Helping to raise awareness about the need to prevent and report any form of gender-based violence, the EU in Kosovo, Switzerland, and UNDP, joined forces with the Kosovo Ministry of Justice and NGO Integra in implementing this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign.
This global campaign, initiated back in 1991, traditionally runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, International Human Rights Day, and addresses all forms of violence against women including sexual and domestic violence against women and girls.
In Kosovo, it will include a large number of communications and outreach activities coordinated by the Ministry of Justice, such as, among others, roundtables with judges, prosecutors, women and girls, municipal visits, theatre plays, TV spots, and projection of messages on the Government buildings.
“This year the Ministry of Justice has assumed the role of the campaign coordinators as the prevention and circumvention of gender-based violence and any other form of violence against women and girls is on top of our agenda. I am grateful to all domestic and international partners that have joined our campaign. We have to protect the rights and ensure the wellbeing of every woman and every girl living in Kosovo – Not even one more should be violated!,” said Kosovo Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu.
According to the Kosovo Police, in 2022, 2,500 women were victims of domestic violence, while between 2017 and 2022, 27 have been killed.
In the EU, one in three women over 15 have experienced physical or sexual violence, half have experienced sexual harassment, and one in twenty has been raped.
“Gender-based violence, and in particular violence against women and girls is a phenomenon that affects all our societies. We need to eliminate it by raising public awareness and changing mindsets, including of youngsters. We also have to ensure appropriate institutional responses to this kind of violence to further deter it from happening and this is something that the EU continues to work on,” said the EU Ambassador in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog.
Switzerland and UNDP have been supporting Kosovo in helping fight and prevent gender-based violence and their support for the campaign is the continuation of those efforts
“The government, the civil society, and the citizens of Kosovo take very seriously the fight against gender-based violence. This is another indication of Kosovo’s commitment to European values and standards,” said the Swiss Ambassador to Kosovo, Thomas Kolly.
Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative, highlighted that the UNDP is committed to preventing and responding to gender-based violence “by building resilience to cope with the multiple crises that we are experiencing and empowering women as political and economic actors. Not only during the 16 Days campaign but every day of the year. We are proud to join forces with Kosovo and international partners in the fight against gender-based violence, negative gender stereotypes or discrimination. Let’s all UNiTE for more resilient societies.”
NGO Integra played an important role and supported the Ministry of Justice in developing and organising campaign activities.
“Gender inequality lies at the root of gender-based violence against women and girls, and it is of the utmost importance to fight this phenomenon and raise awareness by inducing behaviour change and discussing social norms,” said the Executive Director of Integra, Kushtrim Kolliqi.
Through this campaign, we are not only aiming to bring the public attention to this issue but also make a stand that we are not going to tolerate having even one more victim of gender-based violence.