Ariana Qosaj-Mustafa: A Successful Year of KWN, Despite Challenges

Without any doubt, 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, especially for women’s rights organizations.

Despite the challenges and difficulties, this year the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) continued its advocacy to increase and improve the position of women and girls in decision-making processes, combat gender-based violence, and advocated for the improvement of the legal framework regulating women’s rights in several economic, social and political areas.

An unpredictable year

In the entire work and success of KWN, a special role has been played by Ariana Qosaj-Mustafa, Chair of the KWN Board, who represented KWN at important events for the gender equality in Kosovo.

She recounts what this year was for KWN, highlighting the fact that no one can prepare for such a situation, such as the break of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The year of the pandemic stopped many activities at once. However, I believe that we reacted quickly and as always there was no lack of solidarity and mobilization. I would especially mention the challenge of isolation for all, including quarantine in the first months of this year and prohibition of movement of citizens to prevent the spread of the pandemic”, she said.

Further, Qosaj-Mustafa mentioned the impact of isolation on the increase of violence against women, as well as the increased reporting of violence globally, including Kosovo.

“The request for institutional response was made difficult due to the ban of public meetings, but despite all the challenges, KWN has been extremely resilient in adapting to these circumstances and continues to advocate, consistently seeking adequate institutional responses and accountability”.

She considers that KWN has continued to be an authoritative voice in Kosovo and elsewhere, to draw attention to the implementation of rights guaranteed by law. However, according to her, unfortunately forgotten both in emergency time and in practice in general. 

Main events where Qosaj-Mustafa represented KWN

She further recounts that there have been numerous meetings where the work of KWN was represented, by the staff themselves on an ongoing basis, which are also reflected in the regular monthly reports.

“May be I would like to highlight participation on behalf of the Network in the forum held online in November 2020, organized by the Regional’s Women Lobby for Peace, Security and Justice in Southeast Europe, supported by the Italian Embassy in Kosovo.”

This event brought together women in politics and women activists to discuss the role of women in peacekeeping, marking the anniversary of United Nations Resolution 1325 on Peace, Security and Women.

“It was an extraordinary opportunity to present the work of the Network, but also to advocate as always for long-term peace by increasing the participation of women in this regard. I would like to highlight the fact that for many years KWN, based on its research and professional work, has requested the continuous implementation of Resolution 1325”, she says.

Qosaj-Mustafa points out the requirements deriving from the research report “Where is my seat at the table”, which at that time was being finalized, and is expected to be published in January 2021.

Qosaj-Mustafa during the 18th KWN Members Annual Meeting, December, 2020

She points out that the letter of advocacy sent to the Prime Minister Mr. Abdullah Hoti , the State Coordinator for Dialogue Mr. Skender Hyseni, . and the EU Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, was also discussed. Among the requests for immediate implementation of the needs and priorities of women and girls identified in this report are:

  • Recognition of Kosovo by Serbia and public apology from the Serbian state for crimes committed against Albanian civilians; 
  • Return of missing persons; 
  • Prosecution of persons who have committed war crimes in Kosovo, including sexual violence committed during the war, thus achieving justice; and 
  • Compensation and indemnity for material damage, including the return of pensions.   

KWN work and activism during the pandemic

Qosaj-Mustafa is of the opinion that all KWN activities during this time have their importance. This is because, according to her, it is impossible to think about equality and empowerment of women by not respecting one and giving priority to the other.

“This is also shown in the fight against gender-based violence, for example the recent requirements of the Istanbul Convention, which actively requires from the states to take all actions at the same time. Enabling awareness of citizens and raising awareness about adequate institutional response; protection of victims as well as request for an end to impunity for perpetrators of gender-based violence crimes. All actions must be taken at the same time.”

In this spirit, she recalls that KWN also has its Strategy, which has prioritized KWN’s actions in the years ahead of us to work together and in a coordinated manner to implement the rights in all six programmatic areas identified in the Strategy together with member organizations”.

Challenges are inevitable, but with work anything is possible

Finally, Qosaj-Mustafa has a message for women and girls who face difficulties during their journey in career. 

“There will always be challenges. But, do not let anyone stop you on your journey. Many years ago, the society for example was reluctant to accept women as pilots, engineers and scientists. “While today, one of the discoverers of the Covid-19 vaccine is a woman”.

Therefore, she believes that models where women clearly show their role in leading global responses to challenges, such as a pandemic of this magnitude, show that no journey is easy.

“However, with a clear vision of what you want and ongoing work, anything is possible: she concludes.

For all of KWN’s activities and its members, numerous initiatives and advocacy, visit our website , or follow us on social networks:

Facebook: /rrjetiigrave

Twitter: /KWN_Rrggk

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