National Statement of President Vjosa Osmani

Summit for Democracy,

Dear President Biden, dear colleagues,

Democracy is more than a mere system of governance. For the Republic of Kosovo, it was our strong desire for democracy that secured our path to freedom and independence. And by strengthening it today, democracy will pave our way for a brighter future within Euro-Atlantic institutions.

At its very heart, democracy is fundamentally about having the right to choose your path, your future, and your destiny. The people of Kosovo have chosen their path.

This Year’s Summit for Democracy has certainly been our Year of Action! With full force and fervor we have worked to implement the commitments we set out last year.

But the Year of Action, has also been a year of substantial global challenges, with indiscriminate and flagrant violations of human rights happening across the world as we gather here today.

Kosovo knows too well what it’s like for an innocent people to be on the receiving end of a brutal and genocidal war, which is precisely why without a second thought we immediately imposed sanctions on Russia and have relentlessly supported the people of Ukraine.

The immense suffering of the Ukrainian people serves as a stark reminder that there is no price too high to pay for freedom and democracy – and we will continue to stand with our allies to defend these values anywhere in the world.

Over the past year, we have made significant progress in advancing our democracy, strengthening the rule of law and fighting corruption. We are implementing the National Strategy on the Rule of Law, alongside uncompromising and record-pace reforms to ensure accountable, equitable and responsive governance throughout public institutions.

Our efforts have been recognized the world over. Together with our friends from the Dominican Republic we have co-led the Rule of Law cohort within the Summit for Democracy. In addition, according to Freedom House, Kosovo ranked as the third most improved democracy in the world in 2022, and in just two years has jumped 20 places higher in Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption Index.

Since we last met, we have worked tirelessly to advance diversity and inclusion as a cornerstone for the protection of human rights. We committed to establishing the Presidential Council for Democracy and Human Rights – and we delivered. This Council has ensured oversight of our pledges and commitments by the highest institutions in the country and across every layer of governance, and its work will continue beyond the second edition of the Summit.

We are also proud to report the adoption of a bold national strategy against gender-based violence and for having taking meaningful steps to guarantee women’s rightful place in public institutions and decision-making roles.

A strong democracy is a democracy that also delivers for women. We have made significant strides, but as long as women continue to face misogyny in the workplace, violence at home, silencing in the classroom or abuse while walking down the street – this battle is far from over.

During this Year of Action, Kosovo has led the global discussions on advancing women’s rights by hosting the international forum on Women, Peace and Security with over 500 thought-leaders from 6 continents, and this coming October we look forward to welcoming you all for the second edition in our capital Prishtina.

Dear colleagues,

Our commitment to democracy isn’t just a Summit pledge, it’s our everyday existence on the frontline against autocracies.

Our commitment has and always will be unbreakable.

Our commitment to working with partners across the world to defend and nurture it is equally so.

As President Biden recently said: “it is in moments of great upheaval and uncertainty that knowing what you stand for matters most. And knowing who stands with you makes all the difference.”

It is only through joining forces that we can build a future where democracy is a reality for all. Thank you.

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