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Some 15 years after the conflict in Kosovo ended, parliament has decided to offer legal rights to wartime rape victims by amending existing legislation.
Changes to an existing law that grants benefits to war victims and veterans were approved by 69 lawmakers on Thursday.
Human rights campaigners in Pristina welcomed the decision, saying it was “high time” to legally acknowledge rape victims of the conflict.
Fatmire Feka glanced at the skies over her Kosovo village. Storm clouds darkened the horizon, and rain started to fall.
"I felt as if God was crying tears of pain," Feka says. "God was crying because he knew what was about to happen."
According to data from the Kosovo Police's Human Rights Department, there were 9,772 police-documented cases of domestic violence between 2002 and 2009 – over 1,000 episodes per year in a country with a population well below 2 million, according to the most recent census. Out of those cases, almost 80 percent of victims are women and nine perpetrators out of ten are men.
Government interference in the judiciary, corruption, intimidation of the media, discrimination and harassment of members of ethnic and sexual minorities, violence against women and child labor exploitation, all remained serious problems in Kosovo in 2010, states the report.
The leader of a protest against Kosovo's ban on headscarves in public schools says devout Muslims could resort to violence to get their way, though Islam is not central to the lives of most Kosovo Albanians.
The June 18 rally in the capital Pristina by 5,000 women in headscarves, supported by some bearded men, was held after a few headscarf-clad girls were prevented from entering their schools.
Kosovo is a source, destination and transit country for trafficking of women and children, a recently released US State Department report said. Although the government has made some effort to combat human trafficking, it has failed to comply with minimum standards, while serious institutional gaps remain, the report concludes.
Sat in the front row in army fatigues and desert boots and patiently listening to children giving their presentation, Lieutenant Colonel Ivette Galarza stands out. Not just because of the way she is dressed, or because she is American, but particularly because she is female.
Ten projects of civil society organizations were officially launched today in the presence of the Head of the European Union Office in Kosovo / European Union Special Representative in Kosovo Mr. Samuel �bogar, Kosovo UN Development Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Osnat Lubrani and Officer in Charge of the UN Women Project Office in Kosovo Ms. Flora Macula.
A Serbian appeals court has upheld prison terms of up to 20 years for three ex-Serb paramilitaries convicted of gunning down 14 ethnic Albanian women and children a decade ago in Kosovo.
The court in Belgrade rejected appeals from the three appellants, who served in the notorious Scorpions unit during the 1999-2000 Kosovo war. A retrial was ordered for a fourth defendant.
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