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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, March 8, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, March 8, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 587 new cases, 6 deaths (media)
• EU: Ten-year dialogue has brought clear changes (RFE, Kallxo)
• ECAP: All votes for Bosniak in 7 municipalities are annulled (media)
• ECAP decides on recount of conditional and diaspora votes for AAK (media)
• ECAP suspends six commissioners in Suhareka, orders vote recount (Koha)
• Investigation on suspicions for Haradinaj-Stublla’s vote rigging begins (media)
• Haradinaj: I wish the manipulators meritorious punishments (Koha)
• Kurti says new government won’t have less than 5 female ministers (media)
• Women’s representation in Kosovo’s Parliament increased without reliance on gender quotas (exit.al)
• March in Prishtina in honor of the International Women’s Day (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• 18 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serbian areas in Kosovo on Sunday (KoSSev)
• Office for KiM: 10.500 Serbs from Kosovo inoculated (Radio KIM)
• EU: 10 years later, time to bring the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina to an end (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
• Odalovic: Pristina should open archives, people have not disappeared in the forest (RTS, Kosovo and Metohija radio, Kontakt plus radio)
• Vucic: Pristina wanted to buy Serb souls in the south, it failed in the north, we will help the people (KoSSev)
• Dacic: Double standards of EU, Belgrade’s stances clear since beginning (Kosovo-online)
• Additional 28.080 doses of Pfizer vaccine arrived in Serbia (Tanjug)
• Serbian List urges competent authorities to prosecute those who broke into Serbian Orthodox churches (Kosovo-online)
• Serbian opposition parties and organizations submits joint platform on elections conditions’ talks (N1)

Opinion:

• Rebuilding on Equal Foundations (EurActiv)

Humanitarian/Development:

• UN highlights transformative power of equal participation, marking International Women’s Day (UN News)
• Covid could endanger progress on gender equality, says Merkel (The Guardian)
• A boy from Novo Brdo’s love for tennis breaks all boundaries (KoSSev)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 587 new cases, 6 deaths (media)
  • EU: Ten-year dialogue has brought clear changes (RFE, Kallxo)
  • ECAP: All votes for Bosniak in 7 municipalities are annulled (media)
  • ECAP decides on recount of conditional and diaspora votes for AAK (media)
  • ECAP suspends six commissioners in Suhareka, orders vote recount (Koha)
  • Investigation on suspicions for Haradinaj-Stublla’s vote rigging begins (media)
  • Haradinaj: I wish the manipulators meritorious punishments (Koha)
  • Kurti says new government won’t have less than 5 female ministers (media)
  • Women’s representation in Kosovo’s Parliament increased without reliance on gender quotas (exit.al)
  • March in Prishtina in honor of the International Women’s Day (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • 18 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serbian areas in Kosovo on Sunday (KoSSev)
  • Office for KiM: 10.500 Serbs from Kosovo inoculated (Radio KIM)
  • EU: 10 years later, time to bring the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina to an end (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
  • Odalovic: Pristina should open archives, people have not disappeared in the forest (RTS, Kosovo and Metohija radio, Kontakt plus radio)
  • Vucic: Pristina wanted to buy Serb souls in the south, it failed in the north, we will help the people (KoSSev)
  • Dacic: Double standards of EU, Belgrade’s stances clear since beginning (Kosovo-online)
  • Additional 28.080 doses of Pfizer vaccine arrived in Serbia (Tanjug)
  • Serbian List urges competent authorities to prosecute those who broke into Serbian Orthodox churches (Kosovo-online)
  • Serbian opposition parties and organizations submits joint platform on elections conditions’ talks (N1)

Opinion:

  • Rebuilding on Equal Foundations (EurActiv)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • UN highlights transformative power of equal participation, marking International Women’s Day (UN News)
  • Covid could endanger progress on gender equality, says Merkel (The Guardian)
  • A boy from Novo Brdo’s love for tennis breaks all boundaries (KoSSev)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

COVID-19: 587 new cases, 6 deaths (media)

Kosovo has recorded 587 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 212 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. There are 10,608 new cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

EU: Ten-year dialogue has brought clear changes (RFE, media)

On the 10th anniversary of the launch of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, which takes place in Brussels, the European Union said that this process has brought clear changes for citizens in Kosovo and the region. But the spokesman of the European bloc Peter Stano, said that now the time has come for the dialogue to conclude with a comprehensive agreement.

