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Press Release

Message from EULEX Head of Mission Bernd Borchardt on the International Women's Day

07 March 2014

Every year we celebrate International Women's Day, we often take this opportunity to draw attention to the injustices, inequalities and violence that women face not just in Kosovo, but throughout the world. We do this because we want to make the point that domestic violence is not acceptable, impunity for the perpetrators of sexual violence is not acceptable, and discrimination on the basis of sex is not acceptable.

All of this remains true and will continue to remain true tomorrow, next month, and next year, and we must fight against these injustices tomorrow, next month and next year. Although women face injustices, inequalities, and violence, we must remember that women, just as men, can be agents for positive change.

So on this 8th March, I would like to focus on women's participation. I am privileged to be working with many women in EULEX who are contributing to positive changes in Kosovo, and Kosovo society is also fortunate to have some excellent examples of strong, female leaders at the highest levels. In order for more women to play a role in the Kosovo's development, they need to be empowered to do so.

It is especially important that this empowerment occurs in the field of rule of law. It is not about whether men or women are better judges, prosecutors or police officers. Both can perform their duties professionally and efficiently, and both merit equal recognition for their talents and hard work. Including women can offer alternative perspectives and strategies, and EULEX has found that maintaining this diversity in the workforce has been a crucial asset in our interactions with the victims of conflict-related sexual violence.

I was happy to hear that some of these questions are addressed in the Action Plan on UN Resolution 1325, drafted by the Agency on Gender Equality, which was launched just this morning. The Action Plan aims to increase the participation of women in decision-making, to integrate gender perspectives into security affairs, and increase the participation of women in the security institutions, and improve access to protection, justice, rehabilitation, and reintegration for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

Having this mind, in today's world accepting gender equality and equity as a common standard in all areas, including rule of law, is the only way forward.