Kosovo has a very long history with many claiming control of the territory over the Centuries. In recent times it was the “Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija” and part of the Constituent Republic of Serbia, which was itself part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the ugly breakup of Yugoslavia, Kosovo was claimed as part of Serbia but in February 2008 the Republic of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.
Today, while Serbia continues to claim Kosovo as part of it’s sovereign territory, the Republic of Kosovo is recognised by 23 of the 28 members of the European and is regarded as a potential candidate for future enlargement of the European Union. Kosovo is also a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, International Road and Transport Union, Regional Cooperation Council, Council of Europe Development Bank, Venice Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and has gained full membership in many major sports federations including the International Olympic Committee.
However, due to lacking diplomatic recognition from at least 85 United Nations member countries, the Republic of Kosovo is not yet a member of the United Nations. It is therefor currently unable to be a member of the International Telecommunications Union, the organisation which controls allocation of callsigns internationally. The Z6 range of callsigns is therefore not formally allocated to the Republic.
SHRAK was founded in 2000. Due to the lack of a callsign range allocation to Kosovo, the Assoication was unable to be active on the air. However, on 29th of August 2008, the Government of the Republic of Kosovo issued a decree claiming the usage of the Z6 call sign range for its whole geographical territory.
In September 2012 SHRAK was re-established as a non-profit organization for Amateur Radio Activities in Kosovo, approved by Kosovan Regulatory Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications – ARKEP. SHRAK is the only recognised organisation in Kosovo representing and promoting Amateur Radio and boasts a membership from a very high percentage of the Radio Amateurs in Kosovo..
The application for membership of the IARU was considered by IARU Region 1 who, in May 2014, were of the opinion that SHRAK met the requirements for membership and submitted the proposal to the IARU international union.
This week’s reports on the results of the ballot for this proposal indicate that the proposal has failed. It appears that some opposed to SHRAK’s membership even questioned the right for that organisation to be constituted – if this report is correct it indicates a high handed attitude to the organisation, it’s members and the territory of Kosovo which may well be driven by politics rather than the regulations of the IARU.
Somewhere In the politics there are views which are coloured by the potential for parts of other European countries to seek independence, including Catalonia from Spain and even, despite a referendum, the ongoing debate relating to Scotland and the United Kingdom.
It is highly likely that the desire of Kosovo’s national Association to be admitted to the IARU will be revisited and almost certain that, in due time, they will become members. However, it may take recognition by international bodies, particularly the UN, to overcome the blinkered thinking of some IARU member countries.
It seems incredible that when Radio Amateur’s across the world have been involved in and successful in re-establishing Amateur Radio in Kosovo, including involvement from IARU Region, that the international body should now fail to recognise these endeavours. Whether the IARU’s decision can be considered to be in the spirit of international Amateur Radio is open to question.