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Draft Kosovo constitution eliminates protection for unborn, marriage

.- A draft constitution for the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo would remove all legal protection for unborn children and undermine marriage, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute reports.

Article 25 of the draft document on the “Right to Life” states that “every individual enjoys the right to life from birth,” while Article 26 grants "the right to make decisions in relation to reproduction in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth by law" and secures for each citizen "the right to have control over his/her body in accordance with law."

The draft constitution also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The English version of the draft article “Right to Marriage and Family” omits mentioning men and women, saying, "Based on free will, everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to have a family."

The non-governmental organization Public International Law and Policy Group initially authored the draft constitution in 2004.  Tufts University professor Bruce Hitchner, one of the draft’s authors, told C-FAM that the constitution had generally maintained its original form.  After the organization drafted the document, it was given to the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe.  Hitchner said that European lawyers evaluated and assessed the document, with Americans working on it “quietly.”

The Venice Commission, which was established in 1990 to help former communist countries in the transition to democracy, had given the document to the Constitutional Commission of Kosovo.  The chairman of the commission, Hajredin Kuci, said that commission members would visit municipalities and organize meetings in Kosovo to receive public comment on the document before March 26, the 120-day deadline mandated by the UN Secretary General.

The draft constitution also cedes the interpretation of social norms to international human rights bodies at the United Nations, such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Protocols.  The committees monitoring these treaties have been criticized for interpreting the documents to include abortion “rights” and other controversial entitlements specifically excluded from the by their mandate.

The draft constitution states that it will rely on the European Court of Human Rights and other international bodies to oversee the implementation of human rights.

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