Kosovo Police establish Child Friendly Interview Rooms across all regions (31/10/2011)

Child RoomsKosovo Police, in partnership with, and with financial support from the European Union and UNICEF, launched the newly established Kosovo Police Child Friendly Interview Rooms, an initiative developedas part of the wider Joint EU and UNICEF programme to support Juvenile Justice System reforms.The Child Friendly Interview Rooms have newly been established in Prishtinë/Priština, Prizren, Pejë/Pec, Vushtrri/Vucitrn, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Ferizaj/Uroševac and Gracanica/Graçanicë

The second phase of the Joint EU and UNICEF programme aims at ensuring that children in conflict with the law, as well as victims and witnesses, are treated in line with Kosovo, European and international standards. One of the main areas foresees the strengthening of protection mechanisms for children in contact with the justice system, especially during the arrest and prosecution phases. Child Friendly Interview Rooms will play a crucial role in this process.

"Establishing the Child Friendly Interview Rooms within police stations throughout Kosovo is only the beginning of a complex process towards building a child friendly range of services in the juvenile justice sector ", said Mr. Christof Stock, Head of Operations Section in EC Liaison Office to Kosovo during the launching ceremony.

 UNICEF, as main partner and a key organization supporting the field of juvenile justice in Kosovo was represented by Johannes Wedenig, Head of UNICEF Office in Kosovo who stated that, "The establishment of the Child Friendly Interview Rooms represents an important step forward towards the advancement of children’s rights in Kosovo".

Decades of turmoil have created many economic and social challenges for the people of Kosovo. Although there have been some improvements in the last several years, the people of Kosovo continue to face uncertain and difficult circumstances, affecting children in particular.

 The challenges faced by children in Kosovo put them at risk of being lured into, or being victims of criminal activities. While it is difficult to determine a precise picture of the level of criminal activity involving juveniles in Kosovo, due to a lack of standardised data collection, the available indicators point to increasing levels of reported criminal activity involving children and juveniles in Kosovo. The Kosovo government, with significant support from the international community, has been working to develop a legal framework that addresses these concerns within a rights-based framework. A strong commitment to develop a comprehensive rights-based juvenile justice system in Kosovo led to the adoption of the Juvenile Justice Code in 2007 and its revision in 2010. However, coordination and effective implementation of the numerous plans and strategies is still lacking and, in order to ensure full respect of children’s rights, the protection of children – including offenders, victims and witnesses – in contact with the justice system should be further strengthened.