ACTIVITY REPORT

A. General Information

1. Title of the project:  Enhancing Human Rights protection in Kosovo*

2. Reference number of the project:

3. Duration of the project (in month): 25 months   Project start date: 1 February 2012
  End date: 28 February 2014

4. Beneficiary:  Kosovo

5. Project Budget: 1 111 112 Euros               Current Status: Closed

B. Project summary

6. Project Objective: To improve the implementation of standards under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the standards and findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) in Kosovo.

7. Expected results: Human rights regulatory and institutional framework in line with European HR standards; monitoring capacity of the ombudsperson (OIK), other human rights institutions and civil society strengthened.

8. Achievements:

The inception phase of the project ended in June 2012 with the preparation of the inception report together with an assessment of the efficiency of Kosovo human rights structures. It was planned that immediately after the inception phase was over, the Project Steering Committee (PSC) would be formed and the inception report together with the assessment report would be submitted to it for approval.  However, the Project implementation was delayed during the summer months due to the pending issue of the denomination of Kosovo to be used in the footnote on Project-related documents. During that period, the Project team, determined to make the maximum use of the time available, continued to plan and prepare activities, including the PSC meeting, to be ready to resume work once the denomination issue was resolved.

Once the agreement on the use of Kosovo denomination was reached on 18 August 2012, the Project became fully operational.

The Project had several important achievements. In particular, the Opinion on the Draft Regulation on Mechanisms for Cooperation, Coordination, Monitoring, Reporting, Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (Draft Regulation) was prepared, and its findings were presented in March 2013 at a round table with the participation of all the main beneficiaries of the Project and international partners.

The abovementioned Opinion served as a basis for the comprehensive review of the existing non-judicial human rights institutions, supplemented with an assessment of three of human rights-related laws .  The conclusions and recommendations of the review were summarised in a report, which was discussed at a round table in October 2013 with the participation of all relevant local stakeholders and international organisations. The report contains concrete proposals for the reform of Kosovo non-judicial human rights institutions, its final version will be presented to the public in January 2014.

An Opinion to the Draft Strategy and Action Plan on human rights 2013-2017 was prepared and presented at a round table on 18 December 2013. The Opinion contains a critical review of the Draft and suggestions to its improvement. However, the Project team considered it essential that the final Strategy and Action plan on human rights is prepared by Kosovo authorities with the use of recommendations of the Opinion.

Other achievements to date include the increasing of the awareness of representatives of Kosovo human rights institutions and civil society organisations on European human rights standards through a comprehensive training programme, including study visits; the involvement of the civil society into a discussion about the modalities of human rights lobbying. The latter helped to prepare the ground for a greater participation of NGOs in shaping the system of human rights protection in Kosovo. A peer-to-peer dialogue and good practice exchange among institutions was facilitated through a number of working meetings.

Alumni of the training programme carried out under the current Project in November 2012-February 2013 started the preparation of a series of cascade training seminars on human rights for public officials in municipalities. This would notably increase the capacity of the staff working in human rights institutions in Pristina and other municipalities as regards the application of European human rights standards.  Assisted by the Project team, the alumni are being in charge of developing their own training materials.


Main activities:
Human rights regulatory and institutional framework in line with European human rights standards

- An assessment report evaluating the institutional framework and capacity of Kosovo human rights institutions was prepared in the framework of the Project during its inception phase on the basis of a week-long mission of the CoE consultants to Kosovo. The report included: the evaluation of the capacity of municipal human rights units and regional Ombudsperson's offices to react to complaints about human rights violations; identification of areas in which training for municipal human rights units and OIK staff is need; the identification of shortcomings in the structure of human rights institutions in Kosovo. The report with concrete recommendations was approved by the Steering Committee, distributed among the Project's beneficiaries and became the basis for a modified Project implementation plan.

- An expertise of the Draft Regulation on Mechanisms for Cooperation, Coordination, Monitoring, Reporting, Protection and Promotion of Human Rights was carried out by the Project, with the final report presented to the beneficiaries in March 2013. The expertise was requested by the Legal Office within the Kosovo Prime Minister's office to ensure that the Regulation is in line with European standards and best practices as regards the functioning of national human rights institutions. The Opinion will serve as a basis in the preparation of a reform proposal of human rights structures.

