First applications in for long-awaited compensation for conflict-related sexual violence survivors in Kosovo

Comprehensive efforts to recognize and compensate victims of sexual violence during the Kosovo conflict almost 20 years ago took a leap forward with the start of an application process for the survivors.

Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Prime minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj addressing in the government-organized meeting on 30th of January 2017. Photo: Petrit Rrahmani
Ramush Haradinaj, Prime minister of Kosovo, addressing in the government-organized meeting. Photo: Petrit Rrahmani

Nearly two decades after the armed conflict in Kosovo[1], the survivors of sexual violence from the war are finally able to apply for compensation for the physical, psychological, economic, and social traumas they endured. The Commission for the Verification and Recognition of Sexual Violence Victim Status in Kosovo received the first applications on 5 February from survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). Until now, those marginalized women have received no government support.

The Commission is mandated to provide reparations to survivors, after it has verified their status. The Ministry of Labor and Social welfare has authorized four non-governmental organisations (NGOs), specialized in working with CRSV survivors, to support the application process. Survivors will be entitled to receive a monthly payment of 230 euros as compensation for their suffering.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, announced that this is only the beginning of the government’s commitment to the survivors: “I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who have worked with us to reach this day, and not just the institutions of our country, but also the international mechanisms, institutions and governments.”

Representatives of Kosovo institutions, international organizations, associations, civil society organizations and accredited ambassadors in Kosovo, during the government-organized meeting on 30th of January 2017. Photo: Petrit Rrahmani
Representatives of Kosovo institutions, international organizations, associations, civil society organizations and accredited ambassadors in Kosovo, during the government-organized meeting. Photo: Petrit Rrahmani

At the launch of the application process, Nataliya Apostolova, Head of the European Union Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative, reiterated the EU commitment to provide political and financial support to survivors of CRSV. “These reparations will help address the consequences of sexual violence in the lives of survivors, and will also help society in exterminating gender discrimination,” she said.

The European Union helps UN Women and partners in Kosovo in implementing a Gender Sensitive Transitional Justice project, which gives priority to the needs of conflict-related sexual violence survivors.

Since 2006, working with civil society organizations and Kosovo authorities, UN Women has helped to secure legal recognition and redress for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. After the Kosovo Assembly in March 2014 approved a law that gave legal recognition to victims of sexual violence during Kosovo’s armed conflict, UN Women supported the establishment of the government Commission to Recognize and Verify Survivors of Sexual Violence during the Kosovo War.

“Survivors continue to face many challenges, including gender inequalities and stigmatization, which limits their involvement in economic and social life,” said Flora Macula, Head of the UN Women Office in Kosovo.

UN Women and the Kosovo Institute for Public Administration have also developed training modules for Commission members, NGOs and others to help them recognize and verify the status of the survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.


[1] All references to Kosovo on this story shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).