The beginning of the year finds several shelters providing residential services to victims of domestic violence, children without parental care and victims of trafficking without funds The Center for Protection and Rehabilitation of Women and Children “Liria” in Gjilan, the Center for the Protection of Victims and Prevention of Human Trafficking, and the Hope and Homes for Children have run out of funds for the months of January and February, since on Wednesday, 27 December 2023, in the meeting of the Government of Kosovo, the Minister of Finance, Labour and Transfers, Mr. Hekuran Murati, rejected the request for funding these shelters. The request was submitted to the Ministry of Justice by the representatives of the shelters, who then forwarded it for approval to the Ministry of Finance, and it was subsequently rejected.
In 2023, these shelters were financially supported by the Ministry of Justice for the period of May-December 2023, while they were promised that a public call for funding would be lauched in November 2023 for the beginning of the year, but this has not happened. Furthermore, many daycare centers providing social services are also in the same situation.
The current Government has made numerous promises to prioritize combating gender-based violence, as well as improving social services. We, as KWN, have therefore often commended the Government for its expressed commitment to combating gender-based violence and other social disparities. However, this recent decision on the eve of the end-of-year holidays compels us to react and express concern for the well-being of individuals in need of shelter and social services.
Kosovo Women’s Network, along with its 144 members, urges the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfers to address this issue as soon as possible. We are deeply concerned about the non-approval of financial support for the above-mentioned shelters and other social services because this will put all citizens in need of such services at risk. As has been the practice in previous years, we expect the government to create an Emergency Fund as soon as possible, through which the needs of shelters and social services will be covered for periods when they require assistance.
The Kosovo Women’s Network has consistently advocated for the existence of a separate line for shelter services for victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking. This has been included in the Law on Budget Appropriations since 2018, and now it is time for the contracting of social services provided by shelters to be covered for a three-year period as a sustainable solution. This is a recommendation that the KWN has been proposing to the Government of Kosovo for some time now.