THE SECURITY AND GENDER GROUP CALLS FOR ACTION TO BE TAKEN FOLLOWING THE RAPE OF A MINOR GIRL IN PRISTINA
31 August 2022
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) expresses its indignation and strongly condemns the alleged rape of an 11-year-old girl in Pristina in August 2022
The group calls upon relevant institutions to take effective measures to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the case and ensure effective delivery of justice for the survivor. There can be no tolerance for rape and other forms of sexual violence and no impunity for perpetrators
SGG also calls upon the media to refrain from publishing information that might lead to disclosing the survivor’s identity. In addition, the SGG calls upon relevant institutions to build specialized services for addressing sexual violence whilst committing to join efforts in protecting and supporting survivors of gender-based violence.
As a globally occurring and significantly underreported crime, sexual violence against women and girls needs to be addressed in a manner presenting the least risk to those seeking assistance and ensuring the right to safety, confidentiality, and non-discrimination to the survivor with support provided in the most dignified manner. Finalization of the Protocol for Treatment of Sexual Violence cases should happen as a matter of urgency, clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of each institution involved in supporting survivors of sexual violence. At the same time, the justice system needs to ensure that the perpetrators are held criminally liable and punished as prescribed by the Kosovo criminal code and provided for in the Istanbul Convention.
Examinations conducted by the Kosovo Forensic Institute show that majority of victims of sexual violence are minors. The latest rape case, committed brutally against a minor girl, is deeply shocking and reveals that even the most vulnerable are not protected.
The Istanbul Convention, the provisions of which are to be directly applicable in Kosovo, and which the Kosovo institutions have committed to implement includes specific requirements on addressing cases of sexual violence including rape, ranging from criminalisation to protection of victims (Article 25 and Article 36). Recognizing the severe trauma associated with sexual violence, including rape, the Istanbul Convention states that immediate provision of comprehensive, survivor-centred responses through quality essential health, social and justice services and supplies is ensured. Protection from violence and abuse is the right of every child, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Kosovo Law on Child Protection implementing the CRC in Kosovo.
The SGG commits to join efforts in fulfilling the rights of survivors of sexual violence and calls upon competent institutions to guarantee those rights by providing specialized training for all stakeholders involved in offering the support to which survivors are legally entitled, and by establishing specialized government-funded shelters for sexual violence survivors, and in the case of children, specialized centres for child survivors, as established in the Law on Child Protection, considering the specific needs and vulnerabilities of children. The group is lobbying to strengthen the preventive role of the Kosovo police through community policing and regular patrolling around the neighbourhoods, childcare facilities, schools and other public places.
Providing adequate and rehabilitative services is not only a sexual violence survivor’s right, but also a prerequisite for feeling safe and empowered, for ending impunity for perpetrators and for closing the serious gap in underreporting. The SGG calls various stakeholders, educational institutions, communities, the media, police, civil society organizations and other institutional partners to join efforts to prevent sexual violence.
The SGG strongly condemns any act of violence against women and girls and remains committed to amplify and unite our voices and efforts to end this suffering and injustice in our society.
International organizations and Embassies: UN Development Coordinator in Kosovo a.i. on behalf of the UN Kosovo Team , OSCE Mission in Kosovo , EULEX Kosovo (Official) , Embassy of Japan in Kosovo , Suomen suurlähetystö Pristina - Embassy of Finland in Pristina , UNMIK - United Nations Mission in Kosovo , European Union in Kosovo.
Women’s organizations and NGOs: Kosovo Gender Studies Center (Qendra Kosovare për Studime Gjinore), SIT - Center for Counseling, Social Services and Research , Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Kosovo (YIHR KS), Inject - Initiative for Justice and Equality , Kosova - Women 4 Women , Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women's Organizations of Kosovo, Jahjaga Foundation .
Kosovo institutions: Agency for Gender Equality (Agjencia për Barazi Gjinore/ Zyra e Kryeministrit)