President Jahjaga’s speech at the opening of the exhibition of paintings by women beneficiaries of “Medica Kosova” organization

Opening of this exhibition, which carries the silent narrations of the survivors of most heinous crimes, of sexual violence during the war, aims to relate the agony and courage, and above all, their call upon us to recognize in parallel their suffering and their right to live.

Honourable Minister Çitaku,
Honourable Ambassadors of the amicable countries of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable KFOR Commander,
And particularly you, dear friends, with whom we have talked so often, especially in the last three years.
 
Honourable participants,

Opening of this exhibition, which carries the silent narrations of the survivors of most heinous crimes, of sexual violence during the war, aims to relate the agony and courage, and above all, their call upon us to recognize in parallel their suffering and their right to live.

Our confrontation with the anguish and reticence of this abominable crime is painful, crime which left behind destroyed lives, shattered souls and incessant cries for justice.

For 15 years we have not managed to understand the pain of these women, of these girls, to understand that our silence about their suffering was and continues to be an injustice to them and that recognition of their pain is a human right.

As these paintings clearly show, there is no division between us and them- their pain is the pain of every one of us and the engagement of the society with this grave wound of the war is our obligation towards the respecting of their human dignity.
You have found the strength inside yourselves to overcome the unimaginable pain inside your souls in order to move ahead and build the future of your children.
The question why me- it is the bravery and the courage of yours, and a powerful cry for justice.
We are conscious that your spiritual pain cannot be in any manner or shape be compensated, but I guarantee that I will do everything that I can for you to enjoy every single right of yours as sanctioned by law and international norms, as civilian war victims. 
This has been the ambition and the particular emphasis for the establishment of the National Council on the Survivors of Sexual Violence during the War.

Honourable participants,

Today, the world marks the International day in Support of Victims of Torture, and I encourage you to, en masse, see the strength, hear the voice of courage and hope which these women transmit to us through these works of art.

And through these messages let us tell them that they are not alone, that the silence has been broken and that we shall make sure that their voices shall no longer be rendered silent. We may not be able to change their past, but we will be working towards making sure that the future will not be determined by this past.

As I have said many times before, on this issue there is no us and them- we are us and we are one.

I would to congratulate you on this initiative and your work. I would like to say that for the last three years I have often come to you and I have seen the experience of every woman through these works of art. And they do say a lot, to those who want to read into them.

Thank you.