Kosovo: immediate need to improve the situation of children with disabilities and those involved in hazardous forms of labour

Source – KOMF Coalition, Kosovo

wz7a8203The coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – KOMF, launched the Child Protection Index last week, which illustrates how Kosovo performs on more than 600 indicators adapted after the official implementation list of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

One of the speakers at this conference was the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr. Isa Mustafa, who, among others, highlighted that the Index is a useful tool that provides an evidence-based advocacy approach for policy debates, identifies the needs and gaps in the child protection system, creates opportunities to compare countries within the region with the aim of advocating and increasing finances, enhances evidence-based data, as well as unifies the efforts among different sectors in child protection.

The Ombudsperson, Mr. Hilmi Jashari, stated that it is very important to provide evidence based on concrete indicators that measure the achievements and gaps in the field of child protection.

Mrs Nataliya Apostolova, Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, declared: “We have seen improvements in the legal framework related to child protection in Kosovo, but we think that more should be done through the allocation of an adequate budget to child protection as well as the establishment of the Specific Grant for Social Services in frame of the Law for Local Governance Finance”.

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kosovo, Mrs. Angelika Viets, highlighted that each time we fail to protect a child, the society itself fails. She encouraged the institutions of Kosovo to build the requested capacities in order to protect children’s rights.

The Head of UNICEF Office in Kosovo, Mr. James Mugaju, stated that investing in children, is investing in the future of Kosovo. But according to him, the implementation of the actual legal framework remains a challenge.

wz7a8244-1The findings of the Index show that Kosovo has created an adequate legislation for child protection, but has scored low points in service provision, capacities and accountability. The comparable data among the countries show that Kosovo must intervene immediately in the field of children with disabilities and children involved in hazardous forms of labour. With regards to the protection of children with disabilities Kosovo ranks eight out of the nine countries where the Index has been implemented, while for the protection of children involved in hazardous forms of labour, Kosovo ranks and fifth out of the nine pilot countries.  The Index recognizes the progress that Kosovo has achieved on protecting children without parental care.

Some of the main recommendations of the Index are to:

  • Adopt financial standards to adequately resource services and align them with quality standards. Without financial standards in place, it is difficult to secure consistent and sufficient budgets for services.
  • Create consistent, independent monitoring and inspection mechanisms to review the quality of public and private service provision and administer licensing.
  • Build a plan for sustainable and fair financing of social services across Kosovo through the establishment of a specific grant for social services.
  • Research and data collection should be prioritized to determine the prevalence of different issues in Kosovo.