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Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo

Delivered by chargé d’Affaires a.i. Henning Hj. Johansen, to the Permanent Council, Vienna, 31 January 2019

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Mr. Chair,

By long-standing decision of the Permanent Council, the participating States maintain
that the OSCE Mission in Kosovo takes the international community’s lead role in
matters relating to institution and democracy building, and human rights in Kosovo.
Today, we thank Ambassador Jan Braathu for reporting on the progress towards this
end.

Allow me first to repeat our well-known position: the field operations are the clearest
example of the added value of the OSCE, also in Kosovo. By its mandate, the mission
cooperates with all key stakeholders: institutions, communities, and international
actors. It offers support and expertise to enhance compliance with good governance
and international human rights standards.

We continue to appreciate the mission’s steadfast commitment to the mainstreaming of
gender into its activities. The mission has concluded the first year of implementation of
its Gender Equality Action plan, having conducted over 80 activities aimed at both
programmatic as well as internal activity. What objectives have been achieved, what
lessons have been learned, and how do these inform the implementation of the plan in
2019?

On the programmatic side, the mission reports on significant efforts in preventing
gender based violence, both through awareness raising and through building capacity
in the Kosovo Police. The cost to society of violence against women clearly
demonstrates that gender equality is not merely a normative issue about what is right.
It is a practical issue that empowers societies to function more effectively. It is also a
tool for the achievement of mission objectives.

In accordance with its mandate, the mission is guided by the importance of bringing
about mutual respect and reconciliation among all ethnic groups in Kosovo and of
establishing a viable multi-ethnic society where the rights of each citizen are fully and
equally respected. The report provides an important overview of the situation in non-
Albanian communities and on efforts to prevent ethnic tension. Strong democratic
institutions that safeguard and strengthen the rule of law are necessary in this respect.
Norway remains in strong support of the mission’s efforts to strengthen the rule of law
in Kosovo, including through monitoring and reporting.

Other efforts are also important: Ensuring the safety of journalists is important for the
press and public to be able to keep authorities accountable. Capacity building for police
and prosecution offices on the Financial Action Task Force recommendations aids
global efforts against violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism. The
mission’s support to anti-corruption activities helps ensure effective and efficient law
enforcement.

Norway firmly supports the dialogue to normalize relations between Prishtina and
Belgrade. Sustainable regional stability and prosperity requires comprehensive
normalization of relations, including a legally binding agreement. The process demands
determination, courage and will to compromise on both sides. In times of tension and
uncertainty, we must remember that the mandate of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo is
completely independent of this goal. Institution and democracy building, and adherence
to human rights, have inherent value, regardless of how this dialogue proceeds.


Thank you

 

2019-01-31 PC Norway reply hom kosovo.pdf