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Minority Rights in Serbia

Implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in a Post-Conflict Serbia

Mirella Peji Masters Thesis Minor Field Study Report SIDA Supervisor Tomislav Duli, PhD December 2007

Uppsala University, Sweden Department of Peace and Conflict Research


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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The field study examines and analyzes implementation of minority rights, according to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, in four multiethnic locations within the minority populated regions in Serbia. The point of departure indicates that the implementation of minority rights is of vital importance in a fragile post-conflict environment, which carries a risk of conflict relapse, and that effective implementation can prevent future conflicts and strengthen the stability in the region. Despite fluctuating minority politics and policies, largely induced by a combination of interacting factors deriving from an unstable transitional post-conflict environment, the implementation of minority rights has significantly improved in Serbia. Implementation improvements encompass increased access to education and information in a minority language; initiation of government-funded affirmative action programs; increased political representation and participation of minorities in the decisionmaking processes on the national and the local level. Nevertheless, the scope of implementation is far from satisfactory. Minorities are still facing discrimination difficulties and regional economic marginalization whereas the absence of minorities in the public authorities is negatively affecting confidence-buildiing. The promotion of intercultural dialogue has not been used sufficiently in the fields of education and media nor has it been combined with cultural projects that could promote affirmation of ethnic diversity. The interethnic relations have significantly improved among the adult minority and majority population, however, the trend is pointing in a negative direction among the younger generations, which are facing high rates on unemployment while frequently engaging in interethnic incidents. No risk of conflict was evident during the time-period of the field study but the situation was highly unstable especially in the regions populated by the post-conflict minorities. The future improvements concerning minority rights implementation highly depend on further development of minority relevant legislations and government measures but even more on the continued economic development, which is interconnected with wider inclusion in the international community on the EU level and the support from the development agencies. 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABBREVIATIONS 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Purpose and hypothesis 1.2 Questions at issue 1.3 Delimitation 1.4 Definitions and terminology 1.5 Method and material 1.6 Disposition 2. THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES 2.1 The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities 2.2 The provisions of the Framework Convention 3. MINORITIES IN A SERBIAN CONTEXT 3.1 Minority politics and policies 3.2 The post-conflict period 3.3 Minorities as a factor of destabilization 4. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: ROMA IN NI 4.1 Unwanted minority with limited rights 4.2 Implementation of minority rights 4.3 Summary 5. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: ALBANIANS IN BUJANOVAC 5.1 Unfriendly minority with post-conflict territorial claims 5.2 Implementation of minority rights 5.3 Summary 6 7 8 12 13 13 15 17 22 23 25 27 35 39 41 47 51 53 61 72 74 77 83 98

6. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: HUNGARIANS IN SUBOTICA 6.1 Model minority in Serbia 6.2 Implementation of minority rights 6.3 Summary 7. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: BOSNIAKS IN NOVI PAZAR 7.1 Post-conflict marked minority 7.2 Implementation of minority rights 7.3 Summary 8. ANALYSIS 8.1 The provisions of the Framework Convention 8.2 Political mobilization and minority rights implementation 8.3 Advancement of the model minority: comparison of Bosniaks and Hungarians 8.4 Post-conflict minorities: comparison of Albanians and Bosniaks 8.5 Minority dimension, interethnic relations, conflict prevention and regional stability 9. CONCLUSION 10. RECOMMENDATIONS AFTERWORD BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDIX I Map of Serbia APPENDIX II List of interviews APPENDIX III Samples of interview questions APPENDIX IV Basic Facts about Serbia and Elections Results APPENDIX V The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities 5

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS At the beginning of the journey, I would like to thank the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for funding and the Board at the Department for Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University for granting me with the Minor Field Study scholarship and thereby making the field study possible. The progress and the successful outcome of the field study would have been difficult without help, advice, suggestions and support from: Dragan Popovi at Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Goran Mileti at the Swedish Helsinki Committee, Nada Djurikovi at Minority Rights Center, ivadin Salijevi at Roma Association Sait Bali, Behljulj Nasufi at the Center for Multicultural Education, Blint Psztor President of the Parliamentary Minority Group and Semiha Kaar, Sandak Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms and Duica Markov at Parliamentary Minority Group. I am highly grateful to all people who have opened their homes and hearts to me during the research journey in Serbia: Montenegrin family of three in Belgrade (Boba, Milo and Branka); Roma families in Ni (Sofija, Vasa, Dejan, ivadin, Saa, Maja and emo); Smederevo family (Bojan, Borko, ivadinka and Valeria) and last but not least old and new friends in Novi Sad (Branislav, Nada, Saa and Sneana). My deepest and most sincere gratitude goes to Tomislav Duli at Uppsala University for agreeing to supervise me and guide me on my research journey. Not only am I grateful for his ability to effectively challenge my worldview while inspiring me to think expansively, but also for all advising sessions and his devoted assistance during challenging moments. I know now that a twomonth long and a painful search for a suitable supervisor paid off. Special thanks to Terry Karpathakis and Liza Mulvenna for proofreading and reviewing the written material. Without their expertise and accuracy some sections of the thesis would have remained grammatically awkward. At the end of the journey, I would like to thank Andreas Duvmo for emotional support, and willingness to tolerate yet another one of my academic quests.

ABBREVIATIONS AVH BiH EU DS DSS DOS FER FRY LPRLNM LAPBM ICTY IDP NATO NGO OSCE PDA PDD RIK SAA SIDA SRS UNMIK YIHR Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians Bosnia and Herzegovina European Union Democratic Party (Demokratska Stranka) Democratic Party of Serbia (Demokratska Stranka Srbije) Democratic Opposition of Serbia Forum for Ethnic Relations Federal Republic of Yugoslavia The Law on the Protection of Rights and Liberties of National Minorities Liberation Army of Preevo, Bujanovac and Medvea International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Internally Displaced People North Atlantic Treaty Organization Non-governmental organization Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Party of Democratic Action (Partija za Demokratsku Akciju) Party for Democratic Activity (Partija za Demokratsko Delovanje) Serbian Election Commission (Republicka Izborna Komisija) Stabilization and Association Agreement Swedish International Development Agency Serbian Radical Party (Srpska Radikalna Stranka) United Nations Mission in Kosovo Youth Initiative for Human Rights 7

1. INTRODUCTION The majority of the worlds nations are heterogeneous since they contain various degrees of cultural, ethnic and religious variations and almost every nation in the world has a national or ethnic minority within its borders.1 A significant amount of the worlds conflicts have ethnicity or religion as one of the underlying factors, and a high proportion of those conflicts arise in part because the state in one way or another violates human and minority rights. The majority of modern day conflicts, that took place since the end of the Second World War, have not been international interstate conflict but rather internal intrastate conflicts characterized by tensions between the majority and the minority. Some of the worlds long lasting conflicts are fuelled and fought over minority issues and violations of minority rights are often a warning sign of an approaching conflict.2 Despite the fact that the disregard for minority rights lies at the core of many conflicts, minority rights have been historically marginalized within international human rights protection and conflict prevention.3 Various attempts have been made, throughout history; to protect minorities and to regulate a potential risk of conflict between the majority and the minority populations. The international protection of minority rights began with the aim to prevent conflicts, which is a tradition that has still carried on when developing and adopting new legal minority rights instruments.4 Nevertheless, governments and the international community have been extremely slow to address violations of minority rights in a systematic way5 and it is only the recent post-colonial and post Cold War development of the legal documents that has given rise to a new hope in strengthening minority protection. Bodies of the international community, including the UN and the Council of Europe, have in the past few decades recognized the need to complete the traditional human rights documents with specified minority rights documents, since the traditional human rights documents proved to be ineffective and insufficient in securing the full spectrum of minority protection. One of the latest attempts to protect minorities and to regulate potential conflicts between the
1 2 3 4 5 Kymlicka W. (1998): p. 9. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 4. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 2. Ibid. Available at: Minority rights group: http://www.minorityrights.org, visited on August 17, 2007.

majority and the minority include the development and adoption of the first multilateral regional legally binding document that exclusively deals with the protection of national minorities, namely the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe.6 The focal point of the research paper is minority protection in a post-conflict Serbia, as it is one of the European countries with numerous national minorities. The Balkan region has been for centuries and remains to this date a mosaic of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. The wars that took place on the territory of former Yugoslavia during the 1990s have left devastating consequences for all minority groups in the region. The post conflict illtreatment of minority communities and violations of their minority rights represent an alarming and destabilizing factor, which affects regional stability and cooperation by hindering countries from positive political and socio-economic development. In the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars, the unresolved status of the Kosovo province has received a significant amount of academic attention, as well as the development in Croatia, BiH, Montenegro and Macedonia, while the situation of minority groups living in Serbia has been mostly overlooked. Serbia joined the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe on May 11, 2001. The Convention entered into force on September 1, 2001 indicating that Serbia has officially undertaken the responsibility to enforce the Convention obligations, which is not an easy process in an ethnically divided post-conflict environment infused with unstable structures. Serbia, as one of the most ethnically diverse countries in South East Europe, is a fragile post-conflict country in the process of a dynamic postcommunist political, legal and socio-economic reform, with an underlying weak democracy, weak institutional structures and strong nationalistic undercurrents. Serbia has in the last two decades undergone several dramatic changes and shifts of regimes, which were accompanied with a recent history of war on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, as well as an ongoing conflict over the status of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo. The years under the rule of Slobodan Miloevi 1990-2000 are often referred to as the decade of darkness by both minorities and the Serbian majority,
6 Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._framework_ convention_(monitoring)/1._texts/H(1995)010%20E%20FCNM%20and%20 Explanatory%20Report.asp#TopOfPage, visited on August 17, 2007.

and what people remember is a period of extreme economic scarcity under the sanctions, complete isolation from the rest of the world, propaganda feeding and a constant fear of being drafted for another battlefield. For Serbian minorities the decade of darkness meant a struggle for survival in an authoritarian system that limited minorities and their rights by the means of an ethno-nationalistic policy and human rights violations. While the rest of the world turned its back on Serbia, Serbians turned their backs on their minorities. As a result, a wide gap was created between the majority and the many minorities in the country, which felt alienated, unwanted, threatened and isolated within the Serbian borders. After Miloevi fall from power in the fall of 2000, revolutionary winds of oppositional optimism swept over the country and a broad coalition of democratic parties known as the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), with a wide political support among the minority communities, took over political power. The new leaders announced that Serbia would politically seek to improve the situation for its minorities and its international reputation. However, the new won freedom and optimism for a better future were shortlived and another tragedy struck the nation when a popular Serbian Prime Minister Zoran ini was assassinated on March 12, 2003. The situation for minorities in the country drastically improved during the ini years, nevertheless, faced a reverse trend years following his assassination. The Serbian political scene is nowadays highly polarized between the nationalist radical parties that hold the non-absolute majority in the Serbian Parliament and the democratic parties that had formed the new government in May 2007. Serbian government is facing major post-conflict challenges with regard to its complex internal and external minority dimensions which are directly related to the issues of regional stability. The unresolved minority questions visibly resurfaced when the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro dissolved as a result of Montenegros declaration of independence on June 3, 2006. The fact that the minority votes of Albanian, Bosniak and Croat minority groups were of decisive importance during the independence referendum7 has strengthened the dominant Serbian perception of minorities as a destabilizing factor. The destabilizing position of national minorities is not solely a product of a distorted and media manipulated Serbian perception, but rather an
7 Dulic T. (2006); Utan EU-medlemskap riskeras utvecklingen p Balkan, available at: http:// europaportalen.se/index.php?page=501&more=1&newsID=20277, visited on August 9, 2007.

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inevitable post-conflict result. Nevertheless, if minorities are a factor and a source of destabilization, then the resolution of minority issues represents a possibility of increased stabilization. Serbia became the 45th member of the Council of Europe on April 3, 2003 and during the time period of this research project Serbia has held the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers from May to November 2007.8 The Chairmanship of the executive body of the Council of Europe, held by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Council of Europe member states, includes a statement and a list of priorities for the following six months as well as a permanent mission statement. The Serbian Permanent Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the Council of Europe fully embraces the importance of cultural diversity for European identity and upholds the work and all activities of the Council of Europe in this field.9 In addition, Serbia as a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country officially considers that religious dimension of intercultural dialogue contributes to the further development of understanding and cooperation in multicultural and multiconfessional societies, and thereby encourages and supports the dialogue between religious communities.10 The official statement about priorities of the Serbian chairmanship, further underlines that Serbia will make a significant contribution to the consolidation of the regional prosperity and rapid democratization in South Eastern Europe by promoting human rights and especially minority rights, tolerance, reconciliation and long lasting peace, making the current positive trends and forms of cooperation irreversible.11 The aims and promises placed before the Council of Europe are of a positive nature since they are expected from a country in Serbias position. It is therefore of interest to investigate how far Serbia has come in achieving promotion and protection of minority rights and cultural diversity in a destabilized post-conflict situation, which the nation is currently facing.

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Available at: http://www.coe.int/T/e/Com/about_coe/member_ states/e_Serbia.asp#TopOfPage, visited on August 9, 2007. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/DC/Files/Source/MFA_ Serbia_speech.pdf, visited on August 9, 2007. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/DC/Files/Source/MFA_ Serbia_speech.pdf, visited on August 9, 2007. Available at: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM/Inf(2007)25&Sector=secC M&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColo rIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75, visited on August 9, 2007.

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1.1 Purpose and hypothesis The primary purpose of the research project is to examine, analyze and compare implementation of minority rights among four politically represented national minority groups in the Serbian parliament. The secondary purpose is to establish the relevance between the minority rights implementation, the regional stability, and the conflict prevention in a fragile post-conflict environment. The research paper is approached with the following hypothesis: The implementation of minority rights, according to the provisions of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, can prevent and/or lower the risk of future conflicts and contribute to strengthening the stability in the region. Implementation of minority rights in four different locations in Serbia is qualitatively examined in accordance with the selected provisions from the Framework Convention. The Framework Convention is used as a research method to answer research questions instead of a conventional theoretical framework that is often used for that purpose. I chose the Framework Convention as an unconventional replacement for a theory because it is the only international legally binding document that in a concrete manner explicitly deals with the protection of minority rights within a European context.12 The research hypothesis is formulated with the induction or abstraction of information from a collection of previously known facts. The hypothesis thereby firstly presumes that minority rights in Serbia have not yet been fully implemented and that there is a difference in the scope of implementation between the four focus groups; Albanian minority in the municipality of Bujanovac, Bosniak minority in the town of Novi Pazar, Hungarian minority in the town of Subotica and Roma minority in the city of Ni. The previous research has noted that a destabilized post-conflict environment often holds a risk of conflict relapse. The research hypothesis additionally infers that the lack of minority rights implementation has a destabilizing effect within the regional context, which poses a potential threat of future ethnic conflicts. The last general presumption implies that there is an underlying relationship between minority rights implementation, conflict prevention, and the enhancement of post-conflict stability in the region. The implementation of minority rights is therefore hypothetically expected to enhance the stability in the region and prevent future interethnic conflicts.
12 See Appendix, The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, p. 2.

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1.2 Questions at issue The interconnected questions that the research paper is intending to answer fall under the set of three interrelated categories: I Is the implementation of minority rights, in the four multiethnic locations in Serbia, in accordance with the provisions of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities? Are there any differences and similarities in the scope of minority rights implementation between Albanian, Bosniak, Hungarian and Roma national minority groups? If there are differences, what are the reasons behind those differences? II What is the general picture of interethnic relations in the four multiethnic locations? Are there any current risks of violent interethnic conflicts in the four multiethnic locations in Serbia, and what are those risks? Is the regional stability and cooperation affected by the unresolved minority issues in Serbia, and in what way? III How has the recent election of minority parliamentarians been perceived on the local level and how does it relate to minority rights implementation? What recommendations can a researcher offer to a development agency, such as SIDA, with regard to the future development work in the region? 1.3 Delimitation The research contains three major delimitation areas; the choice of the focal minority groups, the demographic locations, and the empirical perspective. There are approximately twenty-four national minority groups in Serbia and therefore a necessity to prioritize and delimitate. For the purpose of the research project, I choose to focus on four numerically larger national minority groups that are also the only minority groups politically represented in the Serbian Parliament within the framework of minority political parties, as part of the newly formed Parliamentary Minority Group: Albanians, Bosniaks, Hungarians and Roma. Although all of the groups are facing a post-conflict situation on the state level, two groups, Albanians and Bosniaks, are facing the post-conflict situation on the group level. Three groups out of four, Albanians, Bosniaks and Hungarians have a long history of political organization and one group, Roma, does not have a kin nation-state. The aim is to find out about the differences and similarities that the four larger politically represented minorities are facing in terms of post-conflict minority rights implementation and how those relate to their group characteristics and political organization. 13

Members of minority communities can be found living in the majority of cities and municipalities within different regions in the country while their distribution and geographic concentration varies. The field study focuses on implementation of minority rights in the municipality of Bujanovac, the town of Novi Pazar, the town of Subotica, and the city of Ni. What these four locations have in common is their geographical placements near the borders to neighboring countries: Bujanovac is near the border of Kosovo and Macedonia; Novi Pazar is near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro; Subotica is near the border of Hungary, and the city of Ni is near the border of Bulgaria. In addition, all locations are multiethnic within a region that is heavily minority populated and where minorities in some municipalities and settlements of the region represent a demographic majority. It is important to point out that the scope of minority rights implementation in the chosen locations does not necessarily mirror the scope of implementation in other municipalities and towns in the regions. The situation of Roma in Ni highly differs from the situation of Roma in Belgrade, and the implementation of Albanian minority rights in Bujanovac is different from the implementation in the neighboring Preevo. The same applies to the towns of Subotica and Novi Pazar, which are seen as the most advanced examples of minority rights implementation, when compared to other minority populated locations in the Vojvodina and Sandak regions. The collected empirical data derives predominantly from a minority perspective and minority perspective is the perspective that permeates the research data presented in chapters four through seven. The limited minority perspective was a conscious choice on my behalf induced by the nature of the subject matter since few governmental and regional municipality officials would openly admit to their failures to effectively implement minority rights.13 Other calculating factors had to do with the limited amount of research time and the underlying point of the departure, which is based on a thought that the minority experience and perspective are of vital importance when examining minority rights implementation. Various human and minority rights reports as well as academic articles are used to support and strengthen the minority perspective.
13 Nevertheless, the governmental and municipal perspective on minority rights implementation could be interesting to examine in the future studies that allow appropriate time-frame and resources.

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While the primary data perspective is limited, the inner variation of that perspective is multifaceted. The data was extracted from interviews with local minority rights activists and representatives, minority politicians, minority non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as minority representatives from the National Minority Councils and minority members of the Serbian Parliament. The informants were chosen due to their concrete involvement with minority issues on a daily basis. The vast majority of local minority representatives take part in both the local and regional political sphere but also in the minority NGO activities. Minority parliamentarians were chosen as informants due to the mere fact that they entered the parliament in 2007 as representatives of minority political parties, and because I wanted to find out about the focal areas of their work and how their election effects the implementation of minority rights and the sentiment on the local level. The absence of the official government perspective, which can additionally provide research data with valuable information about upcoming programs, legislation development, and other forms of current and upcoming improvements, was to a certain extent compensated with the written official statements and documents, as well as NGO reports on the subject and gathered information from the updated minority parliamentarians. 1.4 Definitions and terminology Minority rights is an international legal term, which refers to the rights of minorities as a group, but also the rights of those individuals within them.14 Minority rights derive from basic international law on human rights as well as specific treaties, declarations and conventions whereas minority rights as discussed in the research paper derive solely from the provisions in the Framework Convention.15 The definition on what constitutes a national minority differs in Europe and other parts of the world. In the context of the research paper, a national minority is defined as the minority group which has been officially recognized as such and thereby granted the rights guaranteed by the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. An ethnic minority is defined as a group with long-lasting territorial and historical ties that defers from the majority with regard to language, culture, religion and tradition. While an ethnic minority can be a national minority, an ethnic minority is not always necessarily recognized as a national minority. An ethnic minority
14 15 Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 4. Ibid.

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can also be a group with non-existent territorial ties and short-lived historical ties such as in the case of immigrants and refugees that are seldom granted the status of a national minority. The term model minority is borrowed from American anthropological literature on race and ethnicity, and is applied to the contextual framework of minority rights. The term traditionally refers to a minority group within a multiethnic society that has achieved higher social status and is often perceived by the majority and other minorities as a wellintegrated and networked minority group, that is doing well in the fields of education and employment within the given society. Since there is often a hierarchy between different minority groups, in the context of this research paper, the term model minority will be used to describe a minority group that enjoys the highest level of minority rights within the given multiethnic society. The self-explanatory and highly generalized concepts friendly and unfriendly minority are borrowed from reports published by the Forum for Ethic Relations in Belgrade. The information about studies on social distance derives from reports by the Forum for Ethnic Studies and the term social distanc stands for a degree of understanding and closeness between the social group members and is manifested in their readiness to establish more or less social relations with the present group members or its absence.16 The expression minority representative refers to an individual who is locally active and works for the realization and implementation of minority rights of the minority group that he or she belongs to. That person can be a minority rights activist, a politically active teacher, journalist, social or cultural worker. Almost all minority representatives that I have interviewed are politically active members of minority associations, National Councils, organizations and/or various NGOs. It is however, important to note that the line between the local NGOs and the local politics is a very thin one and that minority representatives frequently cross the line and move between the two. This indicates that, for example, a minority representative who is a member of a minority political party also runs a local NGO and works as a journalist for a minority run TV channel. This type of multifaceted activity is something that all four minority groups had in common on the local and regional level.

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Forum for Ethnic Relations (2006); Regional Report for Serbia.

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The term Antiziganism is traditionally defined as hostility, prejudice, racism or discrimination directed at the Roma people. The term Islamophobia is a controversial term that refers to prejudice or discrimination against Islam or Muslims. Islamophobia is frequently defined as the hatred of Islam and therefore the fear and dislike of Muslims, which also refers to the behaviour of excluding Muslims from the economic, social and public life of the nation.17 Islamophobia further encompasses perception that Islam, as a violent political ideology rather than a religion, has no values in common with other cultures while being inferior to Christianity or the Western values, and thereby justifies discriminatory practices against Muslims.18 Many prominent Muslim intellectuals and academics in the West have criticized the term and its use; however, for the purpose of the research paper the term will be used to describe some of the above-mentioned perceptions and actions. Vahhabism is a form of Islamic extremism and fundamentalism organized as a terrorist stamped movement that has followers worldwide. Vahhabism members can be found concentrated or scattered in some locations in the Serbian Sandak region.19 Vahhabism as a reformist movement advocates the traditional and extremely conservative interpretation of Islam, and is by no means representative of all Muslims/Bosniaks in the Sandak region.20 1.5 Method and material The primary research data was selected during a micro field study conducted in four multiethnic locations in Serbia from June to August 2007. The research is based on a qualitative investigation and thereby contains neither quantitative measurements, nor quantitative data. I chose a qualitative approach due to the nature of the subject matter, which is difficult to measure quantitatively, and the possibility to gather a large amount of detailed data in a short period of time. The research data is of a descriptive nature and the qualitative empirical results are presented accordingly.

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Available at: http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobiaa-definition/, visited on August 17, 2007. Ibid. Available: http://www.mtsmondo.com/news/world/story. php?vest=51452, visited on August 15, 2007. Vahhabism is also known as Vehabija in Serbia. It is unknown how many Bosniaks are active members of the movement, which has existed in the region in the past few years. However, some estimates indicate that the movement has more than 100 members.

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1.5.1 Primary and secondary data The collection of information relies on three qualitative methods; in-depth interviews, participant observation and literature analysis. The primary empirical data derives from extensive in-depth interviews with local minority representatives and participant observations acquired during the field study. Interviews with minority representatives include interviews with local and regional politicians, minority non-governmental organizations, as well as minority representatives from the National Minority Councils and minority representatives in the Serbian Parliament. The reference to personal observations and the information from ongoing documentation during the research is minimal. The secondary data derives from the official documents, minority rights reports and the academic topic related literature. The balanced picture of the situation is based on selected academic literature and articles written by international and national authors. The literature analysis is additionally complemented with references to several relevant web pages with a sufficient level of validity and reliability. 1.5.2 The selection process The majority of the informants were carefully selected in advance; nevertheless, there was some random selection of informants on the location due to spontaneous circumstances. A group of suitable informants, all equally important in terms of their engagement with the minority issue, was identified beforehand and whether I conducted interviews with all selected suitable informants or not highly depended on their willingness and ability to participate at the given place and time. The pre-selected informants were selected based on their concrete involvement with minority issues on the local, regional or state level. The initial goal was to have the same amount of interviews in all four groups and to interview at least one parliamentarian from each group. I was able to conduct more than one interview with parliamentarians from each group, however, I could not turn down a possibility of an extra interview in some locations, nor could I control the slightly lower informant availability factor in other locations. As a result of those circumstances, I tried to balance the amount of interviews between four and six for each minority group, including the interviews with the parliamentarians. There was no apparent necessity for significantly higher number of interviews since much of the information became repetitive after the forth interview. 18

1.5.3 The interview process In order to minimize research bias the interview process needs to be conducted in an appropriate, reliable and preferably systematic manner.21 All interviews were recorded with a media recorder, and before each interview I provided informants with a short informative narrative about the purpose of the research project. In addition, I asked informants for their verbal consent with regard to the use of information and whether they wished to remain anonymous. The interviews were semi-structured with open-ended questions, which allowed for increased information flexibility, and helped to decrease my dominant position as the person conducting the interview. Although semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions allow for an open conversation and a wider flow of information, one of its weaknesses is that the informants tend to discuss non-relevant issues and digress from the subject topic. The semi-structured interview situation brought up the necessity to steer the conversation and shorten the spontaneous flow of information, which was necessary on several occasions. The interview data collection was conducted with a systematic approach despite the fact that the interview questions for the local minority representatives differed from the interview questions for the NGOs, researchers, and parliamentarians. The questions for minority representatives primarily focused on the implementation of their rights in the location where they resided. The questions for NGOs and researchers were aimed at the broader minority complexity, whereas interviews with minority parliamentarians focused on the local implementation, as well as regional and national implications. All interviews had a clear point of reference since I had prepared a set of questions for each interview in advance, nevertheless, I faced the necessity to adjust and change some of the questions that appeared as self-given, simplistic and naive. The samples of interview questions are included in the Appendix section of the research paper. Apart from some minor difficulties and challenges, the interview process was successful because minority representatives were eager to communicate and share their struggles.

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Marshall C. & Rossman G. B. (1999): p. 64, Bogdan R. C. & Biklen S. K. (1998).

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1.5.4 Empirical data presentation The model of the empirical data presentation of minority rights implementation, based on carefully selected provisions from the Framework Convention, is to a certain extent borrowed from the Report No. 6 published by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) and thereby resembles the simplified version of the implementation selection and presentation.22 The necessity to prioritize provisions and simplify the implementation presentation was inevitable since it would be difficult to fit a detailed examination of all Convention articles in a research paper of a limited size. That kind of legal detailed analysis is only relevant in the field of law, especially when producing alternative shadow and monitoring reports, and not well suited for an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter. The decision as to whether selected rights had been implemented or not, is based upon my own subjective interpretation. I chose to focus on the same provisions among all four examined minority groups, and I tried to equally balance the decision criteria when determining the realization of the implementation. 1.5.5 Validity and reliability The interview process was a necessity due to the nature of the subject matter and there are many advantages when using interviews as a qualitative research method. The interview process allowed me to obtain a large amount of data in a short period of time and I was able to access detailed information that is not always available elsewhere. The disadvantages, however, include the fact that interviews represent a questionable time-consuming method. Interviews are often regarded as a questionable research method when considering validity and reliability of the data, and the primary empirical data can easily fall for questioning since it predominantly derives from the interviews.23 Apart from some minor individual differences, there was a high level of agreement among the informants, which indicates a high level of validity, and hence to a limited extent diminishes the subjectivity of the personal testimony. The reliability, on the other hand, was more difficult to establish, especially since the information derives from a limited and subjective minority perspective. The reliability, however, was to a certain extent tested

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The Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR. Leary M. R. (2001): p. 205.

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when the information was double-checked and contrasted with the data from the previously collected facts about the minority rights implementation in the academic texts and NGO reports. The assessment of validity and reliability is even more problematic when dealing with the necessity to generalize the qualitative results. The research contains generalized information about interethnic relations, minority rights implementation, and the future risk of conflict. Although, occasionally backed up with previous academic research, the data about interethnic relations is highly general in its nature because it is based on interviews and personal documentation. The picture of minority rights implementation in one multiethnic location does not mirror the picture of implementation in all locations where the given minority groups reside. Despite wide local and regional variations, a certain amount of valid and reliable generalization was possible to extract in the analysis because all four locations have several common denominators and can be classified as some of the most advanced examples of minority rights implementation. Thus indicating that if apparent differences are found at the most advanced level then those differences can be generally applied and translated to the group level. The replication of the research project with similar results is possible since I used specific provisions when investigating the scope of implementation, however, it would have to be conducted within the proximate time period because minority rights implementation is fluid and changes occur from one year to another. Personal connection to the subject matter induces an underlying bias, which is why I as a researcher, considered personal biases and their impact on data collection and analysis.24 It is important to recognize, and thereby address, the inevitable risk of confounding variables while conducting research and collecting empirical data.25 My personal bias and experience may have affected some of the empirical interpretations since I can easily identify and sympathize with individuals belonging to minority groups. Although my background and previous personal experience may have affected some of the empirical interpretations, I do not consider that my background and previous experience have played a role of a confounding variable in the research

24 25

Bogdan R. C. & Biklen S. K. (1998): p. 32. Leary M. R. (2001): p. 200.

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paper. I strived for objectivity beyond emotions, sympathy, and identification during all moments of the research process, and believe that my previous personal experience and background have served as an asset rather than an obstacle during the research process. In addition, researchers usually have some idea about how participants will respond and they usually have an explicit personal hypothesis bias regarding the results of the study, which they need to be aware of.26 Since no research is entirely immune from the experimenter expectancy effect, the expectations that the researcher carries can sometimes distort the results and conclusions of the study by affecting the interpretations of the collected data.27 The risk that the research was affected by my expectations is minimal since the results and conclusions do not mirror my initial expectations and beliefs. The research data and results turned out to be more complex than I initially expected. 1.6 Disposition The first introductory chapter is followed by the second chapter, which discusses minority rights and the relevance of the selected provisions from the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The third chapter describes minorities in a Serbian context by addressing issues such as the national minority classification model and the development of minority rights in Serbia from a historical and legislative perspective. Chapters four through seven contain a detailed presentation of the empirical data about the implementation of minority rights among Albanian, Bosniak, Hungarian and Roma minority groups in Bujanovac, Novi Pazar, Subotica and Ni. The eighth chapter presents the analysis of the collected data, whereas the research conclusion and the recommendations for future work are presented in the ninth and tenth chapter.

26 27

Leary M. R. (2001): p. 205, also Bogdan R. C. & Biklen S. K. (1998) and Marshall C. & Rossman G. B.(1999). Leary M. R .(2001): p. 205, also Bogdan & Biklen (1998).

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2. THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORITIES Minority rights have powerfully re-emerged on the international arena in the past two decades. The international community has however been reluctant to systematically address minority issues for a long period of time, and thereby failed to develop sufficient legal norms and guidelines for the protection of minorities until the end of the 20th century, when new instruments were constructed and adopted. Nevertheless, the international efforts to specify and guarantee minority rights have a long historical pedigree, which started at the end of the First World War (WWI) when minority protection was for the first time officially formulated by the League of Nations with the aim of preventing conflicts.28 The early international protection of minority rights is recognized to have led to the development of the protection of human rights by the United Nations and other international organizations after the Second World War (WWII).29 The second half of the 20th century was however characterized by a reluctance to consider minorities as worthy particular attention, since the faith of minority rights was placed in the individual application of universal human rights, as the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights assumed that minorities would be satisfied if their individual rights, especially those of equality and non-discrimination, were respected.30 Nevertheless, the fundamental human rights failed in solving minority rights issues, which could not be appropriately addressed within the framework of traditional human rights. The gradual and slow development of minority rights protection took place between the 1960s and 1990s, in order to reach the culmination point at the end of the Cold War. The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 opened an arena for a new European minority rights paradigm, and the development of standards and legal instruments for the protection of minority rights expanded rapidly during the 1990s. Europe has historically been a region of great concern with minority rights and thereby the region that has devoted the most attention to minority rights issues since the end of the Cold War, when numerous ethnically heterogeneous states of the former Eastern block, started proclaiming themselves as new nation-states built on an ethno28 29 30 Gurr T.R. (2000): p. 73, also Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p. 282. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 5. Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p. 281.

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national principle.31 The end of east-west rivalry, the rise of nationalism in the former nations of the Eastern block and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, which resulted in war and ethnic cleansing of minority communities, brought renewed concerns over ethnic conflicts across the continent. The situation in former Yugoslavia was complicated because the country did not resemble the traditional western nation-state model of one people, one state but rather an exceptional state-formation of many people, one state where the expression many people stood for many minorities.32 The alarming emergence of internal conflicts, in the Balkans and elsewhere, characterized by ethnic and minority dimensions resulted in an acute necessity to define minority rights33 whereas the end of the Cold War provided a window of opportunity and a positive political climate under which regional legal instruments could be developed. During the immediate post Cold War period the main responsibility of the international community became a necessity to provide an effective normative framework for minority protection. When the international community recognized and established the connection between minority issues and conflict prevention, minority rights officially began to occupy an important place in European national and international relations.34 The new development of increased understanding about minorities and minority rights began to reverse the trend previously established by international actors who ignored minority dimensions when working with conflict resolution and prevention. The Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have during the 1990s developed and adopted several documents and bodies for the protection of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identities, including the establishment of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, with a primary mandate to prevent conflict rather than to protect minority rights.35 The Council of Europe additionally strengthened minority rights status by adopting two standard31 32 33 34 35 Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p. 283. Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p. 277. Kymlicka W. (1998): p. 13. Ibid. Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p.285, also Gurr T.R. (2000): p. 73, One of the first agreements on an expanded definition of minority rights was the Copenhagen Document from June 1990. The Document which contains numerous principle statements about minority rights was the detailed articulation of minority rights by European governments since the post First World War minority treaties.

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setting regional minority rights instruments, namely the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Charter on the Protection of Minority Languages.36 2.1 The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities was adopted by the Council of Europe in November 1994 and entered into force in February 1998 as the first legally binding multilateral instrument dealing exclusively with the protection of national minorities.37 The Convention, based on previous international conventions and declarations, specifies the legal principles states undertake to respect, in order to ensure the protection of national minorities within their territories. The provisions of the Convention are mainly based on exposing the objectives and principles that signatory countries need to adopt.38 The Convention motivation takes into consideration the upheavals of European history, which have shown that the protection of national minorities is essential to stability, and democratic security and peace in this continent, and thereby implies the interconnected nature between the protection of minority rights and conflict prevention.39 The explanation section of the Convention further states that a pluralist and genuinely democratic society should not only respect ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of individuals belonging to a national minority, but also create appropriate conditions enabling them to express, preserve and develop this identity.40 The Convention does not guarantee collective rights but rather emphasizes an individual approach that guarantees protection of persons belonging to national minorities, who may exercise their rights individually or in community with others.41 National minorities are granted basic rights under the Framework Convention, which leaves space for signatory states to further develop and advance the protection of minorities in order to allow for specificities in
36 37 38 39 40 41 For many countries in the South East Europe the minority rights issues became also important due to the European Unions Copenhagen criteria, which stressed the responsibility of the candidate states to respect minority rights. The Framework Convention, available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/ minorities/2._framework_convention_(monitoring)/1._texts/PDF_H(1995)010%20 E%20FCNM%20and%20Explanatory%20Report.pdf, visited on August 18, 2007. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005); p. 7. by YIHR. Ibid. Ibid. The Framework Convention, p. 13, available at: See footnote 36 also see Appendix.

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different countries, whereas the implementation of the principles set out in the Framework Convention is expected to be done through national legislation and appropriate government policies.42 The protection of national minorities in Serbia is in greater detail regulated by the Law on Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities from 2002, which advances the Convention provisions and establishes higher standards for the protection of minority rights.43 The most challenging responsibility of a signatory state has to do with the implementation of the provisions since few members of the Council of Europe have come close to the full implementation of the provisions stipulated by the Framework Convention, and it should not therefore come as a surprise that Serbia has not managed to implement all of the provisions since the ratification period. While minority rights advocates often underline that the Convention grants national minorities the protection of their basic rights and represents the minimum each signatory country should apply, one glance at the implementation picture across the European continent is enough to understand that few governments have been able to meet what is considered the minimum requirements.44 Nevertheless, as with many other newly adopted international legal instruments, the implementation process is expected to evolve and take time, while the realization of some provisions might remain unattainable for a long period of time. The scope of minority rights implementation is not necessarily broader or more advanced in the countries of North Western Europe when compared with the countries in South East Europe, and it seems as if the two could learn a lot from each others examples. The legal analysis, however, indicates that one of the biggest post-conflict legal problems in Serbia is the implementation of laws related to human rights issues.45 The implementation stage, as the last stage of macro-transition, has proven to be the most challenging phase of the legal transition in post-conflict and post-communist environments.46 The majority of those states have been facing multidimensional and cross sectional changes, which include extensive transformations of the political and
42 43 The Framework Convention, p .13 available at: See footnote 36 also see Appendix. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005): p. 7, The protection of minorities is also regulated by the Law on Local Self-Government and by the ordinances of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The status of the Law on Protection of National Minorities is currently ambiguous because the law was adopted on the Federal level during the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and it has not yet been translated on the state level in Serbia. Implementation of the Framework Convention, p. 7. Swedish Helsinki Committee (2006); Our work, p. 25. Fogelklou A. (2003), p. 11-28.

44 45 46

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legal system, as well as economy and social structures.47 All of these changes and transformations are happening in an environment with a weakened rule of law, unstable administrational structures, fragile democracy, strong nationalistic undercurrents and severe economic challenges on the local and state level. The international NGOs have widely criticized minority policies in South East Europe for adopting legal measures that represent symbolic acts, while lacking in implementation.48 The implementation stage of human and minority rights has proven to be the most challenging one; hence it requires careful examination. The examination of current implementation offers a unique insight into difficulties and challenges, which can provide development agencies, non-governmental organizations, and policy makers with effective future guidelines. 2.2 The provisions of the Framework Convention Since the Framework Convention is used as a method to test the research hypothesis and answer the research questions, the paper focuses on the implementation of specific provisions that cover central minority rights elements, which are directly or indirectly related to the issues of post-conflict regional stability and conflict prevention. The selected provisions include: prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality; the right to participation in public authorities; the right to freedom of religion; the right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity; the promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding; the right to receive information in minority language; the right to official use of language; the right to education in minority language; the promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states, and the right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers.49 Legal scholars point out that minority protection in international law is grounded on several main but distinct arguments; 1) conflict prevention effort, 2) complement to human rights, and 3) preservation of culture and identities.50 The initiation of minority rights in Europe in 1919 derived from the need to prevent conflicts, and minority rights were therefore constructed
47 48 49 50 Fogelklou A. (2003), p. 11-28. Minority Rights Group, Swedish Helsinki Committee etc. The Framework Convention, p .2 available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/ minorities/2._framework_convention_(monitoring)/1._texts/PDF_H(1995)010%20 E%20FCNM%20and%20Explanatory%20Report.pdf, visited on August 18, 2007. Spiliopoulou kermark S. (2007): Multiculturalism in Crisis and Justifications of Minority Protection in International Law (1997), also Kymlicka W. (1998), also Jovanovic M. (2002), also interview with Goran Miletic.

