- “Domestic violence is not a private issue” (Radio Kontakt Plus, RTV Mir, RTK2)
- Not all ministries respected the Law on Use of Languages (Klan Kosova)
- Vetëvendosje undecided if it will appeal ECAP’s decision (KTV)
- Pacolli: We are proud that our seats in Assembly have disturbed Vucic and his allies (KTV)
- Kurti: Regardless recounting and panels, the majority for government has been ensured (KTV)
- Recount of 1407 polling stations completed (RTK)
- Sun Valley developing fast, Albanians call for halting it (KTV)
- US Envoy: ‘We want Balkans where borders and democratic values are respected’ (N1)
“Domestic violence is not a private issue”
(Radio Kontakt Plus, RTV Mir, RTK2)
More than half (54%) of all women say they have experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner since the age of 15, is only one of the findings of the survey on ‘The Well-Being and Safety of Women’ in Kosovo” which was presented by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo in Gracanica/Graçanicë on Sunday.
The study included a survey of a representative sample of 1,990 women aged 18–74 living in Kosovo, including 1,690 women living in areas predominantly inhabited by
Kosovo Albanians, and 300 women living in areas predominantly inhabited by Kosovo Serbs. Other communities living in these areas were also included in the survey.
Agnieszka Stolarczyk, a senior adviser to the OSCE Mission to Kosovo, presented the findings of this survey and stressed that the goal was to see behaviours and attitudes toward gender and domestic violence, which included not only physical and sexual, but also psychological violence.
“When we asked women how common domestic violence is in Kosovo, we have a total of 65 percent of respondents who say it is common. This indicates the fact that these cases are not reported enough. This is still a taboo topic,” Agnieszka Stolarczyk stated.
More than half (54%) of all women say they have experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner after their age of 15.
“29 per cent of the respondents said they were victims of sexual abuse since the age of 15. Sexual abuse and domestic violence became an official crime under the Kosovo Criminal Code earlier this year, while the Law is implemented since April 2019. Therefore, sexual and domestic violence have been categorized as criminal offenses since this year,” she said.
Aleksandra Dimitrijevic of the Office of Ombudsperson Institution in Gracanica/Graçanicë points out that women are not safe when it comes to domestic violence.
“They are not safe because they do not have the strength to report the abuser because they are economically dependent. And there is not only a reason for fear, but also shame because of gender stereotypes, ‘which is very bad,’ Aleksandra highlighted.
She stressed that domestic violence is perceived by the people as a private issue and that is why people keep silent.
“It’s not a private issue. Criminal law has recognized this problem. In criminal law, domestic violence is recognized as a crime, which means that when victims of domestic violence do not report it, professionals have to deal with it ex officio. And we, as good neighbours, relatives, are here to support victims of domestic violence and to direct them to whom they should first turn if we recognize that there is a problem,” Aleksandra Dimitrijevic explained.
She noted that this problem has reached some alarming levels, which is also shown by several killings that have taken place in Kosovo.
Director of the Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence in Novo Brdo/Novobërdë Vesna Stajic underlined that it is evident that victims of domestic violence do not have much trust in institutions.
“Our task is to raise that level of trust and to show them all the laws that protect them. No matter that many times we mention that laws are good on paper, they are poorly implemented, which is a fact,” she noted and added:
“The message for women facing this problem is not to remain silent by any means, to react, as they say, to the ‘first ball’. One slap is only the beginning, if they keep that silent it will be worse.”
The topic of this workshop was “Children, early and forced marriages.” Vesna Stajic said that this problem is unsolvable for now.
“Common norms and traditions are stronger than the support of the laws that exist in Kosovo. How common these are we can see from statistics. What is evident is that statistics cannot cover all the cases, because as soon as common norms find something, that is then protected, it is not transparent, public, and that is why we can say that statistics do not cover all cases,” she said.
The international community launches the “16 Days of Activism” campaign against gender violence on Monday. This campaign takes place every year to raise awareness of domestic violence that very often comes from an intimate partner or relative.
“These 16 days will not only serve to raise awareness, but will also motivate decision-makers to make the necessary changes so that victims of domestic violence receive adequate assistance,” said Agnieszka Stolarczyk of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.
Not all ministries respected the Law on Use of Languages
It exists as a ministry for more than two years now, but the Ministry of Innovation contains no published news in Serbian or English. Different from this Ministry, there are other ones that care for the respect of the Law on the Use of Languages. One of them, which is also awarded by the OSCE and the Office of Language Commissioner, is the Ministry of Local Government Administration (MLGA), which publishes all documents in the three official languages.
“When municipalities lack capacities in terms of translation issue, then there is an address, the MLGA in this case, where they can submit their request and we do the translation of any document in Serbian or even in English,” said Yll Valla, Head of MLGA’s Public Communication Division.
In addition to the MLGA, which for several years now is led by the minorities, the Judicial Council and Ministry of Regional Development, were also awarded in the framework of a monitoring done in all the central public institutions.
“Websites were initially assessed, that is the first window where we usually get the information, or the first page is the official website of each institution. Then, we went further with one more criterion and we also assessed the social media,” stated Shqipe Hajredini of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.
