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The “Youth for Justice” project is supported by the US Department of State – INL and has started to be implemented since November 2018 by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights YIHR KS.

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+383 (0) 38 748 018

E-mail

edrejtajem@yihr.org

Human Rights and Access to Justice

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Human Rights and Access to Justice

Human rights are the fundamental rights of individuals, they signify the depth of humanity. We are entitled to human rights irrespective of any condition. Every individual is responsible for upholding human rights in society by not violating anyone. If a certain individual holds some kind of privilege it should be expected of them to use it to raise awareness on issues of those whose rights were violated in any way, so they can be helped. To reach peace we must all together fight for equality. No matter how different each and every one of us is we all deserve the same rights and opportunities in life. Kosovo is a place full of all sorts of different people. Here we have very diverse ethnicities, religions and cultures as well as people of various races, sexualities and gender identities. All of these differences should be respected and celebrated and we should be proud to be a place welcoming to every human, but unfortunately that is not the case. The reality of life in Kosovo is much more despairing. There is still a lot of tension among different communities. A perfect example of how this affects human rights of individuals is violence that happens between Serbs and Albanians. At least once a month we hear on the news ether about the attack on a Serbian individual or a group of people committed by Albanians or the other way around. Why does this happen? From a young age we are taught to hate each other by our families, this continues in school and through out the media we consume. As a new generation our responsibility is to unlearn this toxic behaviour and be more open minded and friendly to people from other communities, as well as to teach those younger than us to always strive for peace.

In addition to this we have to recognize that Romani people have it the hardest. They are discriminated by both Serbian and Albanian community. This issue is caused by racism. While a part of the solution is also unlearning the prejudice we have, a bigger part of dealing with this issue is in the government’s hands. Romani people need to be given the right to better education as well as more job opportunities to help them recover from poverty that the most of them live in. Young Romani girls are often forced to get into marriages to help their families. They are basically sold into another family. This violates their right to free choice, and often times they are married to a man much older than them while still being underage, which is illegal. We have to strive for a society that will support them in turning to authorities when they find themselves in this situation, and we need authorities that will help them get out of it.
Another problem people in Kosovo struggle with is religion based oppression. Muslim women that wear hijabs are the ones that are most affected by this. They are forced to choose between school and wearing a hijab because hijabs are not allowed in public schools. This law needs to change as soon as possible. Hijabi women should be allowed in every place, wearing a hijab is their choice and it is wrong to take it away from them. The judgmental looks they receive from non-Muslims on a daily basis need to stop as well. We must keep ourselves and our peers accountable for every little judgment and and every little comment that can be harmful to other individuals, even if it sometimes seems like it’s not a big deal the little judgments lead to bigger problems and sometimes even hate crimes.

Homophobia is a worldwide issue that Kosovo is still so far away from solving. LGBTQ+ people are oppressed in almost every possible way. The law denies them the right to a family, they aren’t allowed to get married to their partner and they aren’t allowed to adopt children. We all have to fight for the reform of these laws together, but the sad reality is that the most people living in Kosovo are in fact homophobic. This stems from lack of education about sexuality. Most people, especially elders, belive that heterosexual is “normal” and other sexualities are psychological disorders which is far from truth. Everyday life of a queer person in Kosovo is sometimes even unbearable. It is impossible for them to express themselves without receiving judgement and hate. Many queer people grow up hating themselves because of who they are and sometimes this ends tragically with them ending their life after being unable to find acceptance and support from anyone in their life. This can not be solved over night but step by step we can completely get rid of homophobia. We need education and representation. School programs should include teaching about LGBTQ+ community so that kids that are figuring out their sexuality can feel comfortable and find it easier to accept themselves. Representation in media is also necessary to help normalize the existence of queer people and remove any prejudice some people might have.

In conclusion, every issue we have in Kosovo that somehow affects human rights of individuals can be solved with learning acceptance towards those who have always been oppressed and helping them. There aren’t excuses for violence, there aren’t excuses for disrespect. Men, women, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Albanian, Serbian, black or white, at the end of the day we are all human deserving of everything that is good in life and we all deserve to live in a place accepting of everyone and a place lead by justice and peace.

Marija Savić