On September 12, the United Nations Kosovo Team (UNKT) at the Swiss Diamond hotel in Pristina, collaborated with the European Union and Kosovo women's leaders and advocates in organizing this event. The aim was to provide "an opportunity to meet with women leading progress in the arena of peace and security in their respective locations to hear their concerns and needs," stated Erika Kvapilova, Regional Programme Director for Central and Southeastern Women division of UN Women, in a communiqué.
Global Open Day in Kosovo was an occasion for the United Nations to work with community leaders on women's concerns, needs and priorities.
This year's theme was "Status of Survivors of Conflict Related Sexual Violence and Torture". Participants discussed the need for government authorities to take over responsibility for the rehabilitation and re-integration of victims, a responsibility largely taken on by civil society until now. Amongst other things, victims request acknowledgment of their status as victims of conflict in order to be able to access the support offered to victims under local legislation.
In his remarks, Deputy SRSG Robert Sorenson acknowledged the progress made in the past two years, particularly the excellent cooperation between women in civil society and women's involvement in decision-making, both at a central and a local level.
“The efforts of the Women's Caucus at the Assembly and Kosovo women's organizations in their call to provide survivors of sexual violence with access to justice, and legal and public recognition are supported by the UN family. We encourage and support efforts to ensure adequate rehabilitation assistance for all victims of sexual violence. ” stressed Deputy SRSG Sorenson. “Discrimination and stigmatization of these victims must be combated. In your efforts to end this discrimination and find positive ways forward I can assure you that we of the UN family are with you and ready to assist” he concluded.
The United Nations encourages and supports the process to ensure adequate rehabilitation and reparation for victims of sexual violence, to challenge discrimination and reduce the stigmatization of rape survivors in Kosovo society. UNMIK will continue its involvement with the Security and Gender Group which will be working on this issue through the coming year and beyond.