Security and Gender Group calls for a strengthened institutional response to prevent and respond to gender-based violence
Upon the launch of the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25. November – 10. December), the Security and Gender Group calls for continuous efforts aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls, and for a strengthened institutional response to such human rights violations.
The Security and Gender Group is deeply concerned that violence against women and girls continues to be one of the most pervasive manifestations of gender-based discrimination.
Only in the first nine months of this year, there were 1129 cases of domestic violence reported to police in Kosovo. As a final, ultimate act in a continuum of gender-based violence, and not constituting isolated incidents arising suddenly and unexpectedly, in 2018 we witnessed 8 cases of gender-related murders of women, including a young girl, within the family.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most obvious yet reoccurring manifestation of the deep inequalities of power dynamics in Kosovo society, transcending ethnic, socioeconomic and religious lines. As well as affecting individuals, violence against women and girls has severe consequences to the detriment of families, communities and society as a whole, including significant economic and social costs.
Considerable progress has been made in Kosovo with regard to the legal and policy framework to combat violence against women, but the joint efforts to support full and effective implementation of the existing legislation need to continue:
- The institutional response must be unbiased, coordinated and decisive, with clearly defined duties, responsibilities and accountability. Especially the cooperation and coordination between the judiciary and police is pivotal and should be constantly revised and adapted in order to ensure a survivor-centered, effective and fair response;
- Domestic violence cases have to be treated with high priority by justice institutions and a fair trial of these cases has to be ensured, to guarantee justice for all women, girls, men and boys who have been affected by any form of domestic violence. Perpetrators must be adequately prosecuted;
- All women and men, girls and boys, who experience violence must benefit from greater access to care, support, justice and other services needed to ensure physical, mental and social well-being;
- Key institutions must increase coordination in providing an immediate response and survivor-centered services, including adequate rehabilitation for both victims and perpetrators in order to stop the reoccurrence of violence, and ensure accountability of the institutions;
- Kosovo institutions should strengthen the implementation of effective prevention strategies that address the root causes of gender inequality, including the education free of gender-based bias.
We strongly condemn any act of violence against women and girls, and we emphasize the fact that domestic violence is never a private matter and proper institutional response to such criminal acts is a human right of the victim and as such inalienable.
Note to the press
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) is a multi-stakeholder group, chaired by UN Women. The following institutions are members of SGG and support this public statement:
International organizations: UN Kosovo Team with the Office of the UN Development Coordinator, and agencies UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, UN Habitat as well as UNMIK, EULEX, OSCE, EU Office/EUSRUS Embassy in Pristina, Council of Europe Office in Pristina.
Kosovo institutions: Agency for Gender Equality
Women’s organizations and NGOs: Kosovo Women's Network, Kosovar Gender Studies Center, Kosova - Women 4 Women, Kvinna till Kvinna Kosovo, KIPRED, INJECT (Initiative for Justice and Equality),
This statement is also supported by: Advocacy Training and Resource Center (ATRC), Coordination mechanism against Domestic Violence - Municipality of Gjakova, KosovaLive, Global Girl Media Kosova