The Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Serbia (YIHR Serbia) calls the President of the Republic of Serbia and the members of the Government not to approach peace in such a delicate situation as if it were established by simply using the word peace in light of the escalating gravity of the situation in the north of Kosovo. Actions and responsible public discourse that prevents the escalation of ethnic hatred is the foundation of a lasting peace. In order to prevent the situation in the northern part of Kosovo from turning violent again, we request that the President of the Republic speak with representatives of the Kosovo Serbs.

Kosovo Serbs are not better off as a result of tensions and violence, and we believe that political representatives leaving Kosovo’s institutions was the wrong decision that widened the divide and increased mistrust. In light of such developments, all other agreements cannot have a positive impact on the normalization of relations and the establishment of guarantees for the security of the Kosovo Serbs. 

Instead of constant accusations, violent addresses and antagonizing Kosovo’s negotiators, we have always seen room for improving the dialogue in political maturity and a different attitude towards the common past. Any difficulty in communicating with Prishtina has its origins in our turbulent past, and it is crucial to find answers by addressing the factors that contributed to our miscommunication and have an impact on people’s daily life.

The young people we interact with, who will and ought to carry a future of peace rather than violence, feel fear and uncertainty.  All decision-makers have a duty to alter the climate of fear by taking responsible action and making difficult choices that will be a long-term guarantee of peace.

The situation we witnessed in the northern part of Kosovo is not and cannot be only a result of one party’s actions throughout the negotiation process. All those who had the ability to stop the escalation of violence through their actions bear responsibility. We have repeatedly emphasized the negative effects of public remarks made by our country’s highest state officials, which promote antagonism and keep tensions high rather than proactively addressing the issue. Those in power have a responsibility to apply their authority in a way that gives young people in this country and the surrounding region a safe environment and an opportunity for cooperation and communication so that the younger generations are not held hostage by their own ethnic identities.

We demand from the President of the Republic of Serbia and other government representatives to stop using violent rhetoric, expressing anti-Albanian comments, endorsing war criminals, and having a demeaning attitude toward victims, which is mostly demonstrated by denying war crimes and responsibility.