Back to school for Human Rights Day – gender violence and language rights in focus at Peja/Peć school
“Mirëdita, Dobar dan, Good day” – these were the three greetings used by the director of the Xhemajl Kada school during a Human Rights Day 2022 celebration that focused on both language rights and eliminating Gender Based Violence.
The Peja/Peć school played host to SRSG Ziadeh, IOM in Kosovo, the Kosovo Language Commissioner, the Ombudsperson’s Office and the Peja/Peć mayor, among others, as human rights messages were front and centre last Friday.
School director Sylë Peli highlighted the multiethnic and inclusive nature of the school – while calling on society to avoid a deterioration of relations between communities through reckless use of social media.
“We are very pleased and proud that our school has been recognized as a role model of interethnic cooperation and cooperation in the region.”
A bilingual language quiz was held and copies of the UNMIK/IOM-supported Albanian-Serbian/Serbian-Albanian dictionary were gifted to the school in recognition of language rights, while youngsters also painted a gender equality-themed mural to simultaneously mark the ongoing 16 Days Of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
“You are not only free and equal, you are also free to speak and communicate in your own language…we are here to empower you to translate your knowledge into action,” SRSG Ziadeh told the students.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme is ‘Dignity, Freedom and Justice For All’, in recognition of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 2 of the UDHR, signed on December 10, 1948, declares that everyone is entitled to the rights and freedoms outlined in the declaration “without distinction of any kind” including gender and language. Along with IOM and other partners, UNMIK has been supporting the development of language learning programmes, including a language learning application VocUp and the launch of the first Albanian-Serbian/Serbian-Albanian dictionary to be produced in 30 years. Language rights for all are a pre-requisite for the enjoyment of the entire spectrum of human rights and freedoms.