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as a conflict prevention and peace preservation effort.51 International legal development after the 1950s aimed at addressing minority issues as a necessary complement to classical individual human rights, because minority rights could not be adequately addressed with universal human rights documents.52 Nowadays, scholars argue that minority rights primarily serve as a tool for the preservation of cultures and identities, whereas the affirmation of cultural diversity is perceived as todays minority rights paradigm.53 While the affirmation of cultural diversity and preservation of multiculturalism represents an important global dimension of minority rights protection, the conflict prevention and peace preservation dimension remains of significant importance in post-conflict, post-colonial, post-communist, and post-dictatorship societies. The prominent minority rights advocates have in their most recent report acknowledged the interconnected nature of minority rights protection and conflict prevention, while arguing that an understanding of minority rights is essential for actors dealing with conflict prevention and resolution.54 Minority rights advocates have in this context recognized that minority rights fall into four main categories that encompass; 1) existence, 2) identity, 3) discrimination, and 4) participation, which are all mirrored in the selected provisions of the research paper.55 The right to existence as the most essential element indicates that minorities have the right to be recognized, tolerated, and respected as distinct whereas all other basic elements have been established to protect and support that existence. In a post-conflict environment that existence can be perceived as threatened by means of involuntary assimilation, hate speech and ethnic motivated violence, as well as by means of various discriminatory measures and the failure to implement cultural, linguistic, and religious rights. Prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality (Article 4), as one of the basic human and minority rights, is a central aspect of
51 52 53 54 55 Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 5, also Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p. 277. Spiliopoulou kermark S. (2007): Multiculturalism in Crisis, p. 5, also Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p. 277. Spiliopoulou kermark S. (2007), Minority Policies in Transition, Symposium in Uppsala, November 16th 2007, also Spiliopoulou kermark S. (2007): Multiculturalism in Crisis, p. 5. Minority Rights Group: Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); Minority rights: The key to conflict prevention, p. 4. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 5.

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individual and collective minority protection. A large number of minority groups in Serbia are territorially concentrated in regions where they often represent a demographic majority. Previous research indicates that territorial concentration of minority groups is more likely to lead to violent conflicts,56 and that regional concentration of discriminated groups may pave the way for conflict escalation if there are members of other groups in the same region who benefit from discriminatory policies.57 Wallensteen (2004) underlines that the questions of discrimination are important in conflicts, and can be closely linked to political and territorial control, while the discriminatory experience provides for frustration that can lead to territorialization of the minority issues.58 Additionally, wide systematic discrimination against minorities can result in economic marginalization, and the regional lack of economic development can increase collective feelings of injustice.59 The lack of development and economic exclusion can propel or maintain a minority community within a sub-status or cycle of deprivation and impede minorities ability to access their civil, political, social and cultural rights, which can have implications for their security, status and collective well-being.60 Discrimination can be one of the essential motives, which in combination with other factors leads to conflict, and discrimination has in combination with other factors, given cause for action in some of the conflicts in the Balkans during 1990s.61 Minority protection has for a long period of time been limited to non-discrimination, since the faith of minority rights was traditionally placed in the individual application of universal human rights, and therefore it was assumed that minorities would be satisfied if their individual rights, especially those of equality and non-discrimination, were respected.62 The overemphasized focus on anti-discrimination by both the scholars and policy makers in the Western minority context has placed the identity-based linguistic and cultural dimensions on the secondary level, whereas minority economic dimensions were largely ignored.63 The situation in South East Europe still contains the necessity to emphasize minority protection against
56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 Gurr T.R. (2000): p. 75. Wallensteen P. (2004), p. 178-181. Wallensteen P. (2004), p. 180. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 7. Ibid. Wallensteen P. (2004), p. 172-181. Hannum H. in Symonides J. (2000): p. 281. Discussed at the Minority Policies in Transition, Symposium in Uppsala, November 16th 2007.

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discrimination because the majority of those countries, including Serbia, lack solid and effective anti-discrimination legislations, while the vast majority of the minority populated regions remain economically marginalized. The examination of minority rights implementation in developing countries, such as Serbia, can clearly illustrate the interconnected nature between the different dimensions of minority protection and when placed in a politicized post-conflict environment the emphasis on the effective political participation of national minorities in decision-making processes is perceived as one of the most important dimensions.64 The right to direct participation in public authorities; including economic, political, social and cultural life (Article 15), is interlinked with the principle of anti-discrimination and collective promotion of effective equality. However, in a post-conflict environment, the minority opportunity to participation and representation in public authorities such as judiciary, court and police force has a significant value in terms of confidence-buildiing between minority groups and the authorities. The decade of darkness, under Miloevi rule, that was marked with human rights violations, repression and discrimination against minorities, has resulted in a complete lack of trust in the authorities, which are still perceived as the mechanisms of injustice and continued repression in the minority communities. In the unstable and ethnically infected post-conflict situation, the representation and inclusion of minorities into public authorities is a key aspect in constructing a collective feeling of greater security, belonging and interethnic confidence-building. The active participation of minorities in the decision-making process of economic, social and cultural life is often achieved by the inclusion of minorities in political life on a national and local level. Baldwin, Chapman and Gray (2007) argue that conflicts can occur when minorities are denied a say in political affairs, because a political voice is the key to the promotion and enjoyment of many rights,65 whereas the effective inclusion of previously excluded minorities into the political life is believed to aid in strengthening both national and regional stability.66 The advocates further underline the necessity to facilitate minority participation via special arrangements in the electoral system and the reserved seats or posts in the government or parliament.67 The increased
64 65 66 67 Jovanovic M. (2002), also interview with Goran Miletic. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 12. Minority and Elections (2007), by YIHR. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 12.

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number of minority representatives in legislatures does not only strengthen the voice of minorities in political life, but also signals goodwill on the part of the state, and can therefore be important in creating an inclusive environment in which minorities can identify with and feel part of the nation, thus reducing the likelihood of separatist tendencies and radicalization.68 Jovanovi (2002) argues that the effective participation of national minorities in the decision-making processes in Serbia should be conducted through special electoral mechanisms such as; reserved seats and lower suffrage threshold for minority political parties, as well as through instruments of consociational democracy and power-sharing such as minority participation in grand coalitions, reserved posts for minority politicians and veto power over certain decisions.69 Jovanovi (2002) adds that the present and future minority autonomous arrangements in Eastern Europe, should be normatively justified with the core substance of internal self-determination, namely effective and democratic participation.70 Although many provisions in the Framework Convention are interconnected and mutually reinforcing, the right to freedom of religion (Articles 7and 8); the right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity (Article 5); the right to receive information in minority language (Article 9); the right to official use of language (Articles 10 and 11); and the right to education in a mother tongue (Articles 12, 13 and 14); all fall under the same category of preservation and development of the minority identity. The national concept of identity is often defined through religion, language, education and culture. Identity is thus an inevitable factor in most conflicts involving minorities, since members of minority communities are targeted because of their deviant ethnic, religious, or linguistic identification. When discussing ethno-cultural identity and ethno-political organization, Gurr (2000) argues that cultural identities based on common descent, experience, language and belief, tend to be stronger and more enduring than most civic and associational identities.71 Additionally Gurr (2000) underlines that ethno-cultural identity is important when it contributes to a group psychology of comparative advantage or disadvantage, whereas ethno-political groups organize around their shared

68 69 70 71

Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 12. Jovanovic M. (2002); Territorial Autonomy in Eastern Europe Legacies of the Past, p. 9. Ibid. Gurr T. R. (2000); p. 66.

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identity, and seek gains or redress of grievances for the collectivity with strengths that derive from communal identity and shared interests defined in terms of that identity.72 From a post-conflict perspective of social psychology, groups of people who are attacked on the basis of their identity will feel that their sense of self and their place in the world is being questioned, and thereby those attacks elicit a strong reaction.73 Ethnic conflicts accentuate the sense of identity of the groups who are involved, and at the same time make the sense of identity narrower.74 Baldwin, Chapman and Gray (2007) argue that when minority communities feel threatened, the identity that is at the heart of the conflict, or which others, such as ethnic entrepreneurs and nationalist extremists, place at its heart, may take on a greater significance for the minority group than it previously had.75 The enlarged perception of a threatened narrow identity is often carried into the instable post-conflict environment. While war hardens and simplifies identity, peace reinforces a return to a more diverse self-view,76 but in order for that to happen, there has to be an environment which will enable diversified identification. Wars and ethnic cleansing, in the region of former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, planted the idea of deep and irreconcilable ethnic distinction into the collective unconscious, whereas the need to be or remain distinct has additionally been strengthened in the nationalist infected and structurally instable post-conflict environment. Repression of cultural, religious, and linguistic rights leads to repressions of identity, and the frustration when combined with a multitude of grievances might lead to minority radicalization or violent conflict. One of the underlying assumptions of the Framework Convention is the innate minority right to remain distinct and different within the framework of the dominant culture, and one of the most effective measures of ensuring that protection of distinction is by respecting and implementing identity based rights. The role of the educational system and the minority right to education in a mother tongue need to be emphasized when discussing and analyzing identity-based minority rights. The appropriate school curriculum addressing minority history, culture, and

72 73 74 75 76

Gurr T. R. (2000); p. 66. Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 7. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.

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tradition could be one of the key mechanisms in promoting understanding of the diversity of identities within a state, while protecting minority identity and combating involuntary assimilation. Jovanovi (2002) stresses that the protection of minority language rights, and the right to protection and preservation of minority cultures, tradition and religions are vital because they are important elements of the institutional environment that upholds effective internal minority self-determination, and their participation in decision-making processes.77 Preservation of cultural identity and cultural heritage is one of the most central aspects of minority psychological survival in a heterogeneous multicultural and multiconfessional society such as Serbia. If the minority culture and the right to remain distinct are not respected than the dignity and self-respect of the members of that group is deeply threatened.78 The affirmation, acceptance, and support of distinct cultural belonging provide minorities with a feeling of secured identity, and confirmation that their distinct existence is no longer a threat to the society. The implementation of religious, cultural, and linguistic rights can result in increased confidence-buildiing in post-conflict societies. The existential dimension of cultural and linguistic rights is of significant value especially when dealing with post-conflict minorities in a country with complex internal and external minority patterns and strained international relations. The promotion of intercultural dialogue (Article 6) in the fields of education, culture, and mass media is a provision that contributes to greater tolerance and understanding among ethnic groups, and thereby lowers the risk of renewed interethnic conflict. The promotion of intercultural dialogue promotes minority integration and majority acceptance by diminishing the gap and the level of distrust between minorities and the majority population. Minority rights that touch the core or the identity dimension are to a large extent about a sense of belonging, and a minority that has the opportunity to fully develop its identity is more likely to remain loyal to the state than a minority who is denied its identity.79 The promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states (Article 2) and the right to maintain free
77 78 79 Jovanovic M. (2002); Territorial Autonomy in Eastern Europe Legacies of the Past, p. 9. Kymlicka W. (1998): p. 100. Comment by the former OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel, Baldwin C. & Chapman C. & Gray Z. (2007); p. 8.

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and peaceful contacts across frontiers (Article 17) are two provisions related to the issues of post-conflict regional stability, especially when taking into consideration Serbias internal and external minority complexity, and the concentration of minority communities close to the borders of other countries in the region. National minorities who are territorially concentrated near the border of their kin state often consider themselves trapped on the wrong side of the borderline, and the majority cases of interethnic hatred and intolerance in South Eastern Europe are historically rooted in some kind of territorial disputes.80 The heavy territorialization of minority issues could be softened and minimized with effective implementation of provisions aimed at increased regional cooperation, hence diminishing the feeling of being trapped on the wrong side of the border.

80

Jovanovic M. (2002); Territorial Autonomy in Eastern Europe Legacies of the Past, p. 9.

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3. MINORITIES IN A SERBIAN CONTEXT Serbia is an ethnically heterogeneous country with a complex mosaic of ethnic, religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity. There are approximately twenty-four national minority groups in Serbia.81 The three biggest minority communities consist of Bosniaks, Hungarians and Roma, followed by smaller groups such as Albanians, Croats and Slovaks.82 The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities does not provide any framework within which a national minority should be defined and thereby grants a wide margin of appreciation to signatory countries with regard to minority definition and classification. Such a decision is believed to be the result of the European states reluctance to fully define the sphere of minority rights, and thus represents a compromise guided by an intention to synchronize the most important principles.83 The pragmatic approach to the lack of definition is based on the recognition that it is currently impossible to arrive at a definition capable of receiving the general support of all Council of Europe member states.84 The notion of national minority in Serbia was defined under the federal Law on the Protection of Rights and Liberties of National Minorities (LPRLNM) in 2002, which is based on international standards as expressed in the Framework Convention. The LPRLNM law does not contain an enumeration of the minority groups that are recognized as national minorities, and it offers a flexible and inclusive definition of a national minority as provided in Article 2:
A national minority as determined by this Law is any group of citizens of the FRY sufficiently sizeable to be representative although in minority status in the territory of the FRY (Federative Republic of Yugoslavia), affiliated to a community in firm and long-term links with the territory of FRY and with distinctive features like language, culture, national or ethnic background, origin or religion, different from the majority population, and whose members have a common feature to realize their collective identity, including culture, language and religion. As determined by this Law, all groups of citizens identifying themselves as peoples, national and ethnic communities, or nationalities that fulfill the requirements in the above mentioned paragraph of article 1 shall be considered as national minorities. 85 81 82 83 84 85 Albanians, Bosniaks, Bulgarians, Bunjevci, Czechs, Croatians, Egyptians, Germans, Greeks, Jewish, Hungarians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Poles, Roma, Rumanians, Ruthenians, Russians, Vlachs, Ukrainians, Slovaks, Slovenes and Turks. Information excluding Kosovo province because the Serbian census from 2002 does not contain information about ethnic map of Kosovo. With Kosovo included, Albanians fall under the category of bigger minority communities. Implementation of the Framework Convention, (2005), by YIHR, p. 7. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._framework_ convention_(monitoring)/1._texts/H(1995)010%20E%20FCNM%20and%20 Explanatory%20Report.asp#TopOfPage, visited on August 18, 2007. Alternative Report on implementation of the Framework Convention on the protection of national minorities, (2003), Vojvodina Center for Human Rights, available at: http://www.vojvodina-hrc.org/index.php?option=com_ frontpage&Itemid=1&lang=srp, visited on August 13, 2007.

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When Serbia ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in 2001, it did not follow the same minority classification model as some of the member states in Central and North Western Europe, which predominantly limited classification status to a few specific minority groups. Not all countries that are members of the Council of Europe have functioning minority politics, while France and Greece stand for poor examples of governments who have been reluctant to accept the concept of minority rights.86 However, those countries in Europe that have embraced the creation of new minority politics guided by the provisions of the Framework Convention, have adopted a slightly rigid classification model, which to a certain extent resembles the North American model that makes sharp classification and legal distinctions between ethnic and national minorities.87 After or prior to the ratification process, countries such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Finland, indirectly or directly distinguished between national minority groups with long historical and territorial ties, and ethnic minority groups mostly consisting of immigrants and refugees. Some member states, such as Sweden, have exhibited a higher level of flexibility and incorporated ethnic minorities and immigrants within the framework of the national minority classification, while others such as Latvia have adopted an all inclusive definition.88 Nevertheless, the majority of European countries embraced and maintained strict definition limitations; and it is only national minorities with long historical, territorial, cultural, linguistic or religious ties that could and would eventually be granted rights under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, whereas ethnic minority groups consisting of immigrants and refugees could neither expect nor claim the same rights as national minorities. As a result of this type of national minority classification model, only a few minority groups that fulfilled each countrys given classification criteria for a national minority were recognized.89 Serbia went in the opposite direction and embraced an all inclusive definition by recognizing all traditional ethnic groups as national minorities.
86 Bulletin for Human and Minority Rights in Southeast Europe (2007), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights; The situation of Roma in selected Western European countries. Report to the OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism and on other Forms of Intolerance, June 2005. Peji M. (2006); The Roma project toward implementation of Roma minority rights in Sweden. Ibid. It is interesting to note that few countries recognized Roma as a national minority, including Denmark, Poland and Slovenia.

87 88 89

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The critics point out that the definition of a national minority in Serbia, as provided by the LPRLNM, is complicated, confusing and ambiguous.90 It is important to note in this context that the minority mosaics in the countries of former Yugoslavia are complicated; confusing, as well as ambiguous, and hence the definition appears to mirror the reality. The picture of ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity in the Balkans differs from the picture in other regions of Europe. The immigration patterns also differ between the countries in North Western Europe, that have in the last decades experienced wide labour and refugee-related immigration from the entire globe, and the countries in South East Europe that have primarily experienced demographic changes with regards to war-related immigration from their neighboring states. The Balkans region, including Serbia, has historically been and remains until today a complex mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. When Serbia ratified the Framework Convention it could by no means officially embrace some minority groups with extensive historical and territorial ties, while ignoring and deciding to exclude other groups with equal ties. Since the Framework Convention offers a wide margin of appreciation to the signatory countries, Serbia used that margin and adopted an inclusive and flexible national minority classification model. The similar pattern of inclusive classification recognition can be observed in other neighboring countries in the region, and Croatia for example is dealing with similar national minority complexity. Legal critics on the other hand point out that the Serbian Government, in the background of the ICTY accusations, and without an invitation by the Council of Europe, initiated ratification of the Framework Convention in 2000 as a way of falsely signalling to the international community that they are deeply concerned, and that they indeed care about their national minorities.91 The argument further presumes that the exhibited false concern and false signalling to the international community are the reasons why all minority groups in Serbia were granted national minority status.92 Even if the argument is correct, and even if Serbias motivation and initiation of the ratification of the Framework Convention was to fool the international community, Serbia would have not been able to escape the necessity to adopt an inclusive and flexible classification
90 Alternative Report on implementation of the Framework Convention on the protection of national minorities, (2003), Vojvodina Center for Human Rights, available at: http://www.vojvodina-hrc.org/index.php?option=com_ frontpage&Itemid=1&lang=srp, visited on August 13, 2007. Minority and Elections (2007), by YIHR, p. 25, also interview with Goran Miletic. Interview with Goran Miletic.

91 92

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model. As a result of historical ethnic and demographic complexity, Serbia, regardless of the ratification motive, could not make any sharp classification distinctions between different minority groups, since all groups have longlasting historical and territorial ties. All ethnic minority groups sufficiently sizable to be representative, with long-lasting historical and territorial ties that carry distinct linguistic, cultural, and religious attributes were recognized as national minorities, and thereby granted rights and protection under the provision of the Framework Convention.93 Serbia has successfully handled the definition of national minorities, which is an important stepping-stone in the future implementation of minority rights. The successful definition classification model was also noticed by the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe; who found it positive that the minority definition covers a larger number of minority groups, including smaller ones.94 The Serbian minority model indicates an initiative toward an integrative and comprehensive approach, which further implies that a country that has had well functioning minority politics for over four decades might eventually attempt to re-establish some aspects of that historical heritage. With the successful handling of the minority definition, Serbia has avoided complicated divisions that could easily contribute to escalate dissatisfactions in the region, and internal conflicts among various minority groups. In a sensitive post-conflict environment every minority issue appears to matter due to heavy politicization of minority questions and their regional implications. The inclusive minority definition model paves the way for the broader and less discriminatory implementation of minority rights. However, one of the problems with the inclusive classification model encompasses the necessity to implement the rights guaranteed by the Convention among all recognized groups. It can already be observed that smaller minority groups are organizing and attempting to achieve the same scope of rights as numerically larger groups. The inclusive definition model therefore carries a risk of increased minority frustration and internal soft conflicts if the needs of one group are met and the needs of other groups are ignored. It is therefore

93 94

See Serbian definition above, all countries have their own national definitions. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._framework_convention_ (monitoring)/2._monitoring_mechanism/4._opinions_of_the_advisory_committee/1._ country_specific_opinions/1._first_cycle/PDF_1st_OP_SAM.pdf, visited on August 18, 2007.

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expected that Serbia should face some major implementation difficulties in the future due to a high number of national minority groups, and countrys current political and socio-economic post-conflict instability. 3.1 Minority politics and policies Circumstances and characteristics regarding the relationship between minorities and the majority in Serbia are mainly conditioned by the events associated with the fall of the former Yugoslavia.95 The fall of the common state Yugoslavia into a civil war, had as a consequence the formation of new states in which the groups of people who were once equal inhabitants of the former Yugoslavias republics, became overnight a minority in the newly created nation states.96 The formation of new states was based on the idea of one nation or ethnic group in the role of the highest sovereignty holder, and the constituted states did not consolidate democracies whereas the ethnonationalist principle stood above the civil one.97 In these kinds of states and societies, with weak institutions and low levels of political culture, including a history of civil war and post-conflict trauma, democracy is observed through a prism of rule and domination of the majority ethnic group over the minority groups.98 In the post-conflict states of former Yugoslavia the status of minority groups was characterized by continuous discrimination, limitations of the rights to express the basic attributes of cultural, linguistic, and religious identity, while the adoption of ethnic cleansing and civil transfer as legitimate instruments for the constitution of mono-ethnic states created the motto we cannot live with the others in the same state.99 When discussing minority politics in Serbia one needs to take into consideration three different main stages of minority politics development, out of which current minority politics has evolved. The first stage dates from the formation of the post WWII state until 1990, under which minorities in the territory of former Yugoslavia enjoyed a broad set of cultural, religious, and linguistic rights, and in some cases even broader than what is nowadays guaranteed by the Framework Convention. The level of social distance between various ethnic groups was low and ethnically mixed marriages were common in all
95 96 97 98 99 Forum for Ethnic Relations, Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia, p. 3, available at: http://www.fer.org.yu/eng/index-eng.htm, visited on August 13th, 2007. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.

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republics of the federation. Magnusson (2000) argues that Yugoslavia, prior to the wars of the 1990s, had an exemplary nationality and minority politics that could not be found in any of the neighboring countries, whether they were socialist or non-socialist.100 The nationality politics significantly changed during the 1960s, when the idea about a common Yugoslavian identity was abandoned and the emphasis was placed on each ethnic groups uniqueness of identity and tradition.101 As a result, an inherent contradiction was created between highlighting the Yugoslavian part and encouraging emphasis on a distinctive character of the ethnic mosaic.102 Despite the encouragement of ethnic distinctiveness in former Yugoslavia during the 1960s and 1970s, a dominant perception or a necessary illusion of a common Yugoslav unity and togetherness was created, which persisted until the 1990s. Although, many political and civil rights were violated in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, respect for minority rights remained intact as one of the gluing factors that were holding the multiethnic federation together. The second stage of minority politics falls under the decade of darkness, during Miloevis rule from 1990-2000, when both minority and basic human rights were minimal or under certain circumstances non-existent. State nationalism and ethno-nationalistic policy as major features of Serbian social and political everyday life during the 1990s promoted a dominant perception of the other, as someone representing a constant threat to our unique, majority Serbian national identity.103 The model of majority domination over minority within a context of nationalist propaganda, civil wars, international isolation, and the perception of the minority as a potential danger for the states integrity, resulted in extensive human and minority rights violations. The status of national minorities in Serbia today has been widely determined by violations of human rights, and the atmosphere of fear and repression, which governed the nation in the 1990s.104 During the given period, grave violations of human rights were committed against minority communities in Serbia. The most serious violations were
100 Magnusson (2000); Jugoslaviens vg till sammanbrott, Inblick steuropa, available at: http://inblick.org/index.php?p=2articles/05/magnusson.html, visited on August 6th, 2007. 101 Ibid. 102 Ibid. 103 Forum for Ethnic Relations, Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia, p. 3, available at: http://www.fer.org.yu/eng/index-eng.htm, visited on August 13th, 2007. 104 Minority and Elections (2007), Report on status of National Minorities in Parliamentary Election Campaign, YIHR, p. 6.

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committed in the Sandak region against members of the Bosniak minority, in Vojvodina against the Croat minority, and in southern parts of Serbia against Albanians.105 Only a few mass crimes committed in Serbia during the 1990s against minority communities have been fully investigated, and only a few responsible for them have been prosecuted and punished, while little has been done on behalf of the government to help the victims and their families.106 The human rights violations that were committed against minority communities, including their ignored and unresolved nature, are largely conducive to current minorities mistrust and lack of confidence in the Serbian state.107 The ethno-nationalist decade of the 1990s has created a deep level of social distance and mistrust between the majority and the minorities. As a result of the above-mentioned circumstances, the number of members belonging to minority groups significantly decreased during the 1990s, and has continued to decrease mostly among the post-conflict minority groups such as Albanians, Bosniaks and Croats. Nevertheless, in todays Serbia even the non post-conflict minority groups such as Hungarians, Bulgarians and Slovaks, are massively immigrating to the neighboring EU member states, mostly due to delayed economic development in Serbia, as well as incidents and ethnically motivated intimidations.108 The ten year long barrier under repression and violations resulted in a wide gap between the majority and many minorities. The issues of mutual trust and confidence-buildiing began to represent major challenges as well as questions of minority radicalization and re-integration. 3.2 The post-conflict period The third stage of minority politics development in Serbia is within a postconflict period after democratic changes from 2000-2007. The situation regarding minority rights was gradually improving from 2000-2004 in order to face another reversed trend from 2004-2006, which reflected and accentuated Serbias instable post-conflict political environment. Shortly after the fall of Slobodan Miloevi democratic changes were initiated and many discriminatory laws against minorities were abolished. The Ministry
105 Minority and Elections (2007), Report on status of National Minorities in Parliamentary Election Campaign, YIHR, p. 6. 106 Humanitarian Law Center, available at http://www.hlc-rdc.org/, visited on August 23, 2007. 107 Minority and Elections (2007), Report on status of National Minorities in Parliamentary Election Campaign, YIHR, p. 8. 108 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), Minorities and Elections (2007) by YIHR.

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for Human and Minority Rights was established with Rasim Ljaji, member of the Bosniak national minority, appointed Minister whereas Joef Kasa, a Hungarian became appointed Vice President of the Government during the same period.109 The legislative revolution took place in Serbia, then under the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, when new international and national minority legislations were embraced during a short period of time. On May 11 2001, Serbia joined the Framework Convention for Protection of National Minorities, followed by the membership in the Council of Europe on April 3 2003, and the ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights on March 3, 2004.110 On February 27 2001, the domestically and internationally praised law which determined and regulated protection of minority rights, namely the Law on the Protection of Rights and Liberties of National Minorities (LPRLNM) was adopted. The LPRLNM law advanced the provisions stipulated by the Framework Convention, and thereby established higher national standards for the protection of national minorities.111 The Law on Local Self-Government, adopted in 2002, provided for a possibility to establish an Ombudsman or a civil defender who protects citizens human rights from illegal and irresponsible work of the municipal offices and under the same law municipalities were given back some powers.112 The Omnibus law, about the ordinance of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (APV), was adopted the same year and it affirmed a wider jurisdiction of provincial administration, and hence restored certain powers to the Vojvodina provincial parliament, and thereby to a certain extent strengthened the previously weakened position of the Hungarian political influence in the region.113 The Omnibus Law and the Law on Local Self-government, which indirectly paved the way for wider implementation of minority rights on the local level, were originally designed to facilitate decentralization of Serbia, and were an attempt to harmonize the domestic legislations with the EU legislations.114 Additional laws were adopted to regulate the official use of the languages and scripts of

109 Available at: http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/vlada/ministri. php#33974, visited on August 13th, 2007. 110 Available at: http://www.coe.int/T/e/Com/about_coe/member_states/e_ Serbia.asp#TopOfPage, visited on August 13th, 2007. 111 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p.7. 112 Human Rights in the Shadow of Nationalism (2002); p. 2. 113 Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/ akta/zakoni.asp, visited on August 13, 2007. 114 Human Rights in the Shadow of Nationalism (2002); p. 2.

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national minorities,115 and the adoption of new legislations such as LPRLNM, provided minority communities with an opportunity to form their own state-funded National Minority Councils in 2002-2003. To this date fourteen national minority groups have taken advantage of that possibility and formed their own National Minority Councils.116 Minority communities were struck with great optimism and satisfaction with regard to the development of new minority policies and legislations, during the first few years of democratic changes. The years from 2000 to 2002 were considered the golden years in terms of minority rights improvement, and during that period many promises were put forward for the minorities. However, the large revolutionary project that was initiated could not be carried through, and many experienced that the lights were once again turned off when a highly respected Prime Minister ini was assassinated in 2003.117 The sentiment was that during Prime Minister inis time, there was a genuine political will to improve the situation for minorities, which many feel is lacking or has significantly declined in todays Serbia.118 The death of a visionary leader was not the only reason behind the evident failure of reform in the early years of democratic change. The analysts have noted that the heterogeneous political make-up of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), which was initially established to remove Miloevi from power, proved to be ill equipped in the long run.119 Additionally, the enthusiasm that characterized the political situation in 2001 declined when the new democratic system realized it was lacking the proper institutions to support the legislative and socio-economic reform, and the increased the rule of law could not immediately change the general nationalistic political atmosphere in the country weighed down by the Miloevi legacy with institutions reflecting old attitudes and methods characterized with resistance to reforms.120 The situation for minorities dramatically began to worsen in 2004, when minority
115 The official use of the languages and scripts of national minorities became regulated in the LPRLNM and to a greater extent in the Law on the Official Use of the Language and Script (LOULS). Alternative Report Submitted on the Basis of Article 15 of the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (2007), Vojvodina Center for Human Rights, available at: http://www.vojvodina-hrc.org/index. php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1&lang=srp, visited on August 23, 2007. 116 Bunjevci, Bulgarians, Bosniaks, Croats, Greeks, Germans, Hungarians, Roma, Rumanians, Slovaks, Vlachs, Macedonians and Ukrainians have formed National Minority Councils. 117 Interviews: Bujanovac, Subotica, Novi Pazar and Ni. 118 Interviews: Bujanovac, Subotica, Novi Pazar and Ni. 119 Human Rights in the Shadow of Nationalism (2002); p. 1. 120 Ibid.

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communities across the country were attacked, in direct majority reaction to the destruction of Serbian cultural and religious heritage in the Kosovo province by the Albanians. Minorities were exposed to a number of physical assaults and the mosques in Belgrade and Ni were set on fire, while many Catholic churches were demolished with stones.121 During the same period the emigration of Hungarians from Vojvodina to Hungary took place, due to a wave of ethnically motivated assaults that were spreading.122 The police and other state institutions failed to effectively respond to these incidents, which contributed to the overall impression about the states reluctance to seriously reckon with the hate crime perpetrators.123 Other forms of pressure against minorities that were recorded included the growing number of hate speeches in Serbian media, frequently ignored by the courts, and the growing number of hate crime incidents related to the white-power movements, that often target the Roma population as well as other minority groups. The necessary legislative changes were postponed, and while some laws failed to develop during the period of democratic changes, others created new challenges for minority communities.124 The process of decentralization of power and regional reform has been severely delayed, and the legal protection of minorities weakened during the same period.125 In addition, the full development and adoption of comprehensive and effective antidiscrimination laws was delayed; the Omnibus law that affirmed greater autonomy of the Vojvodina province failed to fully define that autonomy; whereas few municipalities took advantage of the possibility to establish an Ombudsman, which illustrated not only a lack of implementation, but also a lack of understanding of the Ombudsman function. An additional important change that negatively affected legislative development and support for human and minority rights documents was connected to the dissolution of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The Charter on Human and Minority Rights, as one of the strongest documents of the State Union which regulated human and minority rights as described in international law, was void after the dissolution of the State Union in 2006, because it was adopted on the federal level, and it did not become a component part of the legal order of the
121 122 123 124 Minority and Elections (2007), by YIHR, p. 8. Ibid. Minority and Elections (2007), by YIHR, p. 9. The Law on Radio and Diffusion from 2004 has been threatening to diminish attained satisfactory level of minority access to electronic media in minority languages. 125 Decentralization and improvement of human and minority rights (2005).

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Republic of Serbia. The Ministry for Protection of Human and Minority Rights was abolished after the dissolution of the State Union, and the function was transferred to the newly created Office for Human and Minority Rights with much lower status and capability to deal with human and minority rights questions in a systematic way. The abolishment of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights has been perceived as a grave degradation of minority rights status in Serbia, while heavily criticized by minority representatives and minority rights defenders.126 The status of the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Liberties of National Minorities (LPRLNM) is currently ambiguous, and as a framework law it contains only two provisions dealing with the structure and function of the National Minority Councils, whereas the adoption of the additional law which would in detail specify the election structure, function, and financing of the National Minority Councils has been delayed, which has had a negative effect on the future development of the National Minority Councils.127 After the dissolution of the State Union a number of laws that were originally meant to improve the situation for minorities were abolished or delayed in their adoption, development, and/or implementation phase. Another recent alarming moment for minorities came when Serbia, in the absence of any public discussions and without consultations with minority communities, adopted and enforced the new Constitution on November 8, 2006.th Minority representatives have severely criticized and condemned the passage of the Constitution, as well as its content.128 Serbia is nowadays defined as the state of Serbian people, instead of the state of all citizens living in it, and the Cyrillic script has become the official script.129 Since many minority communities in Serbia use Latin script, the reaction of minority communities to the fact that the Serbian language and Cyrillic script were made official was characterized with deep disappointment and frustration.130 The provisions that regulate minority rights were added and copied from the abolished Charter on Human and Minority Rights, however, in the process of copying, two rights have been omitted; the right to representation in the Parliament, and the right to appropriate representation in public institutions,
126 127 128 129 Interviews: Bujanovac, Subotica, Novi Pazar and Ni. Interview 22. Minority and Elections (2007), YIHR Report, p. 8. The previous Constitution contained both Cyrillic and Latin scripts as official and Serbia was defined as the state of all citizens living in it. 130 Interviews: Bujanovac, Subotica, Novi Pazar and Ni.

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state bodies, and bodies of local self-governance.131 No explanation was provided for the removal of these rights, while legal analysts and critics argue that the Parliament omitted human and minority rights which they perceived as more difficult to achieve and implement.132 The exclusion of rights perceived as difficult to implement confirms the problems that many post-communist and post-conflict states are facing during the final stage of legal transition. The fact that the new Serbian Constitution has to a certain extent decreased the previously attained level of human and minority rights protection represents an alarming development with legal, socio-economic, and political consequences that remain to be observed. Despite the recent omission of the rights to representation in the Parliament and public institutions, the Parliamentary elections of January 2007, represent one of the most positive developments, which resulted in a significantly increased inclusion of national minorities in the decision making process of the Serbian political scene. In the previous Serbian Parliament only two minority parliamentarians were representing their minority group and they had won their seats in the Parliament through Democratic Partys (DS) list.133 In January 2007, out of 20-election lists, six were recognized as minority ones, thus exempted from the 5% election threshold, and numerous national minority candidates were represented on the lists of mainstream political parties.134 As a result of the Parliamentary elections held in January 2007 Albanian, Bosniak, Hungarian, and Roma national minority representatives were elected to join the Serbian Parliament within the frame of minority political parties, and are currently listed under the newly formed Parliamentary Minority Group (Poslanika Grupa Manjina).135 Additionally, several national minority representatives entered the Parliament under the
Minority and Elections (2007), by YIHR, p. 19. Ibid. Minority and Elections (2007), by YIHR, p. 18. The groups that were recognized and exempted include: Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, the Coalition List for Sandak, the Union of Roma in Serbia, the Coalition of Albanians from the Preevo Valley, the Coalition Hungarian Union and the Roma Party. One of the leading Bosniak parties, the Sandak Democratic Party was represented as part of the Democratic Party (DS) election list together with representatives from other national minority communities such as Slovaks, Ruthenians, Croats and others Available at: http:// www.rik.parlament.sr.gov.yu/cirilica/propisi_frames.htm, visited on August 17, 2007. 135 The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians gained 3 seats; the Coalition List for Sandak gained 2 seats with representatives from Bosniak Democratic Party of Sandak (BDSS) and Social Liberal Party of Sandak. Roma Union in Serbia gained 1 seat and Roma Party also gained1 seat whereas Coalition of Albanians from Preevo Valley gained 1 seat with the Party for Democratic Progress (PDD), also see Appendix, available at: http://www. parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/stranke.asp, visited on August 13th, 2007. 131 132 133 134

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mainstream Democratic Party.136 The formation of a distinct Parliamentary Minority Group in the Serbian Parliament consisting of authentic minority political parties, and the fact that a significant amount of minority political parties have their representatives in the Parliament is a recent positive development that indicates movement toward increased recognition and inclusion of minority participation in the decision-making processes affecting the national and the local level. 3.3 Minorities as a factor of destabilization Serbia has complex internal and external minority dimensions. The internal dimension complexity is mirrored in a high number of national minorities and their wide but highly concentrated spread across the Serbian territory. The external complexity is on the other hand found in the fact that there are Serbs living as minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, and other neighboring countries of the region. The ethno-nationalistic policy of the 1990s and the civil wars that took place in the region, and even more so the unresolved status of Kosovo137, had an impact on creating a dominant perception in Serbia, which portrays ethnic communities of national minorities as a potential danger, and a threat that contributes to territorial and political destabilization of the country.138 Since the post-conflict multiethnic environments are generally known to be structurally fragile and susceptible to conflict relapse, a country in Serbias position should attempt to resolve sensitive and highly politicized minority issues in order to avoid future risks of interethnic conflicts. Gurr (2000) lists three major incentives for ethno-political action that could under certain circumstances stand for the mobilizing factors of an interethnic conflict.139 The first incentive is tied to the collective disadvantages reflected in socially derived inequalities in material well-being, political access or cultural status by comparison with other social groups. 140The combination of disadvantages and discriminatory policies gives people powerful incentives
136 Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/ stranke_detalji.asp?id=12, visited on August 17, 2007. 137 Albanians, as a demographic majority in the Autonomous province of Kosovo are aiming for territorial independence from Serbia. The province has been under the UN administration since the conflicts in 1999. 138 Forum for Ethnic Relations, Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia, p. 4. 139 Gurr T. R. (2000); p. 70-71. 140 Ibid.

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for action because the combination focuses their resentment on the agents of discrimination.141 The loss of political autonomy is the second recognized incentive, and the people who have lost ground relative to what they had in the past are said to experience decremental deprivation and are motivated to seek redress for what was lost, the greater the loss of autonomy and the more recently it occurred, the greater likelihood of mobilization.142 The third, and the major source of incentive for collective action is the repressive control of the minority group, since the use of force inspires fear and caution in the short run while it provokes resentment and enduring incentive to resist in the long run.143 The Serbian ethno-nationalist policy of the 1990s has either accented or given rise to all three of the conflict incentives as listed by Gurr (2000). The socio-economic, political, and cultural disadvantages of minority communities were upheld with the loss or diminishment of political regional autonomy, and with significantly diminished enjoyment of previously respected and attained minority rights. The minority subordinate status was frequently maintained with repression through the use of force and various human rights violations. The legacy and practice, as well as the results and consequences of the ethno-nationalist policy, have been to a certain extent carried into the post-conflict environment, which is characterized with nationalism, weak democracy, and instable institutional structures. Gurr (2000) however, additionally argues that international doctrines, such as the Framework Convention, that guarantees minorities religious, cultural, and linguistic rights strengthen the collective identity and represent a frame for ethno-political action when combined with other active collective incentives; since minorities are more likely to frame their situation if they already have a sense of injustice about disadvantages and repression.144 The international documents, such as the Framework Convention, reflect the views of many politically active minorities, and are thereby used by their leaders to exert moral and political pressure on governments to grant them the rights stipulated.145 The previous research has recognized conflict risks tied to the ethnoterritorial regional dominance of smaller groups, 146 whereas minority
141 142 143 144 145 146 Gurr T. R. (2000); p. 70-71. Ibid. Ibid. Gurr T. R. (200); p. 72-73. Ibid. Gurr T.R. (200); p. 75.

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researchers argue that the reaction of the minority communities in Serbia to the aggressive ethno-nationalistic policy of the 1990s had as a consequence self-isolation, radicalization, and territorialization of the minority question in order to provide protection against majority dominance and abuse.147 The vast majority of minority communities in Serbia are primarily concentrated on the borders to neighboring countries within confining sub-regions such as the Preevo Valley, Sandak and Vojvodina, which has aided in the process of minority radicalization and territorialization of minority issues.148 The crisis of identity is a phenomenon that all countries undergoing transition are facing.149 The war and interethnic conflicts that took place in the region have resulted in a deep collective identity crisis among the Serbian majority and many minorities. While the Serbian majority is currently searching for its identity though various forms of nationalism and religious revival, minorities are extensively searching for their ethno-identity revival and support in the neighboring kin-states. There are several current and recent developments that have had an affect on the perception of minorities in Serbia. The recent dissolution of the State Union, during which the minority vote was of a decisive nature, was interpreted in Serbia by many as a national treason and thereby contributed to a dominant negative perception of minorities. The unresolved status of the Kosovo province, as one of the most destabilizing factors in the region, has also had an impact on the perception of minorities, since the Albanian minority which constitutes a demographic majority in the region is aiming for territorial independence. The situation in Kosovo has had an affect on the Hungarian cause, whose requests for greater regional autonomy of Vojvodina, decentralization of power and full realization of their minority rights, are often perceived as yet another scenario in which a national minority group will attempt to proclaim independence over a province.150 The violent conflict that took place in the Preevo Valley in 2001 between the Serbian troops and Albanian rebellion movement, during which Albanians wanted to annex Preevo Valley to Kosovo, had given rise to a perception
147 148 149 150 Forum for Ethnic Relations, Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia, p. 4. Forum for Ethnic Relations, Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia, p. 4. Human Rights in the Shadow of Nationalism (2002); p. 2. A large segment of the Serbian population believes and fears that if Kosovo proclaims independence and becomes recognized as independent by the international community, all other minority populated regions, such as Vojvodina and Sandzak, might eventually attempt to do the same.

