The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Kosovo

By Vexen Crabtree 2019

#equality #freedom #human_rights #kosovo #politics #tolerance

[Country Profile Page]
StatusDisputed status
Social and Moral Index42nd best
LocationEurope, The Balkans

Kosovo performs very well in ensuring human rights and freedom compared to most other countries. Kosovo comes in the best 20 when it comes to freethought1. It does better than average for commentary in Human Rights Watch reports2 (but low for Europe), LGBT equality3 (but low for Europe) and in supporting press freedom4 (but high for Europe). Solid progress is being made in bringing prosecutions against those involved in serious war crimescommitted during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war5.

1. Kosovo's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #gender_equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Compared to Europe (2020)6,7
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank6,7
Europe Avg50.3
Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)6,7
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank6,7
5New Zealand17.5
46S. Africa56.3
World Avg87.7

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Norway and Denmark6. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Somalia and Tuvalu6.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe6, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia6.

For more, see:

In 2017 Kosovo´s Constitutional Court approved procedural revisions to allow the Hague-based court to begin prosecutions for those involved in serious war crimes during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war5. The European Union has appointed and funded 19 international judges, and will abide by Kosovo's own laws5. By Feb 2017, it had issued 58 actions, starting with charging an ex-paramilitary Serbian man with war crimes in Kosovo Polje; his crimes included torturing civilian ethnic Albanians5.

2. Human Rights & Tolerance Data Sets

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments


Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)2
Pos.Higher is better
45Ivory Coast-1
Europe Avg3.5
World Avg-1.9

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)4
Pos.Lower is better4
Europe Avg2044
World Avg3249

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

Journalists face some threats and harassment but prosecutions against malefactors are slow and unreliable5.

2.3. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)8
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims8
5New Zealand0.06
80Dominican Rep.0.40
82Cape Verde0.41
Europe Avg0.38
World Avg0.65

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory9. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends10. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life11. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves12.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery13. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity14. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.15. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi8, Eritrea8, Indonesia16) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery17.

For more, see:

3. Prejudice Data Sets

3.1. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

Kosovo law strictly defines marriage in a way that specifically excludes same-sex marriage5, needlessly entrenching prejudice into law and encourage social intolerance.

LGBT Equality (2017)3
Pos.Higher is better
55El Salvador35
Europe Avg46.9
World Avg12.6

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence18. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws19. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries18. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

For more, see:

3.2. Freedom of Thought

#europe #freedom_of_belief #freethought #human_rights #netherlands #religion #religious_tolerance #secularism #the_enlightenment

Freedom of Thought (2021)1
Pos.Lower is better1
4Sao Tome & Principe1.3
21St Kitts & Nevis1.8
Europe Avg2.6
World Avg3.0

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights20. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish21. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era22 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted23. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief24. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands1,25 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia1,26.

Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed27. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief21, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion28 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"29 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.

For more, see: