Catholics unhappy at rights for gay Kosovans

The draft constitution of Europe’s newest nation is under attack from Roman Catholic political organisations because it seeks to protect gay people from discrimination.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia earlier this month, backed by the US, the UK and other leading nations.

Its draft constitution contains specific provisions to protect Kosovans from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and enshrines the right to marry but does not limit that right to a man and a woman.

It also states that interpretation of the rights contained in the documents will rely on “the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and other international bodies that oversee the implementation of internationally guaranteed human rights.”

Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute has raised objections to the draft document, which must be adopted within four months.

The group says its mission is “educating the public at large about the pressing issues debated at the UN and at other international institutions.”

It claims the new constitution “would transform the traditional Muslim and Orthodox Christian society by removing all legal protection from unborn children and granting special rights on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Article 25 of the draft document on the “Right to Life” removes protection from the unborn stating that, “every individual enjoys the right to life from birth,” and Article 26 grants “the right to make decisions in relation to reproduction in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth by law,” further giving each Kosovar “the right to have control over his/her body in accordance with law.””

In December 2007 LGBT rights organisation ILGA-Europe reported:

“Minorities and other vulnerable groups face restrictions in exercising their right to freedom of assembly and association across Kosovo.

“There is a need to promote more actively the rights of groups such as homosexuals to fight prejudice and verbal and physical violence.”

The UK government has given strong backing to Kosovan independence, despite objections from Russia and Serbia.

The country has been under the interim control of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) since the 1999 Kosovo war.

16,000 troops from 34 countries, 1,500 of them from the UK, are stationed in the country, forming a NATO-led peacekeeping force.