Young women in Kosovo and Serbia engage in peacebuilding, seeking participation in dialogue

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Women in Kosovo and Serbia seek to contribute to the bilateral dialogue that began ten years ago, just as they contribute to their communities on a daily basis.

An initiative of special importance regarding this process has been launched by Artpolis- Art and Community Center, from Kosovo and the Alternative Center for Girls from Serbia, supported by Kvinna till Kvinna.

These two organizations dealing with human rights, in particular women’s rights, in several online meetings have brought together young women from Kosovo and Serbia, to discuss, propose and draw conclusions and recommendations about the dialogue process and what role women will have in this. With knowledge of feminism and ready to build peace, these young women have been part of the six editions of the Feminist Spring School, which takes place twice a year in Kosovo and Serbia under the organization of Artpolis and the Alternative Girls’ Center.

One of the organizers says that political orientation is not important, but rather it is important that young women have gathered to present their ideas for the dialogue process, to compile recommendations that are handed over to the various decision makers.

“We as a women’s rights organization have been dealing with this issue for years, but unfortunately neither Serbia nor Kosovo have had any point of discussion on this. So, we are gathered here to discuss these topics freely and to present things that are proposed by you and to come up with a document that is worth talking about. Maybe we do not know what exactly the points of the talks contain, but our goal is to give you a proposal regarding the rights of women in Serbia and Kosovo”, she said.

Transparency is a feature of the ten-year dialogue, according one of the participants, who says that this process is a bit mystic, as they do not know much about it and the information from the media leaves much to be desired.

An interesting proposal for dialogue with Serbia came from her, which stated that Serbs living in Kosovo should also be part of the Serbian delegation, emphasizing that there should also be women.

“I believe that Kosovo Serbs should also be included in the dialogue, I think that this government has an interest in it. Why not be a woman from the Serb community who lives in Kosovo and is a political activist”, she said.

And the project manager in Artpolis, Venera Ismaili, showed that this organization has already taken concrete steps to include women in the Kosovo delegation.

Ismaili stated that they have the support of the President, Vjosa Osmani, for women to be included in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, while emphasizing that Artpolis has created a document in protest, addressed to the Norwegian Embassy, ​​as technical support of this process, in which case the involvement of women was requested.

“We have prepared this letter to send to the Norwegian Embassy, ​​as technical support in the dialogue process. This letter is expected to include other organizations and will be sent to the relevant institutions for this issue“, said Ismaili, on which occasion she warned that all this will be made public very soon.

“On the side of Kosovo, the girls all agree that Kosovo and Serbia should agree but without ignoring the search for justice, killings, disappearances, rapes (either on both sides). Both sides agree that they are not informed by politicians, but only by the media which receive information from the context of what is presented to the public. Both sides agree that the information should be direct, perhaps directly from the negotiating table, because in this way the media does not distribute disinformation and does not manipulate the public,” said Ismaili.

At the very end, all participants gave their opinion on this discussion.

There was a need for women to be informed as much as possible about the dialogue and to be involved in the process, as their judgment does not include at all the nationality and political grudges that these two countries have had over the years.

These discussions were conducted in the framework of the activity “Young women for participation in peace building”, which aims to unite young women interested in contributing to peace policies in the region and creating a document of recommendations in order to contribute to culture of peace from a gender perspective that supports the strengthening of democracy in Kosovo and Serbia and the building of a cross-border dialogue between young women activists.

All this was made possible by the Alternative Girls’ Center from Serbia and Artpolis- Art and Community Center, supported by Kvinna till Kvinna.

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