Security and Gender Group urges members of the Kosovo Assembly to allocate sufficient funding for shelters for survivors of gender-based violence
The Security and Gender Group strongly calls for the Kosovo Assembly to amend the draft budget for 2019, towards ensuring allocation of sustainable funding through the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to enable shelters to meet the needs of gender-based violence survivors. This is in accordance with the Kosovo Strategy and Action Plan on Protection from Domestic Violence and Action Plan 2016-2020, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, including children, which constitutes furthermore a constitutional obligation, legal and policy responsibility of Kosovo institutions.
Only in the first nine months of this year, there were 1,129 cases of domestic violence reported to police in Kosovo, with 80% of the cases reported by women. Furthermore, since the beginning of 2018, Kosovo Police reported seven fatalities resulting from domestic violence. It is the obligation of institutions to prevent, investigate and punish all acts of violence against women and children, whether perpetrated in the private or public sphere, and to prevent their reoccurrence. Shelters provide essential protection, rehabilitation and reintegration services to women and children so that they may escape violence and receive counseling and care, often saving their lives. As such, allocating sustainable funding that covers shelters’ operating costs constitutes not only a moral, but also a legal obligation.
The protection, rehabilitation, reintegration and support services offered by the eight (8) shelters for domestic violence survivors, one (1) day center for counselling for the survivors of GBV in North Mitrovica; one (1) shelter for children (survivors under 18 years old); one (1) shelter for survivors of human trafficking, provide survivors with some time to recover and rebuild their lives, through a variety of services offered and referral systems. These shelters cover basic essential services to uphold the rights and dignity of the gender-based violence survivors and children exposed to situations of violence.
It is an urgent need that institutions cover these needs and fulfill their obligations, concretely the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, who licenses, contracts and conducts inspections of those services, approving the establishment of residential care facilities and their financial spending.
The Security and Gender Group urges the members of the Kosovo Assembly to amend the Social Services budget line Nr.00600 – 1040 of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to increase funding foreseen for shelters by €450,000 Euros in the 2019 Project Budget, bringing the total budget line from 4,500,000 to 4,960,000, in order to ensure protection of the rights of survivors of gender-based violence and to fulfill the state’s legal and policy obligations.
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) is a multi-stakeholder group, chaired by UN Women.
The following members of SGG support this advocacy letter:
International organizations and representations: US Embassy in Kosovo, European Union Office in Kosovo/ European Union Special Representative in Kosovo, EULEX, OSCE, Office of UN Development Coordinator (UNDCO), UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, UN Habitat, UNOPS and UNMIK
Kosovo institutions: Agency for Gender Equality (AGE)
Women’s organizations: Kosovo Women’s Network, Kvinna till Kvinna, Kosova-Women 4 Women, Kosovo Gender Studies Center (KGSC), Jahjaga Foundation, Inject - Initiative for Justice and Equality
This advocacy letter is also supported by: KIPRED and Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR)