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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 3, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 3, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 627 new cases, 22 deaths (media)
• Hoti: Political parties to be invited to discuss president’s post (media)
• CEC announces final results of Podujeve, Mitrovica North elections (media)
• Ruge: Vucic’s statement is a dangerous rhetoric that leads to tensions (Kosovapress)
• Kosovo FM Haradinaj-Stublla meets EULEX chief Wigemark (media)
• Kosovo seeks to establish cooperation with Eurojust (Koha)
• Protests held after Tasic sentenced halved (Prishtina Insight)

Serbian Language Media:

• In Serbian communities in Kosovo 78 new cases of Covid-19, 12 cured (Kontakt plus radio)
• Vucic: Serbia will win over coronavirus pandemic (N1)
• Odalovic: Belgrade and Pristina working group resolved more than 1.700 missing persons cases (Kosovo-online, Radio KIM)
• Lajcak: Situation in Bosnia, Belgrade-Pristina, among EU’s top priorities (N1, FoNet)
• Eviction of Pavilion “E” residents postponed (Radio KIM)
• Rakic asks for efficient work of KFOR and institutions on prevention of attacks against Serbian population (Kontakt plus radio)
• CEC confirmed the victory of Bulliqi in Podujevo and Radojevic in North Mitrovica (Kosovo Online)
• Responsible policy needed to assist employed and unemployed women during pandemic (Kontakt plus radio)

International:

• Borell: Solution for normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is within the EU (EWB, RFE)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Leaders call for equal inclusion and opportunities of persons with disabilities (media)
• Hamze Bytyçi: I hope one day the Romani artist can be just the artist without the need of an appendix (Kosovo 2.0)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 627 new cases, 22 deaths (media)
  • Hoti: Political parties to be invited to discuss president’s post (media)
  • CEC announces final results of Podujeve, Mitrovica North elections (media)
  • Ruge: Vucic’s statement is a dangerous rhetoric that leads to tensions (Kosovapress)
  • Kosovo FM Haradinaj-Stublla meets EULEX chief Wigemark (media)
  • Kosovo seeks to establish cooperation with Eurojust (Koha)
  • Protests held after Tasic sentenced halved (Prishtina Insight)

Serbian Language Media:

  • In Serbian communities in Kosovo 78 new cases of Covid-19, 12 cured (Kontakt plus radio)
  • Vucic: Serbia will win over coronavirus pandemic (N1)
  • Odalovic: Belgrade and Pristina working group resolved more than 1.700 missing persons cases (Kosovo-online, Radio KIM)
  • Lajcak: Situation in Bosnia, Belgrade-Pristina, among EU’s top priorities (N1, FoNet)
  • Eviction of Pavilion “E” residents postponed (Radio KIM)
  • Rakic asks for efficient work of KFOR and institutions on prevention of attacks against Serbian population (Kontakt plus radio)
  • CEC confirmed the victory of Bulliqi in Podujevo and Radojevic in North Mitrovica (Kosovo Online)
  • Responsible policy needed to assist employed and unemployed women during pandemic (Kontakt plus radio)

International:

  • Borell: Solution for normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is within the EU (EWB, RFE)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Leaders call for equal inclusion and opportunities of persons with disabilities (media)
  • Hamze Bytyçi: I hope one day the Romani artist can be just the artist without the need of an appendix (Kosovo 2.0)

 

 

Albanian Language Media 

 

COVID-19: 627 new cases, 22 deaths (media)

Twenty two more people have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in Kosovo and 627 new cases of infection have been confirmed, said Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health in its daily update.

543 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of coronavirus cases has been recorded in Prishtina (286). 

There are 15,117 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Hoti: Political parties to be invited to discuss president’s post (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said that a roundtable with representatives of all political parties is expected to be called in the coming days. 

“We should pursue only a constitutional solution. A roundtable of political parties will be organised soon to see whether political parties are interested to discuss finding a solution for the country’s president,” Hoti said today.

“Each party it seems has certain positions. We have not sat down at a table with parliamentary parties to know if there is will to find a president and what the proposals of the parties are. We know the proposal of the AAK and now it seems PDK’s too. I believe in the coming days this roundtable will be called and we will see what the future course of action will be,” he added. 

CEC announces final results of Podujeve, Mitrovica North elections (media)

The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced the final results of last week’s mayoral elections in Podujeve and Mitrovica North. 

