Mitrovica Women’s Association for Human Rights and Women’s Association ‘Pescanik’ from Krushevac partnered up for a project supported by the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation with the aim of bringing together human and women’s rights activists from Serbia and Kosovo to contribute to processes of peacebuilding.
In this framework, a panel discussion on the EU facilitated dialogue for the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina was organized. Its key aim was to discuss the way in which women’s groups can play a role in making sure that women’s priorities and needs are reflected in these negotiations.
Among panel members was also former Minister of Dialogue for the Government of Kosovo, Ms. Edita Tahire who gave a detailed explanation of the history of the Dialogue, which agreements were made and what this means for Serbia – Kosovo relations. She explained that issues such as repatriation of survivors of sexual violence during the war and missing persons have been deemed to be too sensitive still to include it in the Dialogue but that in the future it will be.
Marija Stankovic from AKTIV, an NGO that operates in Northern Mitrovica, critiqued the Dialogue for not having any substantial positive impact on the lives of Serbian citizens in the north. For example, obtaining official documents in the Serbian language is still an issue or the fact that people feel less secure when crossing the bridge in Mitrovica after the last elections.
Iliriana Banjska from KNW moderated the debate and raised the issue of a lack of consultations organized with diverse women prior to negotiations in order to reflect their needs and priorities in these talks. Ms. Edita Tahiri agreed and stated that “Dialogues as the one today are what is needed to inform the Belgrade – Pristina Dialogue and what is missing in it”.