20 June 2001


NEW YORK, 19 June (UN Headquarters) -- Representatives of Kosovo women’s non-governmental organizations and civil society met last night with the President of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury of Bangladesh, along with the Ambassadors of Colombia, Jamaica, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

During a wide-ranging discussion, participants agreed on the need for greater involvement by Kosovo women in political and economic activities in the province. It was especially important that women should have a place at the negotiating table and in peace-building activities.

The Security Council commended women NGOs in Kosovo for their efforts to promote reconciliation and inter-ethnic cooperation. The ambassadors also outlined initiatives being taken -- with the strong support of the Secretary-General and the Security Council -- to ensure that women’s concerns were addressed throughout the United Nations system.

The adoption of Security Council resolution 1325, which calls for greater involvement of women in peace negotiations and the protection of civilians in conflict situations, marked a great step forward, but it was equally important that it be implemented in the field, Ambassador Chowdhury noted.

The Kosovo participants called for enhanced dialogue and consultation between United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and women’s groups, to ensure that issues such as domestic violence and equal opportunities were reflected in new legislation and discussions on developments in Kosovo. The NGOs welcomed the quota for female candidates in the forthcoming general elections, and called for more training to support the participation of women in the electoral process.

Tom Koenigs, the Deputy Special Representative for Civil Administration, outlined steps which UNMIK would take to promote better cooperation with women’s groups.

Ambassador Chowdhury described the meeting as extremely useful and thanked the participants for their contribution to the creation of civil society in post-war Kosovo. He said he would report on the meeting in the Security Council’s report on its mission, and discuss the issues raised by the group with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Hans Haekkerup.

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