“There was full agreement that the dialogue has no alternative and that it must continue. The aim of the dialogue was to bring the parties closer to a European future. So, for both Belgrade and Pristina, there should be progress on their European path. The European road goes through dialogue,” Stano said. Asked about the statements of Vetevendosje Movement leader Albin Kurti about Kosovo’s unification with Albania, Stano said that the EU “does not comment on the statements of the leaders in the media.” He added that “in general, the EU’s position is that it expects leaders to use their personal example to work towards reconciliation and a constructive spirit of trust and confidence in the region.”

He however avoided the direct question of whether the union of Kosovo with Albania is something that the EU opposes.  “As we have said several times, the main goal of the dialogue is to reach an agreement on the comprehensive normalization of relations, acceptable to both parties, in accordance with EU standards, and which would have a positive impact on the region,” Stano said.

ECAP: All votes for Bosniak parties in 7 municipalities are annulled (media)

The Elections Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) decided today to completely annul votes for Bosniak political parties in the Serb majority municipalities of Zubin Potok, Shterpce, Ranillug, Gracanica, Partesh, Kllokot and Novobrdo. 

ECAP has partially approved appeals from Bosniak political parties Nasa Iniciativa, Social-Democratic Union and the New Democratic to annul votes from the Serb community for the Hodzic’s Ujedinjena Zajednica.

ECAP has partly annulled votes for the political parties Ujedinjena Zajednica led by Adrijana Hodzic and VAKAT coalition. Votes for Hodzic’s party are annulled in the municipalities of Zvecan, Leposavic and Mitrovica North. Votes for VAKAT coalition are annulled in the municipality of Leposavic.

ECAP concluded that votes for Hodzic and Vakat are in disproportion with the number of members of the Bosniak community in these municipalities and that they are invalid votes because it is non-democratic standard to secure the right of representation for one community with the votes of voters from another community.

ECAP decides on recount of conditional and diaspora votes for AAK (media)

All news websites report that the Elections Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) decided today that conditional votes and votes from the diaspora for the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) will be recounted. Kosovo’s Acting Foreign Minister and AAK candidate for MP, Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, welcomed the decision to recount the votes. “The recount is another step forward toward resolving the setup video claiming that my husband was involved in vote theft!” she wrote in a Facebook post.

ECAP suspends six commissioners in Suhareka, orders vote recount (Koha)

The news website reports that the Elections Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) has approved the request of Albena Reshitaj, member of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), to recount her votes at a polling station in Suhareka. Six commissioners from this station were suspended from the election process for five years.

ECAP also approved the request of former Kosovo Police director and PDK candidate for MP, Rashit Qalaj, whose votes will be recounted in four polling stations, in Vushtrri and Mitrovica.

Besa Ismaili, PDK candidate for MP, will have her votes recounted in 15 polling stations. Lahi Brahimaj, AAK candidate for MP, will have his votes recounted in ten polling stations.

Investigation on suspicions for Haradinaj-Stublla’s vote rigging begins (media)

The Prosecution has launched an investigation into the vote rigging scandal at the CRC, where a video recording published last night by Insajderi news portal revealed the husband of Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, to be involved in a major vote manipulation scandal.

Prosecutor Kujtim Munishi told Insajderi that adequate steps have already been taken to launch an investigation into this manipulation, adding that the Prosecution will issue a detailed announcement very soon.

On the other hand, the Central Election Council spokesman Valmir Elezi, also told the news portal that they have contacted the State Prosecutor’s Office today and that they are ready to provide all the necessary information and materials for the investigation and full clarification of the case.

