of this appointment. Inspiring. I must say that I find some of the comments on this story disturbing. Bizarre and disturbing. Ms. Potter seems to have slopped about in the sewers and pulled out the old "Blood Libel" tales - Jewish people using the blood of Christian babies in their Passover bread - and posted an updated "Serbian" version of them to demonstrate her inablity to separate fact from fable. Mr. Regal also seems to spend his time cruising around the seedier side of the information highway, frequenting the data dives and byte brothels. I don't doubt that they would also claim that Kosovar's were behind the Kennedy assassination, 9/11 and the UFO coverup. Strange what you can find on the internet when you don your tinfoil hat.

  • Kathy Potter
    January 23, 2012 - 11:12

    @CARA BEE is it offensive because it is true? Please tell us what your great province is going to do to rebuild the 500 Christian churches that have destroyed, erased from existence, at the hands of Mr. Cej's freedom fighting KLA? When every Christian Serbian home is returned in Kosovo and the 500 Christian Serb teenagers, young girls, get a proper burial and their bodies returned to their families, then CENSOR all you want! But until then this comment has nothing but factual truth in it and if censored then it says a lot about the telegram and its protection of freedom. Thank you.

    • I have an idea
      January 23, 2012 - 12:45

      Then stop acting holier than thou and book a flight over there and do something about it. Oh wait, you can't? I understand, it's a new Days of our Lives and you need to find out what happens. Okay, maybe tomorrow then? Wait, what? Oh, I understand, you want to see what happens on American Idol.

  • Taylor
    January 23, 2012 - 10:39

    He did not receive this appointment because of what happened prior to arriving in this country. He got it based on his dedication, education and hard work since arriving here. Congratulations on a job well done, and his mother deserves to be proud of the man he has become.

  • Nancy Burden
    January 23, 2012 - 10:19

    Remzi is the most inspiring individual I've ever met. Chairman of the Human Rights Commission is only the beginning for this man. Hang on to him as long as you can! He is on to grander things only limited by your imagination! Well deserved Remzi. We are so lucky to have you.

  • Murray
    January 23, 2012 - 10:00

    Well done Cej. I'm delighted that they found someone of your caliber.

  • Tomtom
    January 23, 2012 - 09:52

    'Kathy Potter' and 'Well', you two commenters should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves. I am astonished at your ability to take a wonderful and uplifting story (about an HONOURARY appointment) regarding a man who will be applying his experiences in hardship towards the defence of the rights of the people in our province, and look at it through such a negative, judgmental, and ignorant lens. Congratulations to Mr. Cej, may your experiences in having your rights compromised be of benefit to you in this position. Hopefully, the ungrateful people who happen to reside in this province will not subject you to further degradation.

  • Paul
    January 23, 2012 - 09:39

    just wondering what is the role of Human Rights commission in NL? does it have only a provincial mandate in which case they would be involved with immigration, poverty, homelessness, first nations concerns, etc...or do they have any kind of international role? if so, please advise the Harper Government that Isreal is making a mockery of human rights vis a vis its treatment of Palestinians and theft of land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem...if this office has any international interest than this issue must be front and center as one of the worst violations of Human Rights in modern times...

  • Bill Regal
    January 23, 2012 - 08:50

    This guy and every Muslim from Kosovo and Bosnia can't wait to lie about Serbs killing them... Steve you can't just print anything without substantiating his claim - that is offensive. In 1983 these same Muslims ethnically cleansed over 300,000 Serbian Christians, and those same Kosovo Muslims killed countless Jugoslav police men in the 90's, terror attacks on police stations, it was endless, and you Canadians went to Kosovo and made Kosovo the first Muslim state in Europe!

    • Valdet
      January 23, 2012 - 10:49

      Oh "muslims"? You forgot that serbs killed 18.000 Catholic Croats in Croatia in 1991? What about Catholic Albanians murdered by Serbs in Kosovo during the war of 1998-99?

  • Kamberi
    January 23, 2012 - 08:45

    Mr. Cej, we, as Kosovo Albanians are proud of you, i want to make sure to all readers of this article, that these kind of stories are absolutely true and leaving the home with force is one of my story too. God bless you and your family!

