11 Apr UFI President in Kosovo to Address Constitutional Issues
UFI President Carol Soelberg is in Pristina, Kosovo working with pro-family/pro-life coalition allies for the purpose of commenting on the draft of a new constitution’s treatment of social values. Carol filed this report:
I am safely in Kosovo. It was a long, but good trip. I am meeting many wonderful people here and our agenda continues to add new appointments. Our goal is to actually start a few grassroots organizations that will help convey our message when we leave. Our fear is that the newly formed government is moving from “dependence” under the ruling of the United Nations to unelected international bureaucrats, as opposed to their own independent rule.
The man who picked me up from the airport told me a fascinating story. He is an Albanian and has lived here with his family all his life. In 1999, all Albanians were called to the city center for a “rally.” When they arrived, they learned that they were all to be killed on the spot. The commander in charge could not bring himself to do such a dastardly deed, so he put all 8,000 people in trucks and drove them to Albania, where they had to stay for three months until things settled down some. They left without any clothes or supplies, but were grateful to be alive.
Our coalition team of legal and human rights experts is meeting with top government officials and religious leaders about the draft constitution. The team comes from some of the most influential non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the United States and Europe that focus on social policies related to constitutional and international law, human rights and international institutions. I am representing United Families International here. The team consists of members from: the Alliance Defense Fund, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, Concerned Women for America, Chrétiens Démocrates Fédéraux, Action pour la famille-Actie, Educational Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe, Human Life International, Alliance of Romania’s Families and Advocates Europe.
The group is concerned that aspects of the draft constitution removes any ability for Kosova to determine what issues are constitutionally protected. For instance, language in the draft could be misinterpreted to promote certain rights including special rights for “sexual orientation” leading to same-sex “marriage,” a right to abortion. The coaliton is also concerned that the draft could violate the rights of conscience of Kosovar professionals and limit speech, media, assembly and association, preventing any public expression of unpopular viewpoints – the viewpoints that most need constitutional protection.
We are meeting with senior government officials and we also held a press conference today. This weekend, the group will provide a lecture at the University of Pristina and meet with religious leaders.
Our purpose is to comment on the substance of the constitution, not to address the question of independence.