Haradinaj: I wish the manipulators meritorious punishments (Koha)

Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) took to Facebook to write that he wishes all those who manipulated votes in the February 14 elections meritorious sentences.

“I thank from the bottom of my heart all those meritorious for the February 14 elections to be regular and with high democratic standards. To manipulators, whoever and for whoever’s interests, I wish them deserved punishment. I call on the judiciary to investigate irregularities and take appropriate measures in accordance with the law. Pluralism and internal democracy in the Alliance are sacred,” Haradinaj wrote.

Kurti says new government won’t have less than 5 female ministers (media)

Vetevendosje Movement (VV) leader Albin Kurti said today that the new government will not have less than five female ministers and that “we will see what we can do more”. Attending a march organised in downtown Prishtina in honor of International Women’s Day, Kurti said that out of 58 MPs of his party no female MP needed the gender quota. “The people of Kosovo have made them their representatives. The February 14 elections were not ordinary elections, they were a referendum,” he said.

Women’s representation in Kosovo’s Parliament increased without reliance on gender quotas (exit.al)

Most female candidates that won seats in Kosovo’s last parliamentary election secured their Assembly seats without needing to rely on gender quotas.

A gender quota in place in Kosovo ensures the representation of 30% for women on electoral lists for individual parties as well as within the Kosovo Assembly.

The final results of parliamentary elections held on February 14 show that out of 120 new MPs elected, 44 are women.

This marks the highest number of women ever elected for the Assembly of Kosovo.

33 of these elected women did not need the gender quota but were able to secure necessary votes for their seats in Parliament.

Vetevendosje Movement, which won the elections with 49.95%, has the biggest number of women in Parliament, 24 out of 58 MPs, or 40% of its MPs. None of Vetevendosje’s women MPs needed the gender quota to get into Parliament.

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) will have six women MPs out of 19, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) will have five women MPs out of 15, and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) will be represented by three women out of eight MPs.

These elections also marked a record for the highest number of votes for one person- the most voted person in the history of elections in Kosovo is a woman.

Acting President Vjosa Osmani who ran with Vetevendosje’s electoral list was voted by 300,788 people.

After winning snap elections in October 2019, Vetevendosje in coalition with LDK entrusted many high positions to women. For the first time since the war ended in 1999, seven senior positions in Kosovo’s governing institutions were led by women. Out of 15 ministries, five of the most high profile had women in charge.

According to UN Women, only four countries have 50% or more women in parliament in single or lower houses: Rwanda with 61%, Cuba with 53%, Bolivia with 53%, and the United Arab Emirates with 50%

A further 19 countries have reached or surpassed 40%, including nine countries in Europe, five in Latin America and the Caribbean, four in Africa, and one in the Pacific.

March in Prishtina in honor of the International Women’s Day (media)

A march with the motto “We march against the patriarchy that kills” was held today in Prishtina, in honor of International Women’s Day.

The march was organized by the “We march we do not celebrate” team, comprised by activists of civil society organizations and students, in search of a life without violence and for a free and equal society.

Many well-known figures were also seen participating in this march, including the acting president Vjosa Osmani.

During the march, they unfolded in front of the institutions sheets with inscriptions containing concrete calls and targeting violence against women and their killings during 2020.

Organizers demanded that others who want to join the call can place sheets on the balconies of their homes to support the fight against oppression inside and outside their homes.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

18 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serbian areas in Kosovo on Sunday (KoSSev)

Out of 60 tested samples in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo, 18 were positive, Crisis Committee of Mitrovica North announced on Sunday, KoSSev portal reports.

Out of 18 new cases 16 were registered in northern Kosovo and two in central Kosovo.

The breakdown of the cases is as follows: seven in Mitrovica North, six in Zvecan, two in Leposavic, and one each in Zubin Potok, Priluzje and Gracanica.

Total number of active cases in the Serbian areas in Kosovo currently is 683.

A total of 113 persons have died in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

Office for KiM: 10.500 Serbs from Kosovo inoculated (Radio KIM)

Around 1.700 citizens from the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo registered for vaccination over the last week, a number three times higher than the week before, Office for Kosovo and Metohija announced Radio KIM reports.

