In the context of her continuous human rights monitoring work, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović carried out a mission to Kosovo from 30 May to 3 June. The mission focused on issues pertaining to transitional justice and social cohesion, freedom of the media, and major aspects of women’s rights and gender equality.
In discussions with a wide range of interlocutors, both in Pristina and in north Mitrovica/Mitrovicë, the Commissioner addressed some of the challenges to the effective protection of the human rights of all communities in Kosovo, and the progress made in this field since her predecessor’s mission in 2017. Discussions relating to transitional justice and social cohesion revolved around the search for missing persons resulting from the 1990s conflict, the fight against impunity for wartime crimes, access to effective and adequate reparations for victims of war-related sexual violence, the language rights of non-majority communities, and major obstacles to sustainable returns. As regards freedom of the media, the Commissioner noted with interest Kosovo’s vibrant and diverse media landscape and raised issues concerning the safety of journalists and obstacles to their work, ethical journalism, and public service media. Finally, as regards women’s rights and gender equality, the high rate of unemployment among women, access to education and the protection of victims of domestic violence were among the issues of interest to the Commissioner.
During the mission, the Commissioner had discussions with the President, Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu; the Prime Minister, Albin Kurti; the First Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Development and Dialogue, Besnik Bislimi; the Third Deputy Prime Minister for Minority Issues and Human Rights, Emilija Redžepi; the Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu; the Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Sveçla; and the Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Arbërie Nagavci. She also met with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Caroline Ziadeh; the Head of the OSCE Mission, Ambassador Michael Davenport; the EU Special Representative, Ambassador Tomáš Szunyog; the Head of EULEX, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark; and the Chief of Mission of UNHCR, Erol Arduç. Furthermore, she held meetings with the Ombudsperson, Naim Qelaj, as well as with representatives of civil society and media representatives in Pristina and in north Mitrovica/Mitrovicë. The Commissioner also visited the Visoki Dečani Monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site, and met with a returnee from a Serb non-majority community in Gjakovë/Đakovica.
A memorandum on the mission is forthcoming.
* All references to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.