“Friends of Children” advocacy platform launched in Kosovo

Source: Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection (KOMF) from Kosovo

The Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection – KOMF, launched the advocacy platform “Friends of Children” las week in Kosovo.

 “Friends of Children” is an advocacy platform composed of personalities with a successful career from fields such as diplomacy, art, culture, sport, etc, which will help to raise awareness and promote child protection and long term investment in children from Kosovo.

Donjeta Kelmendi, Executive Director of KOMF, held the opening speech providing some statistics over the situation of children: “The most recent data highlight a child poverty rate of 32.8 per cent compared to 29.7 per cent which is the poverty rate for the overall population. 10.7 per cent of children in Kosovo are involved in labour while 6.8 per cent of them work in hazardous conditions. 61.4 per cent of children up to 14 years old have suffered physical and psychological violence. Children with disabilities do not fully enjoy their right in education, health and social welfare. Around 10 per cent of children benefit from quality services including education, health and social services”.

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The friends of children who highlighted their messages during the press release event were:

Mr. Samuel Zbogar, Head of the European Union Office in Kosovo

Her Excellency Mrs. Angelika Viets, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kosovo

His Excellency Mr. Jan Braathu, Ambassador of Norway in Kosovo

His Excellency Mr. Qemal Minxhozi, Ambassador of the Republic of Albania in Kosovo

His Excellency Mr. Ruairi O’Connell, Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Kosovo

Ms. Rona Nishliu, Singer, Albania’s best result to date, at the Eurovision song contest

Ms. Kaltrina Krasniqi, Flutist at Kosovo Philharmonic

Mr. Alban Selimi, Journalist, winner of several prices on child protection

Ms. Eliza Hoxha, Singer and Architect

Mr. Eshref Durmishi, Producer and Film Director, nominated for Oscar

The Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, Mr. Samuel Zbogar declared to be very happy to join this initiative which promotes child rights: “Through this cooperation we ensure that children are treated as equal members of the society. Children have a special position in our society. We have noticed improvements of the legal framework, but more can be done in child protection, especially for protection of children from minorities”.

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mrs. Angelika Viets, declared that child protection is a responsibility of adults. Adults are the ones who influence the protection of the rights of children. The lack of the development of health and education is a key issue in protecting the rights of children.

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Kosovo, Mr. Ruairi O’Conell  declared that children are the present and the future of Kosovo and it is very important to join this kind of initiatives.

“What Kosovo authorities should do, is an increased attention toward young people. Our society must have a higher interest on the development of children”, declared The Ambassador of the Republic of Albania in Kosovo, Mr. Qemail Minxhozi .

The Ambassador of Norway in Kosovo, Mr. Jan Braathu, emphasized that Kosovo is in a transition phase which will enable a better treatment for children: “I want to congratulate the Friends of Children because it is a very good example of caring for the society. I hope the government will see this initiative and cooperate”.

Rona Nishliu stated: “I am very enthusiastic to be part of this panel, as a friend of children. Children are the future of our country. Every day we hear of different cases related to child exploitation and we are aware that many of them do not even have enough food to eat. Children have rights and they are universal rights. This initiative will intensify the efforts of protection of children by law”.

As a journalist working in the health field for a long time, taking in consideration the very low investment for the health of children – I joined this cause without any doubts. I see this as an opportunity to advocate and play a focal role in pushing forward issues related to children, especially their health”, stressed .Alban Selimi. 

Eliza Hoxha declared that children need to be cared about so that they can grow healthy and equally. We need to ask ourselves what we should do, in order to create the needed environment so that they can have a better life.

Kaltrina Krasniqi congratulated KOMF for the initiative undertaken to establish this platform: “I consider this initiative, very necessary to make children, child protection related issues, their wellbeing and rights, a priority in Kosovo”.  

Even though he was not physically present, Eshref Durmishi sent a video message where he appreciates the platform and its mission: “It is with great pleasure that I accepted to become part of the Friends of Children in order to influence issues related to the protection of children and the protection of their rights in Kosovo”.  

At the closure of the event, the Friends of Children  signed the Statement of Commitment as a symbolic gesture for future engagement.