Report on the status of human rights in the north of Kosovo and hate speech in the media in the Serbian and Albanian languages in Kosovo for January 2024.

Report on the situation of human rights in the north of Kosovo

Reporting period: January 2024.

In the last few months, there has been an increase in violence and inter-ethnic tensions in the north of Kosovo, along with a new wave of hate speech in traditional and social media, as well as alleged human rights violations by the Kosovo police under the pretext of fighting crime and enforcing the rule of law, leading to too many cases where residents become collateral damage of the mentioned events.

With the aim of documenting events that can serve as indicators of the current sociopolitical, security, and human rights situation in the north of Kosovo


NGO Aktiv gathered information about possible cases of hate speech and human rights violations by monitoring media reports in Serbian and Albanian, as well as through direct interviews with local residents of four northern municipalities who reported human rights violations. The report relies on universally accepted terminology and definitions of human rights, as incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other relevant UN conventions and documents, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as the applicable legislation of Kosovo regarding human rights and protection against discrimination, including hate speech.

General report on the situation of human rights in January 2024.

During the reporting period, the non-governmental organization Aktiv did not notice any improvement compared to the previous period, with cases of hate speech directed at minority groups still persisting in known ways. There is increased concern over the noticeably weak reaction from the responsible institutions and the continuation of inflammatory rhetoric from Kosovo officials, which is directed towards Serbia and the events in the north of Kosovo. Special police units continue to occupy improvised bunkers/checkpoints along the main roads in the north of Kosovo.

Language rights and the police

On the 8th of January the driver was returning from Kraljevo to Mitrovica, he was stopped by the Special Police on the Bistrica Bridge around 5:00 p.m. While avoiding obstacles placed on the road his car Stalled but quickly restarted, not likely to have been the problem as he was further away from the officer for it to be easily noticed. Before opening the window to answer the officer, the driver turned off the music and the car to calm the officer and show that he was not going to run away. While he was stopped, the policeman spoke to the driver in Albanian, and the driver replied in Albanian that he did not know how to conduct a conversation and only said: “Good evening, I’m a Serb, I don’t know Albanian well.” The policeman then said in Serbian, “Oh, okay, give me the documents.” The driver told him that the documents were in his sun visor and in his pocket, to which the officer nodded, and the driver continued to take them. The policeman took them and examined them, asked questions such as the driver’s name and whether he was from the place that was written in the documents, and the driver only answered in confirmation.


Then the policeman used a flashlight to look into the car and he saw two more passengers, he asked something in Albanian that the driver did not understand, so the driver told him in Serbian that he was sorry and that he did not understand, and that if the policeman wanted, they could communicate in English or German. The policeman continued in Albanian, one of the passengers understood and told the driver that the policeman asked who was in the car. But due to stress, the driver did not answer directly but told them that one of the passengers was an Irishman who did not speak Albanian and that the other passenger also did not know Albanian because he was a Serb. At that point, the officer said “IRAC?” and returned the documents to the driver. At that moment, his tone and expression changed from angry to confused and kind of blank. Then he said something again in Albanian, but pointed in a way that the driver interpreted as a sign to continue without further stopping. The driver slowly and calmly left the place. Throughout this interaction, officers with guns were circling the car, making the situation unnecessarily tense.

It is important to note that according to the Constitution of Kosovo, the Serbian and Albanian languages are guaranteed throughout the territory. In this particular case, it appears that this constitutional principle was not respected, which could represent a potential violation of the driver’s language rights. This may raise the issue of respect for the human rights of drivers when interacting with special police in many cases.

Church in Zubqe/ Zubqë

On January 14, the church in Zubçe/Zubqë was robbed by persons already known to the local population. According to their claims, this person has been doing this for at least eight years. Although the case was reported to the institutions/police, limited actions were taken. Local suspicions point to two brothers as potential culprits, with one already arrested for an attack on a church in another village. However, the locals believe that this alone is not enough for a permanent solution, they demand further steps.

Despite precautionary measures, such as placing metal bars on the windows to protect the church, the locals fear revenge in the form of burning down the church by alleged thieves. In the last case, significant funds were stolen, approximately RSD 4,000 from the church and RSD 6,000 from the adjacent building. Locals emphasize that they do not believe that these actions are motivated by hatred. Their main concern is the perceived reluctance of the replacement Albanian policemen after the resignation of the Serbian policemen in the Kosovo Police, who they consider less inclined to communicate with the community to prevent further incidents.

During discussions with the LMT and Eulex team, local residents expressed their concerns regarding the current situation. However, despite their efforts, there has been no significant progress or action taken. According to locals, these individuals targeted the church at least 10 times during 2023 and approximately 100 times in total.

Continuation of such actions, show disinterest in protecting the ownership of the SPC is publicly expressed, has the potential to increase tensions between the Serbian and Albanian population and pave the way for the escalation of hatred and possibly turn into violence.

The rights to security and religion are hampered by the lack of action taken by the relevant institutions, which leads to a decrease in trust in public institutions, creating a sense of fear and a lack of security.


Follow up of the event from December


(Excessive use of force – December 19: Members of the Kosovo Police allegedly used excessive force during control at the Administrative Boundary Line in Jarinje. The situation escalated during a discussion about the occupants of the car. The person who was stopped claims that there was a physical confrontation)

This story we covered last month has its sequel. After the NGO Aktiv representative spoke with the victim who, after reported to PIK the potential excessive use of force by members of the Kosovo police, the victim complied with the standard procedure and reported the incident to the competent institutions. However, during the taking of the statement, the officials who did it did not know the Serbian language well enough, which resulted in many semantic errors that changed the essence and content. The victim fears that this could cause problems when the time comes for the case to be considered by the responsible institutions. One of the main problems is the incorrectly entered date, where it is stated that the incident took place on 12/19/2024, which puts the case in the future.

NGO AKTIV Mitrovica

NGO AKTIV Priština