On the fifth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325/2000 (Resolution 1325) on Women Peace and Security, Amnesty International calls on the respective parties to the proposed talks on the final status of Kosovo to ensure that women are included in the forthcoming talks on the final status of Kosovo.
In particular, Amnesty International calls for the inclusion of women in the expert working groups which will form an integral part of the process The organization also urges the involvement of representatives of minority communities, including the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptiani, in addition to the minority Serb community.
Following the delivery of a report on 4 October to the UN Secretary General by his Special Envoy for the Comprehensive Review of Kosovo, the UN Security Council on 24 October gave the go-ahead to the talks, which will be led by the UN SG’s Special Envoy, likely to be named as former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, and will involve delegations from both Serbia and Kosovo. Reportedly talks will begin in November.
The organization reminds all parties, including Kosovo, Serbia, the UN and the European Union that Resolution 1325, “Urges Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.”
Amnesty International therefore calls on all UN member states involved in the talks to actively ensure the implementation of Resolution 1325 and guarantee the representation of women in the talks. The organization also urges the adoption of a gendered perspective, as set out in article 8 of the Resolution, which should, for example, “involve women in all of the implementation mechanisms of the peace agreements” and provide, “measures that ensure the protection of and respect for human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary”. In particular, such measures should address the ongoing impunity for gender-based violence, including war crimes, committed against women during and after the conflict in Kososvo.
Amnesty International supports the call from the Kosova Women’s Network that that in order to reach sustainable solutions for the future of Kosovo, women should be included in the final status process. Many women’s organizations are already involved in political processes and decision making at different levels in Kosovo, and across ethnic boundaries. The organization notes that women across Kosovo, and of all ethnic groups, face massive discrimination in gaining access to rights guaranteed under international standards incorporated into domestic law in Kosovo.
Amnesty International is also calling for the inclusion of representatives of minority communities in the process, including Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian organizations which have called for safeguards to protect the right of minority communities, including the right to security and freedom of movement in Kosovo; to fair and impartial investigations into acts of racist violence and discrimination; for equal representation and access to public institutions, and for access to social and economic rights including to housing, education, health care and employment, as well as for appropriate assistance to internally displaced persons and returnees.
On October 31, 2000 the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Resolution 1325 is regarded by many as having been a historic landmark, marking the first time in its history that the UNSC seriously dealt with the role and experience of women in the context of armed conflict.
The Resolution calls for action by the UN Secretary General, Member States, and all actors involved in the development and implementation of peace agreements.
Amnesty International has reported on discrimination against women and girls in Kosovo, including in the trafficking of women and girls within Kosovo, and the conditions – including discrimination, violence against women and lack of opportunities for education and employment – which render women and girls vulnerable to trafficking.
The organization has also reported extensively on human rights violations and discrimination against members of minority communities, and called repeatedly for the protection of their civil, political, social, and economic rights.
Final Status Talks
The end of the military conflict in Kosovo was agreed between the parties in the Kumanovo Military-Technical Agreement of 9 June 1999. Under UN SC Resolution 1244/99 agreed on 10 June 1999, Kosovo continued to remain an integral part of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro). UN SC 1244/99 provided for an interim civilian administration run by the UN (UNMIK) and the presence of NATO-led peace-keeping forces.
Although the term “final status” is used to describe the subject of the forthcoming talks, UN SC Resolution 1244 refer to the need for a “final settlement” to resolve Kosovo's “future status”; thus the forthcoming talks may been seen as part of a process towards that end.