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.
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