New Law Recognizes Persons Who Suffered Sexual Violence

On Mar. 20, the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo approved Law No. 04/L-054 on the status and rights of martyrs, invalids, veterans, members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, persons raped during the war, civilian war victims and their families. The new Law includes survivors of violence and sexual abuse that occurred during the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, recognizing their plight in an effort to undermine social stigmatization and return dignity.
     The Law’s adoption resulted from two years of intensive advocacy undertaken by women from civil society and politics. The Kosova Women’s Network (KWN) and its member organizations have been instrumental in this process. KWN effectively brought the plight of persons who suffered sexual violence during the war to the forefront of public discussion via a demonstration organized on 8 Mar. 2012. With the slogan, “We do not want flowers. We want justice for women who suffered sexual violence during the war,” the demonstration renewed public and institutional attention to this issue. Since then, KWN together with other civil society groups has written several letters and met with members of the Assembly of Kosovo, among others, urging adoption of this important Law.
“Since sexual violence was used as a weapon of war, women should receive the same benefits as all other victims of war,” KWN wrote in its most recent letter, sent Mar. 19 (Click here to read the letter).
      KWN thanks Assembly members for their work and celebrates the adoption of this Law, as an important step towards returning dignity to women who have suffered enough.