More than 150 young people attending the Prishtina Youth Summit 2012 that had gathered human rights and democratic activists from Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, came out in force by standing in solidarity with the staff of the Kosovo 2.0 magazine waving signs “Kosovo 2.0″ and “Human Rights” last night at the “New Born” location in Prishtina, a major landmark associated with the independence of Kosovo.
The beleaguered staff of the Kosovo 2.0 magazine staff and its supporters were viciously attacked by an organized mob of men on Friday night. An initial group of approximately 20 men beat a male member of the staff and destroyed audio visual equipment to be used for a reading at “Red Hall,” the Youth Center by writers who contributed to a new edition about sexuality in the Balkans.
Later in the evening, about 100 men screaming epithets against homosexuals, disrupted the magazine’s planned dance party, resulting in the staff deciding to cancel, not willing to risk the lives of the staff and its supporters.
Staff members of The Youth Initiative for Human Rights were the Balkan organizers of the summit, told summit participants that they intended to stage a demonstration in solidarity with Kosovo 2.0 due to the events of Friday night, according to Maja Micic, the director of the Belgrade YIHR office and a key organizer of the summit.
“We invited everyone to join us and felt it was really important to interrupt the agenda,” Micic said. “This is the least we could do and the importance of responding immediately was more important than our summit agenda.”
Last night, Elaine Conklevich, the Acting Head of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo, issued a statement condemning that attacks on the Kosovo 2.0 magazine and called for a swift investigation by Kosovar law enforcement authorities.
Micic also said that there has been a presumption that Kosovo was a much more liberal state and that the attacks indicated otherwise.
“It is really important that Kosovo, the host country for this summit, responds and reacts immediately,” she said. This is something not to slide back on. It is crucial.”
Yesterday, the Kosovo 2.0 staff published a note to the public about the attacks on their Facebook page. The National Endowment for Democracy is a major funder of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, The Prishtina Youth Summit and Kosovo 2.o.
Images courtesy of the Prishtina Youth Summit
Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement blog. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues. She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.
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