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that minorities do not know when to stop when it comes to territorial claims. The Bosniak dominated Sandak region is additionally frequently portrayed by the media as the next battlefield, mostly due to the presence of an Islamist terrorist stamped network, the proximity to BiH, and the recent requests to regain the previous held status of a constituent people. The dominant Serbian perception had been widely influenced by the medias and radical politicians depiction of minority communities as a factor of destabilization.151 The internal and external dimensions of minority complexity reflect the necessity to adopt a regional perspective when dealing with minority rights. Instead of viewing minorities as a definite factor of post-conflict destabilization, policy makers should begin viewing the resolution of minority questions as a factor that could over time lead toward increased stabilization of the entire region.

151 The media tends to ignore and deemphasize the fact that Serbs live in Hungary and BiH where they enjoy a satisfactory level of minority rights and regional autonomy whereas the difficult situation of Serbian minority in Kosovo is oftentimes stressed and overemphasized.

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4. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: ROMA IN NI The city of Ni is situated in the Niava Valley in the southeastern part of Central Serbia. The city is geographically close to the borders of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece, at the point of intersection to the most important roads connecting Asia with Europe and the Black Sea with the Mediterranean.152 Ni occupies a crossroads known from ancient times, along which people, armies and goods moved thus it was a suitable historical location for a traditional nomad Romany settlement. The large Romany population has resided in the area for hundreds of years and can be traced back for many generations. There is a strong sense of belonging in the region, as well as a sense of pride over historical territorial ties.153 Although the city of Ni has a high demographic concentration of Romanies, they are the most dispersed national minority group in the country, and can be found living in all major cities and municipalities. According to the census results from 2002, there are 5, 687 Roma living in the city of Ni.154 It is, however, recognized that the correct population size is unknown and usually underestimated, as a large number of Roma remain undocumented.155 The researchers, international, and local non-governmental organizations are therefore convinced that the number of Roma is significantly higher than presented in the last census.156 The European Roma Rights Centre and the Minority Rights Group have analysis which sustains that there are between 400,000 and 450,000 Roma in Serbia, while Roma representatives and local NGOs believe that a more accurate number of Roma in the city of Ni is about 15,000 25,000.157 The reason for such a grave mistake in the census is the fact that many Roma are afraid to declare being Roma while census takers frequently avoid unhygienic Roma dwellings when registering.158 The
Available at: http://www.nis.org.yu/index-e.html, visited on August 18, 2007. Interviews 7-12. Available at: http://webrzs.statserb.sr.gov.yu/axd/en/index.php, visited on August 18, 2007. Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 1. The problem of undocumented Roma is nowadays being addressed by the OSCE and the regional NGOs who have launched documentation projects. 156 None of the countries in the South East Europe, including Serbia, have accurate statistics on the size of the Roma population. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 53, also Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 3. 157 Annual Report, Human and Minority Rights in Serbia (2006); p. 10, also Interviews 7-12, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 53. 158 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 53. 152 153 154 155

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city of Ni has undergone demographic changes as a result of armed conflicts in Kosovo in 1999, under which Romanies were persecuted. According to the UNHCR, approximately 40,000-50,000 Roma were forced to leave their homes in Kosovo, and a significant number of internally displaced (IDP) Roma are currently concentrated in the city of Ni, which is one of the municipalities in Serbia with the highest concentration of Roma IDPs from Kosovo.159 The Roma community consists of three different categories; the local Roma who have always lived there, internally displaced Roma from Kosovo, and Roma that have involuntarily returned from countries in Western Europe.160 Although Romanies in Serbia do not have a previous history of comprehensive political organization, the long lasting territorial concentration of Romanies in the city of Ni has resulted in the gradual construction of a culturally and locally politically organized Roma community. The cultural organization is somewhat unified whereas the political organization is fragmented with political, ideological, as well as personal conflicts.161 The community has several high profile political names on the local level; however, few people wish to regard them as true leaders of the Roma cause.162 The regional office of the Roma National Minority Council is situated in Ni, and the city has a wide Roma NGO network that deals with issues concerning education, employment, health care and social services.163 The Roma political representation in Serbia is gathered around two Roma political parties; Union Roma Serbia (URS) and Roma Party (RP), both represented in the Serbian Parliament with one representative from each party. Despite the wide lack of comprehensive and unified political organization on the local level, the political mobilization of Romanies around two Roma political parties on the national level is part of the new minority politics since the previous political organization was either nationally non-existent or locally tied to various mainstream parties. Roma Union Serbia is the party that has gained political support among the Roma community in Ni, while the Roma Party has the majority of its supporters in the northern parts of Serbia. The political
159 The number of displaced Roma is probably higher than officially presented. Available at: http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/11E3 87A7E75115F2C12570C90040D5B1/$file/IDP_Serbia-montenegro_full.jpg, visited on August 29, 2007, also Human and Minority Rights in Serbia (2006); p. 12. 160 Division made by the informants. 161 Interviews 8-12. 162 Interviews 8-12. 163 Interviews 7-12.

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pluralism and the division of the Roma voters between the two parties representing northern and southern voters, is perceived as a weakness among Romanies.164 4.1 Unwanted minority with limited rights Recognized as the most economically, socially and politically disadvantaged group in Europe, the Roma population is classified as the most vulnerable minority group in Serbia.165 Romanies have traditionally been regarded as unwanted and unwelcome minority, often excluded from socio-economic development and marginalized into poverty through discrimination.166 Romanies are considered to be of inferior ethnicity and are socially widely rejected national minority. They have historically endured a highly limited spectrum of human and minority rights. The attitudes toward Romanies have been contradictory because the majority have either entirely socially excluded Romanies, or expected them to assimilate in order to be accepted.167 Roma national minority does not have a history of territorial claims and their minority requests have been modest when compared to other minorities. Ironically, from a post-conflict perspective Serbian Roma are perceived as a loyal and friendly minority in the sense that they as a group have posed no threat to national security and territorial integrity, while traditionally known to take Serbian part in armed conflicts.168 As the only national minority without the kin-state to directly or indirectly support their existence and cause, they have frequently been victims of police brutality, ethnically motivated violence, severe ethnic discrimination and segregation.169Romany access to representation in decision-making structures has over the years been limited, as well as their access to public services, employment and higher education.170 The common prejudices and stereotypes are linked to what is

164 Interviews 8-12. 165 Fox J. and Brown B. in Gurr T.; p. 143, also Regional Report from Central Serbia (2006), also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), also Roma in Serbia (2006), also Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005). 166 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies: The case of Albania, Greece and Serbia (2005); p. 1. 167 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 3. 168 The term friendly is borrowed from the literature by the Forum for Ethnic Relations - The persecution of Roma in Kosovo by Albanians was justified because of their loyalty toward Serbs. 169 Roma in Serbia (2004); p.7. 170 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 1.

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perceived as ethnic or racial distinctions171, which when combined with socio-economic hardship result in a belief that Roma are unworthy human beings with less human dignity, and therefore deserving their status.172 Some of the characteristics of the Roma ethnic community include a high birth rate, a high mortality rate, and shorter life expectancy among adults due to poor living conditions and limited access to health care.173 The majority of Roma in Serbia are faced with socio-economic hardship, a high unemployment rates and extremely difficult living conditions; which include unhygienic dwellings without houses built of solid material and the lack of water and electricity. Although the vast majority of Roma in Serbia are facing socio-economic difficulties, there are huge socio-economic differences within the group across the nation. In the city of Ni, the social status scale moves from poor and segregated Roma with low social status, living in the Romany Mahala174, to those who are educated, wealthy and well integrated with high social status. In addition, there is a large politically organized and well-networked middle class Roma community, which mostly consists of families whose parents prospered during the socialist system of the former Yugoslavia.175 The middle class Roma community frequently expressed nostalgia over the good old days of the socialist system when they were treated as more equal.176 Studies have shown that there is generally a wide social distance between the Serbian majority and the Roma minority; however, in the city of Ni that distance is significantly lower.177 I observed high levels of social integration and interaction between Roma and the majority, especially those Romanies of higher social status as well as the ones that would fall into the category of the middle class. According to the research about social and ethnic distance, conducted by the Forum for Ethnic Relation in Serbia for the UNDP, Roma scored high on levels of social distance and are considered the least desirable marital partners.178 In the city of Ni, marriage and dating across ethnic lines are not uncommon however not unproblematic, since Serbian sentiment is
171 Romanies are the only ethnic/minority group in Serbia with different, mostly darker skin color, and thereby important to acknowledge the race aspect. 172 Roma in Serbia (2004); p. 123. 173 Decade of Roma (2005); Information booklet. 174 Romany neighborhood, often struck by poverty and difficult living conditions. 175 Interviews 7-12. 176 Interviews 7-12. 177 Human and Minority rights in Serbia (2006), also Forum for Ethnic Relations (2006); Regional Report for Serbia. 178 Regional Report for Central Serbia (2006); p. 5.

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that their son or daughter could have done better, while Romany sentiment is that the person will loose their cultural identity and gradually assimilate.179 Despite good interethnic relations and the absence of a post-conflict situation on the local level, the Roma community has faced several recent alarming developments in the city of Ni. The violence against Roma has increased and ethnic segregation has proliferated in the field of education. Ethnically motivated violence and hate crimes against Roma are common in Serbia, and the expansion of extremist organizations such as the skinhead movement have had a negative affect on feelings of safety and security among Roma in the city of Ni. The violence against Roma escalated from 2004-2005 when a wave of massive violence against minorities spread across the country, induced by the infected pre-election campaign and persecutions of Serbs in Kosovo.180 During that period a number of ethnically motivated incidents against Roma women, children and teenagers took place, which were brutally attacked and physically insulted by the members of the skinhead movement.181 The city police reacted to the escalation of violence, and after a severe hate crimes incident in February 2005, they pressed criminal charges against the perpetrators for the incitement of racial, national and religious hatred and intolerance.182 Nevertheless, hate crimes and racially motivated incidents against Roma are often ignored by the police, which are also known to have committed human rights violations against Roma.183 The locals and the NGOs regard the recent cases of hate crime charges against the perpetrators as serious positive steps toward increased legal protection and justice.184 It is also interesting to note that the Municipal Court in the city of Ni declared some of the first and precedent convictions for violent hate crimes committed against Roma.185 Romanies have expressed concern and fear regarding the proliferation of the skinhead movement, which they perceive as a serious problem.186 There is, however, no apparent risk of violent interethnic conflict in the city of Ni. Romanies have no history of violence provocation or organizational resistance, and are known as the oppressed
179 180 181 182 183 184 185 Interviews 7-12. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 56. Ibid. Ibid. Roma in Serbia (2004); p. 123, by Humanitarian Law Center. Interviews 7-9. Humanitarian Law Center, available at http://www.hlc-rdc. org/, Latest conviction took place in August 2007. 186 Interviews 7-12.

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minority that peacefully endures injustice, persecution and human rights violations. The second alarming development in the city of Ni is the new phenomenon of racial segregation within the educational system. The Vuk Karadi School, near a Roma dwelling, has always had a high enrolment of Romany children, however, in the past four years the percentage of Romany children attending first grade there has gone up to a 100%.187The Roma children are less frequently accepted by other primary schools while Serbian children from the neighbourhood are being sent to attend primary schools in the nicer neighborhoods.188 The majority of the informants have expressed concern and sadness over this segregation in the educational system because Romany parents want their children to integrate, and they believe that social integration starts in the school.189 The national developments that have been affecting minority rights implementation in the city of Ni are linked to the foundation of the League for the Decade of Roma, the establishment of the Roma National Minority Council in 2003, and the election of two Roma candidates in 2007 to join the Serbian Parliament. The governments in South Eastern Europe have in the past several years begun to recognize the need for a state intervention to reduce Roma poverty and have therefore adopted special Roma programs and national strategies.190 International organizations and processes, such as the EU Stabilization and Association Process, have played a major role in the adoption of the programs and national strategies for Roma advancement.191 As a result, the Decade for Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 was introduced as an initiative by the Central and South Eastern European governments, aiming at diminished gap between Roma and the rest of the population.192

187 188 189 190 191

Interview 9. Interviews 7-12. Interviews 7-12. Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 2. Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 2, Roma exclusion and poverty received much attention in the EU enlargement process, when minority protection was articulated as a criterion for accession in the Copenhagen criteria. However, the existing EU members have been criticized for failing to respect minority rights, including those of their Roma population and despite the Copenhagen criteria some of the candidates with the worst Roma record have gained admission. The EU has shown its commitment to promoting stability and development in SEE through its regional Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) policy framework and the amount of aid to the western Balkans, including Serbia, makes the EU one of the regions largest donors and main partners. 192 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 2.

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In February 2005, the Serbian Government officially launched a national strategy known as the Decade of Roma together with eight other European governments.193 The Draft Strategy for the Integration and Empowerment of the Roma was drawn up in December 2003, the same year when the Roma National Council was established.194 The Draft identified thirteen priority areas requiring immediate action, including: access to public services; economic empowerment and employment; education; housing and situation of the internally displaced Roma.195 The Draft recommended the development of the local action plans by local authorities in cooperation with Roma organizations, and asserted that the Romas participation should not be limited to mere consultation, but rather conceived as a partnership on equal footing.196 The Decades core priorities include focus on education, employment, health and housing, as well as cross cutting issues of discrimination, gender inequality, and poverty with emphasis on Roma participation in overcoming their poverty and exclusion.197 Various international and regional agencies and donors have decided to contribute to the Decade, but with the exception of the recently established Roma Education Fund (REF); the Decade does not have its own funding, which is perceived as a significant weakness.198 Serbia has in 2005 adopted the National Action Plan for the priority areas, however, it still remains unclear how the plan will be financed and while governments are expected to commit sufficient funding by reallocating existing resources, minority advocates argue that the expectations might not be realistic in countries that are undergoing socio-economic transition and financial scarcity.199 Serbian authorities expressed in 2005 that there is no budget even for programs aimed at the majority, let alone aimed at the Roma minority.200 In addition, previous concerns have been noted about the international donors and their ability to allocate and sustain sufficient funding.
193 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 9. 194 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 10, The Draf was however not officially endorsed until 2005. 195 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 11. 196 Ibid. 197 Ibid. 198 Ibid. The contributing organizations include: The Council of Europe, EU, Open Society Institute (OSI), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe Development Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank. 199 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 2. 200 Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 3.

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Roma parliamentarians are concerned with the insufficient budget, which is not proportional with the needs of the Decade, but also with the lack of actual conditions for the implementation.201 According to the parliamentarians, the Decade of Roma is currently lacking not only the sufficient funds, but also the definitions and efficient monitoring mechanisms and if the appropriate conditions are lacking, the effective implementation will fail to take place.202 The lack of mechanisms for implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of these strategies has been recognized earlier by minority advocates; and the establishment of the Secretariat for the Implementation of the Roma National Strategy as the main coordinating body is seen as insufficient.203 The majority of Romany representatives are aware that the EU is not supporting the Decade due to the fact that they care for Roma, but rather because they are afraid that thousands of Roma will immigrate to Western Europe when visas for Serbian citizens are removed.204 Nevertheless, the representatives argue that the international community can exert effective pressure on Serbia to improve the situation for its Roma population; and while the role of these international organizations is currently undefined, parliamentarians stress that international organizations should strictly refrain from applying the same standards that are valid in their own states.205 The Serbian League for the Decade of Roma was founded in October 2005, with an aim to oversee and contribute to an efficient implementation of the National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion.206 The League is composed of prominent Roma associations and organizations; with several working groups that monitor implementation of the Action Plan regarding increased educational possibilities, higher employment, access to health care and improved housing.207 The Governments National Action Plan is currently carried out through with various projects with Serbian Ministries, such as the Ministry of Health and Education, as the primary responsibility holder for the execution and completion of the project. The projects are conducted in collaboration with municipality organs and the local Roma NGO community. Roma NGOs

201 202 203 204 205 206 207

Interviews 13-14. Interviews 13-14. Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 11. Interviews 7-14. Interview 13. Decade of Roma (2005), p. 5. Ibid.

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have expressed a wish to hold a larger responsibility burden than they have been previously given, or to take on the role of the primary project carrier for future projects. This is because the projects with broader Roma responsibility and involvement have proven to be more effective than projects where the Ministries and the municipalities govern the focus and the method.208 The second development that has had an impact on the implementation of minority rights is the establishment of the Roma National Minority Council. As a government funded public authority organ the Council consists of forty regional offices in different locations in Serbia, and the main goals of the Council include the establishment of contact between the Roma community and the local authorities, while monitoring affirmative action programs, development programs, and the implementation of the National Action Plan.209 The Roma representatives recognize that the effective implementation of the Framework Convention will be impossible if the National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma fails in Serbia.210 The Decade is thereby regarded as the most important step leading toward increased enjoyment of human and minority rights among Serbian Roma. The election of two Romany parliamentarians from the Roma political parties during the January 2007 parliamentary elections was perceived with a great sense of pride, and with highly symbolic as well as practical value for Roma people.211 According to the informants the activities of the Roma National Minority Council, the parliamentarians engagement on the legislative level and the concrete results by the local organizations are expected to contribute to increased implementation of minority as well as human rights.212 Romanies, as one of the most vulnerable socio-economic groups, are facing difficulties with the realization of their basic human rights, and hence the difficulty when examining the implementation of minority rights according to the Framework Convention, which presumes the enjoyment of basic human rights. When discussing implementation situation among Roma,
208 There are numerous Roma NGO based in the city of Ni with sufficient experience and competence to carry out successful projects. 209 Interviews 7-12, Decade of Roma (2005), p. 5. 210 Interviews 9-11. 211 Interviews 7-12. The election of Roma parliamentarians is perceived as an expression of the communitys political will to address and solve the Roma problematic within the institutional framework. 212 Interview 7-12.

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one should look at the actual conditions for their realization since Romanies are in an unequal position when compared to the majority and other minorities.213 According to the Roma parliamentarian Mr. ajn the Decade of Roma is wrongfully perceived, by many, as a financial source for massive development projects that will combat poverty.214 He argues that the Decade should be regarded as a decade of defined, guaranteed and coordinated political action which needs to result in a well politically organized Roma community, that will be able to start and sustain the fight for its rights.215 According to Mr. ajn, the goal of the Decade should be long lasting political empowerment, and in order to achieve their rights Romanies have to organize politically and take part in legislative power.216 While the Decade in itself is not political, it provides Roma politicians with a framework out of which they can formulate their political goals. The previous results indicate that when Roma leaders have used the goals of the Decade as political tools they have succeeded in creating sustainable institutional framework, which has been previously lacking.217 The Serbian Parliament has from February 2007 to July 2007 adopted four proposals put forward by the Roma Party, and one of these proposals suggest that the public authorities have to mirror the ethnic structure of the population.218 We have never been given an opportunity to present our goals in the media as we have been given now as members of the Parliament. The reaction of the Serbian majority to our presence and messages in the media has been very positive. Sran ajn, Roma Party, Member of the Parliament Political organization and sustainability are perceived by parliamentarians as key elements leading toward increased implementation of human and minority rights deriving from the improved institutional framework.219 While the number of Roma parliamentarians is expected to increase in the
213 214 215 216 217 Interview 14. Interview 14. Interview 14. Interview 14. Interview 14, According to Mr. Sajn, in Vojvodina the Roma Party was able to form publishing and educational institutions that are financed with the Government budget as a financially sustainable mechanism. 218 Interview 14. 219 Interviews, The Roma parliamentarians and representatives have argued that Serbia needs new institutional framework for minorities on the republican level. Roma minority as a group needs a Committee that will control the implementation of the Decade while the Government needs to establish an Association for Roma integration.

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next parliamentary elections, the current parliamentarians are determined to push for appropriate legislative and institutional conditions leading to systematic changes.220 The establishment of the regional office for the Roma National Minority Council, the election of Romany parliamentarians and the initiation of the Decade of Roma Action Plan have resulted in greater political mobilization of the Roma community in the city of Ni and thereby gradually increased participation in the implementation process. The national and international projects that have taken place in the past years have empowered Romanies and contributed to broader Romany participation in the implementation of minority rights on the local level. The conduct and the outcome of the projects have also contributed in confidence-buildiing within the group that is increasingly realizing its potential. According to Ana Saipovi, Romanies have realized that they are experts in dealing with Roma issues and are now ready to take larger part in solving them.221 4.2 Implementation of minority rights The treatment and life of Roma in Serbia is good, when compared to other European countries. The only reason why Western European states have been supporting Romany integration and emancipation projects in Serbia is because they dont want us emigrating and seeking asylum in Western Europe. If the West loves us so much, why are they deporting hundreds of Roma every day back to Serbia.222 4.2.1 Prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality (Article 4) The prohibition of discrimination has not been fully implemented in the city of Ni. Serbia has not yet adopted comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation, which has been in the development process and is currently in the adoption process.223 The Roma community in Serbia, as a minority group under the burden of historical discrimination, are facing institutional, structural and individual discrimination.224 Romanies have limited access to educational and employment possibilities, lack of appropriate housing,
220 Interview 14. 221 Interview 9. 222 One of the Romany informants who wishes to remain anonymous with regard to this specific statement. 223 Interview 3, Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 1; also Human Rights in Serbia (2006). 224 Human and Minority Rights in Serbia (2006); p. 10.

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insufficient healthcare as well as limited access to social services and public life.225 The adult Roma are the most discriminated against when applying for employment since even the most educated and qualified can only receive temporary employment, while a full-time employment is perceived as an impossible goal.226 The discrimination toward Roma people is a taboo subject and the wider public is not interested in this matter, which implicates that the majority does not have a sufficient level of conscience for one of basic human and minority rights.227 Nevertheless, discrimination against Roma is gradually being addressed by the affirmative action measures developed under the National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion. The Serbian Government was at first unwilling to adopt affirmative action measures. It was not until the establishment of the Roma National Minority Council in 2003, who successfully lobbied for affirmative action measures, and the initiation of the Decade of Roma in 2005 that the government decided to adopt affirmative action as one of the ways to correct the collective accumulated disadvantage of Roma in order to combat the structural exclusion they are facing.228 The government has since the initiation of the national strategy launched numerous affirmative action programs in the fields of education, employment, healthcare, housing and access to social services.229 The affirmative action programs that are conducted in Ni fall under the umbrella of the governmental nationwide affirmative action programs. The city of Ni, as a separate unit has in one way or another welcomed and supported international and national funded projects while conducting only the very minimum on its own initiative.230 Our only way out of the gutter is through education. Ten to fifteen years ago we were happy when 10 Roma children finished school. Now, we want all our children to attend and finish school! ivadin Salijevi, Roma Association Sait Bali

225 226 227 228 229 230

Human and Minority Rights in Serbia (2006); p. 10. Interviews 2 and 9. Forum for Ethnic Relations; Human and Minority Rights in Serbia (2006), p. 11. Interview 9. Interviews 1- 2. Interviews 7-12.

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The educational affirmative action measures are focused on all three educational levels since the census from 2002 showed that only 21.9% finish elementary school, 7.8% secondary school and only 0.3% higher education.231 The problems that Roma are facing within the educational system are not solely a consequence of poor socio-economic conditions, but also determined by other factors such as structural discrimination.232 Roma children face discrimination when enrolling and attending school, and there are a nonproportional number of Romany children placed in special schools for the mentally challenged.233 Primary education is compulsory in Serbia for all; however, one of the prerequisites is attendance in a pre-school, which many Roma children are unable to attend.234 One of the national programs directed at elementary schools that took place in the city of Ni was a pilot project called Equal opportunities, funded by international organizations, the government and several municipalities.235 The project was conducted between 2001-2004 in three primary schools with a high enrolment of Roma children. The aim of the project was to integrate Roma children into the educational system, and during the project Romany pupils received additional help with school from temporarily hired Romany teacher assistants.236 After successful termination of the project, which resulted in increased Roma attendance of 30% and significantly higher grades among Roma children, the city decided to keep the assistants in their positions and there are currently six active Roma teacher assistants in the city of Ni.237 The affirmative action measure, directed at secondary education, grants Romany children, who apply to secondary school, thirty extra points. The extra points are added to the sum of points that they already have, in order to qualify for high school leading toward higher profile professions and
231 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 51. 232 Ibid. 233 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR also Interviews 9-10 , Approximately 80% of pupils in the schools for mentally challenged are Roma, which is motivated with explanation that they do not know Serbian language well enough. Financially pressured Romany parents are being offered special financial benefits to send and keep their children in those schools. 234 Interviews 2, 9-10; The affirmative action program that is dealing with this particular issue is lacking, however, the non-governmental organizations are working on solving the issue. 235 Equal opportunities (2003). 236 Interview 9, The Roma teacher assistants did not face any resistance or negative reactions form the parents of Serbian children who warmly welcomed the initiative; however, they did face some resistance from the teachers who believed that they would criticize their work. 237 Interview 9, The teacher assistants are project-hired and their employment status remains unstable.

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possibly university studies.238. The affirmative action measure concerning higher education guarantees Romany students placement at the university under the condition that the student passes the admission test, regardless of the amount of points.239 The student is not required to achieve a high score since the only admission requirement is to pass the admission test. As a result of this type of affirmative action program, a large number of young Roma are nowadays studying to become teachers, doctors and lawyers at the University of Ni, and a vast majority of those students are in one way or another involved with the local political and NGO activities.240 However, the Roma parliamentarians are not satisfied with the definition and the design of the Decade programs and they have criticized educational and other affirmative action measures for being vaguely defined.241 According to the parliamentarians, affirmative action should not be a question of individual will, but rather a result of systematic solutions regulated by effective laws and definitions.242 It is not defined how many Roma students can be admitted to universities, and it often depends on the will of the Minister of Education, which means one year a hundred students might get admitted and the next year it might be only twenty.243 Mr. ajn argues that Serbian Ministries are not executing the politics; they are rather formulating and becoming the politics due to the lack of systematic solutions regulated by the law.244 My biggest problem is not the implementation of the Framework Convention. My biggest problem is how to solve the situation for Roma that selects recyclable materials under hazardous and unhygienic conditions. Osman Bali, Politician, YUROM President In addition to the affirmative action programs on all three educational levels, there is a new educational employment program in 11 locations in Serbia for Roma women and men at age 15-35, who have not finished elementary school.245 The aim of the educational program is to provide Roma with elementary
238 Interviews 2, 7-12, In order to avoid negative reactions from the majority population, Romany child does not take a spot that could have been given to a Serbian child but is rather added as an extra student in the class. 239 Interviews 2, 7-12. 240 Interviews 7-12, There are several scholarships available linked to higher education and many Roma students have been quite successful at getting those scholarships. 241 Interviews 13-14. 242 Interviews 13-14. 243 Interview 14. 244 Interview 14. 245 Interview 10.

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school education, and a professional certificate tied to vocational training, in a field that appears to be necessary within the area where they reside.246 The National Agency for Employment has taken over the responsibility for the results of the program, and has thereby decided to provide half of the participants with employment within the profession that they have been trained for, while the other half of the participants will gain financial aid from the agency to start their own small business.247 All educational affirmative action programs have been initiated by the Ministry of Education directly after the adoption of the National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion. The programs are primarily funded by international donors and secondarily by the government and municipalities. The majority of projects have had governmental institutions as the main project carrier and Romany non-governmental organizations as collaborators. Apart from the educational affirmative action programs, the city of Ni has participated and collaborated with other ministries and international development initiators.248 One of the problems that has surfaced is related to the fact that the financial support for the advancement of Roma in education is sometimes used to renovate and repair schools.249 The wrongful and unethical placement of resources in renovation work is a result of economic scarcity, and the necessity to address what is perceived by the majority as a condition of uneven development, under which a minority group is being given financial resources to advance and the majority is not. Another example of the reaction to the issue of uneven development resurfaced when the OSCE recently offered to finance a project that would improve living standards for

246 Interview 10, The previous development projects that attempted to tackle Roma poverty and unemployment through vocational training failed because they were lacking needsbased assessments, something that is nowadays being corrected. The hairdressing vocational training of Roma women did not take into account that there was no need for that particular occupation and the Beautiful Nis project underestimated Roma mens stable yet informal income in the grey economy. Roma Poverty and National Strategy (2005). 247 Interview 10, In June 2007, the first round of 20 Roma participants had finished their vocational training and the project coordinator is hoping that more Roma will apply for the next round. The majority of participants were extremely sceptical toward the program and it was difficult to convince more Roma to participate. 248 Interviews 9-10, The Ministry of Health was the first Ministry in Serbia to initiate a collaboration project with local Roma NGOs in Ni within the framework of the Decade of Roma Action Plan and the city of Ni has been involved in the conduct of two governmental programs which aimed at increased Roma access to healthcare and social services for both Romany men and women. The OSCE has been one of the international initiators for the improvement of housing and living standards of the Romany minority in the city. 249 Interviews 9-10.

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the Roma population in all five municipalities under the city of Ni.250 Only one municipality out of five accepted the offer and hired one Roma to work on the project, while other municipalities failed to realize that Romanies would not be the only people in those neighborhoods who could benefit from a well-functioning water and sewage system.251 Roma parliamentarians and representatives have expressed concern and stressed that affirmative action is dangerous if not publicly defined and communicated, since the majority perceives it as reversed discrimination.252 In the countries where poverty levels are generally high, the existence of special Roma affirmative and development programs aimed at reducing Roma poverty may incite antiRoma sentiment among the wider public, and it is therefore important to adopt public information and communication strategies to ensure effective implementation of the programs.253 I have never experienced so much discrimination and resistance from the majority as when I signed up as a candidate for the Serbian Parliament on the G17 electoral list. I decided to step down and never return to politics Ana Saipovi, Journalist, President Osvit 4.2.2 Right to participation in public authorities (Article 15) The right to participation in the public authorities has not been implemented in Ni. One of the main indicators of discrimination against Roma is their exclusion from the public life of the local community.254According to the informants, the large and politically active Roma community in Ni has no access to public authorities, where their representation is either rare or nonexistent.255 Romany representatives are rarely employed within the bodies of the local government and there are no Romany employees in the courts, municipality administration, public prosecutor office or in the police force.256 There used to be one Romany Councillor in the City Assembly, but there is none nowadays, because he decided to step down and engage in the campaign
250 251 252 253 Interviews 9-10. Interviews 9-10. Interviews 7-14. Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies (2005); p. 3.The programs often times consider Roma poverty to be the cause of Roma exclusion, yet poverty is usually a consequence of discrimination and exclusion. 254 Human and Minority Rights in Serbia (2006); p. 11. 255 Interviews 8-11. 256 Interviews 8-11.

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for one of the recently elected Roma parliamentarians.257 The absence of Roma in public authorities is often explained as due to the insufficient number of Roma with adequate education for those positions, as well as a lack of planned and coordinated activity, since Roma people do not have a sufficient level of organization and activism, which could incite the public and the authorities to resolve the problems.258 The Roma community in the city of Ni has many adequate and competent individuals that could hold a place in public authorities; however, they are lacking the political cohesion and coordination that are necessary to attain these positions in the local government. The informants have additionally pointed out that the local public authorities and executive bodies of the local government have not always been open for collaboration with the Roma National Minority Council, and thereby hindered some of the internationally-funded development projects that are included under the Decade of Roma.259 4.2.3 Right to freedom of religion (Articles 7 and 8) The right to freedom of religion has been implemented in the city of Ni. The Roma community is religiously heterogeneous, and a large number of Romanies could be classified as Muslims, although not all are religiously active.260 The city of Ni has a mosque with functioning religious services performed in an undisturbed manner.261 The same mosque was set on fire on March 17th 2004, as a reaction to the mass destruction of Serbian churches in Kosovo, and the right to freedom of religion was impeded by that act.262 The mosque has, however, been repaired since the incident and is in full function nowadays. According to the informants, the religious services in the mosque are mostly attended by Roma from Kosovo, while Roma originally from Ni are agnostics and rarely attend services.263 The local Roma wish to be distinguished from the disliked, internally displaced Kosovo Roma and that is also one of their reasons for not attending the services, while other reasons are related to Islamophobia and the fear of ethnically or religiously motivated

257 258 259 260 261 262 263

Interviews 7-12. Interviews 7-12, also Human and Minority Rights in Serbia (2006); p. 11. Interviews 9-10. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005); by YIHR, p. 53. Interviews 7-12. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 53. Interviews 8-11.

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attacks if spotted near the mosque.264 The right to the freedom of religion of Roma, who are members of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has also been implemented in the city of Ni. 4.2.4 Right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity (Article 5) The right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity has not been fully implemented in the city of Ni. According to the informants the Roma community has managed to develop and preserve the use of their language and cultural identity with highly limited resources.265 The Roma Association Sait Bali is the only Roma cultural association in the city that is financially supported by the City Assembly and the only financial support provided is the location itself, which is free of rent and of all communal fees.266 The seventy-five year old association does not solely function as a social meeting place, but also as a space where political and cultural activities take place. The unemployed, retired or politically active Roma men and women volunteer their time and there are educational and cultural activities for children that take place every working day of the week.267 The cultural and educational activities are popular and even the children from the poorest Roma dwellings have expressed interest in attending the after school activities, by asking the association to provide them with money for the bus fare, which the association is unable to offer.268 There is a great need and thirst for cultural activities, and it has been stated that the local government of the city of Ni has not done enough to stimulate and support the development of Romany cultural life and the preservation of their identity.269 The majority of the cultural projects that took place in the city in the past years have been short-term projects mostly financed by the international donors.270 4.2.5 Promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding (Article 6) The promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding has not been implemented in the city of Ni. According to the informants, no programs or projects that could promote intercultural dialogue in the fields of education,
264 265 266 267 268 269 270 Personal observation and conclusions. Interview 8-12. Interviews 11 and 12. Interviews 11 and 12. Interviews 11-12. Interviews 7-12. Interviews 7-12.

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culture and media are currently taking place.271 Previous experience has shown that there is a significant amount of curiosity among the Serbian university students about Romany culture, and that the previously conducted internationally financed outreach programs and workshops have shown good results.272 The informants have additionally noted that the national electronic media, as one of the most effective channels for fighting against prejudice and stereotypes, lacks programs about Romany tradition, culture, and language that could promote greater understanding and tolerance.273 Article 6 guarantees national minorities protection from hostility or violence based on their ethnicity. Although some of the first hate crime prosecutions and convictions for crimes committed against Roma community, took place in the city of Ni, the city has only taken minimum precautions to protect Romanies from threats, acts of discrimination, hostility, and violence.274 4.2.6 Right to receive information in a minority language (Article 9) The right to receive information in a minority language has not been fully implemented in the city of Ni. While several national minority languages enjoy the status and support of the government as officially recognized regional languages, Romany does not hold the same status. The right to freedom of ethnic expression encompasses the right to receive information in a minority language as well as non-discriminatory access to media.275 The city of Ni has a local TV program Bell Ami in Romany language, which is frequently broadcasted on the Radio Television Niava, in a private media ownership, partly financed by the City Assembly budget.276 In addition, there is a radio and music program in Romany language, which is frequently aired within the region as part of the Roma Redaction on Radio Ni.277 There is, however, no printed media available in Romany, and the informants have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of Romany programs on national television.278

271 Interviews 7-12. 272 Interviews 2 and 9, During those workshops and projects many Serbians had admitted to having little knowledge about Roma and expressed a wish to learn. 273 Interview 7-12. 274 Available at: http://www.hlc-rdc.org/srpski/Suocavanje_sa_prosloscu/ Reparacije/index.php?file=1702.html, visited on August 27, 2007. 275 The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, see Appendix. 276 Interview 9. 277 Interviews 9-10. 278 Interviews 7-12.

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4.2.7 Right to official use of language and symbols (Articles 10 and 11) The right to official use of language has not been implemented in the city of Ni. Romany language is not in official use by the administrative authorities because it does not hold the status of an official language.279 Romanies are not able to use their language when in contact with the republican and local administrative official authorities, and there is no printed information available in Romany. However, according to the informants, there is neither an accentuated need nor extensive requests on behalf of the Roma community to use Romany language in official settings or when in contact with the administrative authorities, because a vast majority of Roma in Ni are fluent in Serbian.280 The implementation of the right to official use of language would carry more of a symbolic rather than practical meaning. The lack of official recognition and the use of Romany is explained as due to the absence of a standardized version of the language.281 The Roma community has not faced difficulties with the use of symbols, but they have expressed a wish to have some traditional local street names in Romany, especially in Roma neighborhoods.282 The only sign in the city of Ni written in Romany language is a discrete sign on the building of the Roma cultural association Sait Bali.283 Despite the larger number of Rom in the city of Ni, their historical and current presence has not been officially recognized, and is not easy to detect for someone who is not aware of their presence.284 The gesture of adopting and introducing more signs in Romany could be a way to signal an acceptance of the historical Roma presence in the area, and thereby officially acknowledge Roma as an essential demographic minority in the city. 4.2.8 Right to education in a minority language (Articles 12, 13 and 14) The right to education in a minority language has not been implemented in the city of Ni. According to the informants, the education in Romany only exists in the context of additional aid classes in some elementary schools, in which Romany children are helped to comprehend the curriculum in Serbian,
279 Interviews 8-11. 280 Interviews 8-9. 281 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005); by YIHR, p. 54, The Serbian Academy of Science has been working on a project to standardize Romany, however the project has not been completed. 282 Interviews 9-11. 283 Personal observation. 284 The official web site of the city of Nis does not mention or acknowledge Roma as a distinct minority. It is not always easy to symbolically detect the large Roma presence unless one is specifically looking for Roma neighborhoods or attempting to distinguish people based on their skin color and appearance.

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which they cannot follow at the same pace as their Serbian classmates.285 The elective classes in Romany language with elements of history and culture have not been introduced in the primary and secondary schools and there are no textbooks available in Romany.286 The absence of classes and textbooks are often explained as due to the lack of a standardized version of Romany language.287 National minorities in Serbia are offered three options with regard to education in minority language. The first and the most advanced option encompasses monolingual primary and secondary education in a minority language; the second is a bilingual option and the third is either an elective or a compulsory class in the minority language with elements of history and culture. The Roma community has not requested that their education take place in Romany, and there is not much support for the bilingual model.288 Nevertheless, Romanies have expressed a wish for a class in Romany language with elements of history and culture, for which they believe there is both practical and symbolic need.289 In this context, one of the informants noted that Romany parents want their children to integrate without having to assimilate because assimilation is regarded as a loss of identity.290 4.2.9 Promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between States (Article 2) The promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states does not apply to Roma because as national minority, they do not have a nation kinstate with which they could maintain friendly relations and cooperation. 4.2.10 Right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers (Article 17) The right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers has been implemented in the city of Ni. The provision is negatively formulated and instead of encouraging contacts, it states that the free and peaceful contact across frontiers should not be prevented nor interfered with.291According to the informants, the Roma national minority is not being prevented from

285 286 287 288 289 290 291

Interviews 9-10. Interviews 9-10. Interviews 9-10. Interviews 8-10. Interviews 8-10. Interview 9. The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, see Appendix.

