President Osmani Hosts Women, Peace and Security Forum 

On 15-16 Apr. 2024, Kosovo President H.E. Vjosa Osmani hosted the second international Women, Peace and Security Forum in Pristina, with the theme “Rethinking Security”. The Forum gathered leaders and activists from around the world to discuss solutions to two key issues affecting women and girls’ security in conflict and post-conflict situations globally: sexual violence and climate change.  

In the Forum’s opening, KWN Executive Director Igballe Rogova appeared among other women from diverse sectors in a performance that highlighted the past, current and future amid the opening remarks. She said: 

Before the war,  

during the war,  

and after the war I went into the villages, towns, and cities  

to make sure the needs, fears, rights and voices of women and girls in Kosovo were heard. 

Together with so many incredible activists and feminists in Kosovo, we supported them to Speak out and Act. 

And We will continue to do so, every day, for ALL of them. 

I was Here. 

We are Here. 

And yes, We will be Here. 

She emphasised the importance of activists working together to further peace and security for women.  

Survivors of sexual violence shared their stories during the Forum, calling governments to take action to protect survivors and demand justice for crimes committed. 

KWN member organisations like the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) were actively engaged in the Forum, hosting discussions on creating support systems for survivors of violence and on male survivors’ journey from war trauma to ending silence. Under the patronage of President Osmani, artist Alketa Xhafa Mripa collected dresses for an exhibition she will prepare for the Exhibition in The Hague. KWN members KRCT, Medica Kosova, Medica Gjakova and the Centre for Promotion of Women’s Rights supported, donating dresses and explaining the special meaning of each dress related to their supporting survivors. Like the prior exhibition “Thinking of You” held in Pristina under the patronage of President Jahjaga, the exhibition will seek to raise international awareness regarding the plight of women suffering sexual violence in war and the continued lack of justice for this heinous crime.  

KWN Program Director and Lead Researcher also moderated this panel on “Breaking the Cycle of Impunity: Advancing Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence”. Considering that continued impunity remains a key challenge in addressing conflict-related sexual violence, panellists discussed the key factors contributing to impunity, such as weak and corrupt legal systems, poor political will for prosecuting crimes and challenges in collecting evidence amid conflict. They sought to identify recommendations for improving the legal framework at national and international levels towards addressing impunity. 

During the conference, the President also signed an agreement with U.S. Secretary Blinken’s Office of Global Women’s Issues with the presence of U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Hovenier, opening the Regional Women, Peace, and Security Center of Excellence in Kosovo. The centre, designed through collaboration between the government and civil society, will document, share, and take forward recommendations from Kosovo and the region to advance the women, peace and security agenda elsewhere in the world.  

During several sessions, the President observed the recent case of femicide in moments of silence, called for courts to implement properly the criminal code with stronger sentences and called for citizens’ action to work together to condemn and stop violence against women.  

On Tuesday, several actors including KWN, UN Women, former Ambassador Teuta Sahatqija and others wore red shoes in recognition of women who have suffered violence and to demonstrate visually the need for further enhancing solidarity among women towards realising shared feminist aims. 

KWN, in close collaboration with its members, plans to present recommendations following the Forum on issues the Government of Kosovo, among other actors, can take forward and implement.