Kosovo pledges 1 million euros for sexual violence survivors
After a UN women conference brings together stakeholders to discuss access to justice and reparations for conflict-related sexual violence survivors in Kosovo, government announces budget with funds for survivors.
Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2017
After nearly two decades of silence and stigma, Kosovo survivors of sexual violence during the armed conflict of 1998-1999 will soon get legal recognition and reparations. The Ministry of Finance announced it had allocated 1 million euros to the 2018 Kosovo budget for conflict-related sexual violence survivors.
The announcement came on 1 October, a day after UN Women organized a conference on Access to justice and reparations for conflict-related sexual violence survivors, as part of the UN Women project Gender Sensitive Transitional Justice, funded by the European Union.
Held on the 17th anniversary of the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, the conference brought together local and international key stakeholders to discuss access to justice and reparations for conflict-related sexual violence in Kosovo.
Flora Macula, UN Women Kosovo Head of Office, highlighted the importance of UNSCR 1325, which drew attention to the impact of armed conflict on women, and their exclusion from conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peace building.
Outgoing Special Rapporteur to the EU Parliament on Kosovo, Ulrike Lunacek spoke of breaking the silence: “Breaking the silence is essential so women can take full part in society. Without zero tolerance for sexual violence, we will not be able to empower women to shape societies so they are open, with relationships of dignity and respect.”
Former President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, said reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence were indispensable and a prerequisite for lasting peace, adding: “We should not allow further crawling of this process. The thousands of women and men who have lived for years in prisons of shame must be heard.”
Drita Hajdari, Prosecutor of the Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo, said that a UN Women organised study visit to The Hague resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding, that is expected to be signed, to formalize co-operation between the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo (SPRK). This will give to SPRK access to over 9 million pages of ICTY war crimes documentation.
Andrew Russell, UNDP Coordinator and Resident Representative, called for political will to bring justice to women who suffered sexual violence during the conflict: “Justice for female survivors and their families is not something we should be sitting on. It takes two simple things: Capacity and political will. Let’s get this job done!”
Igballe Rogova, Executive Director of Kosovo Women’s Network highlighted the important advocacy undertaken by activists who raised their voices and demanded the implementation of the UNSCR 1325. She also shared her experience with conflict-related sexual violence survivors, who benefited from UN Women’s micro-grants project, implemented in partnership with Kosovo Women’s Network.
At the meeting’s close, UN Women launched its report Reparations for conflict-related sexual violence: lessons from the Western Balkans. It provides an outline of the reparations mechanisms existing in the region and aims to serve as a resource for persons working on this issue in other conflict contexts, in other regions of the world.
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