Sector led, women's rights and political protests staged
In its 2021 annual report on freedom in the world, Freedom House ranks Kosovo as a partly free country. The report shows that Kosovo has fallen by two points, from 56 to 54. The fall is attributed to the decline in the category of political rights (election process), referring to the unconstitutionally election of the Hoti Government in June 2020.
A case of delay in registering an NGO was documented in Prizren during the reporting period. Parents of children registered at a community-based kindergarten have been required to register an organisation, which is mandatory for the operation of the kindergarten. However, despite their application in October 2020, the NGO Department has not yet completed the registration.
Through peaceful protests, people have demanded justice for victims.
- A protest was staged calling for “Justice for Hatije Dina” to demand a longer prison sentence for the husband convicted for murdering Hatije Dina.
- Protests took place in Prizren after a 15-year-old student was stabbed to death. Protesters called for justice and increased security for students.
- Serbian students protested for two days in a row in Gračanica demanding the release of seven detainees accused of beating the son of politician Nenad Rašić.
Other sector-related protests also took place:
- University of Pristina technical workers, health specialists, Trepca miners and Kosovo Lottery employees organised protests regarding unpaid or unfair salaries.
Different political issues have also prompted protests.
- A protest was staged staged demanding the resignation of the Minster of Agriculture after 11 officials were arrested on suspicion of bribery and the misuse of state funds.
- Non-Serb communities and civil society activists in Prishtina demonstrated against “the usurpation of guaranteed seats” in the Assembly of Kosovo.
- NGO “Global Shapers Prishtina” held an action in front of the Ministry of Education and Science, symbolically marking all former ministers from 1 (the lowest) for the poor state of education, or 5 (the highest) for nepotism.
- Activists of the Social Democratic Party organised several actions during the reporting period. No incidents were reported on their protest which was directed at the acting President. The party issued a symbolic action by “fining” the acting Minister of Health for non-compliance with anti-COVID measures during pre-election rallies. The party also staged another action aimed at the EU Representative for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. However, clashes between the activists and the police happened during this action where SDP activists placed a banner on the government building opposing the Self-Determination Movement. The President of SDP and other activists were detained. According to Kosovo Police, two policemen were injured, and the action was not pre-announced.
Several actions took place to mark Interational Women’s Day (8 March):
- A “March with bicycles” was staged for the freedom of movement for girls and women throughout Kosovo.
- A symbolic action was staged by the Center for Information, Criticism and Action (QIKA) to raise awareness of the significantly aggravated position of women during the pandemic.
- The “March against a patriarchy that kills” took place, where thousands of citizens, activists, politicians and NGOs marched across Prishtina.
The following incidents were documented against journalists and the media:
- The Association of Journalists of Kosovo denounced the physical attack by three unknown persons on journalist Visar Duriqi. As a result of the physical attack his teeth and nose were broken.
- Lumir Abdixhiku, a candidate for MP of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) accused the media of being against his party. A similar claim was made by his colleague, Avdullah Hoti – the acting Prime-Minister and LDK’s candidate for Prime Minister during snap elections held on 14th February 2021.
- KALLXO.com journalists were threatened and obstructed while capturing footage in a parking lot in Rahovec.