Conflict and consequences in Kosovo

Map  Kosovo Duration of the conflict
1997 - 1999

Nature of the conflict
Interethnic conflict

Humanitarian aspects
Human Development Index 20071: not registered, because Kosovo was not an officially recognised country in 2007. [voetnoot invoegen: Human Development Index 2007 a] 15,000 people died during the conflict. The number of wounded was considerably higher. Large-scale destruction of schools, houses and infrastructure. Around 800,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees have returned since the conflict; another 200,000 Kosovar Serbian refugees later returned to their homes.

Child soldiers
There are no indications that the Kosovan army or other militias recruit children.

Country's current phase
No longer any displaced persons or refugees as result of the armed conflict during the 1990s. Poverty is increasing; the socio-economic situation is precarious. Kosovo has now entered a phase in which its political future will be determined. Dissension within the UN Security Council concerning independence. Little willingness for reconciliation among the Albanian and Serbian population groups. It is expected that the tension will increase following a declaration of independence by Kosovo.


Intensive peace talks took place in 2007. The UN ambassador who served as negotiator submitted a formal proposal for the independence of Kosovo. Representatives of the EU have made a proposal for independence under supervision of an 1,800-member EU mission to Kosovo. Tensions between the Serbian-dominated North and the overwhelmingly Albanian South continue. The ongoing discussions about the status of the province and the possibility of division fuel the potential for further conflict.

Even though eight years have passed since the war in Kosovo, the number of people living in extreme poverty is increasing. No less than 44% of Kosovans live in poverty; 14% in extreme poverty. Kosovo is thus considered the poorest country in the Balkans. This poverty is largely attributable to the high unemployment. Dissatisfaction with the political situation in Kosovo has increased. Existing institutions are weak and generally highly politicised. 

School in KosovoChildren
Many children in Kosovo have behavioural and other problems that are directly related to their wartime experiences. They may have been witness to the violent death of a parent, for example. Most children have 'gaps' in their development. This is the result of a lack of regular education during the war and the poor socio-economic conditions.

Many children live in broken families, domestic violence is widespread and unemployment is high. In addition to this, especially in the rural areas, the old cultural belief that the education of the children is the responsibility of the school only, and that parents are mainly responsible for feeding and clothing their children, is an undermining factor for the psychosocial development of children. Children suffer from hyperactivity, aggression, extreme shyness, learning problems and a lack of creativity, and they have little confidence in the future.

Children in armed groups
There are no indications that the Kosovan army or other militias recruit children.

1 Human Development Index 2007: Human Development Index 2007: This United Nations index is a classification of countries based on their level of development (in terms of poverty, illiteracy, education, and life expectancy).

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17 year old Ernes from Kosovo

17 year old Ernes from Kosovo took part in the programme of World Child Kosova: “I would like to give contribute professionally to my country when we are part of Europe.”

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