Kosovar Women Peace and Security Delegation Visits Brussels

Women Peace and Security Delegation experts from Kosovo visited Brussels in the end of November 2012. The delegation involved Suzana Novoberdaliu, Member of the Parliament of Republic of Kosovo and Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Gender Equality, Missing Persons and Petitions; Edona Hajrullahu, Chief Executive Officer of the Agency for Gender Equality in the Office of the Prime Minister; Elmina Mahmuti, Regional Commander of the Kosovo Police in Gjilan; and Igballe Rogova, KWN Executive Director.

The advocacy visit was organized by UN Women, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The visit involved meetings with various European institutions.

During a meeting with a delegation from the Directorate-General for Enlargement at the European Commission, Kosovar women raised the following issues: including a separate section focused on gender equality within Kosovo’s annual progress report; including women’s concerns related to transitional justice in the Prishtina – Belgrade political dialogue; visa liberalization; more accessible funding for women’s groups, such as through a micro-grants scheme; and capacity building for civil society and government officials, so that they can apply for IPA funds.

In a meeting with Member of European Parliament Marije Cornelissen, Kosovar experts discussed her report, including the Role of EOU related to gender equality; the role of civil society and its cooperation with the government; and challenges to implementing Kosovo’s existing laws. They also presented key challenges facing women, such as: property ownership; low participation in decision-making; and the unresolved status of survivors of conflict, including of sexual violence.

Kosovar experts also met with the European External Action Service (EEAS), where they emphasized the need include women and women’s concerns in the political dialogue between Prishtina and Belgrade and to tackle the issue of missing persons during the dialogue.

The Kosovo delegation also called for the establishment of an instrument that obliges the European Union Special Representative (EUSR) to Kosovo to regularly consult with gender advocates. Suggestions for the European Union Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo (EULEX) were also made during this meeting, including that EULEX have a more comprehensible and transparent approach and deal more with criminal cases related to survivors of sexual violence.

Kosovar experts then met with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) representatives, including Mari Skåre, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security. In addition to hearing experiences with mainstreaming gender within NATO, Kosovar experts addressed their concerns regarding security in North Mitrovica, where KFOR still has a relatively wide mandate. They requested continued support in fighting human trafficking, since KFOR has a mandate across borders.

Finally, during a meeting with the European Peace-building Liaison Office (EPLO), Kosovar experts discussed the Action Plan for United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 that is being drafted in Kosovo; the possibility of EPLO’s enlargement and the involvement of more Kosovo organizations; exchanging experiences with EPLO member organizations; and potentially organizing a brown bag lunch event at EPLO related to the political dialogue between Prishtina and Belgrade and/or women’s leadership in Kosovo.