DEEPLY SADDENED BY THE MURDER OF A PREGNANT WOMAN ALLEGEDLY BY HER PARTNER, THE SECURITY AND GENDER GROUP CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE AND CONCRETE PROTECTION OF WOMEN
The second femicide in Kosovo in less than a week has stained the annual global campaign to bring an end to violence against women and girls, this time with a nine-month pregnant woman shot dead allegedly by her partner.
The devastating death of the pregnant woman on Wednesday, 30 November in Prishtinë/Priština, whose unborn child also did not survive the shooting, follows on the murder of S.G by her husband in her sleep on Friday (25 November), International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the same day that the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence began around the world.
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) strongly condemns these atrocious acts. We express indignation at the number of women’s lives lost in Kosovo to violence perpetrated by their partners or former partners. We also strenuously call upon relevant institutions urgently to address the institutional protection failure which allows reported domestic violence to result in femicide, and to provide effective protection to those victims whose lives are still at risk.
Also, the SGG extends heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.
As the whole world marks the annual international “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” campaign, we are shocked at these blatant cases of apparent partner violence directed at women– giving the dreadful statistic of two cases of femicide only five days apart.
Gender-related killings of women, known as femicide, are the most brutal and extreme manifestation of a continuum of violence against women and girls. This kind of violence remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world. A global report launched a few days ago by UN Women and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) revealed that, around the world, on average five women or girls are killed every hour by someone in their own family.
Such extreme forms of violence against women and girls are preventable. This can be achieved through early intervention and multi-stakeholder and multisectoral partnerships.
According to the study on Gender and Small Arms in Southeast Europe, the likelihood of women being killed increases by between five and twelve times if the perpetrator of domestic violence has a firearm, legal or illegal. In this case, although the victim had a protection order, the perpetrator managed to murder her using a firearm. In Kosovo, during 2012-2016, 71.4% of women and 81.8% of men killed by a family member utilized a firearm. All the women killed by an intimate partner during this period were killed with firearms.
According to Article 24(1) of the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, the Kosovo Police shall respond to any report relating to acts of domestic violence or threats to commit such acts. The Law further states that the “Kosovo Police shall use reasonable means to protect the victim and prevent further violence.” It established specific measures to be taken in such cases. In this case, the victim had been issued a protection order against the suspect, valid until 13 March 2023. Furthermore, an indictment was filed against the suspect with charges of threat against the victim in August of this year and the initial hearing was held in September.
There were 2,273 cases of domestic violence reported to the police from January to the end of October 2022; sadly, but not surprisingly, more than 85 per cent of the victims were women.
To ensure that all women and girls are protected effectively in the future, SGG members appeal to relevant institutions to:
- guarantee justice for victims, concrete actions to prevent violence against women and girls, protect victims, prosecute, and sentence the perpetrators in line with the Istanbul Convention.
- initiate perpetrator programmes aimed at changing violent behavioural patterns
- implement electronic monitoring technologies through bracelets to enable judicial and executive authorities to restrict, regulate and enforce the perpetrator’s locations, movements, and schedules, and thereby prevent the reoccurrence of violence.
- allocate adequate resources to ensure more effective reporting mechanisms from social workers
- allocate adequate resources to the police to treat domestic violence cases with the highest priority and determination
- properly conduct a multi-agency review of these latest gender-related killings to ensure organisational failings are identified and lessons are learned that allow those failings to be addressed and not to reoccur
- establish an independent Task Force composed of representatives from state stakeholders’ institutions and specialized NGO representatives and specialized NGOs to assess and evaluate the treatment of the latest cases of femicide by respective officials and institutions.
- invest in fighting gender stereotyping and a culture of violence against women and girls since early education.
- Ensure effective risk assessment of Domestic Violence cases and develop adequate safety plans for the victims.
- Rigorously monitor protection orders and provide victims with immediate access to police protection.
- Seize firearms immediately when a Domestic Violence case is reported.
The SGG will not stop raising the voice of women victims to ensure we increase effective means to educate, deter, prevent, protect and prosecute domestic violence and femicide. We will be the voice for those who may believe they are voice-less, and we will stand firm against gender-based violence.
Note to press
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) is a multi-stakeholder group, chaired by UN Women. The following signatories are members of SGG and support this public statement:
International organizations and Embassies: UN Kosovo Team (UNKT) agencies including the Office of the UN Development Coordinator, UN Women, IOM Kosovo, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Kosovo), United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef Kosovo Programme), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA Kosovo), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR Kosovo); The Embassy of Sweden in Pristina , The Embassy of Finland in Pristina, EULEX Kosovo (Official), UNMIK - United Nations Mission in Kosovo, EU Office/EUSR in Kosovo European Union in Kosovo, OSCE Mission in Kosovo.
Women’s organizations and NGOs: Kosova Women's Network; Kosovo Gender Studies Center (KGSC)/ Qendra Kosovare për Studime Gjinore, Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Kosovo (YIHR KS), Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women's Organizations of Kosovo (NRAEWOK), Jahjaga Foundation , Kosovo Law Institute (KLI).
Kosovo Institutions: Agency for Gender Equality/ Agjencia për Barazi Gjinore/ Zyra e Kryeministrit