Letters of Support from Civil Society Organizations and human rights defenders from Western Balkans and Turkey for the Regulation of same-sex marriage in the Draft Civil Code

 

We, the Civil Society Organizations and human rights defenders from Western Balkans and Turkey signed in this document, support the requests made by the Kosovo LGBTI organisations from the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, the Committee on Legislation, Mandates, Immunities, Rules of Procedure of the Assembly and the Oversight of the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Committee on Human Rights, Gender Equality, Missing Persons, Victims of Sexual Violence of War and Petitions and all Members of the Assembly of Kosovo, to regulate marriage between persons of the same sex in the Civil Code of Kosovo to ensure compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

 

As the most inclusive among the states in the region, Kosovo's Constitution has been serving as a positive example to which other states in our region should strive. Kosovo’s Parliament now has a historic opportunity to reflect on adopting a Civil Code that will align with the Constitution and recognise same-sex marriage. A Civil Code inclusive of same-sex marriage is not just in line with the Constitution of Kosovo, as the supreme domestic law, but also with international law and standards that ensure that all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identities or any other protected characteristic.

 

It is concerning to see that the Ministry of Justice as a sponsor of this law, failed to define same-sex marriage in the Draft Civil Code, contrary to the freedoms expressed in the Constitution of Kosovo and contrary to many appeals by the civil society sector, and the legal experts in Kosovo.

 

The Draft Civil Code needs to provide a clear and unambiguous definition of same-sex marriage using inclusive language in line with the Constitution of Kosovo and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Therefore, we now welcome the opportunity for Members of the Assembly of Kosovo to address this issue based on the citizens' concerns, amend the draft law and adopt it. This approach will prove your dedication in drafting legislation without discrimination.

 

The Constitution of Kosovo is one of the few in the world that provides for a clear prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and guarantees for everyone the right to marry and to have a family life. Therefore, everyone enjoys these indivisible and interdependent rights, and discrimination is not permitted based on sexual orientation or any other personal status. Considering that all public institutions of the Republic of Kosovo must exercise their powers based on the principle of equality of all individuals before the law, the Assembly of Kosovo also has a legal obligation to create legal solutions according to the Constitution.

 

In addition, the Constitution allows for direct application of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols in Kosovo's domestic legislation and stipulates that in the event of a conflict of legal provisions, the latter shall prevail. Furthermore, following the Constitution of Kosovo, fundamental human rights must be interpreted in accordance with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. In this case, the current Draft Civil Code is in conflict and inconsistent with the acts positioned above in the legal system.

 

Finally, the Civil Code should be a comprehensive code inclusive of all citizens of Kosovo without discrimination. LGBTIQ+ people are not second-class citizens and should not be treated as such. The protection of our communities must be institutionalised, and the Members of the Assembly of Kosovo can ensure that by adequately amending and adopting the Draft Civil Code.

 

The Assembly of Kosovo must respect the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, which protects and guarantees the rights of LGBTIQ+ people. Therefore, we ask you, the representatives of the people, to demonstrate the commitment and readiness to properly lead the codification of civil law by ensuring inclusion and equality for all citizens of Kosovo.

 

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Albanian Association of PLWHA                                                        17 May Association/17 Mayıs Derneği
Ambasada PINK Shqiperi                                                                  Alba Ahmetaj
Ankara Rainbow Families Association                                               Aleksandar Nikolic
Association for Cultural and Media Activism QUEER SQUARE        Altin Hazizaj
Association for Educational Development EKVALIS                          Arbër Kodra
Association LGBT United Tetovo                                                        Bekim Asani
Association Spectra                                                                            Biljana Ginova
Coalition Margins                                                                                Buket Kara
Crisis Response and Policy Centre (CRPC)                                       Daniel Martinovic
Društvo DIH                                                                                         Danijel Kalezic
Društvo ŠKUC                                                                                     Dina Bajrektarević
ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for WB&T                              dr. Tatjana Greif
Free Colors Association                                                                       Elena Danova
Kaos GL                                                                                               Franko Dota
Labris - Lesbian Human Rights Organization                                      Jernej Škof
Legebitra                                                                                              Jovan Ulićević
Lesbian Section SKUC LL                                                                    Kocho Andonovski
LGBT centar Split                                                                                 Kristian Ranđelović
LGBT Forum Progress                                                                         Linn Julian Koletnik
LGBTI Jadro                                                                                         Maja Šenk
LGBTI Support Center                                                                          Miran Šolinc
LGBTIQ Social Centre                                                                          Mustafa Sarıyılmaz
National Center for Sexual and Reproductive Healt - Potent               Nedime Erdogan
NGO Re Generation                                                                             Nenad Micov
Open Mind Spectrum Albania (OMSA) Oguzhan                                 Latif Nuh
Queer Montenegro                                                                               Olimbi Hoxhaj
Queer Sport Split                                                                                  Özge Gökpınar
Rainbow Families Croatia                                                                     Petar Dukic
ŠKUC Magnus                                                                                      Petar Stojkovikj
Te Bashkuar Pro Kauzes LGBT ne Shqiperi (ProLGBT)                      Stefan Pejić
TransAkcija Institute                                                                              Tjaša Rupar
Tuzla Open Center                                                                                Tonči Kranjčević Batalić
XY Spectrum                                                                                         Vladimir Sjekloca
Zagreb Pride