-The preparation of a report with reform proposals to energise non-judicial human rights institutions in Kosovo, supplemented by an assessment of the amendments to the Law on Ombudsperson, Draft Law on Protection against Discrimination and Draft Law on Gender Equality has been completed by January 2014.

- The preparation of an Opinion to the Draft Strategy and Action Plan on Human Rights 2013-2017 (a document drafted by Kosovo authorities) has been completed by January 2014.

Capacity of the OIK and other public human rights institutions and civil society as regards the application of the European human rights standards strengthened

- In late September 2012, a series of awareness-raising training sessions was launched with the aim to create a network of trainers on human rights issues throughout Kosovo. The participants are a mixed group of OIK and municipal human rights units staff members and a number of human rights NGOs workers. After the initial training 3-day session, the Project team selected 40 participants who showed best scores during the final testing to participate in a comprehensive Training-of-Trainer (ToT) course which consisted of 4 sessions. In two of them that were already held in November and December 2012, the most "weak" areas were identified. These areas, such as the functioning of international human rights machinery, will be specifically addressed during following sessions.  The course was completed in February 2013, its alumni will organising a series of cascade training seminars on various aspects of human rights for their peers and the greater public as of September 2013. In performing such training, the participants will be supported and guided by the Project team.

- A permanent dialogue between public institutions and NGOs involved in human rights protection is maintained within the Project. Besides bringing together representatives of governmental and non-governmental sector at training sessions and exchange of information within the PSC, the Project Team has been organising smaller events to discuss actual problems in the area of the protection of human rights.

- Study visits of a mixed group of representatives of Kosovo human rights institutions and NGOs were organised to the CoE and to human rights institutions of Poland in March-April 2013. In October 2013, a group of staff members from the OIK visited human rights commission of Northern Ireland, UK. These activities were marked by the Ombudsperson as a helpful input to the strengthening of capacity of his staff and those of other human rights structures, particularly the possibility to get familiar with the system of national human rights institutions in a post-transition country, such as Poland.

9. List of activities:

A Final ToT session of a comprehensive training programme on European human rights standards for the representatives of different non-judicial human rights institutions took place on 4-8 February 2013 in Pristina.

A round table to present the Opinion on Draft Regulation on Mechanisms for Cooperation, Coordination, Monitoring, Reporting, Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, prepared by the Council of Europe experts took place on 21 March 2013 at Hotel Victory in Pristina

A study visit for a mixed group of fifteen representatives from different non-judicial human rights institutions, such as: Office for Good Governance, Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Gender Issues (AOGG), Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo (OIK), Legal office (LO), Human Rights Units at both central and local levels, and civil society took place on 4-8 March 2013 in Strasbourg, France.

The second Steering Committee meeting took place on 22 March 2013 in Pristina.

The first working meeting initiated by AOGG in order to inform human rights unit coordinators both at central and municipal levels and to hear their opinions and suggestions in connection with new NHRSAP has been supported by the Project and took place on 19 April 2013 in Pristina.

The study visit for a mixed group of fifteen representatives from different non-judicial human rights institutions, such as: AOGG, OIK, LO, Human Rights Units at both central and local levels, and civil society took place on 8-12 April 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

A training session for the representatives of the OIK and civil society on monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty based on CPT standards took place on 23-25 April 2013 in Pristina.

A joint working meeting between the experts and representatives of both the CoE and the EU Office in Kosovo on a reform proposal to energise non-judicial human rights institutions in Kosovo took place on 17 May 2013 in Strasbourg

A training session for the representatives of the OIK on public relations and promotion of human rights through media took place on 16-17 May 2013 in Pristina

The formulation of a reform proposal to energies the existing non-judicial human rights institutions in Kosovo- is in place. From 17 June -5 July experts are in Kosovo conducting assessment mission.

A workshop for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on advocacy and lobbying for human rights took place on 22-23 May 2013 in Mitrovica.

