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OSCE Mission Head welcomes decision to create human rights cells in Kosovo ministries

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PRISTINA, 22 July 2005 - The Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Werner Wnendt, welcomed today's decision by Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi to create Human Rights Cells in each of the ministries in the executive branch of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG).
"The decision marks a most significant step forward in the implementation of human rights principles within the law of Kosovo," he said.

While each ministry already has "focal points" dedicated to the most pressing human rights concerns, including the rights of communities, gender equality and equal opportunity, the human rights cells will bring together civil service staff at the ministerial level.

"This will enable each ministry to give more depth of attention to human rights compliance within its specific sectoral focus."

Further, the creation of human rights cells will develop the internal structure necessary for ministry level participation in the development of the Comprehensive Human Rights Strategy, and the implementation of the Anti-Discrimination Law, Regulation 2004/32.

The significance of Prime Minister Kosumi's action today to put the focus on human rights at the ministerial level is long term and far reaching, Ambassador Wnendt added.

Even after Kosovo's future status questions have been addressed, government compliance with human rights principles will be seen as an important indicator for measuring Kosovo's stability.

The integration of respect for human rights into local cultural norms can help to stimulate economic investment from abroad.

The OSCE Mission, in addition to the support it gave in this process to date, will also train people designated as parts of the human rights cells in the ministries and the Prime Minister's office. Technical advice on the formation of this structure, as well as human rights related legislation will be provided by both local and international experts.