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maintaining contact with Romanies in other countries, nor are they being prevented from participating in NGO activities on the regional and international level.292 4.3 Summary The rights that have been implemented in the city of Ni are: the right to freedom of religion, the right to receive information in a minority language and the right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers. The rights that have been partially implemented include: prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality, due to extensive and comprehensive affirmative action programs, and to a highly limited extent the right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity. The lowest scope of the implementation was found regarding the right to official use of language, the right to education in a minority language, and the right to participation in the public authorities. These are explained as due to the lack of a standardized version of the Romany language and a low number of educated Roma that could work in the public authorities. There was no evident risk of conflict in the city of Ni apart from the risk of small-scale hate crime related violence against the Roma community. The interethnic relations are a complex matter and one can observe low levels of social distance between the middle class local Roma and the Serbian majority, while a high level of social distance is found between Kosovo Roma, local Roma and the Serbian majority. The destabilizing presence of Roma IDPs from Kosovo has affected levels of social distance and altered identity formation within the local Roma community. The most extreme form of deep interethnic distance is exhibited in the new phenomenon of ethnically segregated elementary school, mostly attended by children from poor Roma neighborhoods, whereas the lowest level of social distance is found between local Roma and the Serbian majority of higher social status. Roma minority status is characterized by low levels of minority recognition and limited participation in public authorities, as one of the groups on the bottom of the minority hierarchy. While few rights have been fully implemented, wide improvement attempts related to promotion of effective equality can be observed in the extensive affirmative action programs aimed
292 Interviews 8-12.

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at improvements and increased Romany access to education, employment, healthcare and housing. Many hopes and fears are placed upon methods for the reduction of poverty by means of effective implementation of the Decade of Roma National Action Plan. The long-term outcome of the initiated programs remains to be seen, and criticism has been expressed regarding the short duration and the lack of resources to continue those successful projects that have given good results. The recent election of two Romany parliamentarians from two different Roma political parties is perceived with a great sense of pride, and with symbolic and practical value for Roma people. The establishment of the regional office for the Roma National Council, the election of Romany parliamentarians, and the initiation of the Decade of Roma have resulted in greater mobilization of the politically divided Roma community in the city of Ni. The national and international projects that have taken place in the past years have empowered Romanies and contributed to increased internal confidence-buildiing within a group, and wider participation in the implementation of minority rights on the local level.The Roma community has expressed a wish to take larger part in the projects and programs that are aimed at the reduction of poverty and improvement of minority rights implementation.

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5. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: ALBANIANS IN BUJANOVAC The municipality of Bujanovac is situated in the southeastern part of Central Serbia, in a region known as the Preevo Valley. The region borders to Macedonia and the Autonomous Province of Kosovo, which has been administered by the United Nations UNMIK mission since the armed conflicts in 1999. Bujanovac, as other municipalities in the region, is surrounded by a mountain chain consisting of twenty-two village settlements in the mountains populated by the Albanian demographic majority. According to the last census results from 2002, the total number of inhabitants in Bujanovac was 43, 320; out of which 32, 681 declared themselves as Albanians, 14, 782 as Serbs, and 3,867 as Roma.293 When compared to the census results from 1991 the number of Serbs has remained almost the same, while the number of Albanians has decreased by 5, 907 people.294 The Albanian community in the municipalities of Preevo, Bujanovac and Medvea were the subjects of police and military torture, as well as ethnic cleansing in the spring of 1999, when many were forced to leave their homes and flee to neighboring states or to the Kosovo province.295 The Albanian population has continued to decrease, especially the younger generations, which tend to move to either Kosovo or Macedonia where they attend universities and seek employment.296 The municipality of Bujanovac is listed as one of the least economically developed municipalities in Serbia, and the unemployment rate is high among all age groups.297 The political scene in the Preevo Valley is divided and dominated by four Albanian political parties: Party for Democratic Action (PDA), Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA),

293 294 295 296 297

Implementation of the Framework Convention; by YIHR, p. 140. Ibid. Albanians in Serbia (2003), Humanitarian Law Center. Interviews 15-19. Strategy for regional development of the Republic of Serbia (2007); The economic situation in Bujanovac as one of the least developed municipalities in Serbia is depressing and alarming. The majority of public owned companies and factories have collapsed financially or are in bad condition while only two factories in the municipality are nowadays running successfully. The proximity of border crossings with Macedonia and Kosovo has opened a possibility for population to engage in smuggling of goods while one of the most important sources of income for many families in the region derives from the financial support from relatives and family members who work abroad. The privatization process is delayed and the entire region appears to be in a great need of economic development.

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Valleys Democratic Union (VDU) and the Party of Democratic Activity (PDD, Partija za Demokratsko Delovanje), which is represented in the Serbian Parliament with one representative. Bujanovac and other Albanian populated towns and settlements in the Preevo Valley were a scene of armed conflict from November 2000 to March 2001. After the conflicts in Kosovo in 1999, a Ground Security Zone was formed along the borders between Serbia and Kosovo to protect the NATOled multinational peace force KFOR from Miloevi forces.298 The zone, which was five kilometers wide and 402 kilometers long, included part of the Bujanovac municipality and other Albanian populated municipalities in the region.299 Serbian military forces withdrew from the zone in order to demilitarize, and only police units without heavy weapons were allowed to remain in the zone.300 In November 2000, a rebellion organized by the Liberation Army of Preevo, Bujanovac and Medvea (LAPBM), broke out and occupied the zone. The rebellion movement, which gained support from Kosovo Albanians301 with both men and weapons, had as a goal of the conflict to annex the territory of the Preevo Valley to the internationally administered Kosovo province.302 The armed conflict ceased as the European Union, U.S.A. and NATO stepped in as mediators, and when the international community realized that Serbia had attempted to solve the conflict peacefully, Serbian security forces were allowed to move back to the Ground Security Zone.303 The Serbian police force, security forces and the army gradually took over the entire Zone and the Liberation Army (LAPBM) agreed to hand over its weapons on conditions of immunity and amnesty for the people that had taken part in the rebellion.304
298 Available at: http://www.balkanpeace.org/index.php?index=article&articleid=86 94, The Ground Security Zone was formed according to the terms established by the Military-Technical Agreement signed at Kumanovo on June 9th 1999. 299 Implementation of the Framework Convention, by YIHR, p. 125. 300 Ibid. 301 Many Kosovo Albanians remained in the region after the 1999 conflict and could not return to Kosovo. 302 The members of the rebel movement were from surrounding settlements in the mountains and many of them had never participated nor taken part in any aspects of the public and social life within municipalities. In their social isolation they felt no sense of belonging within Serbian borders and it was therefore not difficult to motivate and mobilize those young men into a rebellion organization. 303 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p.125, The security forces moved back to the zone as a result of the agreement between the Yugoslav Army and the NATOs Kosovo Force KFOR. 304 Ibid.

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After the conflict, the task of resolving the crisis in Southern Serbia was assigned to the Coordinating Body for the Municipalities of Preevo, Bujanovac and Medvea, consisting of working groups with systematic approaches to issues of security, economy and the integration of Albanians into Serbian political life.305 The Deputy Prime Minister, Neboja ovi was appointed president of the Coordination Board, which constructed a special plan also known as the ovi Peace Plan.306 The aim of the Peace Plan was to create confidence-buildiing and eliminate root causes of the conflict. The Plan aimed at peaceful solutions and stability by means of greater respect for minority rights, encompassing inclusion of Albanians in the political life and economic recovery of the region.307 When the situation in the region stabilized, the OSCE initiated and financed together with the Coordinating Body a construction of multiethnic police in the region, which was welcomed by Albanians who had previously been entirely excluded from the public and security authorities such as the police.308 As a result of the conflict that took place in 2001, and due to the proximity of the Kosovo border, the Preevo Valley region has in the last few years been heavily militarized. The military presence is a reminder that the stabilization and demilitarization agreement from 2001 has not been fully realized.309 The vast majority of Albanians in the region feel that there is no need for such a heavy military and security personnel presence, while minority NGOs suggest that Serbia should withdraw all additionally deployed police and security units from the territory.310 According to the informants, many have gotten used to the military presence and the biggest problem is not the actual excessive presence of military and security personnel, but rather their war-like rough working methods.311 The informants have noted that the presence of military troops and police force has been used and abused when conducting searches for criminal and terrorist activities.312 As a result of the recent conflicts, the unresolved status of the Kosovo province, and widespread Islamophobia linked to the international fight against terrorism, Serbian
305 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p.125. 306 Available at: http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2001/p01-017e.htm, visited on August 29th 2007. 307 Available at: http://www.balkanpeace.org/index.php?index=a rticle&articleid=8694, visited on August 27, 2007. 308 Interviews 15-19. 309 Interview 19. 310 Interviews 15-19, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). 311 Interview 19. 312 Interviews 15-19.

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security and police forces have upon several occasions made illegitimate excuses to conduct unethical searches for weapons and terrorist activities in the Albanian villages, by referring to a casual search for criminal activities.313 In addition, Albanian men have on several occasions been searched for weapons when stopped for minor traffic violations or when crossing the border to Macedonia.314 According to the informants, the heavy presence of military, security and police forces, as well as their working methods, are contributing to the atmosphere of distrust among the Albanian population.315 5.1 Unfriendly minority with post-conflict territorial claims The Preevo Valley is the only place in Serbia outside the Kosovo province with a high concentration of the Albanian population. The majoritys perception of Albanians is deeply influenced by the unresolved status of Kosovo, where Albanian population as a demographic majority claims external self-determination and territorial independence from Serbia. Albanians are generally perceived as an unfriendly, aggressive and culturally distant minority group that poses a threat to national security, with a postconflict illegitimate territorial claim that violates the territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia. The Albanian minority in the southern Serbia, as one of the politically well-organized national minorities, has previously dealt with the oppression and human rights violations by means of non-violent political organization and resistance, often tied to the situation in Kosovo, with which they have over the years identified and sympathized. The recent history of armed resistance and rebellion in the region has to a certain extent been induced by the general instability in the region and wider international support for the Albanian cause, as well as by the accumulation of the nondurable repression and social isolation that took place during the 1990s. A significant level of social and cultural distance between the Serbian majority and the Albanian minority has traditionally been an issue. The Albanian minority has historically exhibited a strong need to remain separate and distinct.316 Albanian distinctiveness and separateness are internally seen as
313 Interviews 17 and 19. The search warrants for weapons and criminal activities are perceived by the local Albanians as unnecessarily violent and it has been noted that an entire village has been surrounded by the troops late at night, in a war-like manner, when only one house was being searched. 314 Interviews 17 and 19. 315 Interview 17. 316 The occurrence of interethnic marriage in the region has traditionally been non-existent and poor knowledge of the Serbian langue among Albanians has traditionally been an issue. See Chapter 8 for more details.

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a defence mechanism resulting from the majoritys negative perception and treatment of the group.317 Minority rights researchers argue that the only way toward more successful Albanian integration into Serbian society is through full respect for minority rights and greater inclusion into political life and public authorities.318 Nevertheless, researchers recognize that the prejudices toward Albanians are deeply rooted,319 and that the Serbian majority needs to stop viewing Albanians as a hostile, culturally inferior ethnic group.320 The Albanian national minority is frequently assigned numerous stereotypes by the printed and electronic media, which additionally contributes to the expansion of the already existing prejudices and negative attitudes held by the Serbian majority.321 Serbian media reports about the situation in Kosovo on a daily basis, and the status of Kosovo is thereby indirectly described as the most important national and international political issue.322 Pritina and Belgrade have been unable to achieve an acceptable solution through negotiations in the past years, and the violations of minority rights against Serbs in Kosovo is often used in the rhetoric of radical nationalists in Serbia.323 Albanians in the Preevo Valley, on the other hand, claim that they are only asking for what is already being granted to Serbs in Kosovo by the Ahtisaari Plan.324 The unresolved status of the Kosovo province remains the most destabilizing and ethnically infectious factor within the nation and within the region. Albanians are the only larger national minority group in Serbia that has not established a National Minority Council. Some of the reasons behind the failure to establish an Albanian National Minority Council are political polarization and internal divisions that exist among four political parties within the Albanian community as well as frustration over the prohibition of their national symbols.325 Albanians are however gradually realizing that the absence of the National Minority Council is to their own disadvantage,
317 Interviews 15-19. 318 Interviews with Dragan Popovic and Goran Miletic. 319 Prejudice against Albanians are multifaceted, however, largely induced by the historical and current Albanian claim for independent Kosovo. 320 Interviews with Dragan Popovic and Goran Miletic, The informants have used the expressions such as racial inferiority and racism against Albanians. 321 Personal observation, Minority and Elections (2007). 322 Personal observation. 323 Personal observation. 324 Interview 15. 325 Interview 17.

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especially when they compare themselves with Bosniaks, whom they believe have achieved greater political power and extensive economic regional advantages, thanks to a well-functioning National Minority Council.326 Before the changes of electoral law in 2002, local elections in the municipality of Bujanovac, since year 1990, were characterized with discriminatory procedures and results, which hindered the Albanian majority from gaining political power.327 These discriminatory electoral laws and procedures led to the accumulation of frustration among the inhabitants, while ethnonationalist minority politics of the 1990s with minority repression and human rights violations resulted in a wider gap between the Albanian and Serbian population in the region, and a low level of trust in authorities and institutions among Albanians.328 When the electoral system was changed in 2002 and Albanians were allowed to participate equally in the elections, which were conducted according to the proportional system, the majority of seats were won by representatives of the Albanian political parties and Nagip Arifi became Mayor of Bujanovac. The Serbian population in the municipality believed and feared that the shift of political power on a local level would bring about vengeance and abuse of power on the behalf of Albanians.329According to the informants, Albanians have been in power in Bujanovac for almost five years and no such acts have been recorded.330Albanian reasoning is that they, as the new political power in the municipalities with Albanians majority, have to take good care of Serbs who live there, so that the Serbian government will take good care of them by means of financial contributions and future investments in the region.331

326 Interview 17. 327 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 139, The electoral system stipulated division of Bujanovac into electoral units, which elected a council to the Municipal Assembly. The electoral units were created in such a manner that for example 50 Serbs would elect one council and 350 Albanians would also elect one council. Ethnic Albanians who were the majority in the municipality could not win the majority of the mandates under those rules and all elections since 1990 were won by Socialist Party of Serbia. 328 Interviews 15-19. 329 Interviews 15-19. 330 Interviews 15-19. 331 Interview 17.

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The Albanian political parties from the Preevo Valley boycotted parliamentary elections in the 2000 and 2003 and were therefore not represented in the Serbian Parliament during that period.332 However, the January 2007 parliamentary election was not boycotted by Albanians and Riza Halimi, former Mayor of Preevo, from the Party of Democratic Progress (PDD) was elected to join the Serbian Parliament as the only Albanian representative. The election of Riza Halimi is seen as positive among the moderate Albanians in the region, whereas the non-moderate condemn the participation in the elections.333 Albanians hoped for two representatives, which could be the case in the future if a larger number of Albanians abroad decides to vote, and they are aware that one person might not be able to accomplish all of the necessary regional changes.334 Nevertheless, Mr. Halimis presence in the Parliament is perceived as a positive and important symbolical step that will shed more light on the situation and needs of Albanians in South Central Serbia, and thereby contribute to the increased implementation of minority rights in that region.335 According to the Mayor of Bujanovac, the election of one parliamentarian is not only good for the local Albanians, but also for the Serbian Republic, because Albanians in South Central Serbia need to take place on the political agenda.336 Mr. Behljulj Nasufi, a previous member of the Serbian Parliament, stated that Albanians who were in the Serbian Parliament during the 1990s had mostly one goal, which was to act as a channel and inform the public about the problems that Albanians were facing.337 However, the task of the current parliamentarians is to act pragmatically and to engage in a conversation with the government in order to gain greater advantages that include economic investment in the region; necessary changes within the educational system, as well as improved relations with Albanians in Kosovo, the establishment
332 Implementation of the Framework Convention, by YIHR, p. 139, While other minority groups entered the parliament through other parties, such as Bosniaks through Democratic Party, Albanian political parties were never offered such a deal and the Serbian vote in the region was mostly divided between Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). 333 Interviews 15 and 17, The Albanian population in the region is divided between the moderate, who are open for collaboration and compromise with the Serbian Government, and the separatists who are not open for collaboration. I have been told in the after hand that all of my Albanian informants belong to the moderate side, which embraces a peaceful solution to the problems in the region. 334 Interviews 15-19. 335 Interviews 15 and 17. 336 Interview 15. 337 Interview 17.

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of cultural associations and the increased inclusion of Albanians in public authorities.338 During the interview with Mr. Riza Halimi, the parliamentarian expressed dejection and felt that his assignment was limited because some structures of the Serbian Government have not displayed much sympathy and willingness to address and improve the situation for the Albanian minority in South Central Serbia ,while cooperation with the Coordination Board has been unsatisfactory.339 Nevertheless, the parliamentarian remains optimistic and action-oriented, having an awareness that concrete positive changes will take time to accomplish in the current Kosovo-infected political climate.340 According to the informants, despite the existence of separatist winds in the region, there is no apparent current risk of violent conflict and the situation appears stable.341 None of the informants wanted to consider future conflicts but some were afraid that future soft conflicts might occur. One of the informants expressed worries regarding the resolution of the Kosovo status and the demographic changes that it could bring to the region. If Kosovo gains independence and if Serbs who decide to flee or relocate move to Preevo Valley or Bujanovac, then they will bring the conflict to the region and the risk for future armed conflicts will recur.342 Other informants did not believe that Serbs from Kosovo would relocate to the region because they are mostly peasants bound to their place of residence and not civil servants or white-collar workers, as the ones who had relocated after the violent conflicts in 1999.343 The vast majority of Albanians in the Preevo Valley support and await Kosovos independence. The separatists who might once again wish to annex the Preevo Valley to Kosovo will only take action if no positive concrete changes are observed, and if the region does not gain greater economic development and local autonomy through the process of decentralization.344 Mr. Halimi stressed that the primary objective of the Albanians in the region has always been a claim for expanded local autonomy and not the annexation to Kosovo.345 According to the parliamentarian, the
338 Interview 17. 339 Interview 19, The parliamentarian pointed out that is impossible to schedule a meeting with certain Ministries and while some Ministries have expressed wish to collaborate others have remained ignorant and difficult to get a hold of. 340 Interview 19. 341 Interviews 15-19. 342 Interview 18. 343 Interviews 17 and 19. 344 Interview 19. 345 Interview 19.

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wish to annex Preevo Valley to Kosovo only reappears among some circles of the population when no positive changes and concrete progress can be observed, and when the authority oppression becomes unbearable.346 Mr. Halimi admits that there are some conflict tendencies in the region due to the heavy military presence which is signalling that the only way to deal with Albanians is by the use of force and military surveillance, and thereby induces feelings among some that the only way to deal with the Serbian authorities is by means of violent resistance.347 Nevertheless, the parliamentarian does not see any risks of larger-scale conflicts and incidents in the Preevo Valley in the future.348 According to the informants, interethnic relations have normalized in Bujanovac and have remained relatively good in the past few years, while no major ethnic incidents have taken place in the recent history.349 There is a sharp distinction between Albanian relations with local Serbs and their relations with republican authorities, such as the police and the judiciary. The level of local social distance is significantly lower nowadays than it was during 1990s; however, it is not as low as it was before the 1990s.350 Albanian women move more freely around the region and frequently take a ride in a cab with Serbian drivers, while Albanian men visit Serbian-owned restaurants and pubs and vice-versa.351 One of the informants expressed that there is much more social interaction between Albanians and Serbs now when compared to the 1990s, but it is not like it was during the old days of former Yugoslavia, when they used to attend each others weddings and religious ceremonies.352 The informant added that one of the reasons why interethnic relations are well-functioning in the region is because the local Serbs have never pulled weapons or used armed force against their Albanian neighbors, as was the case in Kosovo.353 The occurrence of interethnic marriage between Albanians and Serbs has in the past decade been non-existent in the region.354 The Serbian government and the OSCE have since the armed conflict in 2001 collaborated in order to enhance multiethnic cooperation and tolerance
346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 Interview 19. Interview 19. Interview 19. Interview 17. Interview 17. Statement by a Serbian cab driver in Bujanovac and Interview 17. Interview 17. Interview 17. Interviews 17-19.

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with courses, seminars and workshops as well as with the establishment of the multiethnic police.355 According to Albanian representatives in Bujanovac, these attempts have given good results.356 5.2 Implementation of minority rights This region needs investments and economic development. Economic development will lower ethnic tensions. I just dont know how Serbia will solve this problem since South Serbia has always been undeveloped, even during the Tito era. The governments contribution to the development of the regional infrastructure and the renovation of schools have been warmly welcomed but they need to continue and intensify Behljuj Nasufi, Director, Center for Multicultural Education 5.2.1 Prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality (Article 4) The prohibition of discrimination has not been implemented in Bujanovac. According to the informants, during the 1990s a large number of Albanians were fired from their jobs because of their ethnicity.357 They have not been rehired nor have they been compensated for the loss of the employment, while the legal complaints related to those cases have not been resolved and are frequently postponed.358 Albanians, who comprise 54.69% of the population in the municipality, are underrepresented with regard to employment in public companies and municipal institutions. During the spring of 2007, a propaganda campaign was launched known as the Albanization of Bujanovac, with the message that a systematic replacement of Serbians with Albanians had taken place in the municipality.359 The basis of the argument derived from the fact that some Executive Directors of public companies and institutions within the County Council were replaced as a result of the local elections in June 2006, when certain mandates ran out.360 In order to prevent

355 Interview 17. 356 Interviews 15-19. 357 Interview 4, 15-19, There are also cases in which Serbian authorities have taken the land from the Albanian minority and several of those cases are nowadays in the process of legal resolution. 358 Interviews 4, 15-19. 359 Report; Minority integration in Bujanovac, July 2007, p. 1. 360 Ibid.

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the abuse of this type of information, which could lead to the destruction of well-functioning interethnic relations, the Council for Human Rights conducted an investigation. The investigation indicated that Albanians are underrepresented in majority of the municipal institutions and establishments, despite the fact that they hold some of the highest political positions within the County Council and the municipality.361 The President of the County Council, the Mayor of Bujanovac, and the County Governor are all Albanians, as are the majority of members in the County Council.362 However, out of 142 people employed in the municipality administration 55 are Albanians and 84 Serbs.363 The municipal services office has 168 employed, out of which 28 are Albanians and 116 are Serbs.364 The lack of Albanian employees is evident in other municipal establishments and the largest public company, the water factory Heba has 520 employees, out of which 18 are Albanians.365 The informants have additionally noted that Albanian investors face discrimination when attempting to buy factories that are open for privatization, and that their applications are frequently rejected.366 The locals perceive Albanian investment in the region as a threat even when Albanians are purchasing land.367 The affirmative action programs that address employment and investment discrimination have not yet been launched in the region; nevertheless, the informants pointed out that when private Serbian owners take over public companies they tend to keep Albanian employees.368 The second Alternative Report about the implementation of the Framework Convention to the Council of Europe was being written during the duration of my research project in Serbia. I had the privilege to interview
361 362 363 364 365 Report; Minority integration in Bujanovac, July 2007, p. 1. Ibid. Ibid. Report; Minority integration in Bujanovac, July 2007, p. 2. Interview 15, also Report Minority integration in Bujanovac (2007). There are 253 employees at the Hospital, only 54 are Albanians while out of 17 employed at the local Pharmacy, 3 are Albanians. Centre for Social Services in Bujanovac has 2 Albanians out of total 14 employees; Childrens Centre has 24 Albanians working there out of 86 employees. The Agency for Development has 5 Albanians out of 16 and the Sport Centre has 2 Albanians out of 12 employees. The only places where Albanians are in a small majority are the Public Library and the Cultural Centre while Radio and Television Bujanovac has equal amount of Albanian and Serbian employees. There are no Albanians employed at the Tourist agency and the Directors of the Childrens Centre, Sport Centre and the Tourist agency are all Serbs. 366 Interview 17. 367 Comment by a Serbian cab driver. 368 Interview 17.

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a representative from the Vojvodina Center for Human Rights, who was responsible to compile and submit a report containing information from the prominent minority non-governmental organizations and National Councils. It is in this context interesting to note that the Albanian national minority in the Preevo Valley, including the municipality of Bujanovac, expressed no complaints concerning discrimination in their official statement, which will be included in the final report in the fall of 2007.369 The official denial of discrimination among Albanians in Bujanovac is believed to be the result of the fact that minority rights issues are becoming more politicized, and that minority representatives, who are both local politicians and NGOs, are strategically picking and choosing their battles.370 By refraining from official discrimination complaints Albanians are hoping to pragmatically gain other advantages from the Serbian Government. National minorities are under the second paragraph of the same Article, guaranteed adequate measures for development of their economic, social, political and cultural life.371 The municipality of Bujanovac, as well as other municipalities in the Preevo Valley, are on the list as some of the most undeveloped municipalities with a high unemployment rate, and a large number of people receiving social welfare.372 The lack of economic development is difficult to understand and accept since the inhabitants are aware of the regions important geographical and strategic value, as well as the richness of the unexploited natural resources.373 The Albanian representatives have officially recognized their disadvantage regarding regional economic development and they have addressed the problem within the government institutions and in the parliament. The informants have expressed satisfaction and gratitude over the fact that the Government Coordination Body for South Serbia, and the
369 Interviews 25 and 17, When I asked about discrimination against Albanians, the same informant who had submitted the official statement for the alternative report admitted that discrimination against Albanians exists within the public authorities and that many were fired from their jobs in the 1990s. Nevertheless he tried to avoid the subject by stating that what the region really needs is faster economic development, improved school conditions and interethnic education. 370 Interview 25. 371 The Framework Convention, see Appendix. 372 Interview 17, The number of people receiving social welfare has gone up with 200 individuals in the past four years. The agriculture and stock farming as the major part of the economy are undeveloped, insufficient and poorly organized. The majority of factories are stateowned with old and destroyed technology whereas the desired process of privatization has been delayed. The production is decreasing and factories are being shut down. A large number of Albanians families survive with help from the family members who work in other countries and approximately 4000 Albanians from Bujanovac are currently working abroad. 373 Interviews 15-19.

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international donors have since 2001 massively invested in the development of regional infrastructure, as well as the improvement and renovation of schools.374 Nevertheless, the investments in the economic development of the municipalities with an Albanian majority have been insufficient, and Albanians are hoping that the government and the international community will further contribute to that development.375 One of the biggest problems in the municipality of Bujanovac is the absence of Albanians in the public authorities and the inability of those institutions to offer services in the Albanian language. Nagip Arifi, Mayor of Bujanovac 5.2.2 Right to participation in public authorities (Article 15) The right to participate in public authorities has not been fully implemented in the municipality of Bujanovac. According to the informants, Albanians are not equally represented in public authority institutions such as the judiciary and the police.376 The Albanian representation in public authorities is out of proportion with the number of the Albanian population in the municipality. Albanian judges have not been working at the Municipal Court until very recently and there is currently one Albanian judge out of four.377 The majority of administrators are Serbs, and out of 50 employed at the Municipal Court, 14 are Albanians.378 The situation is similar at the Public Prosecutor office, where one out of ten employed is Albanian, whereas at the office for offences, 4 out of 19 workers are Albanians.379 The low number of Albanians within the judiciary, as one of the factors that hinders confidencen building and trust in public institutions, is perceived as problematic by Albanian politicians and the local population.380 There is no recent information about the number of Albanians employed in the police force, because the police refused to participate in the survey
374 Interviews 15-19. 375 Interviews 15-19, There are huge differences in the government budget between Bujanovac and other municipalities with the same number of inhabitants, which is experienced as discriminatory. 376 Interviews 15-19. 377 Interviews 17-18, Report Minority integration in Bujanovac. 378 Report; Minority integration in Bujanovac, June 2007, p. 3. 379 Report: Minority integration in Bujanovac, June 2007, p. 3. 380 Interviews 15-19, There are numerous unresolved cases from the past that are often ignored or postponed by the courts.

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conducted by the Council for Human Rights in June 2007. The creation of the multiethnic police force in 2002, supported by the government and the OSCE in agreement with local Albanians, has to a certain extent brought more balance to the structures of police units.381 All of the informants were positive and grateful for the establishment of the multiethnic police. However, Albanians are not occupying higher positions within the police force in Bujanovac and there are still more Serb employees than Albanian, which is not the case in neighboring Preevo where Albanians have reached police employment proportionality of 50%.382 The informants have noted that when the police visit Albanian villages to search or to investigate any type of crime, it is often Serbian officers that are being sent on such missions and investigations, while Albanian police officers are patrolling the streets as ornaments.383 In this context, Goran Mileti argues that the goal of the multiethnic police should be to actually replace the old police and not to become the police for replacement.384 Albanians in the region feel that they are victims of the situation in Kosovo since many Serbian police officers from the previous police divisions in Kosovo are present within the current police structures in the Preevo Valley, and the critics argue that these police officers need to be replaced or relocated to the Serbian municipality nearby.385 5.2.3 Right to freedom of religion (Articles 7 and 8) The right to the freedom of religion has been implemented in the municipality of Bujanovac. The majority of Albanians adhere to Islam and there is a mosque with well-functioning religious services, which are conducted in an undisturbed manner.386 Apart from the mosque in Bujanovac, every Albanian village in the entire region of the Preevo Valley has a functioning mosque often situated in the village square.387 The informants had no complaints concerning the right to the freedom of religion, which they feel has not been violated or hindered at any time.388

381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388

Implementation of the Framework Convention, by YIHR. Interviews 15-18. Interviews 4, 15-18. Interview 4. Interview 19 and 4. Interviews 15-19, Personal observation. Personal observation. Interviews 15-19.

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5.2.4 Right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity (Article 5) The right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity has not been implemented in the municipality of Bujanovac. According to the informants, there is one Cultural Center within the framework of the Public Library, which has an amount of books in Albanian language that is not proportional with the number of Albanian inhabitants in the municipality.389 There were no books available in Albanian before 2002, and for almost two decades no new books were being ordered in Serbian or Albanian.390 The informants have additionally noted that there are no professional or semi-professional theatres in Albanian, no publishers in Albanian and no cultural associations, and thereby the preservation and development of cultural heritage is hindered.391 The Serbian government does not provide any financial support for the development of cultural institutions and manifestations in the region, and hence the Albanian national minority does not have the necessary conditions to develop cultural institutions and traditions.392 I used to send my son to cities in northern Serbia for educational seminars and trainings but when it came to university I decided to send him to Kosovo. We Albanians are aware that we are unwanted in Serbia and that there is widespread prejudice against us. It would have been better for my son to attend the university in Belgrade, which has a better quality of education than the university in Pritina but I dont know if he would feel welcome there. We just want the best for our children during their university years. The situation today is different from the situation when I was a student and we have to be realistic about it. Behljuj Nasufi, Director, Center for Multicultural Education 5.2.5 Promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding (Article 6) The promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding between Albanians and Serbs has not been fully implemented. The national electronic media as one of the most effective channels to fight against prejudice and stereotypes directed at national minorities, has no programs in the Albanian

389 Interview 17, The Public Library in Bujanovac has 36.580 publications written in Serbian language and 8.000 in Albanian language. 390 Interview 4 and 17. 391 Interviews 15-18. 392 Interview 17.

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language.393 The informants expressed regret over the fact that there are no programs about Albanian tradition, culture, or language aired on Serbian national radio and television, which could provide the majority with a more accurate and educative perspective, and thereby enhance an intercultural dialogue and tolerance between Albanians and Serbs.394 The advancement of an intercultural dialogue in both the educational and cultural spheres has been insufficient. The elementary and secondary education in Bujanovac and other municipalities in the Preevo Valley are ethnically segregated, and Albanian students from the region attend universities mostly in Kosovo and Macedonia.395 There is a total absence of Albanian students at the universities in Serbia.396 Approximately two years ago a survey about interethnic relations was conducted among students in Belgrade, and one of the results was that an Albanian would be the least-wanted candidate for a roommate or a classmate.397 The rumors about the survey results spread across the Preevo Valley and signalled that Albanians are still unwanted and unwelcome in Belgrade, which is also one of the reasons why Albanians rarely travel past the municipality borders.398 A recent affirmative action attempt failed when the president for the Coordination Board for South Serbia tried to encourage Albanian students to attend university in Belgrade. The affirmative action attempt failed because not a single Albanian showed up to sign up to attend the university in Belgrade.399 The Serbian Government and the international donors have, since the armed conflict of 2001, collaborated in order to enhance multiethnic cooperation, intercultural dialogue and tolerance through courses, seminars and workshops, as well as through the establishment of the multiethnic police.400According to Albanian representatives in Bujanovac, these attempts have given good results; however, they need to intensify especially among the younger generations that did not grow up with the old Yugoslavian spirit of mixed ethnic relations.401

393 Interviews 15-18. 394 Interview 17. 395 Interview 17, The Serbian pupils attend classes in Serbian language and the Albanian pupils attend classes in Albanian language. In addition, there are Albanian schools and there are Serbian schools. 396 Interview 17. 397 Interviews 16-18. 398 Interviews 16-18. 399 Interview 17. 400 Interview 17. 401 Interviews 15-19.

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5.2.6 Right to receive information in a minority language (Article 9) The right to receive information in a minority language has been implemented in the municipality of Bujanovac. The right to freedom of ethnic expression encompasses the right to receive information in minority language. The informants expressed satisfaction over the fact that the four year long initiative to form a television station that carries bilingual programs has been recently realized.402 The Radio Television Bujanovac, financed by the municipal budget, broadcasts radio and television programs in both Albanian and Serbian language.403 In addition, there is a private Radio Television in Albanian called Spektri. In terms of printed media available in Albanian, there is a weekly newspaper Perspektiva, financed by the Serbian Ministry for Culture and Media, and there are several daily and weekly newspapers in Albanian from Kosovo.404 According to the informants, the right to receive information in Albanian is satisfactory, apart from the fact that there are no programs in Albanian on national television.405 When we took over political power in the municipalities with an Albanian majority, we showed that we were not interested in vengeance and abuse of power, but rather a peaceful solution to the situation406 Behljuj Nasufi, Director, Center for Multicultural Education 5.2.7 Right to official use of language and symbols (Articles 10 and 11) The right to official use of language and symbols has not been fully implemented in Bujanovac. The official languages in the municipality of Bujanovac are Albanian and Serbian; but the municipality does not have sufficient financial support to fully implement the official use of both languages.407 Documents and official correspondence are available in both languages, and the Councillors have the opportunity to address the Municipal Assembly at its sessions in the Albanian language.408 Municipal Court proceedings are held simultaneously in both Albanian and Serbian languages; however, Albanians wish that court proceedings were held in Albanian only, when the client is

402 403 404 405 406 407 408

Interviews 16-18. Interview 17. Interview 17. Interviews 15-18. Interview 17. Interviews 15-18. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 142.

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Albanian.409 While municipal institutions are attempting to fully implement the right to official use of language, the republican institutions are not.410 In this context it is interesting to note that only two years ago all judicial and administrative proceedings had been conducted solely in Serbian language in republican institutions, and it was impossible to obtain personal documents in Albanian language.411According to the informants, the situation has improved in the past few years but it is far from satisfactory.412Albanians are frequently still unable to use Albanian language and obtain documents in Albanian when in contact with republican institutions.413 Albanian names are often misspelled in official documents since the republican organs refrain from using the Albanian alphabet and deformation of names occurs when the names are written in Cyrillic script.414 Albanian parliamentarian Riza Halimi, noted that during the 1980s, Albanian-populated municipalities had well functioning official use of both languages due to the extensive financial support from the former Yugoslav Government, and there were rarely any problems with misspelled names since the praxis was to write the name in the original language.415 The same scope of implementation and financial support is desirable today. The Albanian population in the region wishes to change the name of some of the streets from Serbian to Albanian, but no progress has been achieved regarding this issue since the procedure requires consent from the government.416 The plates carrying signs of municipal institutions are written in both Albanian and Serbian, while plates carrying names of republic institutions are mostly in Serbian, and it has been noted that there are no plates or signs in Albanian in the police force.417 Nevertheless, the official standpoint of the Albanian national minority is that the current number of signs in Albanian is imperfect but satisfactory, whereas the lack of bilingual signs, is to a certain extent, attributed to the lack of resources in the hands of the local Albanian government.418
409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 Interview 17. Interviews 15-18. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 142. Interviews 15-18. Interviews 15-19. Interview 15-18. Interview 19. Interview 17. Interviews 15-17. Interview 17.

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The Albanian symbols have been the same for centuries and it is impossible to invent new ones now that would only represent Albanians from the Preevo Valley. Shaip Kamberi, President, The Council for Human Rights Albanians are the only national minority in Serbia that has faced extreme difficulties with the use of national symbols such as the flag. According to the second paragraph of Article 11, national minorities are guaranteed the individual right to display their minority signs, inscriptions, and other information of a private nature visible to the public.419 The conflicts and incidents between Albanians and Serbian police started when the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Liberties of National Minorities (LPRLNM), based on the international standards, prohibited the use of the Albanian national symbol, which had been used in the region by Albanians for the last sixty to ninety years.420According to the LPRLNM law, a national minority is not allowed to use the same flag and national symbols that are already being used in another state, and the current Albanian flag used in the Preevo Valley region is identical to the flag of the Republic of Albania.421 The problematic incidents of a larger scale started in 2004, when local police removed the Albanian flag from a grave of an Albanian hero in Trnovac.422Albanians turned to the OSCEs High Commissioner for National Minorities in 2004, and requested an answer about their right to exhibit the flag. The High Commissioner urgently responded that the flag and other symbols could only be exhibited for private use and not for public use.423 However, the conflict over the flag did not end there because the Albanian and Serbian perception of what is private and public differed. Albanians claimed that since the flag was on private property, it was exhibited in the private use, while Serbians argued that it was a matter of public use since the flag was visible in public space despite its private placement.424 The issue of the use of the flag has been an infectious issue with high symbolic value for Albanians in the Preevo Valley, as one of the issue that has caused widespread frustration even among the moderate Albanians leaders, who are
419 420 421 422 423 The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, see Appendix. Interviews 16-18. Interviews 4, 15-18. Interviews 15-18. Interviews 4, 15-18, Goran Miletic has had the privilege to read the classified response from the High Commissioner. 424 Interviews 4, 15-18.

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working toward a peaceful solution of the situation.425 The fact that the flag has been used in the region in the past decades and is still being legally used by Albanians in Macedonia and Montenegro has played a major role in the Albanian line of argument.426 The Serbian police are nowadays unwillingly tolerating wider use of the Albanian flag, even when exhibited on the public building of the City Council, nevertheless, it has also been reported that the police frequently attempts to prohibit the private use of the flag through confiscation during private celebrations such as weddings.427 Other national minorities in Serbia have resolved the issue of the use of national symbols and the flag through their National Minority Councils, who should according to the LPRLNM law, choose the flag and national symbols. According to the informants, the prohibition of the use of the flag, which is allowed for use in neighboring Macedonia and Montenegro, is one of the reasons why Albanians in the Preevo Valley have refused to establish their own National Minority Council.428 There is a wish among some moderate Albanian leaders to establish the National Minority Council and to resolve the issues related to the use of the flag, but not everyone is willing to compromise with the alteration of colors or the symbol, which they perceive as sacred to their tradition and identity.429 5.2.8 Right to education in a minority language (Articles 12, 13 and 14) The right to education in a minority language has not been fully implemented in the municipality of Bujanovac. According to the informants, the education in Albanian is conducted in both public and private elementary and secondary schools, but the facilitation of that education is not satisfactory.430 There are no official institutions in any of the Albanian populated municipalities in which teaching plans, programs and books could be developed, and where teachers could improve their professional skills.431 Albanian teachers have, however, in the last two years voluntarily on their own initiative organized a commission in order to construct plans and programs for Albanian language, literature, music, history, geography and art.432 Based on their suggestions the Ministry
425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 Interviews 15-17. Interviews 15-19. Interviews 4, 15-18. Interviews 15-19. Interview 4 and 17. Interviews 15-18. Interview 17. Interview 17.

