KWN Condemns Woman Deputy’s Condoning of Gender Discriminatory Speech in Parliament

  Last night on the television program InfoMagazine on KLAN Kosova, LDK Assembly Member Besa Gaxherri said that the offensive words used by President of the Parliament Kadri Veseli during last Friday’s parliamentary session can be forgiven because “he is a man.” 

As a woman deputy, Ms. Gaxherri should be embarrassed for condoning rather than condemning discriminatory speech used against women in the parliament. 

   First, Mr. Veseli violated aspects of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovothat he has the responsibility to implement in accordance with Article 41. Rather than ensuring order, he engaged in “discourteous and inappropriate conduct”, used “unparliamentary language” and, more specifically, used “offensive, defamatory, [and] offending language” against women. Further, he arguably violated the Law on Protection from Discrimination (2015) and more specifically the Law on Gender Equality (2015) by engaging in gender “discrimination”: “when an individual is treated less favourably on grounds of gender.” 

    By excusing his acts “because he is a man”, Ms. Gaxherri accepted Mr. Veseli’s engagement in direct gender discrimination, violating Kosovo law and the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly. 

Second, the condoning of men’s discriminatory behaviour only allows such behaviour to continue by considering it socially acceptable.  As a woman deputy, Ms. Gaxherri has an even greater responsibility to condemn gender discrimination when it occurs. In condoning his statement, she is undermining her own as well as other women’s ability to lead, by creating an enabling environment for the spread of gender discrimination that ultimately undermines women’s position as political leaders. 

We call upon all deputies to follow the Rules of Procedure and implement the laws of Kosovo by not engaging in discriminatory speech or supporting persons who do. 

   Further, we strongly encourage the Group of Women Deputies to come forward with a public reaction against gender discrimination and any justification of such gender discrimination as violations of Kosovo law. If the Group of Women Deputies does not react they are, in their inaction, allowing for continued gender discrimination to occur, which undermines their positions as women leaders as well as the opportunities for women to lead in the future.