A Cool Way to Conclude 16 Days of Activism with Women’s Right NGO
Within the 16 Days of activism, NGO Women’s Rights and PCC Aquarius marked the International Human Rights Day by organizing an artistic performance and a debate on women’s and LGBTQ’s rights as human rights. Inspired by the testimonies of the women from the community, a performance titled “The Orange Feet” portrayed the experiences of gender-based violence, aiming to use art as means to raise the awareness of all forms of gender-based violence and gender-roles, as well as to encourage inclusion. The young artists used empathy as a fundamental factor in reducing prejudice by connecting the true stories of gender-based violence to reach every heart in the room and expose such violence as a reality in our society.
Following the performance, UN Development Coordinator in Kosovo, Ms. Ulrika Richardson, emphasized the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the need for the continuous struggle for gender equality and combating gender-based violence. Using her personal experience, Ms. Richardson described her upbringing by a feminist mother who taught her that the job is not done, and it was on her to continue the process of seeking an equal and just world. Ms. Richardson additionally emphasized the importance of the international standards for human rights and existing laws and mechanisms in Kosovo. She also pointed out that awareness-raising is fundamental to changing the norms that maintain women subordinate to men in society, but also the need for inclusion of men in combating gender-based violence and increasing gender equality. Ms. Richardson concluded by stating that 16 Days of Activism and such activities are crucial in awareness-raising and contributing to the inclusion and acceptance of diversity.
During the debate, the panelists Ms. Igballe Rogova, Executive Director of Kosova Women’s Network, Ariana Qosaj-Mustafa, Program Director at KIPRED, and Ružica Simić, Executive Director of NGO Women’s Rights shared their extensive knowledge and experiences as women’s activists. In a less-formal discussion, the panelists talked about women’s status throughout history, emphasizing that the term men’s rights was internationally replaced by human rights by the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. However, it wasn’t until 1995 that the international community showed determination to enhance the status of women by adopting the Beijing Declaration.
The panelists talked about the intersectional discrimination of gay and transgender communities, stating that the first transgender person in Kosovo finally managed to legally change the name after the years-long bureaucratic process. The panelists also stressed the importance of networking among the organizations and activists, stressing the importance for women to recognize themselves as a separate social group regardless of their ethnic identity. Throughout a very open discussion between the panelists, the participant heard the stories about the topics that are still considered taboo in society. The honesty and acceptance filled the room where people of different gender, sexual orientations, and ethnic identities mutually showed the beauty and benefits of diversity.
The event was organized within the 16 Days of Activism by NGO Women’s Rights and PCC Aquarius from North Mitrovica, while the UN Development Coordinator’s Office/UNKT and EULEX supported it.