The UNMIK Human Rights Office (HRO) engages in a wide range of human rights outreach activities to advance human rights for all and build trust between communities in Kosovo. The activities include enhancing civic space, promoting human rights education and empowerment, increasing compliance with language rights, and advancing the rights of persons in vulnerable situations.
“UNMIK will continue to support human rights into the future,” SRSG Caroline Ziadeh shared during a human rights roundtable entitled ‘Building trust through the advancement of human rights in Kosovo’, which saw 14 CSOs discussing trust-building between communities in March 2023. The roundtable was the first Kosovo launch event of the so-called UDHR75 campaign, a campaign to mark 2023 as the year of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Enhancing Civic Space
- UNMIK HRO regularly engages with key human rights civil society organisations (CSOs) to discuss the latest human rights developments, assess their needs, and build their capacity to advance human rights in Kosovo.
- In June 2020 and May 2021, a coalition of key human rights CSOs in Kosovo published their first, second and third joint annual reports on the human rights situation in Kosovo for 2019, 2020 and 2021 with UNMIK HRO’s support.
- In November 2021, seven local CSOs with expertise on a wide range of human rights issues signed a joint memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formally establish an innovative civil society human rights network within the framework of the UNMIK HRO-supported initiative “Building the capacities of human rights CSOs and enhancing human rights education”.
Human Rights Education and Empowerment
UNMIK HRO regularly engages with local partners to provide human rights education, especially to youth in Kosovo, to empower people from diverse communities to stand up for their human rights and the rights of others. In 2020 and 2021, such education took the form a storytelling camp and living libraries through which about 200 young people from various communities learned about their human rights, with a particular focus on economic and social rights in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Promoting Language Rights
- In 2022, UNMIK completed a four-year trust building initiative, in cooperation with the Kosovo Language Commissioner and the International Organization for Migration, to promote multilingualism in Kosovo and the removal of language barriers that prevent minority communities from fully exercising their human rights.
- The initiative resulted in the successful development of the online and print edition of a Serbian-Albanian and Albanian-Serbian dictionary with more than 40,000 words and phrases as well as the creation of the VocUp language learning platform with online language courses in Serbian and Albanian.
Advancing The Rights of Persons in Vulnerable Situations
In its work and engagement in Kosovo, UNMIK HRO places a particular focus on advancing the rights of persons in vulnerable situations, such as minorities, women and girls, children and youth, older persons, people on the move, and people with disabilities.
- UNMIK supports efforts to ensure women’s rights and advance gender equality in Kosovo
- UNMIK HRO supports the efforts of relevant institutions to harmonise Kosovo’s legal framework with the standards under the directly applicable Istanbul Convention
- UNMIK HRO raises awareness on the rights of people with disabilities and builds the capacities of key institutions and stakeholders to ensure the proper implementation of standards protecting their rights
Supporting Human Rights Institutions
UNMIK continues to implement programmatic activities that provide support to local institutions, including the Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo; the Office of Good Governance, Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Non-Discrimination (OGG) within the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM); the Office of the Language Commissioner; the Assembly of Kosovo's Committee for Human Rights, Gender Equality, Victims of Sexual Violence During the War, Missing Persons, and Petitions; and the Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS).
The Civil Society Report on Human Rights in Kosovo in 2020 can be found here in Albanian, Serbian, and English.
The Civil Society Report on Human Rights in Kosovo in 2019 can be found here in Albanian, Serbian, and English.
The Civil Society Report on Human Rights in Kosovo in 2021 can be found here in English.