President Jahjaga’s speech at the second meeting of the National Council on the Survivors of the Sexual Violence during the War

I would like to wish you a warm welcome at the second meeting of the National Council on the Survivors of the Sexual Violence during the War. It was in March this year, when we held the inaugural meeting, at which we committed ourselves to undertaking of concrete steps in accordance with the competencies and obligations of every one of us, towards helping of one of the most sensitive categories of civilian victims of the last war in Kosovo.

Honourable participants,
 
I would like to wish you a warm welcome at the second meeting of the National Council on the Survivors of the Sexual Violence during the War. It was in March this year, when we held the inaugural meeting, at which we committed ourselves to undertaking of concrete steps in accordance with the competencies and obligations of every one of us, towards helping of one of the most sensitive categories of civilian victims of the last war in Kosovo.

Backing and support which you provided, is without doubt an institutional and social mobilization, lacking during the last 15 years.
 
The dedication expressed here sent a unison and clear message to each victim stating that they are not alone and that us, as institutions and  representatives of the society, will fulfil our obligations towards offering them, initially legal recognition, followed by access to necessary psycho-social, economic and health care services, which aim their rehabilitation, re-integration and re-socialisation.

We cannot change their past, but it is due time not to allow their stigmatisation. It is time to face this bitter chapter of our history, by breaking the taboos and the silence which has reigned for so long.

Intuitional awareness about the legal obligation towards this category of civilian war victims arose with the approval of the Draft Law on amending and supplementation of the Law on status and rights of martyrs, invalids, veterans, KLA members, civilian war victims and their families, by the Parliament of Kosovo on March 20th of this year.

Approval of this law marks the first step towards the recognition of the status of victims of sexual violence during the last war in Kosovo, by means of which these victims will from now on enjoy the institutional support as do all other categories of civilian war victims.

I class this as the first step, of many others to be undertaken in order to guarantee the full implementation of this law and offering of the benefits prescribed by it.

This delicate process must aim the protection of the victims, evasion of the reliving of the sufferings of the past; it must be lead by the principle of not causing damage to the victims and of encouragement for them to become beneficiaries as all other categories of civilian war victims. And not to feel guilt or shame for the crime perpetrated unjustly upon them.

Starting from worldwide experiences, where the implementation of the laws on protection of the survivors of sexual violence at conflict has already commenced, it is more than necessary that this process is led with utmost seriousness and professionalism, reflecting at each stage, our joint commitment for an institutional and social response based on specificities and needs of this social category.

I am convinced that with the necessary vigilance and by working together, institutions and civil society, with joint experience and help of continuous international expertise which Kosovo has enjoyed as member of global initiatives on ending of sexual violence as a tool of war, we will achieve to undertake the necessary steps in full implementation of this law.

Kosovo is taking part in drafting of international documents which aim documentation and bringing to justice of the perpetrators of criminal acts of sexual violence during the war. We are already a part of one of the most eminent global initiatives which aim to end the sexual violence in conflict, led by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague, at which we provide direct contribution to the drafting of the International Protocol.

In very few weeks, many participants from all countries of the world will gather at the Global Summit of this initiative, which will be held in London, to share our experiences and the endeavours of our societies to help this category and discuss the challenges which we continue to face towards offering them the deserved treatment.

This Summit will without doubt serve to achieve international recognition for the victims of sexual violence during the war in Kosovo, to break the silence which has reigned inside and outside of the country, but also to learn from the experience of others, aligning with the democratic countries of the free world appealing for the elimination of this heinous tool of war, of sexual violence towards innocent civilians in conflict.

I am confident that International Protocol, as the official concluding part of this Summit, will serve our country in assisting the activities of the institutions and already established mechanisms tasked with documentation and bringing in front of justice the perpetrators of this category of crime.

I hope that Kosovo, as a member of this global imitative, will manage to offer an all inclusive engagement and response to the needs of victims of sexual violence during the war.

Honourable participants,

During these months I have had the opportunity to talk to many of you about the problems and challenges faced by the survivors of the sexual violence during the war; we spoke about their needs and opportunities to finding of most adequate response to those needs.

At each meeting I saw the need for strengthening of existing mechanisms through raising of their capacities and increase in the number of services offered by them, as well as further distribution of those services in order to be next to each victim, in every corner of Kosovo.

I hope that with the engagement of every one of you, through this Council, and through your recommendations and activities, we will achieve to offer the required psycho-social, economic, legal and healthcare services to these civilian victims of war thus guaranteeing their full rehabilitation in society.

We must be conscious of the fact that we have a long journey ahead of us in order to fulfil our duty, our obligation, towards this category of the civilian war victims. Beginning with breaking of the silence, taboo and stigmatization, which has surrounded this category for over 15 years.

Hence, I would like to congratulate Eliza Hoxha, for her project supported by Minister Citaku and the courage shown towards breaking of the imposed taboos and the appeal against violence, appeal for rehabilitation, a common duty of ours. I am confident that together we can make it.