The Office added that 10.500 persons from Kosovo received the first dose of the vaccine, and 8.000 of them were revaccinated.

Citizens from Kosovo registered for vaccination against Covid-19 may do so in three separate locations in Raska, Kursumlija and Bujanovac, while 1.400 citizens from Kosovo would receive the second dose of the vaccine on Wednesday and Thursday, the Office said.

It also recalled a free of charge transportation had been organized for all those interested and registered for vaccination. 

EU: 10 years later, time to bring the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina to an end (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)

On the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the EU mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Brussels estimates for Tanjug agency that the process during the previous decade brought “true changes” when it comes to everyday life of people in the region.

“After 10 years of dialogue, it is time to move on and bring the process to a successful end,” said EU spokesman Peter Stano, portal Kosovo Online quoted.

Stano reminds that the EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak was in Belgrade and Pristina last week, and that he received assurances from both sides that there is a desire to continue engaging in the process of normalization of relations, which is mediated by the EU.

“We are now working intensively with both sides on reaching a comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations. EU member states expect the dialogue to continue as soon as possible and to see Belgrade and Pristina engaged in the successful conclusion of this process and as soon as possible,” Stano said.

Commenting on the views of Pristina officials, including the winner of the last elections in Kosovo, Albin Kurti, on “Greater Albania”, the EU spokesman said that political leaders in the region, including future institutions in Pristina, were expected to work on building a mutual trust and constructive good neighborly relations.

He adds that during his stay in Pristina, Special Representative Lajcak talked “about everything” with Kurti.

“What we expect is better cooperation in the region and intensification of internal reform processes,” Stano said.

An EU spokesman in charge of foreign affairs emphasizes that for Brussels, the issue of changing borders, including the exchange of territories or some kind of unification, is “a long-closed issue”.

“The main goal of the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is to reach a comprehensive legally binding agreement that supports regional stability, is acceptable to both sides in the process and is in line with EU principles. Both sides know what is feasible and what is not,” Stano concluded.

Odalovic: Pristina should open archives, people have not disappeared in the forest (RTS, Kosovo and Metohija radio, Kontakt plus radio)

Secretary General of the Serbian Assembly, Veljko Odalovic told Radio Television of Serbia that Ranko Grujic, (killed by NATO bombs), was buried again near Pec two days ago, and that this is not the only example of the desecration of the cemetery.

In an RTS Morning programme, Odalovic said that no conflict in the Balkans in recent history began because we wanted to fight each other, and because we could not live together, it was always in the interests of someone who challenged and supported those conflicts.

“We did not bring any peace among ourselves, someone always imposed peace and left questions open. Many unhealed wounds from all conflicts were left, these are fratricidal wars, wars that leave destroyed families, spaces and create chaos that cannot be solved by decree or a document wherever it was signed and whoever stood behind it,” said Odalovic.

Many who stood behind the signatures, moved away later in the implementation, he said. 

“The Balkans are being destroyed on the outside, and we on the inside as some, not to say what, take up arms and fight and leave many unresolved issues,” Odalovic said, adding that it doesn’t matter which empire it is.

Two days ago, the remains of Ranko Grujic, who died from NATO bombs, were reburied in Brestovik near Pec. He was buried during the war, and his grave was excavated in 1999 and the body taken away

Answering the question of what everything looked like in Brestovik, Odalovic points out that this is not the only case where graves have been desecrated. 

“Ranko died in the NATO aggression, he was buried with dignity, a grave was dug, we did not find a report that would lead us to where the body was thrown,” Odalovic said.

According to him, the remains were later found on the graveyard in Pec, during some repairs, and by taking samples, a DNA confirmation was obtained that it was Ranko.

“The second funeral was something that was especially difficult, people wondered why, who was bothered by a dead man, and at the foot of the mountains around Pec on a beautiful day a sad picture and a hopelessness of people who understand in such a place how insecure everything is and what can happen to them alive, when it happened to the dead as well,” says Odalovic.

