Civil society organizations from Serbia and Kosova protest plans to divide Kosova, in a joint letter to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini
Dear Ms Mogherini,
Civil society organizations from Serbia and Kosova are urging you to make an unambiguous statement against the division of Kosova or the exchange of territories between Kosova and Serbia on an ethnic principle. More frequent mentions of the possibility of redrawing the borders send a very dangerous message to the citizens of Serbia and Kosova, as well as to the entire region, that there is a real possibility of legitimizing a dangerous propaganda of ethnic ownership over the territory – a principle that has pushed the region on several occasions into bloody conflicts.
Such developments would inevitably produce a chain reaction in other Balkan states and lead to numerous requests for changes in the borders in the Balkans, which opens the door to new conflicts. Also, this would send a message to most Serbs in Kosova living south of the Ibar that they should move to “their” ethnic state, which could lead to another exodus of the population in the Balkans.
Civil society organizations have been trying for decades to improve contacts and cooperation between the two communities, primarily looking at the welfare of people living in Serbia and Kosova and the future of the entire region. It is necessary to establish a lasting peace in the region and to accept interculturality and multi-ethnicity as a prerequisite for development. The ethnically clean countries, the outdated 19th-century model, must not be the goals of any policy, nor should they be tolerated and supported by representatives of the international community.
You, like other representatives of the international community, have a special responsibility to prevent this issue from reaching the agenda of the negotiations. All mediators, in particular the European Union and the United States, are obliged to abide by the rules established by the Badinter Commission in 1991. Those rules that recognize the boundaries of the constituent elements of the former federation and deny the ethnic principle of division must extend to Kosova as a special case in the process of the dissolution of the SFRY.
Civil society organizations invite all actors, domestic and international, to actively oppose attempts to introduce the ethnic principle as the supreme in the building of states in the Balkans. Any state that is based on discrimination and divides citizens on any ground is pre-sentenced to failure. A society that develops on values opposed to respect for basic human rights is condemned to nationalism, isolation, and hopelessness. More and more young people are already leaving our countries, and the territories for which national and political elites are battling today will struggle without the driving democratic forces.
Civil society organizations invite the international community, but above all the authorities in Serbia and Kosova to devote themselves to the creation of the best possible living conditions for all inhabitants of Kosova (including the freedom of movement, business and international cooperation) during the negotiations, ensuring that the crimes from the past never happen again (including finding the missing persons as a primary task for both countries) and creating conditions for the development of legal and democratic government systems in Kosova and Serbia. Only such negotiations are a guarantee for a safe and dignified life for all people, regardless of national or any other differences.
Centar za praktičnu politiku
Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava
Beogradski centar za ljudska prava
Fond za humanitarno pravo
Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava
Sandžački odbor za ljudska prava
Kulturni centar Damad
Akademska inicijativa Forum 10
Centar za nove medije Liber
Centar modernih veština
Udruženje žena Peščanik
UG Za zdravu opštinu Stara Pazova
Centar za ljudska prava Niš
Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju
Syri i Visionit
Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosova
Let’s Do It Peja
Kosova Association Chopin
Centre for Social Groups Development– CSGD
Trentino con il Kossovo
Kosova Women’s Network
Kosova Democratic Institute
Numismatic association “Demastion”
Disability Development Centre