Kosovo increases capacities on implementing the Istanbul Convention

Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Members of Coordination Mechanisms trained to improve the quality of services provided to survivors of gender-based and domestic violence in line with the provisions of the Istanbul Convention. Photo: UN Women.

In a process initiated by the Caucus of Women Members of Parliament, the Constitutional Court of Kosovo[1] , granted full permission for an amendment of the Constitution’s Article 22 to include the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, in the list of directly applicable international legal instruments for protection of human rights.

NGO AKTIV, an implementing partner of UN Women in its Regional Programme on Ending Violence Against Women in the Western Balkans and Turkey, “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” funded by the European Union, organized a training on the Istanbul Convention for members of the four municipal Domestic Violence Coordination Mechanisms in Kosovo’s northern municipalities. The members of the coordination mechanisms, as well as other-key service providers, are working towards increasing the quality of services provided to survivors of gender-based and domestic violence as stipulated in the Istanbul Convention.

The training focused on the four “P’s” of the Convention, namely, prevention, protection, prosecution and integrated policies, and it brought forward the multisectoral nature of a survivor-centered approach to combating violence against women, while not forgetting the work with perpetrators and their rehabilitation. The participants underlined that response and prevention of domestic violence must occur on different levels through sectoral cooperation.

The training highlighted the importance of knowing the extent of domestic violence and other forms of violence inflicted on women, while keeping in mind the efforts to increase reporting by using a centralized system.

Recently, key government institutions in Kosovo signed a memorandum of understanding on an integrated and unified database which will enable the monitoring and prosecution of domestic violence cases and ensure accountability, by obliging relevant institutions to feed the database with the necessary information from central and local levels.

Jelena Milicevic, Project Coordinator at NGO AKTIV, emphasized, “It is very important that all members of the multi-stakeholder coordination mechanisms are familiar with the provisions of the Istanbul Convention, in order to prevent the occurrence of domestic and gender-based violence.”

In the training, representatives of local institutions learned what is expected from them regarding the Convention’s implementation, evaluated whether they have sufficient resources and capacities to meet these obligations, and also determined what is necessary to foster an environment that promotes an integrated and coordinated response to violence against women, which cannot be dependent on political or economic developments.

Linda Sanaja, Technical Analyst at UN Women emphasized, “The training is very timely, as Kosovo is currently undergoing revisions of its legal framework and its constitution and expects an improvement of the quality of the services provided to survivors of domestic and gender-based violence based on the increased knowledge of service providers on the Istanbul Convention.”


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