NGO Center for Social Group Development (CSGD) organized on 17 March 2015 a conference on "LGBTIs in Politics". The aim of this conference was to gather together representatives from the government, political parties, international community and civil society to discuss how the LGBTI persons' rights and participation in politics could be improved.
Despite the fact that Kosovo has one of the region's broadest anti-discrimination laws, the situation for sexual minorities is fraught. Some progress of course has been made in recent years: the establishment of the Advisory and Coordination Group for the Rights of the LGBT Community and the first – although small – LGBTI parade in May 2014. However, there is still a lot of work to do, as activists still face daily discrimination. Political will to improve the situation at grass roots level has been low, so the promotion has been largely a responsibility of the international community. On the forefront has been the EU, who is funding a Twinning project in Kosovo aimed also at bettering the situation of the LGBTI community. The project is implemented by Austrian and Finnish experts.
In addition to the CSGD Project Coordinator Mr Agim Margilaj, on this occasion speeches gave the Head of Finnish Embassy, Ms Anne Meskanen, Deputy Minister Mr Ramadan Ilazi from the Ministry of European Integration, the Head of Political Section of the EU-Office Mr Thomas Gnocchi and Ms Jennifer Bachus of the US Embassy.
Meskanen reminded in her statement, that personal is political. Sex has its own power structures and it defines our sexuality. Therefore it is important to talk about sex, sexuality and rights of sexual minorities, even though it might feel uncomfortable and difficult.
- All of us must take a stand against homophobia, especially those who are considered leaders in the society. Also the Kosovo government and members of the parliament must acknowledge their duty to protect the people of the LGBTI community. Sexual and gender minorities' rights are fundamental human rights, which cannot be negotiated.