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of Education has changed the plan and program for Albanian language and literature in the elementary school curriculum, while nothing has been done to change the curriculum for history, music, art and geography, which have remained unchanged since 1983; and under which Albanian pupils are learning mostly Serbian culture and literature.433 The newly-funded teachers commission for the development of plans and programs for the secondary education have also submitted suggestions for changes to the curriculum, but those suggestions were not accepted by the Ministry of Education.434 There is a sense of emergency within the Albanian political and NGO elite to address and solve the problems related to education, which they claim have not been properly addressed by the government in the past twenty years.435 The Albanian parliamentarian expressed deep concerns not only about the already existing problems but also about the slow process of improvement, and the lack of interest to truly address and solve these problems by the Ministry of Education, which appears to lack a sufficient sub-division that could effectively deal with minority educational matters.436 Albanian pupils have until 2005-2006 used books and other materials aimed for Serbian pupils and many books and teaching materials in Albanian were poorly translated.437 This was perceived as an attempt of involuntary assimilation, and municipal representatives requested permission from the Ministry for Education to use books and teaching materials in Albanian that are printed in Kosovo.438 The Ministry of Education has in the past three years permitted Albanian requests with certain limitations concerning books in history and geography for elementary, secondary and vocational schools since the material in those books is not coordinated with the Serbian curriculum.439 Albanian representatives in the region have the goal to use as many books and teaching materials that are printed in Kosovo, and they are aiming toward full acceptance of the previously suggested curriculum changes.440 The imported books from Kosovo do not always match the
433 Interview 17, The curriculum of music consists of 139 songs in Serbian and only 3 in Albanian while both Serbian literature and arts are more emphasized than Albanian. It is common that pupils learn about the same Serbian writer in both Albanian and Serbian classes while the most prominent Albanian writers are left out of the curriculum. 434 Interview 17. 435 Interview 19. 436 Interview 19. 437 Interview 17. 438 Interviews 15-18. 439 Interviews 15-18. 440 Interviews 16-19.

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Serbian curriculum since the two educational systems differ in their length and content, which remains one of the issues that has not been properly addressed by the Serbian Ministry of Education.441 Mr. Halimi pointed out that Hungarians do not have the same problem with imported books since they have wider regional and local autonomy, as well as province institutions that are directly linked to the Ministry for Education in Belgrade, while the Albanian minority lacks the additional regional and local structures that could deal with the Ministry of Education in a more effective way.442 The OSSCE started in 2004 an initiative together with the Serbian Ministry of Education to create an additional history book and teaching material that could be used parallel with the already existing history book for Albanian sixth graders in the region. The construction of the history book that is suppose to contain 30% Albanian history and 70% Serbian history, has an official working group of historians from Belgrade, Pritina and Tetevo, who collaborate on the project. Nevertheless, the initiative and the working groups have not shown any concrete results in the past three years, and the process has been slow without any visible results.443 The third paragraph of Article 12 guarantees national minorities equal access to all educational levels. The question of higher education is an extremely sensitive matter in which the Ministry of Education and the Albanian minority have no meeting points.444 There is a complete absence of Albanian students attending universities in Serbia and it is perceived as discriminatory that they, as Serbian citizens, are not entitled to university scholarships when studying in Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo.445 Another serious problem related to higher education occurs when educated Albanians return to Serbia and their university diplomas from Pritina, Tirana and Tetevo are not accepted as valid in Serbia.446 The process of certification is often long and with negative results, which leads to the emigration of educated Albanians to locations where their university diplomas are recognized as valid.447

441 442 443 444 445 446 447

Interview 19. Interview 19. Interview 19. Interview 19. Interview 17. Interview 19. Interview 19.

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The informants recognized that Albanian pupils in general have lower standards in the educational institutions than Serbian pupils,448 and a problematic issue that has surfaced is a risk of small scale local conflicts related to what is perceived as uneven development regarding the improvement of the educational environment and standard. In 2004 an initiative was undertaken by international donors to provide financial assistance to construct a new school building since the conditions in the Albanian high school Mihajlo Pupin were poor.449 However, the Serbian Government did not at first permit the renovation and construction of this school due to a severe opposition by radical parties that represented Serbian citizens in the municipality, who motivated their argument with a belif that the renovation of the school would entirely change the demographic picture of the town and lead to emigration of Serbs.450 The construction of the school was eventually permitted and the government gave its consent to the international donors. The school is currently undergoing reconstruction and the informants expressed that all improvements related to education are welcome, since Albanian schools and pre-schools are lacking some of the most basic educational means.451 It is interesting to note in the context of education that the majority of young Albanians do not speak the Serbian language well, despite several mandatory hours of Serbian a week.452 The inability to speak Serbian is a result of ethnic school segregation, as well as poor interethnic and social relations among younger generations; however, it also appears that the young Albanians are on some level boycotting the learning and use of Serbian language, which is often perceived as forced upon them by an oppressive and distant majority.453 5.2.9 Promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between States (Article 2) The promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states has not been realized. Since Bujanovac and other Albanian municipalities in the Preevo Valley are close to the borders of Macedonia and Kosovo, the Albanian population is interested in good relations between Serbia, Macedonia, and Kosovo, as well as between Serbia and Albania. According to the informants,
448 449 450 451 452 453 Interviews 15-18. Implementation of the Framework Convention, by YIHR, p. 142. Ibid. Interview 16. Personal observation. Personal observation .

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Albanians in the Preevo Valley are interested in good relations so that they can gradually develop strong economic, cultural, educational and informative cooperation.454 In the recent years several successful official meetings and visits have taken place between Serbia and Albania, but the development of cooperation between the states is not entirely satisfactory, especially with regard to the educational university cooperation.455Albanians in Bujanovac are hindered from developing cooperation with Albanians in Kosovo and the administrative border with Kosovo is heavily guarded by military, which is one of the hindering aspects.456 The only educational and cultural cooperation that is currently taking place between locations in the Preevo Valley and location in Kosovo is financed by an international organization.457 The border between Macedonia and Serbia has been until January 2007 guarded by the Serbian Army and is nowadays guarded by the police as at other border crossings in the country. The municipalities in the Preevo Valley, including Bujanovac, have on several occasions suggested that a small border crossing between Macedonia and Serbia should be opened for easier transfer because many Albanians from the region have relatives in Macedonia, but their request has not been granted.458 In 2005, the Serbian Army killed a 15-year old Albanian boy who was crossing the border between Serbia and Macedonia, after having visited his relatives in Macedonia.459 The official version was that the boy did not respect an order to stop and that he was killed when a bullet ricocheted from a nearby tree.460 This killing provoked protests in the region and once again opened the issue of the heavy military and security presence in the municipalities in the Preevo Valley.461 5.2.10 Right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers (Article 17) The right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers has not been implemented. According to the informants the maintenance of contacts and cultural cooperation with Albanians in Albania and Macedonia are functioning
454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 Interviews 15-19. Interview 17. Interview 17. Interview 17. Interviews 15-18. Implementation of the Framework Convention, by YIHR, p. 126. Ibid. Implementation of the Framework Convention, by YIHR, p. 126.

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well and are not hindered, however, the contacts with Albanians in Kosovo are hindered.462 The border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia is heavily guarded by military forces, and the Serbian authorities do not always accept UNMIKs IDs as legitimate.463 The right to maintain free and peaceful contacts is frequently hindered when cultural and art associations from Kosovo are denied permit of entrance to come to Bujanovac and other locations in the Preevo Valley, which adds to frustration among Albanians in the region that entirely lacks active cultural associations and organizations.464 In addition, the Albanian population finds it ironic that they are allowed to have better contacts with Albanians in Albania than with Albanians in Kosovo, with whom they feel that they have more in common with.465 5.3 Summary The rights that have been realized are the right to freedom of religion and the right to receive information in minority language. The rights that have been partially implemented include; the right to participation in public authorities; the right to official use of language and symbols and the right to education in minority language. The rights that exhibit the narrowest scope of implementation include: prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality; the right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity; the promotion of intercultural dialogue; the right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers; and the promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states. Although few rights have been fully implemented, there is an evident crosssectional improvement in the scope of minority rights implementation when contrasted to the previous years.466 The access to printed and electronic media in Albanian has significantly improved, while the establishment of the multiethnic police; the permission to import books from Kosovo and the governmental investments in the region have had a positive impact on the confidence-buildiing. The municipality of Bujanovac remains economically undeveloped and the lack of economic development, which affects all social, political and cultural structures, is one of the major factors of dissatisfaction and
462 463 464 465 466 Interviews 15-18. Interviews 15-18. Interview 17. Interview 17. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005).

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frustration among the Albanian minority. Although the Serbian Government and the international actors have in the past several years invested in the development projects, such as those aiming at improvement of infrastructure and the renovation of schools, the investments are insufficient and they need to intensify. The areas that remain problematic include: heavy military presence; employment discrimination including the absence of Albanians in the public authorities and the difficulties with the official use of language and symbols, as well as numerous questions related to the full realization of qualitative education in a minority language. Interethnic relations have improved and the level of social distance has diminished among the Albanian and Serbian adults, while the younger generations remain ethnically separated and segregated. There was no apparent risk of conflict in the region, nevertheless, the post-conflict environment in the municipality of Bujanovac and other Albanian populated municipalities in the Preevo Valley remain instable. The smaller interethnic incidents could under certain circumstances transform into issues leading to a larger-scale conflicts and the inhabitants remain uncertain of the effect that the resolution of the Kosovo status will have on the region. Albanians have for the first time in many years participated in the parliamentary elections, and the moderate local representatives view the election of one Albanian parliamentarian as a positive and necessary development. The elected parliamentarian is expected to contribute to greater minority rights implementation by taking the Albanian politics of the region to the next level. The parliamentarians pragmatic approach is aiming at collaboration with the Government and the Ministries in order to ensure effective realization of the rights that have not been fully implemented. The focus on the continued investments that could enhance the economic development; the improvement of educational matters, as well as issues concerning the use of national symbols and military presence, currently dominate the political agenda.

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6. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: HUNGARIANS IN SUBOTICA The town of Subotica is situated in the northern part of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina located on the border crossing between Hungary and Serbia. The province is one of the economically most developed regions in Serbia with a history of well functioning autonomous regional structures. Vojvodina, as one of the most ethnically diverse regions in Europe with more than 20 ethnic groups and six official languages, borders with Croatia in the west, Romania in the east and Hungary in the north. The region has a long history of tolerance among various ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic communities and out of a total of 293,000 Hungarians in Serbia, 290,000 live in Vojvodina.467 Hungarians are the second largest ethnic group after the Serbs in Vojvodina, and they live in specific concentrated areas as well as spread across the entire territory of Vojvodina.468 Hungarians constitute the ethnic majority in 86 settlements and 8 municipalities, including Subotica where seven different ethnic groups reside.469 The town of Subotica, as the second largest town in Vojvodina, is the seat of the Hungarian National Minority Council and the Croatian National Minority Council. The Hungarian national minority has a well-functioning political organizational structure due to a long history of civil organization as a minority.470 There are four Hungarian political parties in Vojvodina: Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, Democratic Association of Vojvodina Hungarians, Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, and Civil Movement of Vojvodina Hungarians.471 Despite the political plurality within the group, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (AVH) has a leading role in the Hungarian community as the only Hungarian party represented in the Serbian Parliament with three parliamentarians.472 The demographic picture of Subotica has drastically changed from 19912002 and the number of Hungarians has significantly reduced. According to the census from 1991 there were 64,277 Hungarians residing in Subotica, however, the census from 2002 indicates a total number of 57,092, which is a
467 468 469 470 471 472 Alternative Report (2003), p. 16. Ibid. Ibid. Interviews 21-22. Implementation of the Framework Convention, p. 87. Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/ stranke_detalji.asp?id=114, visited on September 21, 2007.

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decrease by 7,185 persons.473 Some of the problems in the Hungarian ethnic community include the age structure as the most aging population, a negative birth rate, and a negative migration rate due to the proximity to the kin-state, which is economically more developed.474 The early decrease in the Hungarian population was a result of the pressure induced by armed conflicts in the 1990s, when many avoided being drafted into the army, and the devastating economic situation in Serbia during the sanctions. The drafting of young Hungarians into the army during the 1990s was experienced as a collective trauma in the Hungarian community and a huge sacrifice for a war that no one wanted in the first place.475 The recent emigration patterns represent a combination of greater employment opportunities, mostly in Hungary, and a result of an infected situation due to ethnic incidents and assaults on the Hungarian population in Subotica and Vojvodina in general.476 The war-induced demographic changes additionally resulted in a significantly increased number of Serbs in Subotica from 22,335 in the year 1991 to a total of 35,826 in 2002.477 The huge increase of the Serbian population in the area was due to the mass settlement of the Serbian refugees from Croatia, and internally displaced people (IDPs) from Kosovo. The mass settlements of refugees in Subotica and Vojvodina have been perceived among Hungarians as a conscious choice by the Miloevi regime to forcefully and systematically change the ethnic map of the province.478 The altered demographic picture has had a negative affect on interethnic relations in the town of Subotica, and other towns and municipalities in Vojvodina. Serbia has not engaged in war with Hungary in recent history, and Hungarians are not one of the post-conflict minority groups in Serbia. Nevertheless, Hungarians have suffered severe post-conflict consequences, which reached a boiling point in 2003-2004 when a wave of ethnically motivated incidents and hate-crimes struck the region.479 The wave of ethnic incidents targeted members of minority groups, particularly Hungarians as the largest minority

473 474 475 476 477 478 479

Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 89. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 89. Interview 21. Interviews 20-25, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005) Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 89. Interview 21. There is no information available about the exact number of ethnic incidents. According to the Fact Finding Mission, the number of incidents add up to several hundred.

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in the region, but also others groups such as Croats and Slovaks.480 The incidents were provoked mostly by young people, individually or in groups, who were frustrated with their living conditions, and included the vandalism of historical minority monuments of cultural heritage; racist, xenophobic, and Anti-Semitic graffiti; as well as frequent verbal and physical abuses; threats against minority leaders; and the destruction of private property.481 One Hungarian family from Subotica was forced to move and seek asylum in Hungary in October 2004 due to constant assaults, whereas the negative trend of Hungarian emigration continued even after the incidents decreased.482 The police force and the courts failed to react in accordance with the law. The police force either failed to react while at the scene, or failed to arrive on time at the scene of violence. The policemen often attributed incidents to the bad behavior of the victims, and thereby failed to investigate the real nature of the incidents and press hate crime charges.483 The police additionally prevented legal follow-up of complaints by the members of the national minorities, whereas the courts were slow in their proceedings and showed reluctance when dealing with interethnic incidents.484 The three major causes underlying ethnic incidents include: the demographic changes with the recent influx of 300,000 refugees from Croatia and Kosovo; the fall-out from the events in Kosovo in March 2004, under which Serbian cultural and religious heritage was massively destroyed, and the climate of interethnic tension which prevailed during the 2003-2004 election campaigns.485 The Vojvodina province has a refugee and IDP population of 12.8% out of which 1% have registered jobs.486 The raising poverty combined with traumatic war experiences have encouraged the emergence of hard-line attitudes among the refugees and heightened ethnic tensions during the preelection period, when an upsurge of ultra nationalism attracted voters fed up with their difficult living conditions, and anger over the events in Kosovo.487 The sentiment among the Serbian refugees from Croatia is that Hungarians and other minority groups have more rights and privileges than they have
480 Results from Fact Finding Mission, p. 7 available at http://www.hunsor. se/dosszie/final_report_en.pdf, visited on August 13th, 2007. 481 Results from Fact Finding Mission, p. 7. 482 Minority and Elections (2007), by YIHR, p. 8. 483 Results from Fact Finding Mission, p. 8. 484 Ibid. 485 Ibid. 486 Results from Fact Finding Mission, p. 7. 487 Ibid.

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ever had as a Serbian minority in Croatia.488 The majority of Serbian refugees have little sympathy for the Hungarian cause in Vojvodina since they feel that Hungarians have nothing to complain about when compared to the situation of Serbs in Croatia and Kosovo. 489 The situation in Vojvodina gained international attention when the Hungarian Government and Hungarys Parliamentary parties concerned with the incidents denounced the atrocities and internationalized the events within the European Union and the Council of Europe.490 The Serbian Government reacted to the use of the word atrocities as an excessive term which they believed did not reflect the reality of the situation, and the Hungarian parliamentarians eventually stopped using the term when describing the situation in Vojvodina.491 The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly reacted with a resolution in October 2004 and called for a dialogue and the punishment of those responsible, while additionally denouncing the making of political capital out of the situation.492 The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Vojvodina in September 2004, and sent an Ad Hoc Delegation for a Fact-Finding Mission in January of 2005.493 According to the informants there is currently no apparent risk of new larger-scale conflicts in the region, and the number of ethnic incidents has drastically decreased.494 Nevertheless, there are still ethnic incidents that take place among younger generations and few of those incidents get classified as crimes or acts of hate crimes, but rather as minor offences.495 The previous wave of incidents has had a negative short-term effect on relations between Serbia and Hungary. It has also been speculated that the incidents have had a negative effect on the fact that Hungary voted against the duel citizenship for Hungarians in Serbia on December 5th 2004, which was perceived as a

488 Personal observation from conversations with Serbian refugees from Croatia while visiting a refugee settlement in Novi Sad. 489 Results from Fact Finding Mission, p. 7. 490 Results from Fact Finding Mission, p. 9. 491 Ibid. 492 Ibid. 493 Ibid. 494 Interviews 20-25. 495 Interview 22.

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deep disappointment in the Hungarian community, especially since several other minority groups in Serbia were during that time period granted duel citizenship from their kin-states.496 The interethnic relations have drastically changed in Subotica due to the demographic changes and incidents that took place. The level of social distance is a complex matter with variations between the numerous groups. In general, there is a low level of social distance between Hungarians and the local Serbs who have always lived there.497 There is also a low level of social distance between Hungarians and other traditional minority groups. The occurrence of interethnic marriage between Serbs and Hungarians used to be common and it remains common nowadays.498 There is however, a high level of social distance between Hungarians and Serbs who have immigrated as refugees from Croatia and Kosovo.499 There is also a high level of social distance between the local Serbs and the refugee Serbs.500 6.1 Model minority in Serbia The hierarchy among different minority groups is a common reality in Europe. The governments tend to exhibit huge divergence in their approach toward different minority groups and the divergence are often a result of various historical mechanisms. The Hungarian national minority in Serbia is viewed as the minority on the top of the hierarchy, and hence assigned the unofficial status of a model minority in Serbia. A model minority is a minority group within a multiethnic society that is characterized with higher social status and a wider enjoyment of minority rights. Hungarians are generally perceived as the minority that has prospered the most when compared to other ethnic groups, and other national minorities look up to them when politically organizing to achieve similar goals.501 A model minority is often perceived by the majority and other minorities as an ethnic group that is doing well in the fields of education, employment and culture. Model minorities tend to be socially, economically, and politically integrated with various well-functioning networks within the given society. Hungarians are politically the most organized and developed national minority in Serbia with
496 497 498 499 500 501 Interviews 20-24. Interviews and Personal observation. Interviews with Bosniaks, Roma and Albanians. Personal observation from interviews with refugees. Personal observation from interviews with refugees. Interviews 20-25.

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a wide awareness and enjoyment of their rights.502 Vojvodina Hungarians have over one hundred NGOs working with minority rights issues and hundreds of arts and cultural associations that deal with the preservation and development of their cultural and linguistic distinctions.503 The wellfunctioning political structures and developed civil society are tied to a long history of civil organization as a minority, with an official minority status since the 1920s whereas other minority groups, such as Croats and Bosniaks, became national minorities during the 1990s.504 In line with the unofficial model minority status, the Hungarian parliamentarian Blint Psztor from Subotica has been elected President of the Parliamentary Minority Group and Hungarians have gained the highest amount of minority political seats in the Parliament with three representatives from the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarian (AVH).505 The election of three parliamentarians is perceived as a positive development in Subotica and other municipalities in Vojvodina, especially since no Hungarian parties gained seats during the previous parliamentary elections.506 The presence of the AVH in the Parliament is expected to generate positive and long-lasting changes for the Hungarian minority, which is hoping for an increased number of seats in the next election.507 The Hungarian President of the Parliamentary Minority Group exhibited a high level of satisfaction and a positive attitude that he and the other two representatives are going to succeed in promoting and advancing the minority cause.508 The parliamentarians, who are predominantly lawyers, are aiming at the improved implementation of minority rights by actively taking part in the formation and adoption of new laws and legislations that would not only directly affect the status of the Hungarian national minority, but the status of all national minorities in Serbia.509 The Hungarian parliamentarians are planning to achieve permanent and long-lasting changes with regard to minority educational issues related to the import of books and access to media, while actively working to enhanceVojvodinas autonomy.510
502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 Interview 25. Interview 22. Interview 21-22. Available at; http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/ stranke_detalji.asp?id=114, visited on September 21, 2007. Interviews 20-25. Interviews 20-24. Interview 22. Interview 22. Interview 22.

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The stereotype of a model minority is, however, not unproblematic and one of the common problems with being perceived as a model minority is the risk that the model stereotype can to a certain extent limit the full realization of minority rights, or make it appear as if all rights have already been realized. Mr. Psztor believes that for Hungarians in Serbia, the stereotype indicates that the level of rights will not be lowered, but it might not be significantly improved, since many minority questions are solved in a systematic way through laws.511 The Hungarian political parties in Vojvodina have in the past few years after the democratic changes strongly advocated for the enhancement of Vojvodinas autonomy by means of effective decentralization and greater regionalization of political decision-making and economic development.512 The Hungarian aim toward wider autonomy and regionalization has been interpreted by many in Serbia as a destabilizing threat, which is more frequently being compared to the Albanian claim for territorial independence in the Kosovo province. This comparison to Kosovo combined with the model minority stereotype, and as being a minority that has already achieved a high level of rights and is now requesting even more rights, has had a negative impact on the perception of the Hungarian cause. From a Hungarian point of view there is no hidden quest for external self-determination or territorial independence, but rather an attempt to regain increased influence over regional decisions and to regain the level of self-rule that the province enjoyed under the 1974 Yugoslav constitution.513 The Vojvodina province has its own parliament, government and various autonomous functions. Although the provinces autonomy was significantly increased by the Omnibus Law in 2002, it is still not on the same level that the province enjoyed under the former Yugoslavia.

511 Interview 22. 512 Interview 22, In Subotica one of the problems with lack of decentralization is related to the fact the municipality as many other municipalities in Vojvodina does not hold the right of ownership over some of the most central buildings such as the Town Hall and in the process of privatization the state has the right to sell those building without a consent or approval of the municipality. 513 Interviews 20-24.

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6.2 Implementation of minority rights The international community should support greater autonomy in Vojvodina by means of increased decentralization and regionalization Blint Psztor, President of the Parliamentary Minority Group 6.2.1 Prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality (Article 4) The prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality has not been implemented in the town of Subotica. However, the official standpoint of the Hungarian national minority is that the prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality is not violated in Subotica and in Vojvodina.514 The Hungarian National Minority Council has been responsible to present the official standpoint regarding the issue of discrimination, which will be included in the Alternative Report in the fall of 2007 to the Council of Europe Committee about the status of the implementation of the Framework Convention.515 Hungarians, like other minority groups in Serbia, are politicizing minority rights questions and thereby picking and choosing their official battles. Nevertheless, according to the informants, direct and indirect employment discrimination against Hungarians exists.516 The majority of discriminatory actions are acts of soft discrimination within the public and private sector, which are many times difficult to prove and Hungarians seldom decide to press charges.517 The future adoption of the solid anti-discrimination laws could possibly change the unwillingness to press charges and since there is no official recognition of discrimination, there are no affirmative measures being taken to combat discrimination and to promote effective employment equality. It additionally appears as uncomfortable for a minority that seemingly enjoys a wide scope of minority rights to complain about discrimination. 6.2.2 Right to participation in public authorities (Article 15) The right to participation in public authorities has not been fully implemented in Subotica. The right to equal participation in the public authority organs is directly related to the issue of employment discrimination. Hungarians
514 515 516 517 Interview 25. Interview 25. Interviews 20-25.. Interview 22.

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hold political power and are equally represented in the bodies of the local government in Subotica as well as institutions that are under the competence of local self-government.518 According to the informants, Hungarians are not equally and proportionally represented in republican authority organs such as the judiciary, courts, police force and at the customs check on the border to Hungary.519 The absence of Hungarians in the police force and the judiciary is a sensitive issue, especially against the background of previous ethnically motivated incidents and assaults. One of the informants pointed out that Hungarians did not encourage or allow their children to join the police force in the past 15 years, mainly because the police force was associated with war and aggression.520 However, Hungarians have now realized the necessity to have their own representatives in the police force.521 Although no major affirmative action programs have been suggested by Hungarian political representatives, the insufficient representation of Hungarians within all public authorities could be easily solved if one of the requirements for employment included knowledge of the Hungarian language.522 6.2.3 Right to freedom of religion (Articles 7 and 8) The right to freedom of religion has been implemented in Subotica. The Hungarian minority mostly adheres to the Roman Catholic Church and there are several Roman Catholic churches in the town of Subotica.523 The religious services in Subotica are performed in an undisturbed manner in all Catholic churches in the town and the municipality.524 6.2.4 Right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity (Article 5) The right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity has been implemented. The town of Subotica has numerous well-functioning cultural associations, institutions, and annual theatre and film festivals which are funded with financial support from the government and regional province funds, as well as with funds from the international donors and the kin-state.525
518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), p. 93. Interview 22. Interview 21. Interview 21. Interview 22. Personal observation. Interviews 20-15. Interview 23.

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The preservation of Hungarian cultural heritage was severely threatened during the wave of ethnic incidents, but it has not been threatened in the recent years.526 The Public Library has been facing one of the few challenges related to the development of culture and the preservation of identity due to the lack of a bilateral tax exempt agreement and high shipping costs concerning donations from Hungary.527 The Library has been able to receive tax-exempted donations from countries such as the USA, but not from the kin-state because Serbia and Hungary have not yet established a bilateral agreement about donation tax exemption, hence the shipping costs of some donations make it difficult for the Library to receive donations.528 The donation difficulties are not perceived as a major threat to the development of cultural identity, but rather as a hindering factor toward higher levels of advancement by means of increased accessibility to books in Hungarian.529 We are so afraid of the situation in Kosovo. When something happens to Serbs in Kosovo, we have to pay for it, despite the 600 kilometers distance between us and Kosovo. Kudlik Gabor, President, Open Perspectives, Subotica 6.2.5 Promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding (Article 6) The promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding has been implemented in the town of Subotica. The necessity to promote intercultural dialogue became evident during the wave of ethnic incidents that struck this region that is accustomed to a spirit of interethnic tolerance. The encouragement of tolerance and intercultural dialogue through the promotion of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation is functioning in Subotica and Vojvodina in general.530 After ethnic incidents in the region, numerous domestically and internationally financed intercultural projects have been initiated in the fields of education, culture and the media.531 The projects are however not always long-lasting and the international donors tend to pull out or stop the financing of the project too early in the process.532 The informants have expressed a need for additional extensive interethnic
526 527 528 529 530 531 532 Interviews 20-15. Interview 23. Interview 23. Interview 23. Personal observation based on the content of the interviews with the project coordinator. Interview 24. Interview 24.

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outreach programs that are solely focusing on the younger generations where the interethnic gap is most evident.533 The challenge that Subotica is dealing with nowadays is the integration of the Serbian refugees from Croatia, the Serbian and Roma IDPs from Kosovo, and the integration of ethnic groups from Macedonia and Sandak, who had moved to the region recently because of employment opportunities.534 The Hungarian minority in Subotica is not only working with the promotion of the intercultural dialogue between the Hungarian minority and the Serbian majority but also with the promotion of the dialogue between and among numerous regional minorities; majority population; refugees; IDPs and other ethnic groups who immigrated to the region. The promotion of an intercultural dialogue is challenging in a complex multiethnic environment, nevertheless, it appears satisfactory and successful in the town of Subotica. National minorities are under the same Article protected from discrimination, hostility, or violence as a result of their ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identity. According to the informants, the protection from hostility and violence has been massively violated during the ethnic incidents and that protection has not been fully addressed and implemented because the incidents that occur nowadays are rarely classified as crime but rather as an offence.535 6.2.6 Right to receive information in a minority language (Article 9) The right to receive information in a minority language has been implemented in Subotica. The town of Subotica has three official languages: Croatian, Hungarian, and Serbian: and media information are available in all three languages.536 Radio Subotica broadcasts programs in Hungarian and the Radio Television Novi Sad has an editorial office in the Hungarian language.537 The funding rights over the printed media published in the Hungarian language has been transferred in 2004 from the Assembly of the Autonomous Region

533 Interviews 21 and 24. 534 Interview 21, The municipality of Subotica recently received the request about the permission for a private funded construction of a mosque. The multi-confessional Subotica has never in the recent history had a population that adhere to Islam and due to a demographic shift that has changed. The inhabitants are slowly getting used to the change and the construction of the mosque has been permitted by the local government without any major difficulties. 535 Interview 22. 536 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). 537 Ibid. also Interviews 20-25.

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of Vojvodina to the Hungarian National Council, who is now responsible for distribution, financing and publishing of Magyar Szo, a newspaper in the Hungarian language.538 The right to the freedom of expression encompasses non-discriminatory access to media. The non-discriminatory access to media in minority languages is nowadays threatened by the Law on Radio Diffusion, according to which all electronic media need to be privatised until the end of 2007.539 The law indicates that the state and the local governments will not be able to establish and run electronic media with municipal or government funding.540 Hungarians have been the most vocal minority group in the country regarding to this particular issue, which is threatening to lower an already attained satisfactory level of minority access to media. The Hungarian political representatives brought the question on the agenda in December 2004 at the meeting of the Commission for Minority Rights, when they requested that electronic media that broadcasts programs in minority languages should be exempted from the Law on Radio Diffusion.541 As a result, the Minister of Culture promised that the Serbian government would suggest a change of the law so that the minority media could be exempted from the privatisation request.542 The promise has not been fulfilled and the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians have once again brought the question to the parliamentary agenda on June 19, 2007 when they submitted a proposal about concrete changes and additions to the current Law on Radio Diffusion, which included the proposal for an exemption for all local electronic media that broadcasts a minimum of 800 minutes in one of the national minority languages.543 The Hungarian proposal is believed to be the only systematic solution to the problem, and all other national minorities in Serbia have welcomed the Hungarian initiative because all minority groups are facing the same problem with the future risk of lowered access to minority media if the law does not change.544 The Hungarian proposal is currently waiting to be discussed in the Parliament, while the issue is being

538 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). 539 Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/ akta/zakoni.asp, visited on August 27, 2007. 540 Ibid. 541 Interviews 20-22. 542 Interview 22. 543 Interview 22. 544 Interview 22, also Interviews with minority representatives from other groups.

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treated as something that the minorities recently came up with.545 According to the informants, the issue has always been there and the only reason why Hungarians were not able to bring it up on the parliamentary level before is because they were not represented in the Parliament within the framework of minority parties in the past several years.546 6.2.7 Right to official use of language and symbols (Articles 10 and 11) The right to official use of language and symbols has been implemented in the town of Subotica. The institutions of the local government contain information in all three official languages, personal identifications can be obtained in all three languages and the judicial and administration processes are available in Hungarian.547 The signs displayed on the local and regional institutions are multilingual; however, not all republican institutions apply the adequate regulations with regard to multilingual signs.548 The republican institutions such as the Republican Revenue Board, the National Bank of Serbia, the Unemployment Agency, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Army have been reluctant to implement multilingual signs.549 According to the informants, the Post Office and the Railway Station have signs in Hungarian but it is not always possible to buy a ticket or send a package in Hungarian, which is also related to the lower number of Hungarian employed at those institutions.550 One of the mechanisms behind the effective implementation of the right to official use of language derives from the regional initiative and decision taken by the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in 2003 to closely regulate matters of the official use of language and alphabet of national minorities.551 National minorities are under Article 11 granted the right to display traditional local names, street names, and other topographical indications intended for the public in a minority language when there is a sufficient demand.552 The
545 The Serbian government has motivated the standpoint with the directives from the Council of Europe and the OSCE, which require that the electronic media should not remain in the ownership of the local governments. However, minorities in Serbia are aware that minority media remained under the local governments in countries such as Hungary and Rumania and they believe that the same should be applied to Serbia. 546 Interview 22. 547 Interview 20-25. 548 Framework Convention, se Appendix. 549 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR p. 91. 550 Interview 21. 551 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR p. 91. 552 The Framework Convention, se Appendix.

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National Minority Councils in Vojvodina have been given the right to decide traditional names of places in minority languages, including Hungarian, which would be written on the official signs.553 According to the Provincial Secretariat of Administration, Regulations and National Minorities, there is a strong opposition to the placement of those signs in the locations where the majority of the population are Serbs.554 In the municipality of Subotica many traditional local names, street names, and topographical signs are written in Hungarian.555 The Hungarian national minority has not faced problems with the use of their national symbols since they requested permission from the Hungarian Government and the Serbian Government to use a non-identical national symbol on the flag.556 6.2.8 Right to education in a minority language (Articles 12, 13 and 14) The right to education in a minority language has been implemented in Subotica. The town of Subotica has both elementary and secondary ecuation in Hungarian. The pre-school education is also available in Hungarian and the classes are given in Hungarian at several Community Colleges and five Faculties in Vojvodina.557 The schools where education is not entirely held in Hungarian offer elective classes in Hungarian as the mother tongue; including elements of national culture, which is also an elective popular among pupils who are not ethnically Hungarians.558 The legal analysts have noted that the educational system in Subotica, as in many other minority populated regions in Serbia, is segregated along ethnic lines because there are Hungarian schools and non-Hungarian schools.559 The need among the Hungarian minority to retain its distinct linguistic and cultural identity is strongly expressed through the need for education in the Hungarian language, preferably on all educational levels. Although ethnic segregation in the educational system has been widely criticized from an integration perspective, in the Hungarian case, segregated and improved educational conditions have contributed to increased confidence-buildiing and a wish to remain in a post-conflict Serbia.

553 554 555 556 557 558 559

Official Gazette of the autonomous Province of Vojvodina, no. 8/03, of May 22nd 2003. Interview 20, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR p. 91. Personal observation. Interview 22. Interview 22, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), p. 92. Implementation of the Framework Convention, p. 92, Interviews. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005).

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According to the informants, the unsatisfactory school situation and conditions have been one of the contributing factors in the spectrum of other factors leading to increased emigration of Hungarians from Vojvodina to Hungary.560 Hungarian parents often motivated their emigration by the fact that their children could get a better quality education in Hungary.561 The conditions for the education of Hungarians have significantly improved since the year 2000, and the local minority politicians actively attempted to reverse the emigration trend to Hungary by improving educational opportunities and standards.562 The Autonomous Province of Vojvodina has, with the financial support from Hungary, established and opened in 2003 two new specialized Hungarian high schools in Subotica and Senta for exceptionally gifted pupils.563 It is believed that the establishment of those schools has had a positive impact in reversing the emigration trend among families whose children attend high school, and is nowadays one of the parental arguments to stay in Vojvodina.564 One of the challenges connected to the education in the Hungarian language is the occasional dysfunctional import of textbooks from Hungary. Serbia is lacking funds to finance publishing of textbooks in Hungarian, and Hungarians have therefore been given the permission to import textbooks from Hungary.565 The import of textbooks from Hungary is however not legally regulated, and therefore the process is sometimes difficult, inconsistent, and slow.566 The import of the textbooks has been permitted without major difficulties in the last years, however, in 2004 that import from Hungary was cancelled by the Ministry of Education without any further explanation.567 One of the reasons why the import of textbooks has been functioning well in the last couple of years is partially because it did not involve requests for history and geography books, which are often more controversial.568 Due to the absence of a coherent import policy, the import of textbooks is nowadays depending on the good will of the ruling government or the people working
560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 Interviews 20-25. Interview 22. Interview 22. Interview 22. Interviews 20-22. Interview 22. Interviews 20-25. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005); p. 93, When books are imported the permission is needed from the Ministry of Education to import the books and to the names of the books. 568 Interview 22.

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at the Ministry of Education.569 The Hungarian national minority is aiming to push for the adoption of the law on the import of books in minority languages, which could regulate and solve the current difficulties for all national minorities in a systematic and coherent manner.570 The adoption of the new law is believed to be the only way of addressing the current dysfunctions related to the import of textbooks in minority languages. It is in this context interesting to note that Hungarians often refer to the fact that Serbs in Hungary are not facing the same kind of difficulties concerning import of books from Serbia, including books in geography and history, indirectly indicating that Hungarians in Serbia only want what is already being granted to Serbs in Hungary.571 6.2.9 Promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between States (Article 2) The promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between the states, Serbia and Hungary, has been implemented. A Hungarian Consulate was recently opened in Subotica and current negotiations are taking place between Hungary, member of the Schengen Agreement, and Serbia to establish a 50 kilometer wide border crossing free from visas for Serbian citizens that reside in the minority municipalities in Vojvodina.572Although the neighbourly friendly-relations and cooperation between Serbia and Hungary could be significantly improved, the current status of cooperation appears satisfactory. 6.2.10 Right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers (Article 17) The right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers has been implemented in Subotica. The Hungarian national minority in Vojvodina is not hindered nor prevented from maintaining contacts across frontiers with Hungary, which are frequent and encompass the fields of education and culture.

569 570 571 572

Interview 22. Interview 22. Interviews 20-22. Interviews 20-22.

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6.3 Summary The majority of the selected provisions from the Framework Convention have either been implemented or nearly implemented in the town of Subotica including: the right to a freedom of religion; the right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity; the right to official use of language and symbols; the promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding; the right to receive information in a minority language; the right to education in a minority language; promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states; and the right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers. The right to participation in public authorities has not been fully implemented, nor have the prohibition of discrimination and the promotion of effective equality. It is important to note that the town of Subotica is an exemplary case of minority right implementation among Hungarians, and it does not mirror the scope of implementation in the entire municipality of Subotica or the Vojvodina region. The election of the three Hungarian parliamentarians has been warmly welcomed in Subotica, especially since no Hungarian minority political parties were represented in the Serbian Parliament in the last three years. The election of the parliamentarians is expected to significantly advance the Hungarian cause in Subotica and in the entire region. Hungarian parliamentarians are aiming at active participation in the formation and adoption of new laws that will directly affect the implementation of minority rights. The adoption of new laws is expected to improve the current irregularities for all national minorities regarding the import of textbooks, and the possibility to maintain an already achieved scope of implementation regarding the right to receive information in a minority language. Regionalization and increased decentralization remain two of the most important issues on the political agenda, whereas the future laws and regulations are expected to advance Vojvodinas autonomy and regional decision-making processes. The main goal of the Hungarian parliamentarians is to improve the situation for the Hungarian national minority; however, the strong agenda of a well-organized and powerful model minority is also positively effecting the situation for other national minority groups in the country.

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The interethnic relations in the town of Subotica are a complex matter with wide variations across ethnic groups and generations. The interethnic relations between local Serbs and Hungarians are good, as well as the interethnic relations between Hungarian and other traditional minorities. There is, however, a high level of social distance between all local ethnic groups and the Serbian refugees and IDPs from Croatia and Kosovo. There was no apparent risk of conflicts in the region and the ethnically motivated incidents have significantly diminished. Nevertheless, Hungarians fear the outcome of the situation in Kosovo, while the tensions between younger generations belonging to different ethnic groups remain. The implementation of minority rights appears to have improved when compared to the implementation situation two years ago.573

573 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR.

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7. IMPLEMENTATION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: BOSNIAKS IN NOVI PAZAR The town of Novi Pazar is situated in the south western Bosniak populated region traditionally known as Sandak, which borders with BiH and Montenegro. Novi Pazar represents the political, economic and historical center of Sandak and the seat of the Bosniak National Minority Council. As a multicultural and multi-confessional town where Eastern and Western civilizations historically melted, Novi Pazar has a rich and diverse cultural heritage that includes both Islamic and Orthodox religious sites. According to the census from 2002, the total number of inhabitants in Novi Pazar was 85,996, out of which 67,192 registered as Bosniaks or Muslims and 17,599 registered as Serbs.574 When compared to a census from 1991, the number of Bosniaks has slightly increased and the number of Serbs has slightly decreased.575 Novi Pazar is the only municipality in Sandak with a registered increase in population when compared to the previous census, which is regarded as an inaccuracy because a significant number of registered persons do not live in Novi Pazar and have moved to BiH, Turkey and countries in Western Europe.576 The decrease of the population in other Bosniak populated municipalities is between 15% and 20% when contrasted to the 1991 census.577 The negative emigration trend that started during the 1990s as a result of human rights abuses and economic scarcity has continued after the democratic changes in Serbia. It is both the Serbian majority and the Bosniak minority that are emigrating. The emigration trend has significantly decreased in the past years, nevertheless, it is perceived as an alarming development among Bosniaks.578 Besides the Serbian and Bosniak population, an insignificant number of Montenegrins and Albanians reside in the town in which the postconflict demographic picture altered when approximately 6,000 IDPs and refugees moved in from Kosovo, Croatia, BiH and Macedonia.579

574 Republican Institute for Statistics, http://webrzs.statserb.sr.gov. yu/axd/en/index.php, visited on September 21, 2007. 575 Ibid. 576 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, p. 17. 577 Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 7. 578 Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 1. 579 Available at: http://www.novipazar.org.yu/about.htm, visited on August 27, 2007.

