Tuesday, 12th February 2019
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) vigorously condemns the alleged sexual abuse experienced by a minor from the Drenas municipality, whose vulnerable position was alleged to have been exploited by individuals in positions of trust and authority. The SGG welcomes the immediate measures taken against the suspects involved in the case, who have allegedly acted in flagrant contradiction of their legal obligations, ethical and professional standards.
The appalling criminal acts of sexual and gender-based violence alleged to have been committed by a school teacher, a police investigator and a medical professional underline a fundamental disregard for the responsibilities and ethical obligations that must be upheld by those in positions of trust and authority. Exploiting an individual’s vulnerability stands in gross contravention to concepts of humanity and professionalism, and the exploitation of a child is particularly egregious and intolerable in this regard, constituting a grave violation of Kosovo’s laws. The SGG calls for institutions to take the necessary measures in order to avoid any repetition of such grave violation of human rights, especially against the most vulnerable of society.
The SGG appreciates the measures taken by the Police Inspectorate to arrest the suspects and investigate the allegations of rape, stalking, intimidation, coercion and abuse of power committed against a minor girl who courageously reported the allegations to law enforcement seeking aid and justice. Similarly, the SGG commends the municipal authorities for reopening the investigation against and re-suspending the teacher, after the accusations had previously been withdrawn by the victim herself under unknown circumstances. The SGG also welcomes the initiation of an investigation and the measures to be taken in relation to the medical professional for the termination of pregnancy, allegedly performed unlawfully in an unlicensed clinic.
The abuse of asymmetrical power dynamics, in this appalling case by those meant to educate, protect and heal, lies at the core of gender-based violence.
The SGG appreciates the information of the public about the gravity of the case by the media, which contributes to greater public awareness about the need for increased efforts to combat violence against women and girls. In this regard, the group urges the media service to respect the code of ethics and treat such cases with professionalism, sensibility, respect and discretion, respecting the full privacy of those affected and to refrain from directly or indirectly revealing the identity of children and minors who may be victims of abuse.
The number of more cases of sexual abuse committed against minors that have come to light in the past few days from Gjakova/Đakovica, Kllokot/Klokot and Peja/ Peć constitute a major cause for concern for the SGG and for the society. We encourage every individual experiencing any violation of their rights to address themselves to the competent authorities, in place to protect their rights.
Note to the press
The Security and Gender Group (SGG) is a multi-stakeholder group, and the following members of SGG support this public statement:
International organizations and representations: UN Women, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNDCO, UNHCR, UN-Habitat, UNKT, European Union Office in Kosovo / European Union Special Representative in Kosovo, EULEX, OSCE, UNMIK
Kosovo institutions: Office of the National Coordinator for the protection against Domestic Violence
CSOs: KIPRED, Kosovar Gender Studies Centre, Kvinna till Kvinna, Kosova – Women 4 Women, Jahjaga Foundation, INJECT
This statement is also supported by: Municipality of Gjakova, Youth Initiative for Human Rights