Petition of Civil Society Regarding
the Proposed Constitution of Kosovo
In the coming weeks the people of Kosovo will decide upon a new Constitution. We, who are members of civil society from various countries around the world, ask you to carefully consider many troubling aspects of the draft Constitution.
First, we ask you to consider that this document was written not by the people of Kosovo but by outsiders from non-governmental organizations who do not necessarily have the best interests of Kosovo in mind.
Second, we draw your attention to several Articles in the draft Constitution which should alarm all those who are concerned about the unwarranted intrusion of international institutions, about unborn children, and the basic unit of Kosovar society which is the natural family.
Unborn Children and Family Not Protected by Kosovo Constitution
Article 24 disallows discrimination based on sexual orientation. This clause will be used to promote homosexual marriage in Kosovo.
Article 25 protects life only from birth. This clause withdraws Constitutional protection for the unborn child leaving her exposed to abortion at any time for any reason.
Article 26 gives "the right to have control of her/his body in accordance with the law" and the "right to make decisions in relation to reproduction…" These are obvious references to abortion.
Article 37 states that “Based on free will, everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to have a family.” This article contradicts most human rights conventions that give that right exclusively to “men and women.”
Article 71 states that "the composition of the Assembly of Kosovo shall respect internationally recognized principles of gender equality." This langauge would open Kosovo to mandated quotas. Additionally, the term "gender" rather than "sex" is being used by some to include special rights for homosexuals.
International Institutions Imposed on Kosovo Constitution
Article 19 asserts that "international customary law… (has) superiority over the laws of the Republic of Kosovo which are not in compliance with them." Since the understanding of “customary international law” is widely contested, this provision will render the Constitution dangerously ambiguous. In recent years some have asserted an extremely expansive notion of customary international law that they say includes even non-binding UN resolutions and the opinions of UN committees.
Article 19 also specifically states that if Kosovo joins an international organization, the "norms" of that organization "have superiority, in case of conflict, over the laws of the Republic of Kosovo." Some assert that "norms" are established through documents like non-binding resolutions, the opinions of UN committees, and the opinions of non-governmental organizations.
Article 22 specifically imports a number of UN and other international documents into the Kosovo Constitution. This leaves open certain controversial social issues to the interpretation of foreign bodies.
- Specifically, the draft Constitution imports the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Proponents of CEDAW insist that the document itself is silent on abortion and on reproductive health, and they are right. What proponents will not tell you is that CEDAW is now misinterpreted by UN committees as legalizing abortion. According to Human Rights Watch, the CEDAW Committee has directed 93 countries to liberalize their abortion laws.
- In the same way, the UN committee that monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has also directed governments to liberalize their laws on abortion.
Article 53 states that “Human rights and fundamental freedoms shall be interpreted in compliance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and other international bodies that oversee the implementation of internationally guaranteed human rights.” Leaving the reference to “other international bodies” will potentially force Kosovo to obey recommendations of UN committees.
This draft Constitution strips Kosovo's traditional Muslim and Christian culture from values that affirm the dignity of human life and protect the institution of the natural family.
This draft Constitution places the decision making authority regarding rights and responsibilities of Kosovars into the hands of international bureaucrats.
For these reasons, we call upon all Kosovars of goodwill to publicly oppose these proposed articles of the draft Constitution of Kosovo.
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