08 May 2017
Empower Women Now - Conference
On 11 and 12 May 2017, the two women’s rights organisations Medica Gjakova and medica mondiale invite to a conference in Gjakova entitled “Empower Women Now! - Creating a culture of recog-nition and reconciliation in Kosovo”. Its objectives are to raise awareness on conflict-related sexualised violence and the situation of survivors as well as the stigma associated with it. The two-day event will focus on the amended law on the “Status of Civilian Victims of War and their families” and give information on how women in Kosovo can access the pension and other benefits related to the law. The international conference will take place in Hotel Pashtriku, Gjakova, under the patronage of the Embassy of Austria.
Recognizing the women's suffering
“An accessible, women-centred and transformative reparation scheme for survivors of sexual violence during the war is highly needed in Kosovo,” explains Monika Hauser, founder and director of medica mondiale, the German partner organisation of Medica Gjakova. “It is important to recognize their suffering, promote rehabilitation and reconciliation on the societal level, and to contribute to individual empowerment, to the collective healing process as well as to the prevention of transgenerational trauma.”
Participants at the conference include: Atifete Jahjaga, Former President of Kosovo, Arban Abrashi, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dhurata Hoxha Minister of Justice, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, Mayor of Gjakova, Additionally, representatives of the Kosova Women’s Network, Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims, Gender Agency Kosovo, medica mondiale’s partner organisation Medica Zenica from Bosnia and Herzegovina and guests from women’s organisations in Croatia are ex-pected.
Background information on the law
In March 2014, the Kosovo Assembly approved the amendment of the law No. 04/L-054 on the “Status of Rights of Martyrs, Invalids, Veterans, Members of KLA, Civilian Victims of War and their families” to officially recognize and include the status of civilian victims of sexual violence during the war in Kosovo. The status entitles the concerned estimated 20.000 women in Kosovo for a monthly pension and other benefits described by the law. The National Council on Survivors of Sexual Vio-lence during the war in Kosovo, established in 2014 by the former President, Atifete Jahjaga, devel-oped the necessary legislation and bylaws and created the preconditions for ensuring that survivors of sexual violence will have access to the benefits provided by the above-mentioned law.
About medica mondiale and Medica Gjakova
Founded in 1993, medica mondiale is committed to supporting women and girls in war and crisis regions. The organisation sees itself as an advocate for the rights and interests of women who have survived sexualized war violence. In addition to gynaecological treatment and psychosocial and legal assistance, medica mondiale also offers programmes to help women secure their own livelihood and it carries out political human rights work. Shortly after the end of the Kosovo war, in 1999 medica mondiale opened an interdisciplinary wom-en’s advice centre in Gjakova. A second organisation was founded in 2011: Medica Gjakova. Both organisations support women affected by violence and discrimination, offering psychosocial, health and legal counselling as well as measures to secure the livelihood. medica mondiale supports Medi-ca Gjakova financially and technically.