On 27 March 2013, Kosovan human rights defender Ms Nazlie Bala was attacked upon entering her apartment building and severely beaten.

Nazlie Bala
Nazlie Bala

A prominent women’s rights defender, Nazlie Bala has been active in defending the rights of women who suffered sexual violence war crimes during the armed conflict in Kosovo. On 20 March, she received a death threat following her public support of a proposed amendment which would give survivors of sexual war crimes in Kosovo the right to financial support. Nazlie Bala has also campaigned extensively on the issue of domestic violence.

On 27 March, upon returning from work and entering her apartment building in Pristina, Nazlie Bala was attacked and severely beaten by two unknown individuals. She was taken to the emergency department at Pristina hospital and suffered a number of injuries as a result of the attack, including to her jaw. The Kosovo Police opened an investigation into the attack on 28 March.

The assault followed a death threat received by Nazlie Bala on 20 March, when she returned home from work to find an anonymous letter under her door, which read: “Do not protect the shame. Otherwise we will kill you”.

Prior to this incident, which was also reported to the Kosovo Police, Nazlie Bala appeared on the public television show “In Search” on 18 March, where she expressed her support to a proposed amendment to the Law on the status and the rights of the martyrs, invalids, veterans, members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, civilian victims of war and their families. The amendment, which was passed in first reading in the Kosovo Assembly on 14 March, would provide survivors of sexual violence war crimes committed during the armed conflict with legal recognition, respect and public acknowledgement, as well as the right to receive compensation, rehabilitation and other forms of reparation.

Front Line Defenders condemns the aforementioned physical attack and death threat against Nazlie Bala, which it believes to be motivated by her legitimate and peaceful work in defending women’s rights in Kosovo, in particular her support of the rights of survivors of sexual war crimes. Front Line Defenders is concerned for the security and the physical and psychological integrity of Nazlie Bala and other human rights defenders who express support for the amendment, in particular when the proposed amendment will be before the Kosovo Assembly for its second reading, in approximately two months.

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