PRISTINA - The first regional shelter for survivors of gender-based violence was inaugurated in Zubin Potok and will serve the municipalities of Leposavić/Leposaviq, North Mitrovica, Zvečan/Zveçan and Zubin Potok. The project represents a critical and sustainable step forward in addressing gender-based violence in the region.
The United Nations Mission in Kosovo, (UNMIK) supported the refurbishment of the premises to accommodate and protect up to 20 occupants, and provided support for the construction of a workshop and greenhouse facilities. These will be central to the therapeutic and economic empowerment activities of the shelter. In order to reinforce the physical security provided by the municipalities, KFOR donated and installed a sophisticated security camera system to improve the safety and wellbeing of residents. Other partners provided financial support and have pledged to support the municipalities' efforts.
The inauguration was attended by North Mitrovica Principal Executive Officer Adrijana Hodžić along with the Mayor of Zubin Potok, the Heads of UNMIK and OSCE and Brigadier General Larry Henry, KFOR Chief of Staff.
Hodžić reflected on the power of cooperation and coordination in achieving these results.
"Local governments finally decided to institutionally fight domestic violence. Things will not change overnight, but together, if the judiciary, the prosecutor's office, centers for social welfare, police and local self-government all work together, eventually we will reach the goal of fewer victims," she said, before thanking KFOR for the support provided with regard to security.
Brigadier General Henry expressed his satisfaction with the partnership with the Institutions in Kosovo and the International Community and reaffirmed KFOR's commitment for a safe and secure environment to the benefit of all citizens of Kosovo.
KFOR and UNMIK have already partnered to support projects against domestic violence: last year UNMIK implemented the surveillance system and KFOR installed a new fence around the multi-ethnic Women's Shelter in Novoberde/Novo Brdo. Over the years KFOR has also helped similar structures of Gjakove/Dakovica, Peje/Pec and Prizren.