A workshop for CSOs on advocacy and lobby for human rights in Viti/a municipality took place on 13-14 June 2013.

A workshop for CSOs on advocacy and lobby for human rights in Peje/a municipality took place on 27-28 June 2013.

An assessment mission of consultants in charge of preparation of the report with reform proposals to energise Kosovo human rights institutions took place in the period of 17 June-5 July 2013.

The second assessment mission took place in the period of 22-26 July 2013. In the course of that activity, a multilateral technical working meeting with international community was organised on 24-25 July 2013. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the current human rights architecture in Kosovo, the way in which the laws under assessment relate to each other and possible options for an overall harmonisation of the system.

A series of small-scale working meetings related to the work on the report on reform proposals took place in several locations in Pristina in August 2013.

Three one-day round tables on the application of the ECHR and minorities' rights were organised for human rights institutions, civil servants and CSOs in September 2013. The first workshop took place on 13 September 2013 in Gjakova/Djakovica, the second on 20 September 2013 in Suhareke/a, and the third roundtable took place in Ferizaj/Urosevac on 24 October 2013. The three workshops involved more than 25 participants each.

A two-day workshop on advocacy and lobby for human rights for CSO's, OIK representatives in the regional offices and local authorities was organised in Gracanice/a municipality on 30 September-1 October 2013.

The draft report with reform proposals was presented to the key stakeholders on 4 October 2013.

A five-day study visit for the representatives of the OIK to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in Belfast, UK, took place from 14 to 18 October.

A third Steering Committee meeting took place on 22 October at the premises of the CoE office in Pristina.

A two- day training session for the OIK on management of public relations and communication in promotion of human rights was held on 15-16 November 2013 in Pristina. The training aimed to enhance the ability of the OIK to promote human rights in general and its activities in particular.

A two-day training on curriculum development was organised for the trainers selected for the participation in cascade ToT sessions. The activity took place on 10-11 November in Pristina.

The first three-day ToT session was held in Prizren on 25-27 November 2013. The session was attended by 15 participants.

An assessment mission to Kosovo of the consultant involved in the preparation of the Opinion on the Draft Strategy and Action plan on Human Rights was organised on 2-3 December 2013. The mission included meetings with relevant Kosovo authorities in charge of the preparation of the Strategy (I.e., Office for good governance and others) and international community working in the area of human rights in Kosovo.
 
On 4 December 2013 a conference "Complementarity of Purpose: Ombudsperson Institutions and the judiciary for the protection of Human Rights – European best practice and regional experience" was organised in Pristina with participation of international experts and representatives of Constitutional courts and ombudspersons' institutions of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo.

A three-day training session for 15 OIK representatives and CSOs on application of CPT standards including and reporting methodology took place on 6-8 December 2013 in Pristina.

The second three -day ToT was conducted in Shtime on  9-11 December 2013.  The session was attended by 25 participants.

The third three-day ToT was conducted in Mitrovica on 10-12 December 2013. The session was attended by 27  participants.

A round table on the presentation of the Opinion to the Draft Strategy and Action Plan on Human Rights was organised on 18 December 2013 in Pristina.

C. Financial assessment

Contract value: 1 111 112.00 €
 
EU Contribution:  1 000 000.00 € 90%
CoE Contribution:  111 112.00 € 10%
Project partners' Contribution 
Total payments received: 648 843.10 €
 
Balance pending:  351 156.90 €
 
Programme implementation (Actual expenses):  
a. Total expenditure level
- amount spent
- amount committed 576 978.15 €
494 294.87 €
82 683.28 € 51.93 %
b. Expenditure level relative to work plan
(amount spent/total budget elapsed contract duration):  94.51 %
Remaining budget:  534 133.85 € 48.07 %

D. Visibility

Special visibility items containing the Joint Project logo, such as banners, folders, pens and notebooks, have been prepared for each Project activity.

PROJECT DOCUMENTS PROJECT DOCUMENTS


Reform Proposals to energise non-judicial Human Rights institutions an legislative expertise on the HR related law package December 2013 EN, ALB, SER

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