Shpejtim Bulliqi from the Vetevendosje Movement has officially been declared winner of elections in Podujeve with 51.9 percent of the votes while Milan Radojevic from the Serbian List has won Mitrovica North with 89.5 percent.

Ruge: Vucic’s statement is a dangerous rhetoric that leads to tensions (Kosovapress)

German diplomat and vice chairman of the Munich Security Conference said in an interview with Kosovapress that the statement of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic about the possibility of a conflict outbreak in the Balkans similar to that in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh is a dangerous rhetoric that leads to tensions and imposes unrealistic timeframes. 

“At the end of the day, it is the government of Serbia and that of Kosovo that control the situation. If these two governments act responsibly, there is absolutely no reason for conflict,” Ruge said. 

Commenting on the incoming U.S. administration under Joe Biden and its role in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Ruge said things in the Balkans can function only when the United States and European Union work together. “This is what we need. We don’t need two separate tracks, with insufficient coordination. I expect the U.S. to make come back, coordinate closely with us, and I think this is precisely what Joe Biden has talked about.”

He said stability in the Balkans and a ‘more normal’ situation between Serbia and Kosovo is very important for the EU and for the U.S. this is also a legacy issue as the country has invested a great deal in Kosovo. “The U.S. will be looking to Brussels and to Europe to carry much of the burden but I think the U.S. will be there as an active player and fully coordinated with the European Union.”

Asked whether he believed Kosovo and Serbia will be able to reach an agreement during Biden’s term in office, Ruge said: “Whether you reach a full agreement covering all issues to the satisfaction of both sides, I think that’s very ambitious. We should be ambitious, we should work towards that but I think the key thing is making progress, working in good faith and addressing issues that are relevant to the ordinary people so they can live their lives, go about their business, so that economies can prosper.”

Kosovo FM Haradinaj-Stublla meets EULEX chief Wigemark (media)

Kosovo’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla met head of EULEX Lars-Gunnar Wigemark.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry, the two discussed the current situation in Kosovo and Haradinaj-Stublla is reported to have stressed that EULEX could play an important role in informing the EU member states about Kosovo’s progress in the field of rule of law. “In this context, she highlighted the progress made by Kosovo institutions in meeting all conditions for visa liberalization, which should be taken into account by EU countries.”

The two officials also spoke about freedom of movement and in this respect Haradinaj-Stublla noted the delays in the reopening of the Mitrovica bridge. 

Kosovo seeks to establish cooperation with Eurojust (Koha)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice Selim Selimi attended a virtual meeting with representatives of the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust).

In the meeting, chaired by President of Eurojust Ladislav Hamran, Minister Selimi emphasised the importance of Kosovo and Eurojust establishing cooperation noting that this represents a landmark step. 

“Establishment of this cooperation would produce more effective and sustainable results in the fight against cross-border organised crime in the region. I therefore would like to use this opportunity to express our interest to pursue all necessary procedures in reaching a cooperation agreement between Eurojust and Kosovo that would lay the foundation for achievement of our common goal for justice and security,” Selimi said.

Koha notes that this is the first time Kosovo has been invited to take part in a bilateral meeting with Eurojust.

Protests held after Tasic sentenced halved (Prishtina Insight)

Demonstrations were held outside the Palace of Justice in Prishtina on Thursday, in protest at the Court of Appeals’ decision to cut the prison sentence of Darko Tasic from 22 years imprisonment to 11. 

Tasic, a former police reservist, was convicted of war crimes in June by the Basic Court of Prizren for his involvement in the massacre of Krusha e Madhe in March 1999.

The Village Councils of Krusha e Madhe and Krusha e Vogel organised Thursday’s protest, arranging transport for residents who lost family members to the massacre. 

Emira Duraku, who lost her father and four brothers to the massacre, all of whom remain missing, told Prishtina Insight that she was astonished at the decision to halve Tasic’s sentence.

“All these years have passed and there is no justice,” Duraku said. “Our appeal court does not come to talk to us for five minutes to explain something that in reality is unexplainable.”

Many citizens joined the protest to show solidarity with the people of Krusha, including Fadil Berisha, a 52-year-old citizen from Prizren. Berisha told Prishtina Insight that the demonstration was an opportunity to speak out about 20 years of injustice, and the failure to bring justice for war crimes committed in the Kosovo war.

“It is not only a failure of the international community but also local courts,” Berisha said. “The minimum sentence should be a life sentence. Darko was not sentenced for a minor crime but a crime against humanity. No other sentence is justified and any deviation from this is a denial of justice.”

