THE SECURITY AND GENDER GROUP CONDEMNS THE KILLING OF SEBAHATE SOPI AND CALLS FOR CONCRETE ACTIONS TO PROTECT WOMEN
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) strongly condemns the shooting of Sebahate Sopi, on Sunday, 14 March in Pristina, expresses indignation at the number of women’s lives lost in Kosovo at the hands of their partners or former partners, and calls upon relevant institutions to take effective measures in preventing gender-based violence and providing effective protection to victims.
Violence against women, including domestic violence is one of the most serious human rights violations. According to Article 24(1), 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,” and sets out specific measures to be taken in such cases.
Six months since the incorporation of the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) into the Kosovo Constitution, it is time to advance their implementation and take concrete actions to prevent violence against women and girls, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. Institutions must be held accountable for their commitments. In this regard, Article 50 of the Istanbul Convention (immediate response, prevention and protection) requires the following: “Effective measures should be taken to prevent the most blatant forms of violence which are murder or attempted murder. Each such case should be carefully analysed in order to identify any possible failure of protection in view of improving and developing further preventive measures.”
Domestic violence is a crime, as stated in Article 248 of the Criminal Code of Kosovo, and is punishable by a fine and imprisonment. Violence against women is the result of structural, deep-rooted discrimination which institutions have an obligation to address. Preventing and addressing gender-based violence against women is a legal and moral obligations requiring legislative, administrative and institutional measures and reforms. They require eradication of gender stereotypes which condone or perpetuate gender-based violence against women and underpin the structural inequality of women with men.
The multi-stakeholder Security and Gender Group (SGG) encourages Kosovo institutions to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the death of Sebahate Sopi as well as the circumstances leading to her death. To ensure that women are protected effectively in the future, SGG members appeal to institutions:
- to treat domestic violence cases with high priority,
- to guarantee justice for victims,
- to initiate perpetrator programmes, aimed at changing violent behavioural patterns.
Violence against women and children is unacceptable and violent men are responsible for their use of violence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a shadow epidemic of violence against women worldwide. Kosovo institutions must take urgent steps to prevent femicide and gender-based violence against women in Kosovo.
The SGG extends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the victim.
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, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), International Organization for Migration (IOM) , United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); US Embassy/OPDAT; UN Mission in Kosovo – UNMIK; Embassy of Finland; EU Office/EUSR; EULEX; German Embassy/GIZ; OSCE
Women’s organizations and NGOs:
Kvinna till Kvinna, Kosova – Women 4 Women; Kosovo Gender Studies Center (KGSC); Kosova Women’s Network (KWN); Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo (YIHR-KS); INJECT; Jahjaga Foundation; CEL;
Agency for Gender Equality, Kosovo Police
 The Council of Europe, Explanatory Report to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Paragraph 259 (on Article 50). Available at: https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=09000016800d383a