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The minority political scene in the Sandak region consists of numerous Bosniak political parties. The Bosniak Democratic Party of Sandak and the Social Liberal Party of Sandak are represented in the Parliamentary Minority Group with one representative from each party. The Democratic Party of Sandak has three parliamentarians and one Minister of Labour and Social Policy, who have joined the Parliament and the Government under the mainstream Democratic Party (DS).580 The political situation in the town of Novi Pazar is characterized with conflicts between the two largest local Bosniak political parties: the Party of Democratic Action and the Democratic Party of Sandak.581 The region, as other minority regions, has a history of political support for the parties that are mono-ethnic and it was noted that during the last elections a significant number of Serbs for the first time after the war voted for Bosniak parties.582 The conflicts between the two Bosniak parties escalated in September 2004 during local pre-election campaigns when gunshots were fired and two people got severely injured, which created a precedent for later election conflicts that encompassed shooting and murder at the poll stations.583 The infected political situation created an atmosphere favorable for the expansion of extremism and human rights violations, such as firing people from public enterprises on the grounds of their political engagement.584 The political tensions have normalized but the previous events have damaged the Bosniak cause, and resulted in a perception of Bosniaks as a politically divided national minority group unable to cooperate because of the negative internal political pluralism. Bosniak minority representatives are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the internal political struggles within the group are hindering their collective advancements, and powerful politicians have officially encouraged the Serbian Government to equally support all citizens of Sandak, and not only members of certain political parties.585

580 Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/ sastav/stranke.asp, visited on September 21, 2007. 581 The Democratic Party of Sandzak is the official supporter of the mainstream Democratic Party (DS) under the leadership of the Serbian President Boris Tadic and the Party of Democratic Action has supported the mainstream Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) under the leadership of the Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. 582 Interview 27. 583 Implementation of the Framework Convention, p. 15, also Minority and Elections (2007). 584 Implementation of the Framework Convention, p. 16. 585 Statement by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/ index.php?yyyy=2007&mm=04&dd=20&nav_id=242766, visited on October 2, 2007.

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The Bosniak national minority is a minority that has attained the most political power in Serbia with the highest number of minority representatives that hold some of the highest appointed positions in the Government and the Parliament. Although many have reached those positions through the collaboration with the mainstream Democratic Party, Esad Dudevi, the Bosniak representative in the Parliamentary Minority Group, was elected in 2007 as the first Bosniak Vice Speaker in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, which indicated that a representative from a minority political party could attain a higher status without necessarily having to appear under the mainstream political umbrella. Despite the successful political representation, the election of the Bosniak parliamentarians was not perceived as a significant event on the local level in the town of Novi Pazar.586 According to the informants, the implementation of the minority rights is not expected to improve due to a higher number of Bosniak representatives in the Parliament.587 The Bosniak community in the town of Novi Pazar have a low level of confidence in their politicians who are perceived as selfish and power hungry representatives that are looking to improve their own personal gain through politics.588 The informants have, however, exhibited wider confidence in the politicians from the genuine minority parties, when compared to the ones that collaborate with the mainstream parties.589 Another reason for the lack of enthusiasm on the local level is related to the fact that Bosniaks in Sandak are used to the fact that their politicians frequently take place in either the executive or legislative power in Serbia, which is why the recent elections did not result in heightened optimism among the Bosniaks.590 Nevertheless, the two Bosniak parliamentarians in the Parliamentary Minority Group exhibited high levels of optimism and satisfaction with their achieved positions and while one was solely focusing on the economic development of the Sandak municipalities, the other one focused his work on the improvement of a variety of social and cultural minority issues, such as the educational situation and the preservation of cultural heritage.591 Mr. Dudevi argues that the election of the Bosniak parliamentarians is not only going to improve the implementation of

586 587 588 589 590 591

Interviews 26 and 29. Interviews 26 and 29. Interviews, also Minority and Elections (2007). Interviews 26 and 29. Interview 26. Interviews 27-28.

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minority rights, but also symbolically aid in lowering interethnic tension on the local level and contribute to increased trust in the legislative and executive power.592 The municipality of Novi Pazar has been placed on the republican list as one of the least economically developed municipalities, as have the majority of the municipalities in the Sandak region.593 One of the major regional challenges derives from the undeveloped infrastructure, which affects regional economic development in a negative way, whereas, the general economic situation in the town of Novi Pazar is difficult, due to the bankruptcy of public enterprises, and the decline of the traditional small-scale economy for which the town has been famous for.594 Although the small-scale private manufacturers of clothes, shoes and furniture remain some of the major contributors to the growth of the local economy, there has been a tendency in the recent years toward closure of small private shops and manufacturers due to high tax obligations.595According to the Government Strategy for Regional Development 2007-2012, a vast majority of the minority-populated municipalities in South Central Serbia are either categorized as undeveloped or most undeveloped and the municipalities in the Sandak region have been classified as both.596 The younger generations of Bosniaks are faced with unemployment, as one of the factors that contributed to the recent establishment and growth of religious extremism in the region.597 The terrorist stamped Vahhabism network has gained support in the Sandak region in the past two years and a combination of factors seemed to have contributed to the growth of radicalisation among the young Bosniaks. The ethno-nationalist policy of the 1990s, and the collective trauma over the unresolved past human rights abuses combined with the international and regional implications as well as internal political conflicts within the Bosniak community and the lack of economic development in the region have all played an important role
592 Interview 27. 593 Strategy for regional development of the Republic of Serbia (2007). 594 Interview 26-27, also http://www.novipazar.org.yu/about.htm, visited on August 27, 2007, In addition the region is rich in unused natural resources while the agriculture and farming remain undeveloped and without modern technology. 595 Available at; http://www.novipazar.org.yu/about.htm, visited on August 27, 2007. 596 Strategy for regional development of the Republic of Serbia (2007). 597 Interview 27.

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in the process. The Vahhabism network does not represent the traditional culture or the values of the people in the region. The network is regarded by the local Bosniaks as an abnormal social formation that encompasses a small fraction of the younger population that has been engaging in that particular network.598 Nevertheless, the growth of terrorist activities poses a serious problem to the Serbian authorities, and the Bosniak community in the region. According to the informants, the existence of small-scale religious extremism has been abused by the authorities when conducting illegitimate or legitimate searches for weapons and other anti-terrorist activities in the region.599 In March 2007, the Serbian security and police force arrested one of the Vahhabism network members in Novi Pazar, and in April 2007, the leader of the network was killed while two members were severely injured during a terrorist search in a village near Novi Pazar.600 The establishment of the Vahhabism network has been evident in Serbia only in the past two years and the network became officially visible during summer of 2006 when they caused incidents at a music concert and during a religious service in the mosque in Novi Pazar.601 The Serbian police and security forces have up to this date arrested eight members of the network in locations surrounding the towns of Novi Pazar and Sjenica.602 It is unknown what kind of crimes the arrested individuals have committed because their files have been classified as secret national files.603 It is interesting to note that the establishment and the growth of the Vahhabism network took place at the locations in Sandak where some of the most brutal violations of human rights took place during the war. The disintegration of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006 has had a negative effect on the Bosniak community, and their distinct
598 Interview 27, It is estimated that there are approximately 100 members of the Vahhabism network. 599 Interview 26. 600 Available at: http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2007&mm=04&dd=20&nav_ id=242766, The violence between police and Vahhabism members broke out when the members started throwing bombs and opened fire at the police when they tried to enter the house in which the network was hiding. One police officer and one member of Vahhabism network were severely injured when the bombs exploded whereas the second member was injured when he was trying to escape. 601 Available at; http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index. php?yyyy=2007&mm=04&dd=20&nav_id=242766. 602 Available at: http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index. php?yyyy=2007&mm=04&dd=20&nav_id=242766. 603 Interview 27.

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territorial and cultural existence in the region is perceived as threatened.604 After Montenegros declaration of independence the Sandak region, which stretches over both Serbia and Montenegro, has been split in a half between the two republics. The results from Montenegros referendum did not only mark the final disintegration of the State Union but also the division of the Bosniak community in Sandak that now lives diveded in the two independent republics.605 According to the informants, the split of the Bosniak populated region weakened their collective demographic strength and diminished their status as a larger identifiable minority group in the State Union.606 Today Bosniaks constitute 56% of the population, whereas before the disintegration they constituted 45% of the population.607 Although Bosniaks nowadays constitute a slightly increased percentage of the population in the region, they were a numerically larger minority group prior to the disintegration, indicating a transformation from one large minority group in the State Union into two numerically smaller minorities in the two republics. The Bosniak population in the Serbian part of Sandak was predominantly against the disintegration of the State Union. The territorial split of the region and the division of Bosniaks was experienced as a collectively dramatic and traumatic event, nevertheless, the Bosniak community in Serbia respects the outcome of the referendum and view themselves as citizens in the designated republics.608 The political position and the symbolic status of the town of Novi Pazar have been effected and weakened by the division of the region. The town of Novi Pazar has ceased to represent the Bosniak centre from which the Bosniak politicians had planned to coordinate the establishment of Bosniak institutions and political parties, regardless of the geographical position.609 According to the informants, the Montenegrin media and government are nowadays frequently refraining from the use of the term Sandak, which is perceived by the Bosniak representatives as a way of diminishing the distinct existence of the minority region as such.610 The informants have recognized that the term Sandak is still being used in the Serbian media; however, its
604 605 606 607 608 609 610 Interviews 26-27. Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 1. Interview 26. Available at; http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand%C5%BEak. Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 2, also Interview 27. Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 1. Interviews 26-29.

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reference has been minimized to three municipalities: Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin.611 The Bosniak representatives fear that the term Sandak is going to disappear in Serbia as it has disappeared in Montenegro. There is a sense of emergency and existential threat in the Bosniak community, where some representatives believe in a hidden and unspoken attempt to erase the official association of Sandak as a Bosniak populated region and one way of doing that is by refraining to acknowledge the traditional name of the region.612 7.1 Post-conflict marked minority The Sandak region is the only location in Serbia with a high concentration of the Bosniak population. During the former Yugoslavia and prior to the wars of the 1990s, Bosniaks which were previously known as Muslims held an official status of a constituent people in the Yugoslav federation; however according to the informants they did not have sufficient national or cultural institutions in the region to support that status.613 According to Mr. Dudevi, Bosniaks did not enjoy the many elements of cultural autonomy based on the previous status of a constituent people.614 While a fraction of the political and cultural Bosniak elite has experienced the loss of a previously held status as traumatic and degrading, Mr. Dudevi embraces the national minority status and argues that the status of a constituent people was mostly an empty status without real content.615 He adds that on the normative level Bosniaks were constituent people, but in practice their actual status was that of an Islamic religious group that predominantly enjoyed religious rights, which were also in some segments limited.616 Bosniaks, as several other ethnic groups, became an official national minority after the democratic changes in Serbia. The Bosniak representatives had to work hard to enter the transformation into the a classical national minority and they have faced two serious challenges in the process.617 The first challenge was related to the issue of a kin-state, which they believe is an essential aspect of a successful transition into a national minority.618 The majority of Bosniaks in Sandak culturally feel that Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is their kin611 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 Interview 26, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 2. Interview 28. Interview 27. Interview 27. Interview 27. Interview 27. Interview 27. Interview 27.

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state; however they are aware of the fact that BiH is not their kin-state nor is it defined as their kin-state, which is perceived as a limitation and a challenge.619 Nevertheless, Bosniak representatives are consciously referring to BiH as a kin-state in order to build up a stronger national minority status in Serbia.620 The second challenge surfaced when Bosniaks compared themselves to other minority groups and realized that they were in the beginning stages of consuming some of the basic national minority rights, whereas, other groups were enjoying and consuming a significantly wider scope of those rights.621 In order to achieve greater implementation and increased consumption of minority rights, Bosniaks realized that they had to build the capacity and the institutions that are necessary. Bosniak politicians believe that the establishment of the National Minority Councils in 2003 has provided them with a useful learning experiences during the past four years of the new minority politics.622 The establishment of the National Minority Councils has helped them to learn from other national minority groups and while collaborating with and admiring the status of Hungarians, Bosniaks also attempted to learn from Croats, a group that just like Bosniaks after the wars of the 1990s transformed from a constituent people in the Yugoslav federation into a national minority in Serbia.623 The basic minority rights that the Bosniak National Minority Council are currently focusing on are the right to official use of language and education in Bosnian; the access to information in Bosnian; the preservation and development of cultural heritage; and the increased participation in public authorities.624 Although the majority of Bosniaks adhere to Islam, Bosniaks have been historically perceived as a minority group that is culturally and linguistically closer to Serbs than many other Christian minority groups in Serbia. When the National Agency for Human and Minority Rights conducted a survey about ethnic distance the results indicated significantly lower levels of ethnic distance when compared to other minority groups.625 Due to a previous status as a constituent people under the former Yugoslavia and the majoritys
619 620 621 622 623 624 625 Interview 27. Interview 27. Interview 27. Interview 27. Interview 27. Interviews 26-29. Interview 27, also Report about ethnic distance by the National agency for Human and Minority Rights.

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dominant perception of Bosniaks as a culturally closer minority, the group has traditionally been expected to assimilate and adopt Serbo-Croatian language. The critics have additionally argued that the history of unspoken and unacknowledged forms of Islamophobia, which have throughout the years attempted to diminish the Islamic cultural influence and presence in the Balkans, have had an effect on the Bosniak community and their access to Islamic cultural and religious heritage.626 The ethno-nationalist minority policy of the 1990s marked with oppression and human rights abuses resulted in an increased territorialization of the minority question and an accentuated need among the Bosniak minority to culturally separate from the majority in order to protect its own threatened existence. The high assimilation expectancy and the previous lack of an official national minority status are evident when examining the implementation of minority rights in the region. Bosniaks are a national minority group that has been scarred and marked by the conflicts that took place in the region during the 1990s. The negative emigration trend started during the spring and summer of 1992, when the towns and neighborhoods in the region were surrounded by heavy military presence and artillery, which included cannons, tanks and aviation while the radical politicians openly invited and threatened to cleanse the region of the Bosniak population.627 The situation in Sandak from 1992-1995 was characterized with the abuse of the army presence, and human rights violations which included systematic police harassment and brutality, abductions, robberies, discrimination, political judicial proceedings and preventive oppression.628 The abuse by the police force was severe and frequent; however, not a single policeman has been convicted for human rights violations or fired from the police force in Novi Pazar or in the region.629 The violence contributed to the expansion of the atmosphere of fear among the locals who mostly feared that the Bosnian scenario would be repeated in Serbia.630 The Serbian army and various paramilitary groups that passed

626 627 628 629 630

Interviews 4, 5, 25 and 26. Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 3. Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 4. Interview 26-27. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), p. 20, Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 4.

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through the region killed, abducted, persecuted and tortured Bosniaks.631 The massive police raids, excused as weapon searching actions were common, and several thousands of people were illegally detained and physically tortured during the 1990s.632 The cases of torture, ethnic cleansing, abduction and other human rights violations are today brought before the court by the Humanitarian Law Centre, which has since September 2006 filed eleven compensation lawsuits against the Republic of Serbia on behalf of Bosniaks from Sandak.633 The Humanitarian Law Centre firmly argues that the promotion of minority rights in Sandak should be done though reparations for human rights abuses in the past.634 The most serious crimes committed in the region took place between 19921993, when two cases of group abductions from busses in Sjeverin and trpce resulted in the murder of abducted Bosniaks.635According to Ms. Kaar, Sandak region has been marginalized concerning war crimes and remained in the shadow of crimes committed in Croatia, BiH and Kosovo.636 Many crimes have been ignored or forgotten and these two cases of abduction and murder have not received a sufficient amount of attention by the state and the domestic courts.637 The Serbian Supreme Court convicted four members from a paramilitary formation Osvetnici for the crimes committed in Sjeverin in 1992, but Bosniak representatives argue that the state has not taken full responsibility for the politics of fear and policies of abuse that were applied in the region during the war.638 The Humanitarian Law Centre has in June 2007 pressed an additional compensation lawsuit against the Republic of Serbia for the abduction in Sjeverin on behalf of the family members. The lawsuit

631 Humanitarian Law Center (The crimes committed in Sandzak), the Sandak Human Rights Committee and the Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005) by YIHR. In February 1993 three Bosniaks were murdered in the village Kukurovici near Priboj and nine houses were set on fire. In August 1992 one Bosniak was murdered in Sjevering while waiting for the bus on the freeway. Many Bosniaks were abducted alone or in the group from 1992-1993. 632 Sjeverin and Strpce Abductions, Publications; Humanitarian Law Center (2003, 2006), http:// www.hlc-rdc.org/, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR. 633 Humanitarian Law Center, http://www.hlc-rdc.org/storage/ docs/c56f57ab228b63d94a80ef76f42e745e.pdf. 634 Available at: http://www.hlc-rdc.org/storage/docs/ c56f57ab228b63d94a80ef76f42e745e.pdf, visited on August 27, 2007. 635 Sjeverin and Strpce Abductions, Publications; Humanitarian Law Center (2003, 2006), Available at: http://www.hlc-rdc.org/. 636 Interview 26. 637 Interview 26. 638 Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 4.

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requested full compensation and revelation of the entire truth, as well an official statement that the crime was committed, and support for the establishment of a memorial with an officially marking memorial day.639 For the abduction in trpce, only one insignificant person was symbolically convicted by the domestic courts.640 The group murder was never investigated in detail and the perpetrators who gave the orders have not been prosecuted. One segment of the trpce abduction has been brought before the ICTY Tribunal in Hague, because the murder of the abducted took place in BiH, and the brothers Luki are two of the suspects in the case.641 The Bosniak representatives have expressed their dissatisfaction to the Government over the resolution of the abductions in domestic courts and requested a detailed investigation of the abduction; however, their request has not been met because the domestic courts are still unable to deal with the previous war crimes in an effective manner.642 The bodies of the murdered victims from the trpce abduction have never been found and the locals have expressed a wish to establish a memorial monument for the victims.643 The Municipality Assembly of Prijepolje has made a decision to construct and finance a monument for the victims from the trpce abduction, however, that decision has not been realized nor has the location for the placement of the monument been established.644 In addition to the unresolved and unacknowledged past abuses, the Bosniak representatives are angered by the unresolved nature of the notorious Novi Pazar case-trial against twenty-four Bosniaks accused of attempting to create a Sandak state, which were convicted in 1993 by the Municipal Court.645 The Supreme Court rejected the court ruling in 1994, and the case remains as the only political case from the 1990s that is still judicially current with a decision that has been delayed for almost fourteen years.646

639 Available at: http://www.hlc-rdc.org/srpski/Suocavanje_sa_prosloscu/ Reparacije/index.php?file=1658.html, visited on August 27, 2007. 640 Interview 26-27, also Humanitarian Law Center. 641 Available at: http://www.un.org/icty/, visited on September 21, 2007. 642 Interview 26. 643 Interview 26. 644 Interview 26. 645 Interview 26-27, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005); p. 21. 646 Interview 26-27, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), p. 21, The frustrated Bosniaks often refer to the similar case in Montenegro, which was resolved in favour of the plaintiffs as early as 1995.

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The friendly interethnic social interaction on the local level has never been endangered in the town of Novi Pazar and the dramatic events of the 1990s were not able to disturb the intimate social interaction of a daily life. Esad Dudevi, Vice Speaker in The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia The altered post-conflict demographic picture has not resulted in increased ethnic incidents between the local Bosniaks, Serbs and the refugees, as was the case in Subotica. Nevertheless, the occurrence of ethnic incidents has taken place in the past ten years in the entire region including the town of Novi Pazar, where serious mostly intra-ethnic as well as interethnic incidents often take place during the pre-election campaigns.647 The occurrence of ethnic incidents has significantly decreased but incidents that include verbal and physical incitement of violence and hatred have been frequently registered among younger generations during sporting events, when sport clubs from Novi Pazar and other parts of Serbia meet.648 The interethnic relations are in general good between the different layers of the adult population and a sharp distinction is made between Bosniak relations with the local Serbs, and their relations with the republican authorities, toward which Bosniaks exhibit low levels of trust.649 According to the informants, the level of social distance between the Bosniak population and the local Serb population is low and it was low even during the war, when Bosniaks faced severe human rights violations by the police force and the army.650 While some municipalities in the region have strained interethnic relations, the town of Novi Pazar has not experienced social ethnic division of daily life, and the socializing locations such as the local pubs and cafs have always been and remained locations of interethnic meetings and socializing.651 The level of distance between the refugees and locals differs depending on which group the refuges or IDPs belong to, and the highest level of social distance exists between the locals and the Roma IDPs.652 The occurrence of interethnic marriage between Bosniaks and Serbs used to be more common during the 1970s and 1980s but the
647 On Christmas Eve in January 2004, unknown perpetrators fired with guns on the Melajska Mosque in Novi Pazar, which contributed to the atmosphere of fear in an already infected pre-election campaign. 648 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). 649 Interview 26. 650 Interview 26. 651 Interviews 26-27, The municipalities of Priboj and Prijepolje, where some of the most brutal war crimes were committed, have experienced deep social division on the local level. The municipalities have not recovered from that division and the interethnic relations remain strained. 652 Interview 26.

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frequency of those marriages was significantly reduced during and after the war.653 The informants have noted that while interethnic social interactions are good and ethnic distance is low, the questions about interethnic marriage and religion remain a highly sensitive matter among both Bosniaks and Serbs.654 There is currently no risk of ethnic conflicts in the town of Novi Pazar and in the region as such.655 The Bosniak political community is aiming at stable and peaceful integration of Bosniaks into the Serbian society. The informants, however, argue that it is in the interest of some of the political parties in Serbia to portray Sandak as the next battlefield and as the region of the upcoming national crisis, in order to gain national and international support while attempting to resolve the status of Kosovo.656 Bosniak politicians additionally recognize the spread of the Vahhabism network, as a serious destabilizing factor that could result in future problems.657 The problematic events that occur in the region are often manipulated by the media and some political parties. The aim of the manipulation is to illustrate that if Kosovo gains independence other minorities might attempt to claim the same, and thereby the necessity to convince the citizens that the authorities can effectively control infected minority regions. The informants have expressed a deep concern over the situation in Kosovo, since Bosniaks experience that every time the resolution of the Kosovo status is on the agenda; massive terrorist searches are being conducted in the town of Novi Pazar, in order to demonstrate that the authorities have control over the next battlefield.658 The terrorist searching activities are perceived as a new form of preventive oppression, which contributes to the atmosphere of distrust in public authorities.659Although, informants deny the risk of violent conflicts; the unresolved status of Kosov, the internal political conflicts; the division of the region between two states; the low level of trust in the public authorities, and the recent establishment of the Vahhabism network have created a longlasting atmosphere of tension and instability in the Sandak region.

653 654 655 656 657 658 659

Interview 27. Interviews 26-27. Interviews 26-29. Interview 26. Interview 26. Interviews 26-27, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007). Interview 26.

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7.2 Implementation of minority rights The majority of heavily minority populated municipalities in Serbia are economically undeveloped. Minorities in Serbia are expecting that decentralization and regionalization will bring faster economic development to all regions that are minority populated. The Serbian Government has made huge progress and improvements regarding these issues. Bajram Omeragi, Member of the Parliament 7.2.1 Prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality (Article 4) The prohibition of discrimination and the promotion of effective equality have not been implemented in the town of Novi Pazar. According to the informants, the members of the Bosniak community were exposed to severe employment discrimination during the 1990s, especially when applying for jobs at republic institutions.660 The government and the regional politicians have not introduced measures to correct the employment inequality that was created. The informants claim that there is currently no such thing as open employment discrimination in the sense that Serbs have priority over Bosniaks, however, Bosniaks have been negatively effected during the transitional process of privatisation, under which many Bosniaks lost their employment.661 The employment opportunities of the Bosniak population have also been affected by the decline of the small scale economy, undeveloped infrastructure, and undeveloped agriculture. The individual discrimination of Bosniaks in the field of employment, which most likely still exists in the region, is officially denied and no affirmative action programs have been suggested by the Bosniak politicians.662 National minorities under Article 4 are guaranteed equal promotion of their economic, social, political and cultural life. The lack of economic development has been officially recognized as a serious problem by Bosniak representatives from the town of Novi Pazar and the entire Sandak region, as a synonym for a marginalized region.663 The Serbian government has recognized the lack of economic development in the minority-populated
660 661 662 663 Interview 26. Interview 27. Interviews 26-27. Interviews 26-29.

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municipalities and regions by addressing the issue with the adoption of the national strategic document known as the Strategy for Regional Development of the Republic of Serbia 2007-2012, which is aiming at equal regional development.664 Out of six municipalities in Sandak five, including Novi Pazar, have been categorized as the most undeveloped and one has been categorized as the undeveloped.665 The current affirmative action program that aims at increased economic development derives from the Serbian Governmental Development Fund, which provides undeveloped municipalities with affordable loans for their industrial development.666 According to Mr. Omeragi, many municipalities in Sandak, including the town of Novi Pazar, have taken advantage of the affordable loans and are users of the highest per capita loans from the Development Fund.667 The affordable loans have lifted some municipalities in the region from the bottom of the most undeveloped list, and the political representatives are still working toward improvement of the infrastructure in the region, increased amount of loans for the small-scale economy, and the development of agriculture and farming.668 The Bosniak parliamentarians are optimistically placing hope in the realization of the Governments Strategy for Regional Development 2007-2012, the future possibility of the EU Development Funds, as well as the future adoption of the Law on Equal Regional Development and the Law on Territorial Organization of Serbia.669 It has become easier to breath in the region since the initiation of the democratic changes in 2000, but when something happens in Kosovo we become the target of surveillance Semiha Kaar, The Sandak Committee for Human Rights

664 Government Strategy for Regional Development (2007). 665 Interview 28, also Strategy for Regional Development (2007). 666 Interview 28, The economic development of those municipalities is monitored by the Serbian Statistical Service and while the developed municipalities pay 3% in interest rate, the undeveloped municipalities pay only 1%. In addition, It has been noted that approximately 94% of loan takers in the municipality of Tutin have paid back the loans within the given framework and with given interest. 667 Interview 28. 668 Interviews 27-28. 669 Interview 28.

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7.2.2 Right to participation in public authorities (Article 15) The right to participation in public authorities has not been fully implemented in the town of Novi Pazar. Bosniaks are not equally and proportionally represented as employees within the public authority organs despite the fact that they constitute 75% of the population, hold the political power of the local government, as well as the majority of seats in the Municipality Assembly.670 The previous exclusion of Bosniaks from the public authority institutions during the 1990s has not been corrected nor decreased.671 The negative tendency to discriminate and predominantly employ Serbs at the public authorities such as the courts, judiciary, public prosecutors office, the police force and the army has continued in the town of Novi Pazar and in the entire region.672 The Bosniak representatives have noted that the inclusion of minorities into public authorities is not regulated by the law, and that the only way for minorities to take part in public authorities is by means of their own capacity and political engagement with the minority parties.673 The abolishment of the Law on Members of the Parliament in 2004 removed the parliamentary election threshold of 5% for minority parties, and contributed to increased numbers of minority parties in the parliament after the January 2007 elections.674 The removal of the threshold is considered as one of the only systematic measures taken to increase minorities right to participation in public authorities.675 The absence of Bosniaks in the public authorities in Novi Pazar has had a negative influence on the work of those institutions but also on the low level of trust and the general attitude of the local population toward them.676 According to the informants, the situation within the courts has significantly improved in the last years and out of five judges at the District Court three are Bosniaks, while ten judges are Bosniaks and seven are Serbs at the Municipal Court.677 Nevertheless, the employment situation at the judiciary administration remains un-proportional and the absence of Bosniaks in the
670 Interviews 26 and 29, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 9, also available at: http://www.novipazar.org.yu/vijece/vijece.htm, visited on September 21, 2007. 671 Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 7. 672 Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 6, also Interview 26. 673 Interview 27. 674 Minority and Election (2007); p .10, also Interview 27. 675 Interview 27. 676 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), p. 19. 677 Interviews 26-29, Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). p. 19.

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police force is perceived as an alarming shortage.678 The Chief of the Police in Novi Pazar is Bosniak but his position does not reflect the ethnic structure of the police, in which the Serbian employees dominate.679 The Government has not attempted to initiate systematic affirmative measures or a temporary program to correct employment inequality in public authorities. According to the informants there is no political will on the regional and the government level to correct the absence of Bosniaks in the public authorities.680 The Bosniak National Council has since the year 2000 requested that the government should systematically implement the establishment of a multiethnic police in the region, and their request has not yet been met.681 7.2.3 Right to freedom of religion (Articles 7 and 8) The right to freedom of religion has been implemented in the town of Novi Pazar. The majority of Bosniaks are Muslims and there are several mosques in the municipality with regular and well-functioning religious services performed in an undisturbed manner. The freedom of religion has not been violated in any of the municipalities in Sandak, in terms of religious services and access to the mosques, however, it has been noted that young Bosniaks face violations of this right when drafted for the military service, where the served food is not always adapted to the rules of their religion.682 It has also been noted that children who attend certain pre-schools in the region have not been provided with alternative meals.683 The one area within which one could truly apply the term discrimination now in 2007 concerns preservation of the Bosniak cultural heritage. We as a national minority group face severe discrimination in that area and the Government ignores to support the preservation and revitalization of the Bosniak cultural heritage and thereby contributes to its devastation. Esad Dudevi, Vice Speaker in The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia

678 Interview 26. 679 Interview 26-27, In the municipality of Tutin where 98% of the population are Bosniaks, less than 10% Bosniaks are employeed at the police force and their absence in other public authorities is even larger. 680 Interview 27. 681 Interview 27. 682 Interviews 25-26, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), p. 18. 683 Interview 26, Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 7.

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7.2.4 Right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity (Article 5) The right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity has not been fully implemented in Novi Pazar. The town of Novi Pazar has several cultural associations, institutions, and annual manifestations in which development and preservation of the Bosniak cultural identity takes place.684 The development of the cultural spectrum is mostly tied to the Public Library and the Cultural Centre, while the museum and the historical archive Ras preserve some parts of the rich historical heritage from the Turkish rule during the 17th century.685 Despite the fact that some of the basic cultural needs have been met, the Bosniak community is dissatisfied and frustrated over the status of their cultural heritage. According to the informants, the preservation and development of Bosniak cultural heritage and identity has been severely threatened in the town of Novi Pazar.686 The current status of Bosniak cultural heritage is in danger due to a time decay and complete ignorance on behalf of the government, which does not invest in the protection and revitalization of the Bosniak cultural heritage, and thereby contributes to its devastation.687 The two most prominent Bosniak cultural sites, the Hamam and the Fortress Motrilja from the 16th century, are in a desperate need of renovation, which is why Bosniak representatives have on their own initiative submitted a protection project proposal to the Republican and Regional Agency for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, which has this far ignored the proposal.688 Serbian governmental institutions are currently financing the massive renovation of numerous Serbian cultural and religious sites, such as churches, monasteries, monuments, and media campaigns are frequently launched to gain support for those projects.689 The Bosniak community welcomes the initiative and has nothing against the fact that the government is financing new buildings and renovations of Serbian cultural heritage; however, Bosniaks are requesting and insisting that the government also start financing protection and revitalization of Bosniak
684 685 686 687 688 Available at: http://www.novipazar.org.yu/kultura/kultura.htm, visited on August 27, 2007. Available at: http://www.novipazar.org.yu/kultura/kultura.htm, visited on August 27, 2007. Interviews 25-27. Interview 26-27, Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 8. Interview 27, The Government institutions have been reluctant to finance the preservation of Bosniak cultural monuments, as well as being reluctant to offer any kind of administrational or professional participation and assistance. The Republican and Regional Agency for the Protection of Cultural Monuments has refused to finance the preservation and the restoration of the Bosniak cultural heritage. 689 Interview 27, also Personal observation. It has been noted that approximatly 300 churches and monasteries are currently built or revitalized.

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cultural heritage in the Sandak region.690 According to the informants, the Bosniak cultural heritage has been traditionally defined and classified as historical Turkish and Islamic occupational heritage, which is frequently portrayed as non-domestic.691 The portrayal of the Bosniak heritage as occupational has been placed in the consciousnes of the citizens and used as an excuse to treat that heritage as alien, or something that does not belong in the region.692 The treatment of the Bosniak cultural heritage as foreign has resulted in a general lack of respect and protection while being regarded as less valuable for preservation.693 The governments passive standpoint and the absolute ignorance of Bosniak cultural heritage are perceived as explicitly discriminatory and alarming.694 The municipality of Novi Pazar has the professional capacity that is necessary for the cultural preservation work and the Bosniak representatives have experienced a growing feeling that they have to take the question of cultural protection and development into their own hands. Since the government has shown no interest, the Bosniak National Council has in the past four years requested that the government approve the establishment of a Regional Agency for the Protection of the Bosniak cultural heritage that would be in the hands of the local government, the establishment request has not been approved.695 7.2.5 Promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding (Article 6) The promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding has not been implemented between Bosniaks and Serbs. The international, national, or regional programs and projects that promote intercultural dialogue in the field of education, culture, and media are currently lacking in the town of Novi Pazar. The programs aiming at combating ethnic hate and intolerance among the younger generations are also lacking in the entire region, despite the fact that the occurrence of incidents is high in that particular age group. The national electronic media, as one of the most effective channels to promote intercultural understanding and tolerance, appears to be doing the opposite for the Bosniak community. The Bosniak minority is nowadays stereotyped in various ways and the majoritys perception of the Bosniak community has been widely influenced by the media, which often reports about the
690 691 692 693 694 695 Interviews 26-27, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 8. Interview 26, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 8. Interview 27, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 11. Interviews 26-27. Interviews 26-27, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 8. Interview 27.

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internal political conflict within the group and the establishment of religious extremism.696 The massive spread of prejudice and stereotypes against Bosniaks began during the 1990s, when the national media started to portray Sandak as the region of secret services, religious extremism, smuggling of goods, illegal trade, drugs, prostitution and trafficking.697 These new attributes were frequently mixed with the traditional and modern elements of Islamophobia, and thereby contributed to a perception of Bosniaks as a threat to national security, and the Sandak region as the next battlefield.698According to the informants, the Bosniak community in the Sandak region is nowadays often portrayed in a negative manner by the national electronic and print media, and the portrayal is dominated with stereotypes and alarming news about terrorist networks and incidents.699 There is widespread frustration and anger among Bosniaks regarding the dark portrayal of the group by the national media, which according to the informants spreads prejudice and stereotypes when only choosing to report about the bad news, while ignoring to focus on the positive aspects of their cultural and social life.700 The discrimination takes place within the informative channels such as the electronic media, financed by the national budget. The informative channels do not provide national minorities with enough space for their cultural, educational, economic and political debate. Semiha Kaar, The Sandak Committee for Human Rights 7.2.6 Right to receive information in a minority language (Article 9) The right to receive information in a minority language has not been fully implemented in Novi Pazar. The town of Novi Pazar has a regional television station, which broadcasts cultural and educational programs in the Bosnian language.701 The regional television in Novi Pazar has recently been granted its own frequency by the government and the municipality has numerous radio stations, which broadcast programs in Bosnian.702 Since regional television covers three out of six Bosniak populated municipalities in the
696 697 698 699 700 701 Interview 26. Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 4. Ibid. Interviews 26 and 29, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 8. Interview 26, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007). Interviews 26-27, The regional television cover three out of six Bosniak populated municipalities in the region. 702 Interview 27, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 9.

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region, the Bosniak National Minority Council has expressed a request for a television station that covers all municipalities where the population is entitled to programs in Bosnian.703 The situation concerning printed media has always been unsatisfactory and two years ago no printed media was available in the Bosnian language within the entire region.704 The Serbian Ministry for Culture and Media is nowadays financing the newspaper called Bosnian word, which is published every three months.705 The government financing of the newspaper is perceived as a serious positive improvement, nevertheless, the current status of printed media in Bosnian is unsatisfactory because the daily or weekly papers in Bosnian are still lacking.706 The national Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) currently does not air special programs that are focusing national minorities and the Bosniak National Minority Council has therefore requested that the national television (RTS) constructs an editorial that will broadcast a TV program, for at least 15-20 minutes a week, about Bosniak culture and tradition or any other aspects of Bosniak social life in Sandak.707 We are in the beginning process of consuming our minority rights and we have Hungarians as a model and cooperation partner for the advancement of the minority cause in Serbia Esad Dudevi, Vice Speaker in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia 7.2.7 Right to official use of language and symbols (Articles 10 and 11) The right to official use of language has not been fully implemented in Novi Pazar. The Municipal Assembly of Novi Pazar has recognized Bosnian and Serbian as the official languages.708 Bosniaks take pride in the fact that Bosnian is recognized as one of the official languages in Serbia, since that is not the case in neighboring Montenegro. Nevertheless, regardless of the recognition the official use in the town of Novi Pazar, the use of the Bosnian language has not been fully implemented.709 The majority of all official administrative and municipal correspondence takes place in Serbian, which is explained as due to a lack of resources on the local level and the lack of financial support from the
703 704 705 706 707 708 709 Interview 27. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). Interviews 26-27. Interview 27. Interviews 26-27. Interview 26-27, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). Interview 27.

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government.710 Two years ago all documents and all official documentation of the Municipal Assembly were in Serbian, and it was not possible to obtain personal or official documents in Bosnian.711 The situation, which still remains unsatisfactory, has slightly improved. The official municipality website is written in Bosnian and the municipal official Information sheet is nowadays being printed in both languages.712 The attempt to implement the use of Bosnian language within the local authorities and within the republic institutions is minimal.713 The town of Novi Pazar lacks bilingual street signs and plates with names of the institutions and authorities.714 According to the informants, the lack of signs is a responsibility of the Bosniak led local government, which cannot afford one million Euros to replace all of the signs in the municipality.715 The Bosniak national minority has not faced difficulties regarding the use of their national symbols, such as the flag, which has been approved by the Serbian Government and is frequently officially and privately exhibited in the region.716 7.2.8 Right to education in a minority language (Articles 12, 13 and 14) The right to education in a minority language has not been fully implemented in the town of Novi Pazar. The Ministry of Education adopted a resolution in 2004, which introduced the Bosnian language with elements of national culture and tradition as an elective subject for pupils in the first and second grade of primary school.717 The elective was introduced in three municipalities in Sandak; Novi Pazar, Tutin and Sjeverin, whereas other Bosniak populated municipalities in the region were denied the same right.718 National minorities in Serbia have three choices regarding education in minority languages, which include: monolingual education in the minority language as the most advanced level of implementation, the bilingual model, and the minority language education with elements of national culture as the least advanced option. According to the informants, Bosniaks have carefully chosen the third option in order to gradually implement the right to education in Bosnian,
710 711 712 713 714 715 716 717 718 Interview 26-27. Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005); p. 18. Available at; http://www.novipazar.org.yu/, also Interview 26. Interview 26, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). Interviews 26-27, also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). Interview 27. Interviews 26-27. Interviews 26-27. Interview 27, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007.), The Bosnian language is not recognized as an official languages in those municipalities.