Hajredini said that next year local institutions will also be monitored.
On the other hand, at the Office of Language Commissioner within the Government say that besides the Ministry of Diaspora, which does not have the option for Serbian or English language at all, there are also other ministries which are not responsible.
“There is a decline in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Language Commissioner Slavisa Mladenovic.
However, in general, according to Slavisa Mladenovic, the situation is positive, although there is risk for the future.
“Every day less people speak the language of the other. This impacts on the possibility of institutions to employ people that know two languages and implement this Law,” Mladenovic considers.
According to him, it would be good if the Serbian language to be inserted in schools as elective subject.
Vetëvendosje undecided if it will appeal ECAP’s decision
Vetëvendosje Movement still has not decided if it will appeal to Supreme Court the decision of the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) to refuse counting of 392 ballot packages sent by mail from diaspora that reached the Central Election Commission (CEC) on 12th November.
“We have not made any decision yet,” Arlind Manxhuka, Vetëvendosje spokesperson, briefly stated to Koha Ditore.
On Sunday’s session, ECAP looked at 14 complaints, one of them a complaint filed on 22nd November 2019 by Vetëvendosje Movement, which requested to order CEC to verify and count 392 ballot packages sent by mail from outside Kosovo voters, and 13 complaints dealing with claims regarding polling stations administration and counting at the Count and Results Centre (CRC).
Pacolli: We are proud that our seats in Assembly have disturbed Vucic and his allies
AKR leader Behgjet Pacolli said in a Facebook post that Nisma-AKR-PD coalition will be part of the Assembly, while, according to him, the law prevailed in this case.
“The recount of October 6th parliamentary elections has confirmed that Nisma-AKR-PD coalition is part of the Kosovo Assembly. Efforts to manipulate the will of Kosovo people have been opposed and the rule of law has prevailed,” he wrote.
Pacolli further said they feel proud that their seats in the Assembly had disturbed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his allies, KTV portal reported.
Kurti: Regardless recounting and panels, the majority for government has been ensured
The Vetëvendosje leader and Prime Minister designate Albin Kurti said that regardless of the recounting and decisions of the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP), he has obtained the necessary majority for forming new government.
He spoke about a meeting he had in Prizren with three future MPs from communities: Rasim Demiri, Fikrim Damka, and Albert Kinolli.
“In Prizren environment, regardless of the recounting and panels, the parliamentary majority for the new government has been ensured. Chairmen of three non-majority community parties, who are also future MPs, gentlemen Rasim Demiri, Fikrim Damka, and Albert Kinolli, will vote our government and me as Prime Minister, without conditioning,” Kurti said.
“6th October 2019 is the day when the future began,” he added.
Recount of 1407 polling stations completed
Recount of 1407 polling stations was completed on Sunday.
Central Election Commission (CEC) spokesperson Valmir Elezi said that before the election certification, they would receive confirmation from the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) and from the Supreme Court.
“Recount of 1407 polling stations has been completed. We would like to thank all count officers for their dedicated work in completing the process. Today is 12th recount day since ECAP’s decision. Before certifying the election results, CEC shall receive confirmation from ECAP and Supreme Court that there is no case under consideration. After this process, the results will be published at CEC’s website,” he said.
The recount process began on 13 November in the afternoon.
Sun Valley developing fast, Albanians call for halting it
The Sun Valley looks differently. Around 100 houses have been constructed without permission of the Kosovo institutions in this area of Zvecan/Zveçan municipality, KTV reported.
The state of Serbia is intending to construct 200 more houses at this location, where about 1,500 Serbs are expected to be settled.
Albanian representatives in northern municipalities blame Kosovo Government of failing to halt construction of this project, which is funded by Serbia.
Deputy Municipal Assembly President in Mitrovica/Mitrovicë North Bashkim Cimili refers to implementation of Sun Valley as a colonization.
Although the Ministry of Environment had ordered the Municipality of Zvecan/Zveçan to halt construction of Sun Valley, continuation of the work made the Ministry to submit the minor offence case to the Basic Court in Mitrovica/Mitrovicë.
Ministry of Environment did not sue the Municipality of Zvecan/Zveçan, but it only filed a minor offence claim at the Mitrovica/Mitrovicë Basic court.
The Court officials confirmed that statute of limitation on this case ran out in December last year.
US Envoy: ‘We want Balkans where borders and democratic values are respected’
The new US ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, said America’s goal is to encourage dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and to point out how much people in the region would benefit from finding a solution to the Kosovo problem.
“My job is to improve Serbia-US relations, but also to work in the interests of my country in the Balkans, and the interest of America is to make the Western Balkans a place of stability and prosperity, where democratic values are respected, where countries respect borders and have good relations,” Godfrey said in an interview with Radio Television of Serbia.
He emphasized that this is the best way to the European Union, and that is why his goal is to use all the energy and means of the US embassy in Belgrade to help Serbia achieve its goal – which is the EU membership.
He noted that the French decision to block the beginning of negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania was a bad signal, but that his Brussels colleagues assured him that the accession policy has not changed completely and that the Union’s expansion is engraved in its founding documents.