The Progress Report for Kosovo, published on 17 April 2018, among others, has included findings and recommendations in the area of protection the children rights.
On the rights of the child, the report points out that Kosovo’s legal framework is largely in line with international standards, but implementation remains limited. A child protection law is currently being drafted. Authorities must ensure that the law is followed up with an adequate budget and institutional ownership. Data collection and management remain a challenge for many child-related issues. Child labour continues to be a concern, with about 11% of children involved in work, with the highest percentage among Roma and Ashkali communities, where this percentage increases to 17%. This often leads to their exposure to different forms of violence. However, data is missing. Labour Inspectorate has identified and dealt with only one case of child engaged in work during the reporting period. Efforts should be made to prevent the marriage of children, especially girls.
Efforts to prevent all forms of violence against children are insufficient, and the legal framework does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment. Foster care must be extended in all the municipalities. The new Educational Correctional Facility inaugurated in September 2017 should help provide further opportunities for juveniles in detention. Children with disabilities face several limitations of their rights, especially access to education and access to adequate intervention services. Institutions should increase financial support to day-care rehabilitation centers and make more efforts to effectively integrate children with disabilities into educational institutions.
On social inclusion and protection, the report recommends that Kosovo needs to ensure that municipalities have sufficient resources to deliver the social services that fall under their responsibility. On social protection, since 2009, social welfare funds have been allocated through the general grant without any earmarking in relation to the local budget available for social services. A provision earmarking specific funding from the general grant for social services should be included in the upcoming draft Law on Local Finance.
On public health policy, Kosovo adopted several administrative instructions and a communication strategy in support of the Law on Health Insurance, but its implementation remains slow and has been further delayed as the start of premium collection has been postponed until the end of 2018. Around 30 % of Kosovo’s population is unable to obtain health services due to extreme poverty. Low public spending on health remains a concern. On health inequalities, Kosovo currently does not provide universal health insurance and therefore out-of-pocket spending for health services remains high. It is estimated that almost a third of the population does not have easy access to health care services or have only limited access due to lack of funds and that 18 % of the population, due to economic reasons, does not seek medical services in case of illness. Coverage of Roma, and Ashkali communities remain a concern regarding immunization with only three in ten children being fully immunized.
Only 18 % of children aged 0-5 years attend licensed pre-school institutions. Low enrolment of children in the preschool level remains a concern and Kosovo needs to increase the provision of childcare facilities. The quality of education continues to be a challenge at all levels. According to the 2015 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) assessment Kosovo ranks third from the bottom of the list of over 70 systems tested. More efforts are needed to provide access to quality education for children with disabilities, and more teachers and assistants need to be trained. Measures should be taken to address the high dropout rate of Roma and Ashkali children. Increasing their preschool participation, would significantly improve their continued participation and success in later schooling.