Whatever the truth of reports about mass graves containing the bodies of hundreds of women and children in the violence-torn Serbian province of Kosovo, there can be no doubt that a form of ethnic cleansing is being carried out there by the Serbian troops who have overcome local separatist forces. All that is now left of many villages has been put to the torch. Hundreds of thousands of Albanian civilians have been bombed and terrified into fleeing their homes. The way has been left clear for rampaging Serbian forces to loot and destroy everything they find. This has been described by the US ambassador to Macedonia as a 'humanitarian nightmare', but there is no humanity in this conflict, just as there is no truth in the repeated assurances of Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic that he is taking 'all measures' to end the refugee crisis. While old churchmen and helpless civilians are mowed down as they flee their homes, the Serbian forces have ensured that there is no prospect of the traumatised survivors returning to face more of the same treatment. It becomes daily more apparent that by taking President Milosevic at his word, the international community is helping to prolong the suffering of the civilian population. The situation can only be judged by what is taking place on the ground, not by worthless assurances from the leader in Belgrade that the conflict is at an end - and certainly not by bogus schemes urging the displaced people to return to their homes. The NATO ambassadors' council meets in Brussels today to study what action it can take to resolve the situation. Earlier in the week, the US State Department said the alliance had approved a plan for using force in Kosovo, which would be implemented after President Bill Clinton had consulted Congress and other member states. President Milosevic needs to be persuaded that the international will is there to strike hard and soon unless he brings the violence to an immediate halt. The European monitors who have been sent in, but whose movements are restricted, should be given free access so that the true state of affairs on the ground becomes clear. And international powers have to accept a responsibility for bringing the repression in Kosovo to an end.