Statement of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, at the Summit for Democracy

Dear President Biden,
Esteemed participants,
I speak to you as the President of the Republic of Kosovo, one of the youngest yet most vibrant democracies in the world.
Kosovo will soon mark 14 years of independence, but we have fought authoritarian and genocidal regimes for much longer than that. Democracy is in the fabric of our society, it is deeply entrenched in our historic struggle for freedom and human rights. And, as envisioned by our founding father, President Rugova, our Republic stands strongly on three pillars: freedom, independence, and democracy.
Kosovo today continues to thrive through free and fair elections, with peaceful transitions of power, unfettered media freedoms, and the highest standards of human rights enshrined in our constitution.
But, Democracy is never a finished or finite project. So today, I set out Kosovo’s commitments for strengthening and nurturing our democracy to ensure it stands the test of time. We will:
1.     Strengthen the rule of law through the full implementation of the Strategy on Rule of Law, and a vetting process that will instill integrity, impartiality and professionalism at the heart of our justice system. We commit to enacting and implementing advanced legislation to seize illicit wealth, impose a travel ban on foreign individuals involved in serious human rights abuses, clamp down on foreign governments’ funding for political parties and ban public institutions from using untrusted surveillance vendors.
2.     Bolster the role of women in our society by initiating proceedings to harmonize all relevant laws with the provisions of the law on gender equality, to guarantee women’s rightful place in public institutions and decision-making roles. We will also adopt a bold national strategy against gender-based violence to implement the Istanbul Convention, to halt this epidemic through prevention and protection, and increase minimum sentences to reflect the severity of the gender-based crimes.
3.     I will establish a Presidential Council on Democracy and Human Rights that will bring together public institutions and civil society to drive and monitor the implementation of our commitments. This council shows our long-term commitment to improving our democracy.
We must not take democracy for granted, and we must relentlessly protect it. Whether a big or small a country, we can all make a difference, especially if we join forces. We are, therefore, pledging to work with you all to deliver on our objectives, share best practices, counter Russian interference and propaganda, and promote peace around the world.
In this spirit, I will host a Global Summit for Women in Peace and Security in 2022 that will bring together leaders from around the world.
In the struggle between democracy and autocracy, history teaches us that appeasement of autocrats never works. Today is more than a Summit, it is our collective voice rejecting autocratic tendencies, and it is our collective voice standing up for democracy.
I want to thank President Biden for his leadership in this endeavor.
From the most pro-American nation on earth, thank you all, and goodbye.

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