Legal and social (un)protection of LGBT community in Kosovo


The Kosovo society remains deeply patriarchal and even hostile towards sexual minorities. Even though Kosovo is one of only ten European states to have constitutionally banned discrimination against these minorities, society is very much close minded when it comes to their rights. People who dare to “come out” are, in most cases, kicked out of their family homes, or, among other, subjected to some form of treatment to cure their “sexual illness”. This is all a consequence of the widespread believe that LGBT people are deviant or suffer from mental illness that needs to be cured. Constant repression towards members of this community often results in their pulling back in closed, under the radar, circles, or in some cases, even asylum seeking.

Iris network supported the project “Diversity week” and its member QESh, which is a NGO that advocates for the rights of the LGBT community in Kosovo. Amongst other activities throughout the project, they raised visibility of LGBT individuals organizing concert, art exhibitions, monologue performances, open panel discussions, workshops with experts, health activities, as well as film and documentary screenings, including a documentary currently in production by QESh. People from various backgrounds including artists, youth, university students, health care providers, and experts from different fields are now more connected and the LGBT community is more present. Their project brought together representatives not only of LGBT community and NGO sector, but also government institution to discuss the importance of improvement and development of different kind of social services to this community. Most importantly, questions about the need for safe houses and shelters for people who are being kicked out of their homes and excluded from their families, where raised.

Open debate – Kosovo

Open debate – Kosovo

Open debate in Kosovo was organized 13th February 2014. in Governmental Building of Kosovo. Around 50 present representatives from Government, Local Institutions and non-governmental organizations that deal with the provision of social services discussed on the main topic “The role of institutions and non-governmental organizations in providing social services and their challenges”.
Biggest part of the discussion was related to domestic violence, which remains a serious problem in Kosovo, with about 420 cases already having been reported this year. On average, the police registers somewhere around 1,000 such complaints per year and the majority of those reporting it, 4 out of 5, are women. According to Naime Sherifi, executive director of the Centre for Protection of Women and Children, the centre has sheltered some 881 victims of domestic violence since 2000. She further adds that “the situation is troubling” and that six to ten women die each tear due to spousal abuse.  Despite boasting a female president and gender quotas in the parliament, Kosovo is still very much a patriarchal society where women are mostly responsible for the home and children. Women also tend to have an average of two years less education than men and are faced with a staggering unemployment rate of 30.9 %.

“Laws related to social services scheme in Kosovo should be subject to increased monitoring associated with determining the level of their application by the relevant state institutions” was one of the main recommendations made on this debate.