It is estimated that 105 Kosovo Albanian males aged between 13 and 72 were killed in the massacre of Krusha e Madhe on March 26, 1999, after Serbian forces machine-gunned 109 people in a barn in the village.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3qoDLp2

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

In Serbian communities in Kosovo 78 new cases of Covid-19, 12 cured (Kontakt plus radio)

The North Mitrovica Crisis Staff announced today that according to the latest data 78 new cases of infection and 12 cures have been recorded in Serbian communities in Kosovo, reported Kontakt plus radio. 

Out of 176 processed samples, positive cases were recorded in the municipalities: North Mitrovica (21), Leposavic (15), Gracanica (10), Zubin Potok (9), Zvecan (8), Gnjilane (6), Strpce (4), Priluzje (2), Kosovska Kamenica (1), Prizren (1) and Pec (1).

74 people were hospitalized in the North Mitrovica Health Center, two patients in the Nis Health Center. 

The measure of home isolation was determined for 1106 people. 1182 cases are currently active.

So far, a total of 1,277 people have recovered.

Vucic: Serbia will win over coronavirus pandemic (N1)

“Serbia will win over the coronavirus. Long live Serbia”, President Aleksandar Vucic wrote on the official Instagram account ‘Budućnostsrbijeav’ on Wednesday, N1 reports.

He published photos of the new hospital in the Belgrade Batajnica suburb which was supposed to take in first patients soon.

“We built this magnificent hospital in four months”, Vucic wrote.

Odalovic: Belgrade and Pristina working group resolved more than 1.700 missing persons cases (Kosovo-online, Radio KIM)

Following the signing of the Washington agreement, missing and displaced persons from Kosovo issue has become a topic again, Radio KIM reports.

Heads of the Belgrade and Pristina delegations for the missing persons, Veljko Odalovic and Ibrahim Makoli, as well as Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade Director Ivana Zanic spoke about efficiency of the cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina in this regard and what hampers it to finally resolve the destiny of more than 1.600 people still listed as missing persons.

Unresolved issue of the missing persons reflects on internal circumstances but also on inter-ethnic relations, as well as general relations between Pristina and Belgrade, Ibrahim Makoli said.

According to him, since 2004 when the working group for missing persons was established, consisting of Pristina and Belgrade delegations under the leadership of the International Red Cross Committee this issue was treated appropriately. He also said that both sides have their own requests; however, the missing persons have one denominator only.

Veljko Odalovic recalled that Belgrade and Pristina working group though intensive contacts that never ceased had managed to resolve more than 1.700 missing persons cases, despite strong challenges.

“This is the most severe consequence of the conflict that took place in Kosovo and Metohija. It is something whose solution and dynamics, if it goes in a right direction, if problems are resolved, that would lead towards normalization of relations and rebuilding the trust. And if the missing persons issue is not resolved then it moves us away. It is not only about 1.638 persons listed as missing, but about dozens of thousands of people most directly affected by this problem, families, neighbors, friends, all those people who think of this issue from a humanitarian and civilization perspective”, Odalovic said.

Ivana Zanic said that the missing persons issue is one of the most politicized issues in the former Yugoslavia, in particular in Belgrade-Pristina relations.

Also results of the Facebook survey were presented in the broadcast “Sporazum” relating to missing persons. Asked if the discovery and identification of missing persons would positively impact Belgrade and Pristina relations, the vast majority, around 70 percent of respondents said it would, while 30 percent of respondents said it would not.

Lajcak: Situation in Bosnia, Belgrade-Pristina, among EU’s top priorities (N1, FoNet)

The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina and the situation in Bosnia are the two most important challenges in the Western Balkans, EU Special Representative for the Western Balkans Miroslav Lajcak said on Wednesday.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, Lajcak emphasizes that it is necessary to face the past in a comprehensive manner, RTCG reported.

The Western Balkans region is crucial for Europe’s stability, security and freedom, and the EU’s task is to help overcome the legacy and hardships of the war in Bosnia, Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi told the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on the 25th anniversary since the signing of the Dayton Accords.

See at: https://bit.ly/2JvJ9G7

Eviction of Pavilion “E” residents postponed (Radio KIM)

Leposava Stojanovic (87) who lives with 14 more families in a Pavilion “E” across the University Library in Pristina will not be evicted, until “an adequate solution” is found, Minister for Communities and Returns, Dalibor Jevtic confirmed to RTV KIM.

