President Jahjaga’s speech at marking of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims

I would like to congratulate you on this 15th anniversary of the work and engagements of the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims.

Honourable representatives of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo,

Honourable Ambassador Jacobson,
Honourable Ambassador Cliff,
Honourable uncle Adem,
Honourable Mrs. Rushiti,
Honourable family members of torture victims;

I would like to congratulate you on this 15th anniversary of the work and engagements of the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims.

Fifteen years ago, when the flames of war were still burning, this centre dedicated itself, alongside with citizens and institutions of the Republic of Kosovo, in engagements towards building of a Kosovo in peace, to the protection of human dignity and solidarity with one another. And this is the best proof of the work and engagement of this centre for 15 years now.

For 15 years this centre has been a powerful voice of the civil society in protection of the rights of the victims of violence and torture, for the provision of the helping hand, support and backing for all those men and women who have suffered as direct or indirect victims of violence and torture during the war, and especially for those whose voice was silent, often unjustly

For 15 years this centre has been a strong partner of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and its institutions, traversing together in the aim of finding the legal, medical, psychosocial mechanisms, for the sake of rehabilitation and reintegration of all the citizens who have fallen victims of violence and torture during the war. For this, I would like to thank the director and staff of this centre, for all their work and engagements. For many Kosovar families they were the only hope of life, and the only hope for further push, for a second chance in life.

When we mark anniversaries, such as this 15th anniversary of the establishment of this centre, of its work and its engagements, we by all means take pride in achievements and successes. But we also look back and take stock of what has been done and what is still left to be done. Fifteen years after the end of the war, the wounds it has caused are still fresh in many of our families, of our citizens, wounds which still burden the souls of every citizen. Wounds which hold hostage the future of our citizens. But, we have shown and demonstrated that we ate ready, both as citizens and institutions, to face all these and to find a solution deserved by our citizens, our families, and to face these hardest consequences of the war.

This was also demonstrated by the latest activity, establishment of the National Council on the Survivors of Sexual Violence during the War, under my leadership, in March of this year, for a category of our citizens whose voice has until now been muted. We have shown our dedication as institutions and as citizens in undertaking of required measures, through inter institutional coordination of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo, initially in recognition of their legal status, followed by the provision of medical, psychosocial and economic support, as well as re-socialisation into the society to which they have always belonged to, but whose voices remained silent so far.

In this line, I would like to thank the Centre, who have shown extreme care since the end of the war for these categories of sexual violence during the war. You have heard me say it often that in this midst there is no THEM and US, YOU are US and WE are ONE.

We must end once and for all their further stigmatization in our society. For these women, war has not ended as yet, and this change must start first within their own families, within our society, and this must change. Shame is not upon them. Shame lies with those who perpetrated these macabre acts and its is us who must change this. Because, they are our heroes.