Yesterday, on the 12th of December, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Administration refused the civil society’s recommendations on the Law on Freedom of Association in NGOs by voting in favor of the current version of the law that contains anti-constitutional provisions which endanger the future of the non-governmental sector in Kosovo. This vote followed the return by the Office of the President of the law approved on 7th of November, based on a request by around 80 CSOs.

The meeting was characterized by insulting and threatening statements against civil society by some of the MPs, as well as misleading and partial presentation of the civil society’s arguments by the Head of Committee Mr. Nait Hasani. Despite elaborations by some of the MPs that the law is against the Constitution and that civil society’s arguments are just, civil society’s requests were refused with 5 votes against, 4 votes for and one abstention. The votes against were cast by: Mr. Nait Hasani (PDK), Mr. Milaim Zeka (Social Democratic Initiative), Mr. Adem Mikullovci (LVV), Mr. Imet Rrahmani (LDK), and Mr. Albert Kinolli (6+). The votes for were cast by: Ms. Xhevahire Izmaku (PDK), Mr. Rasim Selmanaj (AAK), Mr. Arban Abrashi (LDK), and Ms. Shqipe Pantina (PSD), while Mr. Valon Ramadani (VV) abstained. Ms. Jasmina Živković (Lista Srpska) was not present at the meeting.

After the vote in the Committee, the Law on Freedom of Association in NGOs will be voted on the plenary session of the Assembly, where Members of the Assembly will either vote in order to keep in force the current version of the law that was approved during the second reading on the 7th of November, with all its anti-constitutional provisions, or, take into consideration the civil society’s requests included in the amendments sent by the Office of the President.

If it remains unchanged, the Law on Freedom of Association in NGOs will enter into force with provisions that run contrary to international principles and the 2013 Constitutional Court Judgement KO 97/12 on the Law on Banks. It will legalize the possibility for the NGO capital to be transferred to private institutions, an unprecedented case in Europe and beyond and in full contradiction to the basic non-profit principle. Furthermore, it gives the state space to terminate NGOs based on arbitrary interpretations of the NGO activities, as well as complicates the founding and registration of NGOs and the Public Benefit Status.

Civil Society organizations will continue their meetings with heads of the Parliamentary Groups and individual MPs in order to request from them that their decision in the plenary sessions be based on arguments, decisions of the Constitutional Court and international principles, and as such to halt the approval of an anti-constitutional law that endangers the future of the non-governmental sector in Kosovo.

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