© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

Vjosa Dobruna
Human Rights
Two female Kosovar pediatricians are leading the effort for human rights protection and tolerance in Kosovo. Vjosa Dobruna, MD, (left) founder of the Center for Protection of Women and Children and Co-Minister for Democraticization under UNMIK, is internationally recognized for her bravery and tenacity for the defense of universal human rights. She is currently working to stop the sexual exploitation of women and children in Kosovo. In March 1999, Serb special police arrested her and deported her to Blace refugee camp in Macedonia. She didn’t waste any time and started a women’s center, which still operates there.

“We need real open borders where ethnicity doesn’t matter…There must be de-Nazification of Serbs. They must face the truth of what they did,”said Dr. Dobruna. When asked about Albanian attacks against Serbs, she said, “In June 1999, one million Albanians came running back into Kosovo with nothing but mass graves. Give people a chance.”

In June 2000, she participated in a historic dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in Airlie, VA, sponsored by the US Institute for Peace. The two sides agreed to a Pact Against Violence.
Flora Brovina, MD, a pediatrician and a poet, is the most well-known and revered political prisoner still in a Serb jail. She founded the League of Albanian Women and the Center for the Rehabilitation of Women and Children (bottom photo). Her husband, Ajri Begu (below), an economist and poet, said that the women and children call his wife “Mother Flora.” Her center offers schooling to orphans, widows and refugees.

Brovina was arrested on April 20,1999 and sentenced to 12 years in prison because Serb authorities claimed that the wool women were knitting at her center was used to make sweaters for the KLA. Ajri visited her regularly in prison in Serbia where he must speak in Serbian. Since her arrest, she has suffered a stroke. She was finally released from prison in November 2000.

Despite her detention, Flora was recently nominated Deputy Ombudsperson in Kosovo to investigate human rights violations and promote ethnic co-existence and reconciliation.