“An appeal to the International Community to open its archives, this had to be recorded by some KFOR contingent or a soldier who found the body,” he said.

He says that the case where bodies of seven Serbs were found in Gjakovica a few years ago, was recorded in 1999, the picture exists, the bodies. 

“We waited for 19 years to get the documentation, which KFOR made but did not share, to find the Sutakovic family in the bunker, where three minor children were killed and the father and mother were killed in the most brutal way,” he said.

As he points out, we are asking the international community for archives and to pressure Pristina, for the KLA, which presents itself as a formation, to open those archives, to see what happened to the people because people did not get lost in the forest, they were kidnapped and most were brutally liquidated and the question is where the bodies are.

“So that we have information about the places of burial. Belgrade treats the issue extremely responsibly, it is ready to solve the fate of the missing,” Odalovic concluded.

Vucic: Pristina wanted to buy Serb souls in the south, it failed in the north, we will help the people (KoSSev)

”Everything that the international representatives want from Serbia can fit into one sentence – recognition of Kosovo’s independence,” the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic said on Saturday night. Serbia will, however, insist more loudly and clearly on the full implementation of the Brussels Agreement, that is, the establishment of the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities, he also said, reported portal KoSSev.

The first point of the National Security Council meeting held Saturday night was related to the situation in Kosovo through three sub-points: Pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence, the pressure faced by Serbs and non-Albanians, and what Serbia could expect as potential risks in Kosovo.

Dialogue to continue in May

”Serbia is in a very difficult position and we expect the dialogue to continue at the beginning of May. We will be prepared, but I want to tell all the citizens of Serbia that the entire Western hemisphere expects Serbia to recognize the independence of Kosovo. And that is the essence of the whole process, more or less, and everything they want from us can fit into one sentence.”

According to the Serbian President, that very sentence – the recognition of Kosovo’s independence will be even more pronounced and even more drastic than ever before.

He reiterated that Serbia would protect its state and national interests.

”We will preserve what we can and what we have not managed to lose with our irresponsible policies in the previous decades,” said Vucic, criticizing the actions of the current opposition in Serbia. Serbia will pay even more attention to the areas south of the Ibar in the coming period, also said Vucic.

”Albanian authorities wanted to have a deeper influence and create discord within the Serb population. Indeed, to a small extent, they managed to do something by buying Serb souls in the south. They did not manage to do that in the north, but they did in the south because of the misfortunes of our people and because we have many more unemployed Serbs than we do in the north.”

That is why Serbia will help them – to give them hope within Serb institutions and systems, especially in Kosovsko Pomoravlje to Novo Brdo, in Gracanica and Strpce and the Metohija enclaves – he added.

Serbia allocates €600 million for aid to Kosovo every year

”That is why they will get huge help from Serbia. €600 million are set aside every year for help. It is not just an issue of Serbs from Kosovo, but an issue of the whole of Serbia.”

”The situation is significantly different in the north – and that is the source of the nervousness of some Albanian representatives who want to force the Serbs at any cost.”

Speaking of Kurti and Osmani, Vucic revealed that they argue that Serbia must recognize the independence of Kosovo and that everything else can reportedly be discussed. He added that they wanted to cooperate with Serbs such as Nenad Rasic and Rada Trajkovic, who ”do not want to respect Serbia”.

Vucic also shared the next moves of the Serbian government:

”It will insist more loudly and clearly on the full implementation of the Brussels Agreement, i.e. the establishment of the Association of Serb-majority

Municipalities, according to the first 6 points of the Brussels Agreement and as envisaged according to the 2015 implementation agreement,” he said.

”We will wait for that and refer to the words of the European representatives and Mr. Lajcak that what was agreed will have to be fulfilled,” Vucic concluded.

Three books about the murder of Oliver Ivanovic

At the very end of the press conference, Vucic also revealed what was on his desk – three books about the murder of Oliver Ivanovic. He also added that one of the special points of last night’s National Security Council meeting was related to the murder of Ivanovic.

