Kelmendi: Kosovo needs a law to protect children

Donjeta Kelmendi, KOMF. Photography credits: RFE/RL

Article originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

In the interview with Radio Free Europe, Donjeta Kelmendi, director of the Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection, highlights the need of adoption of the law on child protection, adding that the most serious violations that are made to children in Kosovo are: violence, exploitation and trafficking.

Radio Free Europe: Mrs. Kelmendi, Kosovo has still no law to protect children? Where is the problem?

Donjeta Kelmendi: The protection of children until now has been regulated by different laws, it was not a problem, and children were protected by other specific laws in different areas. Two key laws that are mainly for the protection of children who need institutional protection are the Family Law and the Law on Social and Family Services, where mainly through these two laws children were protected.

There are other laws specific for the protection of children in various fields. Now it is necessary to have a law for the protection of children. The approval of the law on the protection of children is intended to increase cooperation, coordination and accountability among institutions at central and local level, and collaboration with civil society organizations that work on child protection. Based on the analysis, as well as international reports, Kosovo doesn’t have an integrated child protection system, so through this law, it is expected to be integrated in the child protection system.

Radio Free Europe: What does the law bring for the protection of children?

Donjeta Kelmendi: The law, initially, must protect children from all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect or any other form, which puts their lives at risk, their safety, health, education or child development. Also, it should emphasize more specific responsibilities of parents, society and the state for protection and care of children, although I emphasize that it is affected by other laws.

Radio Free Europe: What are the most serious violations that are made to children in Kosovo?

Donjeta Kelmendi: We always mention the most serious cases of violation of children’s rights, which are also criminal offenses, where also the law provides a special focus protection of vulnerable children as well ad children with disabilities, victims of violence, victims of trafficking, victims of exploitation, neglect, children without parental care, children from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, so children which are more vulnerable and need institutional care.

Radio Free Europe: Mrs. Kelmendi, you as Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection (KOMF), do you cooperate with Kosovo institutions?

Donjeta Kelmendi: We, as a coalition, have a good cooperation with Kosovo institutions, but we consistently need to emphasize that the cooperation between institutions in local level is missing. We are talking about the municipal level, as mainly services are provided at the municipal level for child protection. This law in some of its legal provisions regulates the cooperation between institutions at local level, monitoring and also accountability.

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