Fighting all forms of discrimination is important for Kosovo, OSCE Mission says

Other News Materials 19 April 2007 10:53 (UTC +04:00)

( OSCE ) - Kosovo's government institutions need to increase their efforts to ensure that requirements under the Anti-discrimination Law are effectively put into practice, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Werner Wnendt, and other officials told an OSCE-organized roundtable.

The event gathered members of parliament, representatives of the legal community, law students and NGOs participating with the aim of broadening dialogue and increasing awareness on the implementation of this law.

The Anti-discrimination Law is one of the most progressive pieces of European legislation on rights in this area. However, since its adoption in 2004, it has not been fully utilized by Kosovo institutions.

"Implementation of this law is important for Kosovo at the present time as it awaits a status settlement, and for all democratic societies in general," said Ambassador Werner Wnendt. "It is a guiding principle of European integration for all members of society, not just minorities."

The roundtable participants discussed individual rights under the Anti-discrimination Law. In particular, they focused on how government institutions can more efficiently implement the law, and how civil society can assist in tackling all forms of discrimination.

"To simply state the principle of equal opportunity and equal rights is not enough," Ambassador Wnendt added. "Society as a whole needs to actively fight all forms of discrimination."

The OSCE has been involved throughout the process, assisting the Government draft the legal framework and helping with its implementation through capacity building and the establishment of human rights units in ministries. In addition, a booklet devoted to the Anti-discrimination Law will be distributed next month and the OSCE Mission in Kosovo,together with local stakeholders, will start a campaign to raise awareness about citizens rights under the law.