The screening of the film “Making of Thinking of You”/
Thank you Professor Williams,/
Your Excellency President Jahjaga, dear professors and students of NYU, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I want to thank you Professor Williams and Professor Anna di Lellio for their readiness to host this event in this beautiful room at NYU.
On the 10th anniversary of our Independence, the Consulate General of RKS in New York is organizing numerous activities, tackling different issues such as the as successes of Kosova in sports and music, economy and innovations, conferences on the path of Kosova toward Independence, and the women position within Kosovar society and so on.
Today we will talk about the deep wounds of the war, sexual violence as a war crime and a crime against humanity, the facts, and the way Kosova addresses this vulnerable category, helping them to reintegrate in the society as well as the ongoing struggle to prosecute the perpetrators.
The war in Kosova ended in June 1999, and left behind destruction, burned houses, monuments, libraries, and infrastructure. 800,000 citizens became refugees, expelled from Kosova, 700,000 were internally displaced, 13,950 killed, 1,690 still missing, around 20,000 sexually abused.
Every April, the UN Secretary General releases a Report on Sexual Violence during Conflict. This year’s Report will be discussed on Monday April 16th, in an open debate at the UN Security Council. Unfortunately, the case of Kosovo is still not part of the Report, and continues to be ignored.
President Atifete Jahjaga is a very vocal advocate and a strong supporter of the survivors of sexual violence during the war. She worked hard to articulate this issue, to fight the stigma, to help survivors through legislation for the acknowledgment and reparation for the victims. Together with President Jahjaga, women’s advocates, women Parliamentarians, and religious leaders were strongly engaged in this endeavor.
I want to use this opportunity to inform that Ms. Feride Rushiti, the executive director of the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims and a strong advocate for sexual violence survivors, has been awarded by the U.S. State Department the International Women of Courage Award for her dedication and work.
Kosovo women Parliamentarians proposed, secured the budget and realized a Memorial that symbolize the 20,000 victims of sexual violence during the war. The memorial, designed by Ilir Blakqori, is called HEROINAT and is made by 20,000 medallions. It is situated in the center of the capital Prishtina.
When in office, in 2015, President Atifete Jahjaga sponsored the art installation “Thinking of you,” by Kosovo artist Alketa Xhafa Mripa, to honor survivors of wartime sexual violence and build solidarity with them. The film by Anna di Lellio and Fitim Shala that we are about to screen shows the making of the installation and will be an opportunity to discuss both this horrible crime and the extraordinary response by our society to the plight of survivors.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have the honor to introduce President Jahjaga and ask her to take the floor.
New York April 11th 2018