”In two years of lies, two years the state was directly and covertly accused of murder, both me personally, and his widow and Milan Radoicic, although it was irrefutably established that Radoicic could not have been (cf. involved in the murder).”

The campaign lasted for a long time, the president added, noting that they fell silent when the Albanians recently withdrew the warrant for Radoicic’s arrest.

According to him, presenting a lie as the truth is one of the ways to destroy Serbia.

See at: https://bit.ly/3eiAB2l

Dacic: Double standards of EU, Belgrade’s stances clear since beginning (Kosovo-online)

Serbian Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic said Belgrade never gave up on its stance there can be no progress in the dialogue with Pristina unless the latter fulfills obligations deriving from the Brussels agreement and establishes Community of Serb-majority Municipalities, Kosovo-online portal reports.

Dacic told TV K1 it was good that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic emphasized it once again during the meeting with EU’s special envoy for Belgrade-Pristina talks Miroslav Lajcak thus making it clear Belgrade doesn’t change stances in the dialogue, but firmly says it would insist on that.

“We never gave up on that, it is an old platform, it is our call that we constantly emphasize since the signing of the Brussels agreement towards the European institutions”, Dacic said.

He added the EU has double standards mentioning as an example recent elections in Kosovo, that were, as he said, held for the first time without foreign observers and OSCE Mission.

“Is Kosovo an ideal of democracy, how come no one appears there to talk about inter-parties dialogue? Because there are double standards”, Dacic said.

He also noted Belgrade’s stances were clear since the very beginning; there is no continuation of the dialogue, until the issue of the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities has been resolved.

Additional 28.080 doses of Pfizer vaccine arrived in Serbia (Tanjug)

Additional 28.080 doses of Pfizer-Biontech vaccine against Covid-19 arrived in Serbia today, Tanjug news agency reports.

As the Ministry of Health announced the vaccines were sent to Torlak institute. This was about a regular shipment of Pfizer vaccines, the Ministry added.

Meanwhile, the media report that 1.650.000 people received the first dose of the vaccine, while slightly above 620.000 people received the second dose. According to the media, around 200.000 of people registered for vaccination are yet to receive the first dose.

The media recalled that Serbia has ordered almost 15 million doses of vaccines against the Covid-19. 

Serbian List urges competent authorities to prosecute those who broke into Serbian Orthodox churches (Kosovo-online)

“It is disgraceful that in the 21st century, religious intolerance and desecration of holy places are part of everyday life of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, before the eyes of Europe and the world”, Serbian List (SL) said in their press communiqué, published on Saturday as a reaction to the robberies in Serbian Orthodox churches in Klokot and Partes, Kosovo-online portal reports.

“Serbian List urges Kosovo police to urgently investigate and prosecute those responsible for the desecration of churches in the municipalities of Klokot and Partes”, the SL added.

SL pointed out that “these vandal attacks, as well as hundreds of destroyed tombstones in Serbian cemeteries, which will be visited by the Serbian people on All Souls Day, were a disgrace of Kosovo institutions and the international community which is in charge of peace and creation of normal social relations by promoting coexistence and tolerance in Kosovo”.

Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija also condemned these two incidents by saying that these cases “most vividly illustrate endangerment of Orthodox heritage and religious buildings in Kosovo and Metohija, which are often the target of vandals, robberies, desecrations, as well as claims to their property and possessions”. 

The Office recalled that last year alone, more than 80 incidents were recorded in Kosovo, targeting Serbs, their property, graves and churches. 

“We demand that every case like this be clarified, and the perpetrators be sanctioned, because that is the only way we can build peace and mutual trust”, the Office concluded. 

Serbian opposition parties and organizations submits joint platform on elections conditions’ talks (N1)

The representatives of 11 Serbian opposition parties and organizations submitted on Monday to the country’s parliament a joint platform for negotiations on improving the election’s conditions with the ruling coalition under the European Parliament (EP) auspices, N1 reports.

