Information regarding our agreement with the Kosova Women’s Network
The Kosova Women’s Network coordinator (Igballe Rogova) and Women in Black representatives (Stasa Zajovic, Vera Markovic, Jovana Vukovic) met on March 1st, 2006 in Belgrade during the Kvinna till Kvinna (Swedish women’s foundation) regional meeting to discuss the political situation in Serbia and security, regional peace building, and women’s participation in the negotiation process;
On this occasion, we discussed possible future cooperation—joint meetings and round tables in which we will talk about feminist understandings of security and women’s participation in peace building and peace talks. We will organize parallel women’s negotiations during which we would comment on and criticize the positions and conclusions of official (Serbian and Kosovar) negotiation teams.
The Kosova Women’s Network coordination committee agreed, during a meeting held in Pristina, on a proposal for joint work between these two networks (the Kosova Women’s Network and the Women in Black Network in Serbia).
Both networks will organize monitoring teams which will hold regular consultations and meetings in accordance with the proposed women’s peace platform on Kosovo status negotiations.
Our cooperation will be based on permanent contact, information sharing, and an exchange of ideas among activists and experts from Pristina and Belgrade.
Women in Black coordinator
Belgrade, March 7th 2006.
WE DID NOT CHOOSE THE WAR – WE WANT TO CHOOSE THE PEACE!
The proposal of the women’s peace platform for negotiations about the status of Kosovo
I What did we do during the war?
In all wars in the 20th century, the civil population, especially women and children, were the most victimized. This pattern continued during the Kosovo conflict, both during the era of the Serbian regime’s policy of police and military terrorization of the Albanian population and during the NATO military intervention. The victimization of women and children continued after the arrival of international troops; this was when the non-Albanian population was exposed to the highest level of violence.
II What has happened after the war?
Following the end of wars in the area of the former Yugoslavia, women civil society activists continue to be the most active in peace-building, reconciliation and transitional justice processes. Women activists for peace and human rights from Serbia and Kosovo have continued to develop relationships of solidarity and mutual support in the post-conflict period.
Unfortunately, in all of the republics of the former Yugoslavia , women are still on the politcal and social margins of society. In some of the countries, such as Serbia, human rights defenders and peace activists who demand a serious confrontation with the criminal past are exposed not only to institutional repression, but also to public vilification.
III What is the status of women in peace processes and missions?
On the international level, women are almost exclusively viewed as victims of war and as passive objects of nationalism and militarism. As actors for peace, and promoters of peace initiatives, they are nearly invisible.
The recruitment and hiring policies of multinational peace missions throughout the world, with those in Kosovo being no exception, confirm this. There are no women holding high positions in UNMIK, KFOR, OSCE and other international bodies and institutions.
In the current negotiations about Kosovo, women are present as “window dressing” – with a single woman in each of the two delegations. This fact, coupled with a growing nationalistic outcry against the negotiations – at least in Serbia – makes the negotiations all the more uncertain, undemocratic and vulnerable.
IV What is the starting point of the women’s platform for peace negotiations about the status of Kosovo?
- Human rights, especially women’s human rights and the quality of individual lives are more important than territorial issues and boundaries. – for us women, the right to self-determination comprises control over one’s own life, body and mind – the right to integrity and autonomy (economic, political, moral, emotional and sexual). As civil society activists, as feminists and pacifists, we support a right of self-determination that involves a higher degree of freedom for all citizens. We support a right to self-determination that rejects all forms of ethnic homogenization and exclusion. We demand separation of church and state, which means that the religious communities should not have the right to decide about state matters, the educational system or health care. The right to self-determination must not encroach upon any human rights achieved so far. The “traditional” laws that pose the greatest threat to women’s human rights must not be rehabilitated in the name of preservation of “cultural identity”, either in the majority or minority religious communities.
- Human rights, and women’s rights in particular, are above state sovereignty. These rights include citizens’ security (economic, political, personal, health, etc.) and the respect of human rights and women’s rights in particular. All forms of violence against women, both in the private and on the public sphere must be prohibited. Society must be demilitarization on all levels. Human security entails complete cooperation with The Hague Tribunal, punishing all those who have committed war crimes during the wars in the area of the former Yugoslavia and the punishment of all those who have committed crimes in our name or in the name of others.
- The right and the obligation to participate in peace processes and to have an impact on peace negotiations. We need to participate in negotiations because, as women, we pay the highest price for wars, militarism and all forms of violence. As citizens, we have the right to demand that the country we live in and the international community account for the way in which money is being spent. Government money is the property of every citizen; it is our right to demand that it be invested in peace, development and well-being, not in war. We demand from all relevant actors in the international community that women’s human rights be treated as a key international issue and they are recognized and respected as elements of peace.
V What are our requirements for the peace negotiations about the status of Kosovo?
- The upholding of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace, and Security”;
- Women’s participation in the negotiations about the status of Kosovo;
- The recognition and respect of women’s peace initiatives concerning the negotiations and status of Kosovo;
- Transparency in the negotiations;
- The careful monitoring of peace negotiations in the form of evaluations carried out by women’s peace networks (of Serbia and Kosovo). To this end, we propose a joint team made up of the women’s peace networks of Kosovo and Serbia that would be in permanent consultation and contact. In accordance with the above-mentioned principles, the networks would assess the development of negotiations and keep the public informed. The delegation should include female legal experts close to women’s peace networks.
- The support of women’s international networks for our platform;
- Recognition and respect for women’s human rights by the relevant actors in the international community. Women human rights should be treated not as tokens or “window dressing” in peace negotiations, but as a very important factor in the peace process and peace negotiations.
VI Who are we addressing_
- The United Nation Security Council
- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
- UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission (UNMIK) Søren Jessen-Petersen
- UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Future Status Process for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari
- The Serb negotiating team
- The Albanian negotiating team
- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
- The European Union
- The Contact group
- The European Commission
Belgrade, 1st March 2006
Women in Black Belgrade
Women in Black Network Serbia