According to the Pristina urban planning reconstruction of a large parking and business facilities were planned on a spot where the Pavilion “E” is located.

The previous deadline to the residents to move out of their flats expired on December 1, and according to the Minister Jevtic “no one would be forcibly moved out until a permanent solution is found”.

He also said he informed in written Quinta ambassadors and Kosovo Prime Minister about the problems Pavilion “E” residents are facing.

“They expressed readiness to support a solution that would be acceptable”, Jevtic added.  

Rakic asks for efficient work of KFOR and institutions on prevention of attacks against Serbian population (Kontakt plus radio)

During a meeting with the new commander of the NATO Mission in Kosovo, Major General Franco Federici, Kosovo Minister of Local Government Administration Goran Rakic expressed concern over the frequent attacks on the Serbian population and property, asking from members of KFOR and all relevant institutions to work more efficiently in order to stop such attacks, Kontakt plus radio reports.

Rakic has welcomed the new COM KFOR and wished him a lot of success in his work and pointed out that good cooperation would be continued when it comes to creation of security and stability in this area. 

CEC confirmed the victory of Bulliqi in Podujevo and Radojevic in North Mitrovica (Kosovo Online)

Central Election Commission announced today the final results of the mayoral elections, according to which Milan Radojevic from the Serbian List won in North Mitrovica with 89.5 percent of votes, and Shpejtim Bulliqi from Vetevendosje in Podujevo won 51.9 percent of the vote. 

The elections were held on November 29, and according to President of CEC, Valdete Daka, 34,873 voters voted in Podujevo regularly and 919 by mail, i.e. a total of 40.76 percent of the total number of voters. 

In North Mitrovica, the turnout was 38.8 percent of the total number of voters, i.e. 8,874 who voted regularly and 172 by mail. 

Kosovo online stated that the mayors would remain in these positions for eight months because regular local elections would be held in Kosovo at that time. 

Responsible policy needed to assist employed and unemployed women during pandemic (Kontakt plus radio)

The research on problems that employed and unemployed women in northern Kosovo during the pandemic showed challenges related to socio-economic status are financial problems, then follow reduced incomes, online classes, childcare, stress and nervousness. The research was conducted by NGO Center for the Advocacy of Democratic Culture (ACDC) in October, reported Kontakt plus radio. 

The survey was conducted on a sample of 191 respondents in all four municipalities in northern Kosovo, and the project aimed to investigate and collect data on problems and challenges related to the socio-economic status of employed and unemployed women in northern Kosovo, with the aim of making recommendations for decision-makers at the local and central level, the media and international organizations.

According to the results of the research, 72 percent of the respondents answered that they were beneficiaries of state financial aid during the pandemic, while 7 percent answered that they lost their jobs.

Also, 63% of respondents answered that they were not informed that a competition for start-up businesses (starting a new, innovative and sustainable business) was being held in municipalities in northern Kosovo, 90% of respondents stated that they have not heard that municipalities in northern Kosovo have special funds in the budgets set aside for women, 63 percent said employment processes were not visible, and 73 percent said setting up private job search agencies would allow a better flow of information on job opportunities.

When asked about the way women can become economically empowered after a pandemic, 51 percent of respondents said it was grants, 21 percent said it was creating an online platform to find work, 18 percent said it would be public calls from institutions, which are transparent and equal for all, 6 percent see loans for founding micro-firms, 2 percent an employment, while one percent each believe that these are public works and all of the above.

Dusan Radakovic, Executive Director of ACDC, says that it is very important that the results, both positive and negative, obtained through various researches, be public and transparent, so that the citizens are informed.

“Because any of these researches can benefit women, but also other non-governmental organizations or an international donor tomorrow, to create a policy regarding the north, announcing competitions, etc.,” said Radakovic.

When it comes to concrete solutions to help employed and unemployed women during a pandemic, Biljana Jaredic, a consultant on the project, says, among other things, that it would be desirable to see a responsible policy at the local level in terms of providing certain subsidies to women with micro-firms, other forms of support, as well as designing a strategy on how to help employed and unemployed women in terms of education, as well as childcare.

She points out that central institutions should find and change the way of financing local self-governments, but also that the Law on Gender Equality should finally start to be applied and that the budget should be gender sensitive.