Konstatin Samofalov of the Social-democrats told reporters the 11 were not a coalition but a group that worked on the platform, which had already been sent to the EP.

“We will take part in the negotiations with goodwill, but we are not optimists; we don’t have an illusion that the elections (due in spring next year) will be truly free“, Samofalov said.

Speaking about the joint platform, he listed media freedom, abuse of public finances, functionary campaign and pressure on voters as its part. He added that the NGOs such as CRTA, CeSID and BIRODI suggestions were also included in the text.

The head of the New Party Aris Movsesijan added that the common platform was “a framework for negotiations“, saying the problem was not in the election law that much but in lack of implementation.

See at: https://bit.ly/3kVvOVO

 

 

Opinion

 

Rebuilding on Equal Foundations (EurActiv)

This International Women’s Day takes place roughly one year after the start of the coronavirus pandemic. On 5 March last year we adopted the EU’s Gender Equality Strategy for this mandate with a number of measures aimed at ensuring that women are free, can lead and thrive on an equal basis to men, writes Helena Dalli, Maltese labour politician serving as European Commissioner for Equality.

When the virus hit us shortly after that, it did not take long before its disproportionate consequences for women were brought to light.

Women were at the frontline in hospitals and care work, and were exposed to the virus and its health risks while caring for others. Women helped ensure that our essential services were kept running. And yet, when childcare and schools closed, women were shouldering an even larger share of unpaid care work. We have also seen incidences of domestic violence increasing sharply during lockdown.

Besides, women are also feeling the financial strain as they are overrepresented in the sectors affected most by the Covid-19 fallout. For instance, in the hospitality sector where 61% of the workforce are women, employment fell by 23% between the second quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020. In short, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an exacerbation of long-standing gender inequalities. All the more reason to implement the measures that we laid out in the Gender Equality Strategy and in the meantime ensure that we move towards a post-pandemic Europe where gender inequalities and societal segregation become a thing of the past.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3cfd3ZF

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

UN highlights transformative power of equal participation, marking International Women’s Day (UN News)

In a message on International Women’s Day, marked annually on 8 March, Secretary-General António Guterres outlined “clear evidence”, such as better social protection programmes, stronger climate policies and enduring peace agreements, when women are in governments, parliaments or peace negotiations.  

“Whether running a country, a business or a popular movement, women are making contributions that are delivering for all and driving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, Mr. Guterres said. 

“I call on countries, companies and institutions to adopt special measures and quotas to advance women’s equal participation and achieve rapid change”, he urged. 

See more at: https://bit.ly/3kTe5OI

Covid could endanger progress on gender equality, says Merkel (The Guardian)

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic could endanger progress made on gender equality, as women take on the lion’s share of childcare in lockdown and are more likely to work in at-risk jobs.

“We have to make sure that the pandemic does not lead us to fall back into old gender patterns we thought we had overcome,” Merkel said in a video message ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday.

Women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, she said, while being underrepresented in decision-making positions.

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

A boy from Novo Brdo’s love for tennis breaks all boundaries (KoSSev)

Filip Pavic from the village of Bostane near Novo Brdo was only eight years old when he first held a tennis racket in his hands. Today, six years later, he has already won numerous trophies, as well as five awards for the best tennis player of the year. With another season ahead of him, Filip hopes that one day he will turn his passion into a career and follow in the footsteps of the greatest tennis players.

The 14-year old Filip Pavic from the village of Bostane near Novi Brdo is an eighth-grade student at the Miladin Popovic elementary school.

He started playing tennis in 2016 in Gracanica, in a school that was then run by a local PE teacher, Dejan Zivic.

However, even before Filip officially began playing tennis, this young man spent hours in his front yard and house with a racket in one hand and a ball in the other.

‘’The tennis racket hadn’t left his hands ever since he received it as a gift. He broke almost everything in our house,“ Filip’s father, Goran Pavic told KoSSev.

Thanks to the persistence and perseverance of young Filip, he succeeded in replacing the yard and his room with a real tennis court.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3sRk1e2

 

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, April 23, 2021

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