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which was until 2005 non-existent in the region.719 When Bosnian was introduced as an elective many pupils took advantage of that opportunity, and 3639 out of 5021 Bosniak pupils in Novi Pazar had signed up for the class in Bosnian with elements of national culture in 2007.720 Although Bosniak political representatives are highly satisfied with the recent improvements and the introduction of Bosnian as an elective, they are planning to place Bosnian in the category of compulsory subjects and they wish to introduce additional classes such as Bosnian history and music.721 The books in Bosnian are not being imported from BiH because it is currently impossible to import books from BiH due to a weak state structure and the absence of a unified Ministry of Education.722 The Bosniak representatives from Sandak have not insisted on the importing of books from BiH, but they have investigated the possibility together with the Serbian President, and are hoping that the import will be possible in the future as the situation in BiH becomes more stable.723 The informants did not express concerns regarding higher education and Bosniak students from Sandak attend universities both in Serbia and in BiH, whereas the town of Novi Pazar has two private well-functioning universities, which have both been approved by the Serbian Government.724 7.2.9 Promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between States (Article 2) The promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states has been partially implemented between Serbia and BiH. According to the informants, the current relations and cooperation between Serbia and BiH are satisfactory.725 People are moving freely across borders and a variety of cultural exchanges between associations and organizations in BiH and Sandak take place. There is however frustration, in a segment of the Bosniak elite, over the fact that they have lost the previous held status of a constituent people, which they enjoyed in the former Yugoslavia prior to the wars in the 1990s.726 The
719 Interview 27. 720 Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 10, In the municipality of Tutin 100% of all pupils have chosen Bosnian and 72% of the pupils in Sjenica. 721 Interview 27, also Minority rights in Sandzak (2007); p. 11. 722 Interview 27. 723 Interview 27. 724 Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005). 725 Interviews 25-29. 726 Interviews 25-27.

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loss of a previous held status and a transformation into a national minority is perceived and considered as a degradation of a previous achieved rights, and some prominent politicians are nowadays being accused for participating in the process, which led to the loss of a previously held constituent status.727 One of the motivations and arguments behind their dissatisfaction derives from the fact that Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina still enjoy a status of a constituent people, which they were able to retain after the Balkan wars.728 7.2.10 Right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers (Article 17) The right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers has been implemented. Bosniaks from Novi Pazar and the entire Sandak region are not prohibited from maintaining free and peaceful contacts with Bosniaks in BiH and Montenegro. 7.3 Summary The two provisions from the Framework Convention that are currently implemented in the town of Novi Pazar are the right to a freedom of religion, and the right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers. The rights that have been partially implemented include; the right to official use of language and symbols; the right to receive information in minority language; the right to education in minority language; the right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity; and the promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states. The narrowest scope of implementation is found concerning: prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality; participation in public authorities; and the promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding. It is important to note that the town of Novi Pazar is a location in the Sandak region with the most advanced picture of minority rights implementation. The improvement of minority rights in the towns of Novi Pazar, Sjenic and Tutin municipalities has progressed; however, Bosniaks fear that the government and regional powers are trying to limit the implementation of minority rights in those three municipalities. The

727 Interview 27. 728 Interview 25.The constituent people status is tied to the issues concerning Serbs in Republika Srpska in BiH.

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implementation situation is different in the municipalities where Bosniaks are not in the absolute majority and where little or no implementation progress has been recorded.729 The implementation of minority rights has significantly improved, nevertheless, Bosniaks are currently in the beginning stages of minority rights consumption due to the previous lack of a national minority status and the lack of an official language. The Bosnian language has been recognized as an official language, and improvements have been achieved regarding implementation of the right to education in a minority language and the right to receive information in a minority language. Nevertheless, the participation of Bosniaks in the public authority institutions has remained unsatisfactory, and the failure to preserve and revitalize cultural heritage has raised frustration in the region where Bosniaks can observe massive renovation and construction sites for Serbian cultural heritage. There is a strong feeling of threatened identity, as well as collective territorial and cultural survival, characterized with low confidence in authorities, politicians and the government. While some improvements can be noticed concerning Bosniak representation in the courts and the judiciary, Bosniak participation in the public authorities has increased mostly by means of the political engagement of Bosniak representatives. The most recent election of the Bosniak parliamentarians is not perceived as significant, and no major changes are expected to happen on the local level as a result of the election, due to a low level of trust and confidence in politicians. The informants have, however, expressed more confidence in representatives from minority political parties while representatives of the mainstream parties are perceived untrustworthy. The Bosniak National Council, which consists of Bosniak regional politicians and current parliamentarians, has managed to successfully push for the increased implementation of minority rights and the parliamentarians believe that their election has contributed in lowering interethnic tensions on the local level in the region. The Sandak region remains one of the least economically developed regions in the country with undeveloped agriculture and a weakened smallscale economy. The National Strategy for Regional Development and the foreign investments, including development projects, are expected to aid in economic development in the years to come. The level of social distance
729 The three remaining municipalities are Priboj, Prijepolje and Nova Varos.

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between Bosniaks and Serbs is low in the town of Novi Pazar where the intimate interethnic local social interaction remained intact even during the war. Although the informants argue that there is no future risk of conflict in the region, and are angered over the dominant portrayal of the region as the next battlefield, there are currently several factors, which are interacting and creating instability. The unresolved status of Kosovo; previous human rights abuses; the internal political conflicts within the group; the division of the region between two states; the low level of trust in the public authorities; the lack of economic development as well as the recent development of the Vahhabism network have created a long-lasting atmosphere of inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic tensions characterized with general instability in the Sandak region.

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8. ANALYSIS Despite fluctuating post-conflict minority politics and policies, the research data indicates that the implementation of minority rights has significantly improved in all four examined locations in Serbia, when compared to the situation in 2005.730 Implementation improvements encompass a wide range of government supported measures, such as increased access to information and education in a minority language as well as a variety of affirmative action measures, including the establishment of the multiethnic police in the Albanian-populated Bujanovac, and increased representation of Bosniaks in the courts of Novi Pazar.731 The Vojvodina region and the town of Subotica have undergone increased promotion of intercultural dialogue and diminished occurrence of interethnic incidents, whereas the Roma community in the city of Ni has made use of improvement measures induced by the Decade of Roma National Action Plan.732 The improvement of the minority situation was noticed by a special reporter for the European Parliament when visiting Serbia in August of 2007, who noted several general improvements, especially in Vojvodina.733 For a country in Serbias position; characterized with a weak democracy, socio-economic difficulties, fragile institutional structures, and a deeply polarized political environment with nationalist undercurrents, the implementation of minority rights is not as catastrophic as one would expect. The remains of a history of multiethnic and multi-confessional tolerance characterized with a wide respect for minority rights can only to a limited extent explain the non-catastrophic state of minority rights, whereas the external monitoring pressure, induced by the ratification of international instruments, and the internal will of the new democratic government to steer the nation toward membership in the EU are additional factors. The most severe implementation challenges derive from the current national socio-economic and legislative post-conflict transitional instability; and from

730 The situation in 2005 is in detail described in the Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR, also see Chapters 4-7. 731 Chapter s 4-7. 732 Chapter 4 and 7. 733 Available at; http://www.danas.co.yu/20070829/ dogadjajdana1.html, visited on August 29, 2007.

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the problematic issues left by a decade of repression, including human rights violations and the dramatic reduction of minority rights that took place in the country during the 1990s. Minority politics in Serbia have gone through three different stages of development; and the current post-conflict stage exhibits both recent setbacks and positive achievements. The abolishment of important minority laws and institutions after the disintegration of the State Union;734 the failure to develop and change minority relevant legislations735 and the reduced protection of minority rights in the new Constitution, including the removal of the right to minority representation in the parliament and the right to equal representation in the public institutions and bodies of the local selfgovernment, fall under the category of recent normative setbacks.736 The transformation of the citizenship-based Constitution, purely symbolically valid during Miloevi rule, into an ethnicity-based Constitution which was negatively perceived by the minorities, clearly indicates an attempt to deal with the majoritys national identity crisis. However, in a country where both the majority and the many minorities are undergoing deep identity crises, one should expect that as the Serbian majority becomes more secure in its own identity, it will gradually become more tolerant and accepting of the accentuated expression of minority identity, and thereby the necessity to regress to a negatively perceived definition of Serbia as a country of Serbian people and other citizens.737 The ethnicity-based Constitution does not necessarily have to lead to the diminished respect and tolerance of minorities, the contrary might be true, just like the citizenship-based Constitution, valid during the ethno-political decade of the 1990s, did not stand for majorityminority equality and respect for minority rights but rather the opposite. Despite various legislative shortcomings and a decrease of previously attained minority protection in the new Constitution, implementation of minority rights has significantly improved, and minority participation and
734 The abolishment of the Small Charter as one of the most comprehensive minority laws and the abolishment of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights are only two examples. 735 The adoption of anti-discrimination laws, minority exemption for the law on Radio Diffusion and the absence of systematic legislative solutions regarding education in minority language and import of books are some of the examples. 736 Available at: http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/cinjenice_o_srbiji/ ustav.php#top, visited on December 7, 2007. 737 The similar development can be observed in neighboring Croatia, which has in the last years exhibited more respect for national minorities despite the ethnicity-based Constitution.

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political representation on the national and the local level have increased. Research results further indicate that the normative impairments do not necessarily have to result in diminished implementation of minority rights. The increased inclusion of minority parties in the Serbian national political scene stands for the most recent positive development, which is expected to advance implementation of minority rights on the regional and the local level. The current implementation improvements represent a combination of factors and are to an extent thr result of the external monitoring pressure, and the internal political will to move closer to EU membership. Additionally, a firm legislative ground of legal reform that was established during the first few years of the democratic changes: when several national discriminatory laws were abolished738; when new minority laws based on international standards were developed and adopted;739 and numerous international conventions were ratified,740 paved the way for a gradual and consistent minority rights implementation. Lastly, successful economic reforms and high economic growth rates during the last three years have directly and indirectly contributed to an improved implementation situation, especially when considering minority groups that are responsible for the budget and political power on the local level.741 Serbia has successfully handled the definition of national minorities, which is highly inclusive and flexible in its nature. The inclusive national minority definition has prevented internal conflicts between many minority groups and the government concerning national minority status. However, a high number of national minorities indicates that the country is most likely going to face future implementation difficulties; since it can nowadays be observed that numerically smaller minority groups are organizing and aiming to achieve the same scope of rights implementation as larger groups. The four examined national minority groups have placed high hopes in the upcoming
738 The electoral laws were changed which enabled minorities to gain political power on the local level. The special conditions for real estate business, which stipulated that minorities had to request permission when purchasing immovable from a member of Serbian nationality, Minority and Election (2007), p. 8. 739 Law on the Protection of National Minorities from 2002, the Omnibus Law etc. 740 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, European Convention on Human Rights etc. 741 The GDP rate in 2006 was 5.8% and in 2005 the rate was 6.3%. Foreign direct investments reached record levels. The foreign investment has not been as high in minority regions as in the non-minority dominated regions. Nevertheless, economic progress has also stretched to economically undeveloped minority regions. Available at: http://webrzs. statserb.sr.gov.yu/axd/en/index1.php?SifraV=157&Link=, visited on December 7, 2007.

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development of decentralization of power, which is expected to increase their regional and local influence. Nevertheless, many have failed to recognize that the increased regional autonomy and decentralization will most likely bring into focus new minorities in the region, and thereby result in new challenges, this time in the hands of the local government. The Serbian minorities within minorities phenomenon could result in a complexity in which a national legislation or a policy designed to protect one national minority may end up creating the need to protect the rights of a new minority.742 Nevertheless, decentralization and regionalization will most likely in the long run bring increased economic development to minority-populated regions. Serbia is currently facing numerous challenges, as do all other European countries that are attempting to implement the provisions stipulated in the Framework Convention. Some provisions, such as the right to receive information in a minority language and the right to education in a minority language, exhibit a wider scope of implementation in Serbia than in some Western European countries.743 The common denominators, such as the lack of a coherent national minority policy and the absence of coordination among state institutions regarding minority policy, frequently result in a less comprehensive and systematic approach to minority rights implementation in Serbia, as elsewhere in Europe. In that kind of environment there is a great risk that important minority rights issues fall in the hands of individual decision makers such as the Minister of Education, which has been the case in Serbia with issues concerning all four examined groups. The absence of a coherent and coordinated minority policy tends to result in inconsistency and frustration, whereas some of the major normative implementation challenges include Serbias failure to develop, adopt, and change legislations that are directly affecting national minorities.744 The majority of European governments show huge divergence in their approach to different minorities. The divergence are often reflected in the
742 Guzina D. (2000); Nation-Building vs. Minority Destroying: MajorityMinority Relations in the Post-Socialist Serbia; p. 39. 743 See the Council of Europe, monitoring of the Framework Convention, available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._framework_ convention_(monitoring)/, visited on September 3, 2007. 744 The absence of a solid and comprehensive anti-discrimination law, the failure to change or exempt minorities from the Law on Radio Diffusion, the ambiguity surrounding the Omnibus Law etc.

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deviant comparative scope of implementation resulting in socio-economic, cultural, and political hierarchy among minorities. The research data indicates that there are multiple differences as well as similarities in the scope of minority rights implementation between the Albanian, Bosniak, Hungarian and Roma minorities, which will be discussed in detail in the following sub-chapter. However, what places Serbia in a special position when compared to other European countries are the identity-based postconflict aspects of a highly politicised regional minority dimensions, and the recent past of accumulated injustice characterized by drastic reduction of minority rights and human rights abuses. The post-conflict heritage and the burden from the 1990s indicate that new minority politics in Serbia does not only have the responsibility to implement minority rights as stipulated in the Framework Convention, but also to provide justice by means of appropriate legal measures and effective reparations for previous human rights abuses. The territorialization of minority issues745 and securitization of ethnic politics746 have additionally contributed more complexity to an already complex minority situation. The unresolved status of the Kosovo province and Albanian claim for territorial independence from Serbia have had a negative effect on the perception of regionally-concentrated minority communities, such as Bosniaks and Hungarians, which are often seen as a threat, and their demands for improved minority rights are misjudged as separatist tendencies. The most recent election results indicate that two post-conflict national minorities, Albanians and Bosniaks, are successfully taking their place in the political scene in Serbia within the framework of their own political parties. Nevertheless, the newly established Serbian Government has a huge challenge ahead of it. While the collective post-conflict wounds and scars are slowly healing, the new minority politics is expected to repair all the damages caused by the previous human and minority rights violations during the ethno-nationalist decade of the 1990s, and to effectively implement new legal national and international minority rights standards. Domestic minority researchers point out that the attempts of the democratic government to formulate a minority policy have been defined as the acceptance under
745 Janjic D., Forum for Ethnic Relations: Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia, p. 3, available at: http://www.fer. org.yu/eng/index-eng.htm, visited on August 13th, 2007. 746 Kymlicka W. (2002); Muliculturalism and Minority Rights: West and East, p. 21.

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pressure of the international community, on one hand, and as giving the right to minority communities as something exclusive belonging only to a dominant majority.747 What has been forgotten or ignored in that debate is that some minority communities748 in Serbia were accustomed to a significantly wider scope of minority rights prior to the situation of the 1990s, and what they are requiring nowadays is an attempt to partially or fully re-establish and regain the enjoyment of the rights that they were previously accustomed to. One of the greatest challenges is the issue of trust and confidence-building between the multiple minorities and the Serbian majority, and even more so between minorities and public authorities. In order to diminish the gap and the barriers that were created during the decade of darkness when minority communities were repressed and isolated, minorities need to be given an opportunity to once again re-enter and integrate into the Serbian society. Guzina (2000), who examined the minority situation in Serbia during the first year of democratic changes, argued that a full application of the principles of the Framework Convention is the first necessary step toward achieving a social unity in a country shared between ethnic majority and various minority groups with their own distinctive languages, culture and history.749 In line with Guzinas argument, the implementation of minority rights as stipulated in the provisions of the Framework Convention provides an effective tool for integration and confidence-building, which allows minorities to develop their identity and to remain different and distinct, but not a separate part of the Serbian society. 8.1 The provisions of the Framework Convention The prohibition of discrimination and promotion of effective equality (Article 4) has not been fully implemented in any of the four examined locations. The Roma national minority in the city of Ni is currently undergoing the most extensive promotion of effective equality initiated by the national affirmative action measures as part of the Decade of Roma Inclusion Action Plan. The Roma are the only examined national minority group that has officially acknowledged discrimination and severe structural inequalities, as well as the only group that has recently won an anti-discrimination case in the
747 Forum for Ethnic Relations, Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia, p. 3, available at: http://www.fer.org.yu/eng/index-eng.htm, visited on August 13th, 2007. 748 Both Albanians in the Presevo Valley and Hungarians in Vojvodina have expressed a wish to regain some of the rights that they enjoyed prior to the Balkan wars during the 1990s. 749 Guzina D. (2000); Nation-Building vs. Minority Destroying: MajorityMinority Relations in the Post-Socialist Serbia, p. 40.

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court.750 One of the explanations behind the extensive national affirmative action measures has to do with the continuous external pressure and financial support from the international community for the Roma cause in Serbia, while other factors include effective work of Roma NGOs and growing awareness of Roma disadvantage, accompanied with low levels of political cost when addressing those issues.751Albanians in the municipality of Bujanovac and Bosniaks in Novi Pazar are officially denying individual discrimination. However, they acknowledge that the lack of economic development in their marginalized regions requires adequate and immediate measures. The Hungarian minority, as a minority with the most advanced minority rights implementation, has also officially denied discrimination, while recognizing the regional need for increased decentralization as measure toward effective and comprehensive equality. The official denial of discrimination among the three national minority groups is believed to be a result of an increased politicisation process concerning minority issues, under which complaints and requests are pragmatically balanced and calculated. It is additionally interesting to note that the minority groups that hold the power on the local level are officially denying discrimination because of the contradiction that could derive out of the opposite statement. It is after all highly incongruous that a minority, which represents a demographic local majority and holds the political power, can simultaneously face discrimination. Another contributing factor to the official denial of discrimination is related to the fact that Serbia has not yet adopted a comprehensive antidiscrimination law. The struggle to combat discrimination against minorities is one of the common European denominators and while many countries in South East Europe lack solid anti-discrimination legislations, the countries in North Western and Central Europe are attempting to implement their recently adopted anti-discrimination legislations.752 The current Serbian legislations, including the Serbian Constitution753, address discrimination in a general manner and offer only limited protection against discrimination, which is many times difficult to prove even with the most effective laws. Although competent Roma NGOs, such as the Minority Rights Center,
750 Available at: http://www.mrc.org.yu/?id_tekst=49&sta=saopstenja, visited on August 27, 2007. 751 Available at: http://www.mrc.org.yu/?sta=prva&jezik=srpski, visited on August 27, 2007. 752 Many countries in the North Western and Central Europe have developed and adopted effective anti-discrimination legislations that are less than 10 years old. 753 Available at; http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/cinjenice_o_srbiji/ustav_odredbe.php?id=218.

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have been successful at addressing ethnic discrimination in courts by solely relying on the Constitution, it is necessary to develop and adopt more detailed and comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.754 When individual ethnic discrimination is not sufficiently legally defined, the same act can be difficult to define socially and thereby present officially. National minority representatives and politicians in Serbia are highly aware of their rights as guaranteed by the international and national standards. The National Minority Councils, minority run non-governmental organizations and minority politicians, as the official voices of minority communities, have widely supported and backed their claims and requests with both international and national existing provisions and legislations, including the Framework Convention. It should therefore be expected that the issues of ethnic discrimination would eventually appear on the agenda of minority representatives and minority NGOs when Serbia adopts comprehensive antidiscrimination laws that offer sufficient normative and legal support. The right to participation in public authorities (Article 15) has not been fully implemented in any of the four locations despite the fact that all minority groups, except the Roma, hold political power on the local level. All four examined national minority groups have officially acknowledged the lack of minority representation the in public authority institutions. Albanians in Bujanovac and Bosniaks in Novi Pazar have conducted investigations in order to find out in detail the picture of inequality within the public authorities in their region.755 The only affirmative action program that has addressed inequality within authorities was the establishment of the multiethnic police force in the Preevo Valley, initiated and supported by the OSCE and the Serbian Government. The aim of the program was to establish multiethnic police in order to prevent future conflicts and to induce increased levels of trust between Albanians and the police in the region. The attempts to establish multiethnic police were not initiated in Subotica or elsewhere in Vojvodina after the wave of ethnic incidents and assaults against Hungarians, and no attempts have been introduced in Novi Pazar, which has suffered grave human rights violations by the police force during the 1990s, and is nowadays still dealing with extremely low levels of trust in authorities. Roma in the city of Ni have no representatives in the police force or in any other public authorities, which
754 Available at; http://www.mrc.org.yu/. 755 Minority Report in Bujanovac (June 200), Novi Pazar Report (July 2007).

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is explained with the lack of educated and trained individuals belonging to that particular minority group. Although, the minority representation in the judiciary and courts has improved concerning Albanians in Bujanovac and Hungarians in Subotica, it remains unsatisfactory. The widest scope of improvement in the promotion of equality in the judiciary and courts can be noted in Novi Pazar, where Bosniak judges are in the majority at the District and Municipal Courts. Nevertheless, Bosniaks remain underrepresented at the Public Prosecutors office and at the municipal administration. The right to freedom of religion (Articles 7 and 8) has been implemented in all four locations. All four examined national minority groups have access to religious sites and institutions with well-functioning religious services, conducted in an undisturbed manner. The respect for religious rights can be assigned to a tradition of religious tolerance and a long history of religious and ethnic diversity. It is however, unclear how the religious rights of minorities will be affected in the future when taking into consideration current religious revival among the Serbian majority.756 It can be observed that Serbia is nowadays financing massive reconstructions and constructions of religious sites, a practice has not gone unnoticed before the critics. The Government National Investment Plan for the years 2007-2011 is aiming to spend a total of 15 million Euro for the renovations and reconstructions of the Serbian Orthodox religious sites and monasteries, which is five times more than the budget for the renovations of libraries and local museums in the entire nation for the same time period.757 The massive financing of the Serbian religious revival from the national budget has in the recent years resulted in criticism on behalf of Serbian printed media and has caused frustration among minorities such as Bosniaks, who feel discriminated against because their religious sites and heritage are being marginalized and ignored by the government institutions. Although support for the Serbian religious revival can strengthen and affirm the cultural identity of a majority undergoing identity crisis and over time result in more tolerance toward other religions, it can also result in negative consequences for the affirmation of multiculturalism

756 When it was in 2003 established that only 11% of Serbian children in Vojvodina attended religious education whereas approximately 70% of minority children, mostly Catholics, attended same education legal measures were taken to increase attendance of Serbian children. 757 The religious sites and monasteries include those in Serbia, Hungary, BiH, Croatia and Montenegro. Danas, 25 July, 2007.

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and tolerance if combined with nationalism and a discriminatory attitude toward minority religious sites. The right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity (Article 5) has been implemented among Hungarians in Subotica and only partially implemented on the minimum level among Romanies in the city of Ni, who still mostly depend on international donors for a highly limited spectrum of cultural projects. The lowest level of implementation is found among Albanians in Bujanovac, a minority group that is entirely lacking cultural associations and institutions, while frequently prevented from cultural exchange with Albanians in Kosovo, which has caused frustration in the community. The Bosniak minority on the other hand is not entirely lacking cultural associations; however, they have expressed deep concern over the status of their cultural heritage, which has been decaying for decades. Bosniaks are experiencing an alarming sense of endangered collective existence, which encompasses the existence of their cultural heritage and their existence as an ethnic group concentrated within a confined region. Government organs have in the past ignored to invest in the preservation and the development of their cultural heritage and the reluctance to support the survival of the Bosniak cultural heritage is perceived as a collective discriminatory act based on historical implications.758 The vast majority of Bosniak cultural heritage can be classified as a religious heritage, and it is therefore important to point out that the socialist system of the former Yugoslavia tolerated the existence of a broad religious diversity but did not provide active support for the maintenance and preservation of religious cultural heritage, regardless of the religious affiliation. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the Serbian Government is primarily massively investing in the renovation and preservation of Serbian cultural religious sites, which have also been neglected for decades.759 However, the continued ignorance or the unequal support for the development of minority cultural heritage is most likely going to have a negative effect on the future confidence-building efforts.
758 Bosniak representatives claim that the current and previous Serbian history narrative portrays all forms of Islamic or Turkish cultural heritage on the Serbian territory as remains of an occupational foreign power and thereby something that does not necessarily have to be preserved and nurtured. 759 The religious revival and investments in the religious cultural sites also reflects a way of dealing with a post-conflict identity crisis and a post-Yugoslav nationalism.

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Bosniak populated Novi Pazar and Albanian populated Bujanovac are situated in the two least economically developed regions in the country, and in both locations minority political parties hold the power of the local government. If the Government Strategy for Regional Development 2007-2012, and the future international investments and development agencies succeed in improving the economic situation in the two regions; and if the new awaited law on decentralized regulations of the local government gets adopted, one should expect that the local minority governments will gradually use those new economic opportunities of the local budget in an attempt to preserve and develop cultural heritage, as it has been done in economically developed Subotica by the ruling Hungarian minority. Nevertheless, equal distribution of the national budget and all Government initiated attempts to aid in equal development of culture and the preservation of cultural heritage in the minority populated regions, and especially in the regions where the two post-conflict minorities reside, cannot be emphasized enough since it carries both symbolic and practical meaning with positive confidence-building consequences resulting in concrete affirmation of multiculturalism. Promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding (Article 6) has been implemented in Subotica only, among the Hungarian national minority. The initiation of projects aiming at promotion of the intercultural dialogue and understanding in the fields of education, culture and media took place in Vojvodina after the occurrence of massive ethnic incidents against members of minority communities, indicating a negative mass incident as catalyst for a necessary change. The projects were and are still funded by the Serbian Government, the Autonomous Government of Vojvodina, as well as by various international donors, who are unfortunately more frequently withdrawing their funds. The Serbian Government has in general done little to promote intercultural dialogue on the regional and the national level in the fields of education and culture whereas the content of the national media stands for one of the major obstacles in the process. Minorities perceive the national electronic and printed media as a huge obstacle that often portrays minority communities through stereotypes. Romanies have been mostly effected by stereotypes and prejudice linked to a various forms of Antiziganism whereas both Albanians and Bosniaks have been stamped by the media as terrorism inducing minorities. There are no programs on the national television that broadcast about minorities cultural, linguistic, and traditional attributes and 154

minorities are seldom portrayed in a positive manner on national television.760 The national television and a vast majority of printed media pay attention to minorities mostly when negative events occur, which often reinforces already existing stereotypes.761 The negative stereotypical portrayal of minorities by the media is widening the gap between the majority and minority cultures, and thereby hinders the promotion of intercultural understanding. One of the most positive recent trends derives from the election of minority parliamentarians, who have more frequently taken place in a more positive spotlight of the national media when given the chance to communicate their objectives. It is however unfortunate that the promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding within different social and cultural fields appear as an underestimated tool for conflict prevention and minority integration in present-day Serbia. In addition, minorities are under the same provision (Article 6) guaranteed protection against hostility and violence based on their identity. While the court in the city of Ni has on several occasions in the past years managed to prosecute and convict individuals for racially or ethnically motivated hate crimes against Roma, representing some of the first cases in the country, only minimal and insufficient legal measures have been taken to protect other minorities.762 There are no recent records of ethnically motivated crime charges or convictions taking place in Novi Pazar and Subotica, where violent ethnic incidents are common among younger generations. The seemingly stronger protection of Roma against hostility can be explained by the fact that the widespread violence against Roma has become difficult to ignore under the effective monitoring of national and international organizations. The courts in Vojvodina have been extremely reluctant to address ethnically motivated assaults and hate crimes against Hungarians and other minorities in the region. When compared with Hungarians, Romas success concerning discrimination and violent assaults can also be explained as a matter of low political cost for the Serbian Government, since the violence against Hungarians was previously internationally politicised and addressed by the
760 See Chapters 4-7 for more details. 761 The trial against the captured members of the Wahhabism network; the newspaper reports about the internal religious and political conflicts within the Bosniak community in Sandzak and the outbreaks of inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic violence during local elections are only few examples of a negative and stereotype inducing portrayal of Bosniaks. 762 Information about the conviction available at: http://www. hlc-rdc.org/, visited on August 29, 2007.

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kin-state and the European Parliament and hence perceived as a politically costly matter. Romanies, as a highly dispersed and loyal national minority group without a nation kin-state, pose no threat to the national integrity of Serbia and thereby lower political cost when convicting the perpetrators and amending hate crime injustice. The right to receive information in minority language (Article 9) has been either fully or nearly fully implemented in all four examined locations. The right to freedom of expression encompasses the non-discriminatory access to media, including local and national electronic and printed media. While the national media is characterized with minority absence and stereotyping, all four minority groups have access to public and/or private television and radio stations on the local level, which daily broadcast programs in minority languages. In addition, all minority groups, except the Roma that do not have a standardized version of Romany, have varying access to printed local media in a minority language. The future of minorities equal access to electronic media is nowadays threatened by the Law on Radio and Diffusion, which aims at full national privatization of all electronic media.763 Minorities have taken action and requested an exemption from the law, while they fear that if the law remains unchanged it could come to diminish and severely degrade an already achieved and attained satisfactory level of minority access to media. The current access to electronic media in minority languages, especially in Vojvodina as well as other regions in Serbia, is exemplary when compared to the situation in some more economically developed European countries and one can only hope that it will remain exemplary in the years to come. The right to official use of language and symbols (Article 10 and 11) has only been implemented in Subotica in the majority of the municipal institutions. Romanies in Ni have no access to official use of language due to the absence of a standardized version of the Romany language, while it appears that the need and support for the official use of Romany is weak among Romanies who tend to view various forms of social integration, rather than separation, as their primary goal.764 The Albanian and Bosnian languages are recognized as official languages in Bujanovac and Novi Pazar. There is, however, a wider access to official documents and correspondence in Albanian than in the
763 See Chapter 6 for more details. 764 See Chapter 4 for more details.

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Bosnian language, which has significantly narrower scope of implementation and application. The reasons behind the diversion of the official use of Albanian and Bosnian will be discussed in detail in the upcoming comparative section. All three minority groups, except Hungarians in Subotica, are to some extent lacking bilingual official signs and street names and although the town of Subotica has a sufficient amount of bilingual signs, the entire Vojvodina region and the municipality do not. Albanians in Bujanovac have access to bilingual signs on many of the municipal institutions and the name of towns whereas Roma and Bosniaks mostly lack bilingual municipal and street signs. The town and street names in the Sandzak region are predominantly pronounced and written the same in the Serbian and Bosnian languages. The major difference lies in the alphabet since the Serbian alphabet consists of Cyrillic letters and Bosnian consists of Latin letters.765 The complete lack of municipal and other signs in Romany can be traced to the lack of the political will and resources, as well as little interest in those signs among the Roma community. Albanian access to bilingual signs has significantly improved in the past few years but according to the informants it remains limited and unsatisfactory.766 The establishment of bilingual signs carries more symbolic than practical value, indicating that the new era with increased respect for ethnic and linguistic diversity has started, which recognizes traditional minority names and territorial belonging. While the government is responsible for providing bilingual signs on the republican institutions, the local governments are responsible for the municipal and all other local signs.767 Romanies expressed little interest in bilingual sings apart from possibly a few street names named after traditional Romany designation, whereas Hungarians expressed dissatisfaction with the insufficient amount of signs in the entire region, including at the republican institutions and locations where Serbs stand for a demographic majority.768 Albanians and Bosniaks on the other hand claimed that the lack of bilingual signs was to a large extent their own fault
765 In some cases concerning municipal and other signs there is also a difference in dialect since Serbian is based on ekavski and Bosnian is based on ijekavski dialect. 766 See Chapter 5 for more details. 767 The approval from the government is needed if the group wants to change the name of the streets or settlements instead of adding the name written in a minority language. 768 See Chapters 4 and 6 for more details.

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because the local governments, due to economic scarcity, could not prioritize to change the signs, which could cost millions of Euros.769 Albanians are the only national minority group that has faced difficulties with the use of national symbols such as the flag. The Albanian problem with the use of the flag is multidimensional, and one of the factors in the line of argument is the fact that the flag has been previously approved for use in Serbia, and is still approved for use in Montenegro and Macedonia.770 The frustration over the degradation of a previously attained right combined with the unresolved status of the Kosovo province and the recent history of armed conflicts are all additional contributing factors in the fight over the use of the flag. The right to education in a minority language (Article 12, 13 and 14) has been differently implemented in Albanian, Bosnian, and Hungarian. There are currently three different alternatives for education in a minority language in Serbia. The first alternative is monolingual education in a minority language with a few hours of Serbian a week; the second is the bilingual model, and the third is education in Serbian with an elective or a mandatory class in a minority language, including elements of culture. The first monolingual alternative, practiced by Albanians in Bujanovac and Hungarians in Subotica, has resulted in ethnically segregated school systems. The new phenomenon of segregated schools can also be found among Romanies in the city of Ni who do not enjoy the right to education in a minority language, which can be explained with the lower minority status and the absence of a standardized version of Romany. However, the difference between Roma, Albanians, and Hungarians is the fact that the Roma segregation is involuntary, whereas Albanian and Hungarian school segregation is voluntary and one of the preferred methods of combating assimilation while preserving cultural and linguistic identity. The hierarchy among minorities is clearly evident when examining the right to education in a mother tongue, and while Hungarians are establishing schools for specially gifted children, Roma children are non-proportionally represented in the schools for the mentally challenged.771 The education in Bosnian has recently

769 See Chapters 5 and 7 for more details, also interviews with Albanian and Bosniak representatives. 770 See Chapter 5 for more details. 771 See Chapters 4 and 6 for more details.

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been introduced as an elective that includes elements of culture and tradition, however, the political aim of the Bosniak representatives is to establish the Bosnian language as a compulsory subject.772 Prominent minority rights advocates and domestic researchers have expressed criticism regarding separate schools for minorities, which they believe do not promote understanding between communities and should be avoided unless they are essential for pupils security.773 The issue of bilingual education has been one of the biggest challenges for the countries in North Western and Central Europe who are attempting to implement the provisions in the Framework Convention, and while not knowing what educational models to adopt, the discussion has been focused on bilingual and not monolingual education even in the most advanced implementation cases.774 The post-conflict minority situation in Serbia is exceptional and the issues surrounding education in Albanian and Hungarian are extremely delicate since the two minority groups, despite access to monolingual education in minority language, are not satisfied with the educational situation especially concerning the import of books, as well as the quality and development of the educational structures. In both cases educational issues have been one of the reasons for emigration, and in the Hungarian case, the improvement of the monolingual Hungarian secondary schools has helped to reverse the negative emigration trend.775 While the bilingual model might be an ideal in the Western context, it would be unwise for international organizations to advocate for implementation of the bilingual education in post-conflict Serbia among minorities that are already entitled access to monolingual education. The extremes of the ethno-nationalist decade marked with significantly decreased and deprived enjoyment of minority rights, has resulted in a sense of threatened collective cultural identity, which has led toward minority hunger and desperate need for distinctiveness. This is why domestic minority rights experts have suggested that the only way to integrate minorities is by feeding the hunger
772 See Chapter 7 for more details. 773 Baldwin C.& Chapman C.& Gray Z. (2007); p.11, also Forum for Ethnic Relations (2006), also Implementation of the Framework Convention (2005), by YIHR. 774 Discussed at the Minority Symposium in Uppsala, November 16, 2007, also information Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._ framework_convention_(monitoring)/, visited on September 21, 2007. 775 See Chapter 6 for more details.

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and allowing them to re-integrate on their own terms.776 What might appear as an excessive and dangerous claim, from an integration point of view, is an attempt to improve and regain the previous scope of rights, as well as a desperate call for full compensation for previous deprivation.777 The right to promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between states (Article 2) has been implemented between Serbia and Hungary while it does not apply to Roma as a national minority without a kin-state. Hungarians, however, frequently point out that the status of the Serbian national minority in Hungary is much better than the status of Hungarians in Serbia, which can be to a certain extent attributed to the numerically smaller Serbian community and the economically stronger Hungary.778 The cooperation between Serbia, Albania and BiH appeared satisfactory during the research period. Nevertheless, Bosniaks and Albanians do not consider that Article 2 has been implemented and they are not satisfied with the promotion of friendly relations with Albania, Kosovo and BiH.779 Albanians have expressed complaints since the promotion of all relations and cooperation between the Preevo Valley and Kosovo780 have been hindered, and they believe that the cooperation between Serbia and Albania could be significantly improved especially in the field of education.781 Bosniaks on the other hand are satisfied with the cooperation between Serbia and BiH, although dissatisfied over the loss of a previously held status, namely the status of a constituent people.782 The current national minority status is therefore perceived as the degradation of status among some circles, which is contrasted with the fact that Serbs in BiH still enjoy the status of a
776 Interviews with Goran Miletic and Dragan Popovic. 777 The access to education in Hungarian drastically decreased during the 1990s in both the primary and secondary education. 778 It is important to point out that the Serbian minority in Hungary is numerically much smaller than Hungarian minority in Serbia and that Hungary is nowadays more economically developed when compared to Serbia. 779 It is in this context important to note that Kosovo was not recognized as a separate state during the duration of the research and thereby does not necessarily enjoy the status of a kin-state as stipulated in the Framework Convention. The Serbian government has officially stated that they will never recognize Kosovo as an independent state and thereby not accept the validity of a kin-state status. Albanian minority in Serbia on the other views Kosovo as an independent state and as a kin-state. Additionally see Chapters 5 and 7 for more details. 780 The Serbian Government, however, does not recognize Kosovo as a state and thereby current and future complications. 781 See Chapter 5 for more details. 782 See Chapter 7 for more details.

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constituent people. It is in this context important to note that Bosniaks783 were during the Yugoslav federation a constituent people on the federal level in BiH, and they did not have that particular status on the republican level in the Socialist Republic of Serbia, whereas Serbs held the constituent status on the federal and the republican level in Croatia, BiH and Serbia during the same time period.784 When the Yugoslav federation began to gradually dissolve during the 1990s, the constituent status issue became highly problematic. Bosniaks in Serbia lost their constituent status on the federal level as a result of the dissolution of the Yugoslav federation and not in Serbia per se since they never held that particular status on the republican level in Serbia.785 Serbs on the other hand who held the constituent status on the republican level in BiH during the Yugoslav federation kept that status even after the dissolution of the federation. From the constitutional point of view, the current Bosniak status in Serbia is not a degradation of status, however, it is perceived as such based on the regional post-conflict political implications and collective suffering in Serbia during the 1990s. The right to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers (Article 17) is a right that is negatively formulated, which means that the state should not hinder but it does not have to promote free and peaceful contacts across frontiers. The right has been implemented among all groups, except Albanians in Bujanovac since Albanians from Kosovo have been prevented from visiting the region even in the context of cultural exchange. The violation of this provision is directly related to the unresolved status of Kosovo as well as the fact that Serbian authorities do not always consider Kosovo issued documents as valid, and the perception that Albanians who enter Serbia are perceived as a potential threat to the national security During the duration of the research, the international community had not recognized Kosovo as an independent state and Serbia is most likely never going to recognize Kosovo as independent, which reflects current and indicates future implementation interpretation complications concerning Article 17 as well as Article 2.786 Nevertheless, from the Albanian perspective all hindering of contacts with Albanians in Kosovo is perceived as a violation of the Article.
783 784 785 786 Bosniaks were officially known as Muslims during the former Yugoslavia. Available at: http://sr.wikipedia.org/sr-el/%D0%A1%D0%A4%D0%A0%D0%88. Ibid. The implication of the terms frontiers and cooperation between states could therefore be scrutinized in post-conflict Serbia-Kosovo relation.

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8.2 Political mobilization and minority rights implementation The uniqueness of the four examined national minority groups lies in their political representation as the only four, out of twenty-four national minority groups, represented in the Serbian Parliament with parliamentarians from genuine minority political parties. The four groups have achieved the highest level of political participation among all national minorities and all groups except Roma in the city of Ni hold the political power on the local level. Albanians, Bosniaks and Hungarians have increasingly gained political power on the local level following the initiation of democratic changes, when several discriminatory electoral laws were abolished, including the electoral majoritarian system. Previous evidence indicates that list proportional representation systems are more successful than majoritarian systems in strengthening minority political representation, as it turned out to be the case on the local and regional level in Serbia.787 When considering participation in the legislative power, minority parties have been exempted from the 5% threshold abolished by the Law on Members of the Parliament in February of 2004. However, numerous problems emerged following the abolishment, and a tension was created between the Law on the Members of the Parliament and an initiative taken by the Serbian Election Commission before the January 2007 elections.788 The Law on the Members of the Parliament stipulates that each election list, including coalitions as well as minority lists, must collect the minimum of 10, 000 signatures, verified by the court, in order to take part in the elections.789 The requirement for the equal amount of signatures for all political parties placed minority parties with numerically smaller number of registered voters in an unequal position. The Serbian Election Commission (RIK) attempted to amend the rule by stipulating in the Election Procedure Guidelines a requirement of 3,000 signatures for minority representatives and when amending the law by a decree-level provision, RIK stepped outside its legal boundaries.790

787 788 789 790

Baldwin C.& Chapman C.& Gray Z. (2007); p.14. Minority and Elections (200); p. 10-11. Ibid. Minority and Elections (200); p. 10-11, The Commission, as an authority organ made a decision which should normally be regulated by the law or the legislative power. This is a typical confusion scenarios in the countries undergoing legal transition, under which laws are changing and are often necessary to modify.

