CNN Perparim Rama [Video Footage]

Updated 0554 GMT (1354 HKT) September 19, 2015 

Europe's migrant crisis: A Kosovan refugee remembers

CNN) Perparim Rama considers himself lucky.

In 1992, at the age of 16, he was on holiday in the United Kingdom -- he had a cousin living there. Upon recognizing the worsening situation in his homeland, Kosovo, he decided to claim asylum in the UK.
At the time, Kosovo was caught up in a struggle for autonomy within the former Yugoslavia. The conflict had its roots in Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's 1989 decision to eliminate the region's self-rule, bringing it under the control of Belgrade.
Before Rama left the country, there were already signs of worse things to come. Schools were shuttered and teachers -- like his parents -- left jobless. Learning the Albanian language was forbidden. Young boys, like himself, were being recruited by the Serbian paramilitary and police "to go and fight against Croats or Slovenians or Bosnians," he says. He chose not to.
"It was safer for me as a 16 year old to be on my own in Great Britain rather than be back home with my family."

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