  • Don Lester
    January 23, 2012 - 08:16

    I personally know this gentleman and I can a sure you that if the province had searched the world over, they would not have found a more gentle, more kind and more suitable person for this position. I have worked with Remzi and therefore know his terrific sense of caring , I applaud his appointment and wish him well. I also know his mother Hafize, and you will have to travel far to find a nicer person.

  • Kathy Potter
    January 23, 2012 - 08:05

    Why don't you ask Mr. Cej where the kidneys, livers, hearts of 500 young Christian Serbian teenagers are now? Also please be sure to tell him the 400,000 Serbian Christians that were kicked out of Muslim Kosovo called they want their homes back. Thanks.

    • Christo Stassis
      January 23, 2012 - 09:21

      I have to say that I am a little sad by your comments Kathy, I love my Province of Newfoundland (except for the litterer's) but your comment shames you and us. Who cares what religion people are, anybody who gets hurt is a tragedy. Cej fled his country because of tragedy, is it his fault that stupid people hurt Serbian Christians? That's like saying I am a jerk because you where treated poorly by someone who lived on my street. Hate sucks no matter where or from who its coming from.

    • Cara Bee
      January 23, 2012 - 10:06

      TELEGRAM EDITORS: Please remove this heinous comment by Kathy Potter. I am not sure what point Ms. Potter is trying to make, but it is beyond offensive and should not have been approved.

    • Kenny shkupi
      January 24, 2012 - 00:07

      A well known Serbian writer and politican Dobrica Ćosić wrote this 1961 about his fellow Serbians:"We lie to deceive ourselves, to console others, we lie for mercy, we lie to fight fear, to encourage ourselves, to hide our and somebody else's misery. We lie for love and honesty. We lie because of freedom. Lying is a trait of our patriotism and the proof of our innate intelligence. We lie creatively, imaginatively and inventively." Kathy Potter its just a exemple of what the father of serbian nation Dobrica Cosic said

  • JJ
    January 23, 2012 - 08:03

    Way To Go Cej! It goes to show what we can accomplish and how much Cej and his family appreciates the freedom here in Canada. For most of the recipients on social services, take note of the obstacles this young man has overcome and get off your butts and get to work!!

  • Mary
    January 23, 2012 - 07:47

    Congratulations Cej, a very interesting story with a happy ending.

    • H
      January 23, 2012 - 10:31

      Puzzled and dismayed by some of the reader comments. What exactly does Mr. Cej's appointment as chair of the Human Rights Commission have to do with " the kidneys, livers, hearts of 500 young Christian Serbian teenagers"? And why exactly would Mr. Cej's appointment be "the biggest slap in the face yet"? In his young life, Mr. Cej has overcome and achieved more than most of us could in a several lifetimes. His personal, academic and work experience are more than impressive. I have the utmost confidence that Mr. Cej will indeed bring a balance of empathy and rational thinking to the issues that the commission deals with. Congratulations to Mr. Cej! The province could not have found a better person for the job!

  • well
    January 23, 2012 - 07:15

    you know , i think its good that he got out of a place like that and theres always abut, for years newfoudlanders been getting slapped in the face for something, however to let this guy head this up will be the biggest slap in the face yet

    • paul
      January 23, 2012 - 09:46

      "you know , i think its good that he got out of a place like that and theres always abut, for years newfoudlanders been getting slapped in the face for something, however to let this guy head this up will be the biggest slap in the face yet" ----------------------------- what is your problem? is it because he is not a Newfoundlander (born)? if so, then you are a xenophobe and maybe a want to violate his human rights? how ironic. one of the problems we have in NL is this huge chip on the shoulder such that some among us feel they have a grievance every time someone who wasn't born in NL gets a good job here. yet expect to reap the benefits of getting good jobs when we go elsewhere. do you want the best person for the job? or the best Newfoundlander for the job...

    • Politically Incorrect
      January 23, 2012 - 10:03

      How exactly is this a slap in the face?

    • Politically Incorrect
      January 23, 2012 - 10:04

      How exactly is this a slap in the face?