Dear Ms Mogherini,
Civil society organizations from Serbia and Kosovo are urging you to make an unambiguous statement against the division of Kosovo or the exchange of territories between Kosovo and Serbia on an ethnic principle. More frequent mentions of the possibility of redrawing the borders send a very dangerous message to the citizens of Serbia and Kosovo, as well as to the entire region, that there is a real possibility of legitimizing a dangerous propaganda of ethnic ownership over the territory – a principle that has pushed the region on several occasions into bloody conflicts.
Such developments would inevitably produce a chain reaction in other Balkan states and lead to numerous requests for changes in the borders in the Balkans, which opens the door to new conflicts. Also, this would send a dangerous message to all Serbs and Albanians which are living on the “wrong side” of “their” ethnic states, which could lead to another exodus of the population in the Balkans.
Civil society organizations have been trying for decades to improve communication and cooperation between the two communities, primarily looking at the welfare of people living in Serbia and Kosovo and the future of the entire region. It is necessary to establish a lasting peace in the region and to accept interculturality and multi-ethnicity as a prerequisite for development and EU integration aspirations. The ethnically clean countries, the outdated 19th-century model, must not be the goals of any policy, nor should they be tolerated and supported by representatives of the international community.
Civil society organizations invite all actors, domestic and international, to actively oppose attempts to introduce the ethnic principle as the supreme in the building of states in the Balkans. Any state that is based on discrimination and divides citizens on any ground is pre-sentenced to failure. A society that develops on values opposed to respect for basic human rights is condemned to nationalism, isolation, and hopelessness. More and more young people are already leaving our countries, and the territories for which national and political elites are battling today will struggle without the driving democratic forces.
Civil society organizations invite the international community, but above all the authorities in Serbia and Kosovo to devote themselves to the creation of the best possible living conditions for all inhabitants of Kosovo (including the freedom of movement, business and international cooperation) during the negotiations, ensuring that the crimes from the past never happen again (including finding the missing persons as a primary task for both countries) and creating conditions for the development of legal and democratic government systems in Kosovo and Serbia. Only such negotiations are a guarantee for a safe and dignified life for all people, regardless of national or any other differences.
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
Belgrade Center for Human Rights
Humanitarian Law Center
Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Serbia
Sanjak Committee for Human Rights
Cultural Center Damad
Academic Initiative Forum 10
Center for New Media Liber
Center for Modern Skills
Women Association Peščanik
Association of Citizens Stara Pazova
Human Rights Center Niš
Syri i Visionit
Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo
Let’s Do It Peja
Kosovo Association Chopin
Centre for Social Groups Development– CSGD
Trentino con il Kossovo
Kosovo Women’s Network
Kosova Democratic Institute
Numismatic association “Demastion”
Disability Development Centre