President Jahjaga’s speech at the launch of the “Engagement for Equality” programme

Guaranteeing and protection of human rights of all citizens, regardless, is the foundation of all democratic societies. Initiatives which aim to strengthen the basis of democracy within societies, must receive strong support by both the institutions and the societies.

Honourable Ambassador Jacobsson,

Honourable Mr. Hope,

Honourable representatives of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo

Guaranteeing and protection of human rights of all citizens, regardless, is the foundation of all democratic societies. Initiatives which aim to strengthen the basis of democracy within societies, must receive strong support by both the institutions and the societies.

USAID and the American people have been a powerful partner of our society, through lending of the hand of unsparing support, beginning form most difficult of our times and continuing over every stage of our state building, by promoting the values of democracy and human rights, values which we converted into the foundations of the state we built together.

I have said it often and I hope loud enough, that equal investment in equal rights for all citizens, regardless, is the key to progress of the whole society. It is our only alternative for guaranteeing of a better future for our country and a viable foundation for young generations.

I would like to convey a special gratitude and to congratulate USAID and ATRC on today’s launching of the Engagement for Equality programme, which I am convinced that through the issues which this program aims to engage with, as is the economic empowerment of women and its participation in decision making tables, protection of the rights of all the LGBT communities, empowerment of youth and individuals with limited abilities, will provide a valuable contribution for our further integration.

Such programmes will no doubt have an impact in further strengthening of the role of civil society in handling of issues of general interest through incitement of cooperation with institutions and guaranteeing of all encompassing policy making and their implementation in daily life practice.

A strong civil society means accountable and responsible institutions and successful democracy.

Honourable participants,

Development of our society and societies worldwide is directed towards affirmation of importance of guaranteeing of gender equality, human rights in choosing of sexual orientation and gender identity, guaranteeing of rights and inclusiveness of individuals with special needs and investment in youth, particularly in our society where 60 per cent of our nation consists of young individuals below 30 years of age.

With this in perspective, we are investing in creation towards creation of all inclusive and integrative policies, by engaging intensively in creation of a society of equal citizens.

Irrespective of all this, we still have a lot to do, but our path ahead is the path of success for as long as we invest in building of the strongest developmental alliance, the one between the institutions and the society, a strong bond of cooperation between the two.

We all know that Kosovo has the best and the youngest population of all countries of  Europe. Its youth consists a guaranteeing developmental potential, and we must be careful and vigilant to offer them opportunities for access to qualitative education, to make them an active part of the whole society and to ensure a  better future for them, in which their role is central.

The future of the youth of our country is in Kosovo and us as institutions and as a society must guarantee this to them, within the institutional and social life.

On the other side, gender equality is already an issue which we are dealing with more and more on daily basis in all fields of life, as we are becoming witnesses of economic, political and social importance of investment in half of our society, and it is a smart investment which we must undertake in 50% of our society.

It is true that this subject is often considered a subject of secondary importance, but the power of development and progress, and the responsibilities which women are bringing in every field, in which they are active, is breaking the gender stereotyping and patriarchal mentality.

Prejudice continues to remain present in relation to LGBT community and its rights, we have ensured that through laws of the country we will protect and will continue to guarantee their undeniable right, and are working intensively to protect their dignity.

Fulfilment of needs and offering of adequate services for individuals with limited abilities of persons with special needs must be a priority of institutions of the country, both central and local ones, in order to ensure a dignified life for them to provide their contribution in society and to feel as an equal citizen of the country and inseparable part of the society and of our state.

Each citizens of this country must feel as an equal citizen of the country and of the society they live in, must feel respected and feel as part of the society. All of us, by working together, must guarantee this to every citizen of our country.

Success is guaranteed only when we work together, when we stand by one another, not only in good times but also when we need each other.

At the very end, I would like to thank the organizers, USAID and the American people, I wish your projects a lot of success, and I thank the American people for its continuous help and support to the people of Kosovo. You have had and will have my unreserved support to the continuation of our cooperation in realization of all your projects, as these are not just your ideas and projects, but are projects which touch the foundations of our society.

Thank you.