Most media cover Kosovo Ambassador to the United States of America’s speech at the United Nations on Wednesday. Below is Citaku’s address:
I was honored to speak today at the #UN and share the stories of our brave women. I want to thank Nordic Women Mediators and the Prime Minister of Island for inviting me at the panel. I felt stronger and empowered with Vasfije by my side.
“After the war ends, pain comes in different shapes. There is pain that is accompanied with pride, for the fallen, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. There is pain that is accompanied with sorrow, for all the missing. There is pain accompanied with honor, for generations of people who fought so we could see the light of day. And then, there is the worst shape of pain. The one that is accompanied with stigma, shame, exclusion. Without any fault of their own, survivors of the sexual violence still live with these feelings.
Women’s body was used as a battlefield by Serbian military and paramilitary forces in Kosovo. 20.000 women were raped during the war. For them, the war never ended. Their stories are shivering. I have heard the story of a young girl from a small village in Kosovo who was gang raped for six months. I have heard another of a young bride, pregnant, that was raped and lost the baby and the chance to conceive again. These are stories of a truth that has been attempted to be concealed, hidden, buried.
But because of strong women activists like Feride Rushiti, Igo Rugova and Kadire Tahiraj, the stories of the survivors of the sexual violence in Kosovo were not buried. And because of courageous women like Vasfije Krasniqi, survivors of the sexual violence in Kosovo have a voice and have a face. Vasfije was only 16 years old when she was taken from the arms of her mother. She was raped. They did not kill her, because as they told her “ you will suffer more if we leave you alive “. Little did they know that Vasfije would survive, grow up and become this incredible woman. Little did they know that she would become a mother of two wonderful daughters, and the voice and hope of all the women that were raped in Kosovo during the war.
The perpetrators of this terrible war crime must be brought to justice. We can not build peace and reconciliation if we deny justice to them”.