“Ninety percent of women said they did not know that the budget should have a category intended for women, because so far it has been shown that municipal and government budgets are not gender sensitive, so the government should devise a strategy to improve women’s businesses, but also provide assistance to both employed and even more unemployed women in this period. This certainly opens the possibility for some new online professions that they can finance, and what the women themselves said, they need a site where they will be informed about different types of work,” said Jaredic.

 

 

International

 

Borell: Solution for normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is within the EU (EWB, RFE)

BRUSSELS – The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, said that a solution to the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo should be sought within the European framework, Radio Free Europe reported.

“We are glad that the United States is ready to help, but the EU is the one that leads and is responsible for this process. Only the EU can make an important offer for the people there, and that is the European perspective. This problem must be solved within the European perspective”, Borell told during the conference on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

Borell emphasized that he was proud of the fact that at the beginning of his mandate, negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina were resumed under the auspices of the EU.

See more at: https://bit.ly/33Gdk4h

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Leaders call for equal inclusion and opportunities of persons with disabilities (media)

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Kosovo Assembly held a special session to discuss the rights and challenges this category faces.

Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani said Kosovo has done very little to guarantee persons with disabilities have a dignified life. She said that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected persons with disabilities.

“Kosovo has still not taken the trouble to identify the exact number of persons with disabilities. Without statistics there can be no meaningful policies. It is unforgivable that approximately only 10 percent of persons with disabilities follow classes in public schools while around 90 percent are left outside the system,” Osmani said.

Fetah Rudi, MP from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), who lives with a disability, thanked the Assembly staff for carrying his wheelchair every time he came in as until recently the building had no lift to ensure easier access. He said the Assembly should adopt a resolution for equal participation of persons with disabilities.

“Freedom of movement as a guaranteed right is restricted for persons with disabilities in Kosovo due to lack of access to public and state administration, schools, sidewalks and many other areas. Majority of schools and institutions have no proper lanes or lifts. There is also a lack of signaling equipment for visually impaired persons,” Rudi said.

The EU Office in Kosovo meanwhile issued a statement expressing commitment to work towards an inclusive and accessible society. “People with disabilities face multiple obstacles, from lack of proper physical infrastructure, to lack of job opportunities and proper institutional care to access the schooling system. This is even more so in Covid-19 times, as people with disabilities are disproportionately impacted due to the serious disruptions of the services they rely on,” the EU said and called on relevant stakeholders to take appropriate actions to reduce the barriers that people with disabilities are facing.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, including in COVID-19 response and recovery.  “Realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is crucial to fulfilling the core promise of the 2030 Agenda: to leave no one behind,” he said, referring to the global action plan to bring about a more just and sustainable world. “In all our actions, our goal is clear: a world in which all persons can enjoy equal opportunities, participate in decision-making and truly benefit from economic, social, political and cultural life. That is a goal worth fighting for.”

Over one billion people in the world have some form of disability, one in seven of the total global population.

Hamze Bytyçi: I hope one day the Romani artist can be just the artist without the need of an appendix (Kosovo 2.0)

There are people who devote their whole life and career to one cause. Hamze Bytyçi is such a figure. Born in 1982 in Prizren, Bytyçi now lives in Berlin and devotes his time to activism, cultural and social work as well as directing and acting. The productions he shapes and takes part in cause waves in Berlin’s cultural landscape and reach far beyond the city, occasionally also to Kosovo. 

His activist spirit arose early, out of necessity and quite naturally. Due to the increasing political tensions and Milošević’s oppression of Kosovars, his family migrated to Germany in 1989. At first they had many temporary stays in residences for asylum-seekers, again being exposed to exclusion, again being denied basic human rights.

Bytyçi was only 8 years old, when he fought the deportation of his own family and joined an activist church asylum association in Tübigen, Germany. What came after this first protest against the authorities’ decision was a succession of other activist engagements while the forms of expression changed from acting and theater, to film and art. 

No matter what Bytyçi does, his aim is to counterbalance the obstacles that the Roma community faces due to marginalization, racism, antiziganism (anti Roma sentiment) and socio-economic disadvantage. Although it is due to a nationalized, majority culture that causes marginalization, Bytyçi is convinced that only culture has the potential to change how we perceive the cultures of others and also what is supposed to be our own. 

K2.0 sat down to talk to Bytyçi about his social and political commitment and engagement with the issue of Roma marginalization, and about the potential of art to challenge negative stereotypes.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3qwgtxB

 

 

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