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The Commissions motive was to ease the situation for minority parties and their representatives but the amendment by a decree-level provision resulted in the even more complicated situation. Minority parties were placed in a position to choose between winning a seat in the Parliament through an illegal procedure or to refrain from entering the Parliament altogether.791 The tension was resolved by the Serbian Supreme Court, which decided to reject the complaints at the RIKs decree on minority lists, and when passing the decision in favor of RIK, the Supreme Court invoked and relied on the Serbian Constitution, international human and minority rights standards, and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.792 Although characterized with legislative pre-election complications, the abolishment of the threshold followed by the RIKs initiative, and the decision by the Supreme Court enabled the four national minority groups to enter the Parliament during the elections in January 2007.793 The positive changes in the electoral legislative climate, and the establishment and development of the National Minority Councils, as encouraged by the LPRNM law, have had a positive effect on the political mobilization of the minority communities. Fourteen national minorities have to this date taken advantage and established National Minority Councils, and among the examined groups it is only the Albanians who have failed to establish their own National Minority Council.794 Minority representatives have noted that the establishment of the National Councils has in many cases provided their community with a necessary political experience while they have been able to learn from other national minorities about negative and positive experiences within their National Councils.795 The formation of the highly politicized National Minority Councils has been praised and criticized whereas minority parliamentarians have argued that it is an illusion to think that Councils should refrain from politics, as often expected from the state-funded
791 Minority and Elections (200); p. 10-11. 792 Ibid. 793 YIHR argues that despite Supreme Courts decision and RIKs decree, a fact remains that minorities are not legally guaranteed participation in the legislative power and no special regulation has been adopted to regulate that. In addition the 3, 000 signatures has been criticized for being discriminatory when considering that the number is the same for minorities with a small number of registered voters such as Albanians and Roma and for minorities with large number of voters such as Hungarians and Bosniaks. Minority and Elections (2007), p. 10-11. 794 See Chapter 5 for more details. 795 Interview with Esad Dzudzevic.

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minority institutions.796 The majority of active representatives in the National Minority Councils are experienced regional political profiles. Although with some unresolved structural and functional irregularities, National Minority Councils have helped to clarify basic minority issues, which have gained a momentum and became more politicized in the past several years. Apart from the obvious effect on minority political mobilization, National Minority Councils are directly effecting minority rights implementation because their frame of reference and action is based on the minority selfgovernment of the four main objectives deriving directly from the Framework Convention; namely education in a minority language; official use of language; access to information, and the promotion of minority culture.797 Previous research implies that ethno-political movements have widely used minority rights doctrines, such as the Framework Convention, as frames for ethno-political action and as one of the sources of incentives for collective action.798 It is argued that minority rights documents reflect the views of many politically active minorities and are frequently used by their leaders to exert moral and political pressure on governments to grant them the rights stipulated.799 National Minority Councils main frame of reference indicates that the Framework Convention is being used by the government and the minorities to form, shape, and dictate modern day minority politics in Serbia. The interaction between the normative framework and the political framework illustrates and confirms the interconnected nature between political mobilization and minority rights implementation. Recent inclusion of national minorities in the decision-making process of the legislative power is one of the most positive developments in Serbia, which is expected to have a direct positive effect on the implementation of minority rights. The election of minority parliamentarians has been perceived among the locals, at four examined locations, as a highly positive development that is going to widen the scope of minority rights implementation. Minority parliamentarians are expected to play an important role in the development of the new minority friendly legislations, including the ones concerning
796 Interview with Srdan Sajn. 797 Available at: http://www.mnt.org.yu/en/frame.php?content=1_ cimoldal, visited on November 21, 2007. 798 Gurr T.R. (2000): p. 72-73. 799 Gurr T.R. (2000): p. 73.

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education, access to information, decentralization, and regional economic development. All minority groups, except Bosniaks, who are used to wide mainstream political representation on a national level and a few signs of improvement on a local level, strongly believed that the new parliamentarians are going to achieve positive results leading to socio-economic and cultural improvements for minorities nationally, regionally, and locally.800 Minority political mobilization and organization on the national level has inspired the locals toward increased political action on the local and is thereby expected to result in further more comprehensive improvement of minority rights implementation. When discussing and linking minority rights with conflict prevention, minority rights advocates recognize that political parties based on minority identity provide a vehicle for minority voices to be heard and can thereby contribute to increased minority participation; however, they believe that minority based political parties that promote separate political development for different groups will do little to promote long-term understanding and peace.801 The formation of minority parties has been traditionally viewed as a problem that needs to be counteracted and that it will disappear if properly handled. Kymlicka (2002) on the other hand argues that minority nationalism and ethnic political mobilization did not disappear and fade away in the West as a result of modernization, economic development and democratic consolidation,802 and we should therefore not expect that ethnic political mobilization will fade away in South East Europe as a result of the same mechanisms. Many countries in North Western and Central Europe do not have the same tradition of minority ethnicity-based political parties, which are currently a widespread reality in the post-conflict Balkan region. Nevertheless, the persistence of Scots in the UK as well as the Basks and Catalans in Spain illustrate an existing continuity,803 while recent developments in Belgium and Denmark indicate that even the national minorities in North Western Europe are increasingly politically organizing along ethnic lines in order to achieve

800 See Chapters 4-7 for more details on minority opinions about the election of new parliamentarians. 801 Baldwin C.& Chapman C.& Gray Z. (2007); p.14. 802 Kymlicka W. (2002); Multiculturalism and Minority Rights: West and East; p. 19. 803 Ibid.

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their rights.804 The mainstreaming of issues concerning national minorities has not been successful and scholars argue that the Western democratic model has created a permanent excluded environment concerning numerous longlasting unaddressed minority issues.805 As the new philosophical and political paradigm recognizes the necessity to include participation of the excluded groups, such as national minorities, in the democratic decision-making process806, minority political organization is nowadays becoming recognized as an effective and sometimes only way for minorities to democratically participate on the political scene that will have an effect on their socioeconomic and cultural development, and thereby affect the implementation of minority rights in large. The international community and prominent minority rights advocates, should refrain from attempts to counteract ethnicity-based political activity in Serbia. If ethno-political organization did not cease in the West, it is naive and unrealistic to expect or to push for diminished ethno-political organizations in the Balkans, where so much for so long has been evolving around ethnicity and minority dimensions. Minority political organization is here to stay and should therefore be handled with delicacy. According to Kymlicka (2002), the major difference between ethnic political mobilization in the West and the East is the securitization of ethnic politics, and thereby the central question becomes how to normalize and de-securitize the democratic expression and mobilization of national minorities in Eastern Europe,807 and not whether minority political parties are positive or negative channels for the promotion of long-term understanding and peace, as argued by Baldwin, Chapman and Gray (2007). I argue that one way of normalizing and de-securitizing the democratic expression and mobilization of national minorities in Serbia is by means of effective minority rights implementation via mechanisms of political mobilization. If the implementation of minority rights permeates minority political mobilization a wide spectrum of issues could become de-securitized and normalized with evident and concrete implementation results.
804 The German national minority in Denmark has recently gained political power on the local level as a result of the municipal reform. The Flemish and the Vallonian political parties in Belgium are deeply divided along ethnic line and the questions of increased autonomy have been topping the political debate. 805 Young I.M. (2000); Inclusion and Democracy. 806 Young I.M. (2000); Inclusion and Democracy. 807 Kymlicka W. (2002); Multiculturalism and Minority Rights: West and East; p. 19.

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8.3 Advancement of the model minority: comparison of Bosniaks and Hungarians The Hungarian national minority in Serbia has achieved the most advanced scope of minority rights implementation, and could therefore be regarded as the model minority on the top of the minority hierarchy. Their advancement is often explained with only one single factor, namely the fact that they have a strong kin-state behind them, which has shown the willingness to act internationally in order to protect Hungarians in Serbia, as well as locally since the Hungarian population in Vojvodina enjoys extensive financial aid and donations from an economically more developed Hungary. Nevertheless, the explanation for the Hungarian model minority status and higher advancement of minority rights is multidimensional and it stretches beyond the political and economic support from the kin-state. Hungary and Serbia have not engaged in war in the recent history and hence the absence of a post-conflict situation on the state-level. Hungarians, as one of the largest national minority groups, are primarily concentrated within one large region, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, and they have held a firm national minority status since the 1920s, whereas many other national minority groups, such as Bosniaks and Croats, adjusted and transformed from being a previous constituent people to national minorities during the 1990s. The long-standing national minority status has been a catalyst for a gradual but steady Hungarian political mobilization and structural organization in the region. Vojvodina is a province that has historically been entitled to a wider frame of autonomy, which was significantly reduced in 1989 and to a certain extent regained with the adoption of the Omnibus Law from 2002, which currently regulates the status of the province, including the jurisdiction of provincial administration and the parliament.808 Although the scope of Vojvodinas autonomy is not the same as it was during the years of former Yugoslavia, and the decentralization of power is one of the main current political goals and challenges, the province still retains and operates with much more regional and local autonomy than other minority-populated regions.

808 Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/ akta/zakoni.asp, visited on September 27, 2007.

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Vojvodina Hungarians have never attempted to proclaim external selfdetermination in the form of territorial independence from Serbia, and the Albanian fight for an independent Kosovo is regarded as a non-desirable solution for ethnically diverse Vojvodina.809 The economic situation in Vojvodina is another contributing dimension of differentiation since the province is economically well developed, whereas other minority populated regions in the country are mostly marginalized and economically undeveloped. A collection of interconnected elements has contributed to the advancement of Hungarian minority status in Serbia. The concentration of a large minority group with a long-standing minority status within one region that has traditionally enjoyed a wider scope of autonomy appears to have contributed to the development of a successful political organization within the group, as well as the positive economic development of the region. The unique progress of the Hungarian situation becomes more interesting when contrasted with the Bosniak situation. The implementation of minority rights in Hungarian populated Subotica does not resemble the implementation situation in all of the multiethnic towns, municipalities, and settlements in Vojvodina since Subotica stands for an exemplary sample of minority rights implementation. Nevertheless, when compared to the Bosniak populated Novi Pazar in the Sandak region, which also represents the most advanced example of minority rights implementation among Bosniaks, it becomes evident that some of the crucial advancement elements, found in the Hungarian example, are lacking and most likely effecting minority rights implementation. Both Hungarians and Bosniaks are concentrated in one region close to the border of the kin-state and as multiethnic and multi-confessional, both Subotica and Novi Pazar are known for a long tradition of ethnic tolerance and diversity.810 Both groups have by means of effective political organization achieved the highest levels of political power among all minority groups in Serbia with some of the highest positions in the Parliament and the Government. Despite numerous similarities the differences in the scope of minority rights implementation is striking. While Hungarians in Subotica have enjoyed and still enjoy a broad
809 Interviews 20-24. 810 It is however important to note that Vojvodina has traditionally had a true tradition of interethnic tolerance, which can traced to a high percentage rate (28%) of interethnic marriage, which was significantly higher when compared to all other former Yugoslav republics and autonomous regions. Available at; http://condor.depaul.edu/~rrotenbe/aeer/aeer11_1/botev.html.

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variety of minority rights as described in the provisions of the Framework Convention, including the access to education and information in minority language as well as the promotion of intercultural dialogue and numerous cultural rights, Bosniaks in Novi Pazar have previously enjoyed a highly limited access to minority rights and are currently in the beginning of the process of consuming some of the basic rights.811 The divergence in the implementation of cultural and linguistic rights in Subotica and Novi Pazar is worth special attention. From a perspective of cultural and linguistic rights, Bosnian as a newly standardized language was unlike Hungarian not previously recognized as an existent official minority language, a linguistic status that has been recently granted to the Bosnian language in Serbia. Thus Bosniaks could not request linguistic rights for the use of a minority language that officially did not exist, and therefore obtained narrower scope of the current implementation when compared to Hungarian, which previously had the status of an official minority language. The Yugoslav federation model was generally recognized as a good model characterized with republican autonomy and the ethnic principle of nations (narodi) and nationalities (narodnosti). The model encompassed state-bearing or constituent people (narodi)812; and nationalities or national minorities (narodnosti)813 that also included various ethnic groups814. However, the Yugoslav federation model was a highly complicated model and it created a paradox concerning constituent people outside their designated republic. The Yugoslav federation consisted of constituent people on the federal and republic level, as well as many ethnic and national minority groups that did not hold a status of the constituent people.815 Ethnic groups that enjoyed the status of a constituent people on the federal level and resided outside the designated republic dominated by that particular ethnic group; such as Bosniaks in the Sandak region, Croats in Vojvodina, or Serbs in Montenegro, did not always have the same access to cultural and linguistic rights as did the groups that were not constituent and recognized as a national minority, such as Hungarians in Vojvodina and Italians in Croatia. The wider
811 812 813 814 815 Interviews with Bosniak representatives. Croats, Slovenes, Serbs, Muslims, Montenegrins and Macedonians. Albanians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Italians and Hungarians. Austrians, Greeks, Slovaks and others. Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, available at; http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_Socialist_Federal_Republic_of_Yugoslavia.

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implementation of minority rights for Hungarians and other ethnic groups in a similar position was one way of providing special protection for many minority groups that did not enjoy the higher political status of a constituent people within the multiethnic federation. Other important aspects that need to be taken into consideration are the economical strength of the minoritypopulated regions, and the support provided to maintain cultural, mostly religious heritage. Cultural rights encompass essential elements of identity, namely religion, language, traditions, and cultural heritage.816 The Bosniaks constituent people status granted them with a republic, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which they enjoyed a wide range of cultural rights. However, according to the Bosniak representatives, they were in Serbia recognized and classified as Muslims, and their minority rights in Sandak were to a large extent minimized to the rights of a religious group rather than a national minority group.817 However, the designation Muslim was a national designation and not solely a religious classification term. It is correct that Bosniaks were not recognized as a national minority (narodnost) under the former Yugoslavia, but they were neither solely recognized as a religious group because they were granted a status of a co-founding and state-bearing Yugoslav nation, or a constituent people on the federal level.818 As earlier discussed, Bosniak access to linguistic rights was limited due to the fact that their language was not recognized as an official minority language; however, the remaining elements of their cultural rights have to a large extent revolved around religion because religion was one of the main cultural differences between Serbs and Bosniaks in the Sandak region. This means that other essential elements of the Bosniaks identity such as traditions and cultural heritage were also tied to religion. The main problem regarding the loss of a constituent people status was the fact that Bosniaks were recognized as constituent on the federal level in BiH and not in Serbia, which means that as a constituent people residing outside of the designated republic, Bosniaks had the same status and
816 See Appendix, The Framework Convention, Article 5. 817 Interview with Bosniak parliamentarian Esad Dzudzevic . 818 Guzina D. (2000), In addition the constituent status of Bosniaks was also one of the explanations behind the occurrence of conflict between Serbs and Bosniaks and the absence of that same conflict between Serbs and Hungarians.

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national rights in Serbia as Serbs in Montenegro, Macedonia, or Slovenia. The difference between nations and nationalities was mainly of a political nature without any direct implications for the enjoyment of minority rights. The major problem for Bosniaks in the Sandak region had to do with a lack of a standardized version of the Bosnian language and the late recognition of a national minority status; whereas the enjoyment of cultural rights, which were/are in the Bosniaks cases strongly tied to religious rights, was to a large extent influenced by other factors and not necessarily to the loss of a constituent status on the federal level. The Serbian regime has during the 1990s on several occasions rejected the Bosniak claim for the status of a distinct ethnic group819, due to the Serbian political and territorial interests in BiH, which has to a large extent postponed the initiation and faster realization of the Bosniak national minority status in Serbia. Additionally, Bosniaks have been traditionally regarded as an ethnic group that is culturally and linguistically closer to Serbs820 than Hungarians; who unlike Bosniaks held a national minority status since the 1920s and were regarded as a culturally and linguistically distinct minority. While Bosniaks were expected to gradually assimilate and adopt the official Serbo-Croatian as their mother tongue, the Hungarian national minority status, linguistic and cultural distinctiveness, in combination with other factors such as greater economic development and external support, paved the way for a wider implementation of those rights among Hungarians in Vojvodina. The difference in the enjoyment of cultural rights such as the preservation and development of cultural heritage is another pronounced divergence between the groups. In both cases the preservation of cultural heritage has been tied to the groups religious sites, reflecting Catholicism among Hungarians and Islamic heritage among Bosniaks. Hungarian religious and cultural heritage has been massively preserved and protected thanks to the regional economic advantages as well as advantages resulting from the affiliation with the economically stronger and powerful Roman Catholic Church. Bosniaks predominantly religious cultural sites, have on the other hand, been decaying for decades and are currently perceived by Bosniaks as existentially endangered, due to the dominant perception as being remains
819 Guzina D. (2000); Nation-Building vs. Minority Destroying; Majority-Minority Relations in the Post-Socialist Serbia. 820 Guzina (200) notes that Bosniaks in Serbia were during the ethno-nationalist decade of the 1990s described as a Serbs who have in the past converted to Islam.

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of Islamic foreign occupational heritage.821 The former Yugoslav system did very little to support the development and preservation of religious sites among all ethnic groups, and while difficult to dispute the current negative stereotyping of the Bosniak cultural heritage, Bosniaks have not had the same kind of economic support concerning cultural heritage preservation as Hungarians, whose support predominantly derived from a combination of regional advantages as well as from the Roman Catholic Church, and recently from the economically and politically stronger Hungary.822 When considering current regional economic, demographic, and political dimensions, Bosniaks are, in contrast to Hungarians, a post-conflict constructed, scarred, and internally divided minority residing in an economically undeveloped minority region that lacks the political autonomous structures of Vojvodina. The vast majority of the Bosniak populated municipalities in the Sandak region are currently enlisted by the government as a cluster of highly undeveloped municipalities, whereas all of the Hungarian populated municipalities are situated in Vojvodina, one of the most economically developed regions in Serbia.823 The Bosniak populated Sandak region has recently been divided in a half as a result of the disintegration of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, which has not only weakened and diminished the regional political strength of the currently demographically smaller824 Bosniak community, but also added to the accentuated collective existential fear and deep identity crisis within the group. Before the disintegration of the State Union, the Sandak region was recognized and officially labelled as a distinct Bosniak populated region. According to the informants, after the disintegration the recognition and the labelling of the region as a distinct has diminished, mostly in Montenegro, while the use of the word Sandak
821 Interviews with Bosniak representatives. 822 The preservation of the religious sites was largely ignored during the Yugoslav federation among all groups. 823 Government Strategy for Regional Development (2007). 824 The Bosniak community constituted 45% of the entire Sandzaks population before the disintegration while nowadays they constitute 56% of the population in the Serbian part of Sandzak. Bosniaks have with other words constituted larger identifiable group within the State Union and as a result of the disintegration became numerically smaller. Available at: http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand%C5%BEak In addition the Bosniak community in the Sandzak region was deeply divided because Bosniaks in the Serbian part of Sandzak were against the dissolution of the State Union whereas Bosniaks in the Montenegrin part of Sandzak were for the dissolution because they believed that they would constitute a larger part of the Montenegrin population and thereby gain larger influence than they would have had together with the Serbian Bosniaks in the State Union.

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in the media is more frequently avoided or reduced to municipalities with a Bosniak majority.825 Some of the reasons behind this trend are most likely linked to the territorialization of minority issues. The majoritys fear of minority territorialization derives from the unresolved status of the Kosovo province and a previous history of separatist winds in the Sandak region,826 as well as the fact that the minority vote was recognized as decisive during the independence referendum in Montenegro827, which was perceived by many in Serbia as a disappointing national treason. In terms of divergence concerning political dimensions, internally dividing and destabilizing factors in the Sandak region derive from the political pluralism within the group, which has this far caused a deep polarization in the Bosniak community, and mostly worked against the advancement of the Bosniak cause in Serbia. The Hungarian political scene in Subotica and Vojvodina consists of the same amount of political pluralism as the Bosniak community in Novi Pazar and Sandak. However, the internal division among Hungarians is not as sharp as among Bosniaks since the majority of Hungarians gather around one party, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, which has taken the lead and remained in that position from the start of the political branching.828 It is thereby safe to conclude that the concentrated gathering around one leading political party has had a positive effect, whereas the deep political polarization has had a negative effect on the improvement of the minority situation. The comparison of minority situations between Hungarians in Subotica and Bosniaks in Novi Pazar illustrate some of the strengths that the various advancement mechanisms829 found among Hungarians can bring to the minority rights implementation process.
825 Interviews with Bosniak representatives. 826 Some Bosniak political segments have during the 1990s requested both cultural and territorial autonomy, including possible secession from Serbia. Guzina D. (2000); Nation-Building vs. Minority Destroying: Majority-Minority Relations in the Post-socialist Serbia; p. 36. 827 Dulic T. (2006); Utan EU-medlemskap riskeras utvecklingen p Balkan, available at: http:// europaportalen.se/index.php?page=501&more=1&newsID=20277, visited on August 9, 2007. 828 Interviews with Hungarian representatives. 829 The absence of the Hungarian advancement mechanisms becomes more evident when comparing

with Roma, a group that enjoys the lowest level of minority recognition. Romanies have no nation-state to symbolically rely on, let alone to expect unilateral economic and political support. While Hungarians, Bosniaks and Albanians are territorially concentrated religiously homogenous minorities, Romanies are highly dispersed and religiously heterogeneous. Unlike other examined groups Roma does not hold the political power on the local level and tthey are politically divided on the national level. Romanies were not previously recognized as a national minority and they still lack a standardized version of a Romany language. Nevertheless, one should expect a significant improvement of the Roma situation in Serbia because Romanies are increasingly gaining support from the international community as a European minority. In addition, Roma in Serbia pose no threat to the national security and all improvements concerning Romas situation carry low political costs.

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8.4 Post-conflict minorities: comparison of Albanians and Bosniaks Albanians and Bosniaks, as the two post-conflict national minorities marked with the previous human rights abuses, are currently facing some of the most severe challenges regarding minority rights implementation. While conducting research data about the Albanian situation in Bujanovac I noticed that the general impression among Albanians was characterized with a belief that Bosniaks in the Sandak region enjoy a wider scope of minority rights than Albanians in the Preevo Valley. However, when the field research was finished it became obvious that Bosniaks, despite wider political representation on the national level, currently enjoy significantly limited and narrower scope of minority rights implementation. Albanian representatives have recognized that the successful formation and function of the Bosniak National Minority Council is one of the advantages which they as a group are lacking and which might be hindering their own minority advancement. Additionally, Bosniak presence in the high positions of executive and the legislative power is perceived as another indicator of higher minority status and wider implementation of minority rights. While Bosniaks often appear as an advantaged minority in the eyes of others the implementation picture indicates otherwise. Bosniak populated Novi Pazar and Albanian populated Bujanovac are situated in the two economically undeveloped regions and in both locations minority parties hold power in the local government. The Albanian and Bosniak situation in Serbia has been largely effected by the post-conflict situation concerning the unresolved status of the Kosovo province and the enforcement of the Dayton Peace Agreement in BiH. As the two national minority groups that adhere to Islam, both have suffered consequences of modern day Islamophobia and the stereotyping that accompanies it. Albanians seldom travel beyond Preevo Valley because they feel unwanted in the rest of the country and Bosniaks have been stamped with stereotypes of a deeply politically divided national minority that has given rise to religious extremism and terrorism.830 All minority issues concerning Albanians in the Preevo Valley and Bosniaks in the Sandak region are still highly territorialized and securitized and both national minorities are suffering collective mistrust when nowadays being searched for terrorist activities and weapons, which has negatively contributed to an already low level of trust
830 Interviews with Bosniak and Albanian representatives.

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in the public authority organs. Serbian authorities, as authorities in many other countries, are using a modern day fight against terrorism as an excuse to exercise control over its Muslim post-conflict minorities. Nevertheless, the fight against terrorism and Islamophobia are not the only reasons for a dominant fear and distrust on behalf of Serbian authorities because both minority groups have a previous history of territorial separatist movements. When the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s re-opened the question of the legal and political status of Bosniaks and as the Serbian political scene became increasingly radicalized, Bosniak political leaders emphasized the political and territorial autonomy of the Sandak region including a possibility of annexation to BiH and confederational relations with Serbia and Montenegro.831 While the secessionist ambitions and politics have been abandoned in the Bosniak community long before the democratic changes, the dominant Serbian distrust remains, and it was strengthened in 2006 when the Bosniak community in the Montenegrin part of Sandak predominantly voted for independence from Serbia, a situation which indirectly forced Bosniaks in the Serbian part of the region to once again declare collective loyalty to Serbia. The Albanian situation on the other hand is constantly effected by the unresolved status of Kosovo, where the Albanian majority strives for territorial independence from Serbia. The outbreak of a rebellion movement in 2001 in the Preevo Valley additionally strengthened the secessionist stereotype and added to the minority territorialization debate. The vast majority of Albanians have abandoned the goal to annex the region to Kosovo; nevertheless, some separatist tendencies still remain mostly induced by general economic dissatisfaction in the region.832 The implementation situation of two post-conflict minorities includes some common denominators such as exposure to employment discrimination and the absence in the public authority organs; nevertheless, the differences also indicate a wide divergence. The right to the freedom of religion has been implemented in Bujanovac as well as Novi Pazar, whereas the right to maintain and develop culture and preserve identity exhibits narrow scope of implementation in both groups. While frequently prevented from cultural
831 Guzina D. (2000); Nation-Building and Minority Destroying, Majority-Minority Relations in a Post-Socialist Serbia, p. 36. Bosniaks under the Muslim National Council of Sandzak held a referendum on the autonomy of the region, which was proclaimed as illegal and unnecessary by the Serbian regime. 832 Interviews with Albanian representatives, also see Chapter 5 for more details.

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exchange with Albanians in Kosovo, the Albanian national minority is lacking all forms of cultural associations and institutions. Bosniaks, who have access to cultural association and cultural exchange with BiH, have expressed deep concern over the status of their cultural heritage; and are experiencing an alarming sense of endangered collective existence and threatened identity.833 The official existence of the region as such, the existence of Bosniak cultural heritage and their existence as an ethnic group are seen as endangered.834 Despite some similarities, wide implementation differences can be observed concerning the right to education and the official use of minority language between the two minority groups. The Albanian language has traditionally been recognized and used as an official language in Serbia because Albanians were recognized as a national minority under the former Yugoslavia. Albanians have ,therefore, over the past decades enjoyed a bilingual model of the primary and the secondary education as well as access to information in a minority language.835 Although of poor quality and unsatisfactory conditions due to economic scarcity, Albanians are currently entitled to a wide access of monolingual education in Albanian in the Preevo Valley, as well as to the import of books from Kosovo.836 The Bosnian language did not previously enjoy the status of an official minority language, and Bosniaks as constituent people in the former Yugoslav federation have not had access to bilingual education; because the Bosnian language did not officially exist until the 1990s. Bosnian is nowadays recognized as an official minority language and Bosniaks in Sandak have been recently granted the right to introduce the Bosnian language with elements of culture, as an elective in only a limited amount of classes within the primary education schools.837 Albanians have currently access to the most advanced form of education in a minority language while Bosniaks have recently started to consume the least advanced form of that education.

833 See Chapter 7 for more details. The preservation and development of their cultural heritage has been ignored by the government and the reluctance to support the survival of the Bosniak cultural heritage is perceived as a collective discriminatory act based on historical implications, see also discussion in 8.3. 834 Ibid. 835 See Chapter 5 for more details. 836 See Chapter 5 for more details. 837 See Chapter 7 for more details.

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Albanian and Bosnian are both recognized as official languages on the local level in Bujanovac and Novi Pazar. There is, however, broader access to official documents and administrative correspondence in Albanian than in the Bosnian language, which has a significantly narrower scope of implementation and application on the local level. The political post-conflict implications, and the previous absence of the official recognition of the Bosnian language are two factors that negatively contributed to the differentiated level of attained linguistic rights and minority protection between Albanians and Bosniaks. Other factors include greater differences between the Albanian and the Serbian languages than between Serbian and Bosnian, as well as a greater general acceptance of Albanian distinction, whereas lower Bosniak cultural and linguistic distinction was traditionally met with increased assimilation expectations. In both cases minority groups have suffered severe human rights abuses by the army and police force, and both Albanians and Bosniaks are underrepresented in public authorities, which are still perceived as mechanisms of oppression and injustice. The improvements in the promotion of equal participation in judiciary and courts can be noted in Novi Pazar, where Bosniak judges are in the majority at the District and Municipal Courts.838 Nevertheless, Bosniaks remain underrepresented at the Public Prosecutors office and at the municipal administration.839 One of the explanations behind an attempt to improve the Bosniaks presence in the courts is linked to numerous unresolved cases of human rights violations from the 1990s, and Serbias position in the shadow of the ICTY accusations. Albanians in Bujanovac are also facing similar situations concerning unresolved violations from the past, and access to equal representation has improved, although not as much as in Novi Pazar. The unresolved status of Kosovo is one of the factors that could make an increased Albanian presence in the courts more politically costly, and while relations between Serbia and BiH have normalized, the relations between Serbia and Kosovo remain strained. The low level of trust in public authorities and the absence of the two postconflict minorities in those authorities are negatively affecting the postconflict process of confidence-building, which is why systematic attempts
838 See Chapter 7 for more details. 839 See Chapter 7 for more details.

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to bridge the gap between the minority communities and the authorities cannot be emphasized enough. When the conflict initiated by the Albanian rebellion movement in 2001 ceased, the OSCE and the Serbian Government introduced an affirmative action program, which addressed ethnic inequality in the police force in the Albanian populated Preevo Valley.840 The aim of the program was to establish a multiethnic police force in order to prevent future conflicts and create an increased and stable level of trust between the Albanian population and the police force in the region.841Although with several shortcomings, the affirmative action program has been successful and warmly welcomed by the Albanian minority, who are now slowly pushing for more improvements and increased participation in all public authorities of the municipality.842 Besides the affirmative action program in the police force, the Serbian Government additionally formed the Coordinating Body for Municipalities of Preevo, Bujanovac and Medveda, consisting of working groups that are systematically dealing with issues of security, economy and integration of Albanians into Serbian political life. The systematic solutions and special attention to the region gradually led to increased government investments in infrastructure, renovation of schools, increased confidencebuilding, more security and greater Albanian participation in political life, and public authorities. The situation significantly stabilized when the main roots of conflict were addressed and minority rights increasingly improved. The Serbian Government and the international community have not, however, initiated a similar systematic approach to the situation of Bosniaks in the Sandak region. Ethnic inequalities within the police force in Novi Pazar and the entire region in general have not been addressed, and a large number of human rights abusers from the 1990s remain employed by the police force.843 The dominant Bosniak perception of the police and the security forces has negatively affected the development of confidence-building in the region where inhabitants feel an existential threat, and where religious extremism poses a problem. The governmental institutions have not paid special attention to improving regional infrastructure, which is one of the worst in the country; and the government ignorance regarding the preservation of

840 841 842 843

See Chapter 5 for more details. See Chapter 5 for more details. See Chapter 5 for more details. See Chapter 7 for more details.

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the Bosniak cultural heritage has been described as discriminatory.844 While some improvements have taken place concerning the right to education in minority language and the right to information in minority language, the Bosniak national minority generally enjoys a significantly narrower scope of linguistic and cultural rights when compared to the Albanian minority. It appears that the outbreak of recent violent armed conflicts in the Preevo Valley, and the intervention by the international community; has represented the main driving force behind the attempt to reshape the ethnic picture of the police force, as well as the attempt to deal with the roots of the conflict in a systematic way. When discussing improvements and setbacks, the Albanian parliamentarian Riza Halimi noted; The government acts only when something happens.845 Serbian minority experts seem to agree and claim that the only reason why the minority rights situation has significantly improved in Bujanovac and other municipalities in the Preevo Valley has to do with the recent history of armed conflicts between Serbian troops and the Albanian rebellion movement, and in order to equally address and improve the situation among Bosniaks in Sandak something drastic and alarming has to happen in that region.846 Another differentiation factor includes broad political pressure on Serbia from the international community due to the unresolved status of the Kosovo province, since the remaining Albanian population in the Preevo Valley has indirectly provided the Serbian Government with an opportunity to show the world that they can uphold a decent level of respect for Albanian minority rights, and thereby, possibly gain points in the race for the status of Kosovo. Nevertheless, the recent history of interethnic conflict has been a main catalyst toward necessary changes and minority rights improvements in the Albanian populated region. There is something about the occurrence of conflict that tends to magnify the issues and can possibly lead to positive changes, which makes one wonder what needs to happen in Sandak in order for a necessary changes to take place?

844 See Chapter 7 for more details. 845 Interview with Riza Halimi. 846 Interview with Goran Miletic, Aleksandra Vujic and others.

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8.5 Minority dimensions, interethnic relations, conflict prevention and regional stability Interethnic relations are a complex matter on the local level in Serbia, where in many cases regional, local, and socio-economic affiliations precede ethnic affiliations, which often results in majority-minority social distancing from Serb and Roma refugees from Croatia and Kosovo. The majority-minority interethnic relations have significantly improved in the past years among the adult population, and minorities occasionally claim that interethnic relations with the locals remained good even during the war years.847 There is, however, a wide gap and a low level of trust between minority communities and the Serbian public authorities. The ethnic social and educational segregation has increased among younger generations at all four examined locations, where the young generations stand behind frequent occurrence of interethnic hate crime incidents. The post-conflict situation appeared stable during the time-period of the research study and no evident risks of future violent interethnic conflicts were visible in the four examined locations. All minority representatives have optimistically ruled out future conflicts and according to the informants, there is currently no risk of conflict that needs to be prevented.848 Nevertheless, the situation in the regions populated by the post-conflict minorities, namely Albanians and Bosniaks, exhibited several warning signs, including reoccurrence of soft conflicts such as interethnic and intra-ethnic incidents over politically unresolved minority issues, as well as territorial separatist tendencies that include minority radicalization and religious extremism. Some of the conflict and frustration-inducing issues, such as a need for improved educational conditions, decreased discrimination, increased minority participation, and increased respect for minority cultural heritage could be resolved within the implementation framework and improved national legislations; whereas others, such as the use of Albanian flag, the lack of economic development, and the occurrence of extremism among Bosniaks remain more difficult to resolve.

847 Interviews with Bosniaks and Hungarians. 848 Interviews with minority representatives from all four groups.

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Regional stability and cooperation are undoubtedly largely affected by minority issues, due to the complex internal and external minority dimensions of a highly politicised and still infected post-conflict environment. Hungarians have on several occasions referred to the more advantaged situation of Serbs in Hungary; and the cooperation between Serbia and Hungary drastically worsened when a wave of interethnic incidents in the Vojvodina region became internationalized. A political segment of the Bosniak community in Serbia has for a long period of time complained over the loss of a constituent people status, previously held on the federal level in the former Yugoslavia, which is a status that the Serbs in BiH were able to retain after the war. The situation in Kosovo has had a negative effect on the situation in the Albanian populated region in South Serbia. Minority issues represent a challenge, as well as an opportunity, in the context of post-conflict regional stability in the Balkans region. Nevertheless, the unresolved status of the Kosovo province remains one of the most destabilizing factors in the region, since all four examined national minorities have been in the past few years collectively negatively affected by the situation in Kosovo, and all four groups expressed their fears regarding upcoming negotiations and the resolution of Kosovos status.849

849 A large segment of the Serbian population believes and fears that if Kosovo proclaims independence and becomes recognized as independent by the international community, all other minority populated regions, such as Vojvodina and Sandzak, might eventually attempt to do the same. There is however no evident support that the examined minority populated regions have territorial independence as a future goal despite the fact that both Sandzak and Presevo Valley have previously exhibited separatist tendencies.

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9. CONCLUSION The Framework Convention was constructed with consideration that the protection of national minorities is essential to stability, democratic security, and peace on the European continent. It is difficult to determine based on the research results whether the implementation of minority rights, as stipulated in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, can by itself prevent future conflicts and strengthen stability in the region. Nevertheless, the research indicates that the implementation of minority rights is of vital importance, and that minority rights appear to have an effect on conflict prevention and regional stability. Implementation of minority rights has significantly improved in a postconflict Serbia, although the general minority situation is far from satisfactory, and much remains to be accomplished in order to reach a stable and durable scope of implementation. The effective implementation of the Framework Convention lies to a large extent in the hands of national legislators and policy makers. The development of the normative framework has been problematic, which is why the Serbian Government and the Parliament still carry a huge responsibility to additionally develop, adopt, change, and implement laws and measures concerning minorities,850 as well as a necessity to establish new attitudes and comprehensive approaches leading to systematic solutions of unresolved minority dimensions. The responsibility, however, does not solely lie in the hands of the Serbian Government and the Parliament, because a wide range of implementation improvements can continue to move forward only if national and regional economic development continues to move forward. The lack of economic development was recognized as one of the most important reasons behind the dissatisfaction and frustration among the Albanians, Bosniaks and Roma. The awaited adoption and modification of minority-relevant national legislations may, to a limited extent, address and solve issues such as discrimination, the import of books, and the access to information in a minority language. However, the accumulated collective economic disadvantages of marginalized minority
850 Adoption of solid Anti-discrimination laws, the laws on Decentralization and Regional Development, the change of the law on Radio Diffusion, the reestablishment of the Ministry for National Minorities, the improvement of the Electoral regulations concerning signatures for minority parties etc.

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communities, which locally and regionally largely affect implementation of Framework Convention provisions, can only be addressed by means of continued economic development. The effective and lasting implementation of minority rights is therefore highly dependent on economic resources, and economic development is a factor that equally remains in the hands of the Serbian Government, the international community including the EU, the foreign investors, and the international development agencies such as SIDA.

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10. RECOMMENDATIONS SIDA provided Serbia during the 1990s with humanitarian support, which in the year 2000 transformed into a long-term development cooperation.851 SIDAs work in the region is nowadays focused on the building of democracy and the rule of law, which includes a special support for human and minority rights; gender equality; economic growth and reform as well as sustainable use of natural resources and the environment.852 The Swedish Land Strategy for development work in Serbia recognized that a risk of conflict in the minority-populated regions cannot be ruled out, and that minority rights should remain in the focus of the development work.853 Nevertheless, apart from general guidelines to support Serbian minority politics and the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights, which no longer exists, as well as accentuated but undefined support for the National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion, SIDAs land strategy does not contain any concrete guidelines about how to deal with minority rights and minority issues in Serbia.854 The document does not recognize that the minority-populated regions in Serbia, such as the Preevo Valley and the Sandak region, are among the least economically developed regions in the country, and thereby, deserving of special development attention. It is important that the development assistance is conflict and minority sensitive; and since Serbia has a total of twenty-four national minorities and several post-conflict minority groups I propose that: 1 All internationally funded development projects should be approached with a minority-majority perspective. 2 All development projects in the undeveloped minority regions should embrace a needs-based approach. 855

851 Available at; http://www.sida.se/sida/jsp/sida.jsp?d=886, visited on December 3, 2007. 852 Ibid. 853 Available at; http://www.ud.se/content/1/c6/03/24/17/5df139fa. pdf, visited on December 3, 2007. 854 Available at; http://www.ud.se/content/1/c6/03/24/17/5df139fa. pdf, visited on December 3, 2007. 855 One way of addressing needs-based approach is by paying attention to the grey economy. Roma men collecting recyclable material and garbage under hazardous conditions are one example of the grey economy in the city of Nis whereas the smuggling of goods is another example in Bujanovac.

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3 Special attention needs to be placed on supporting confidencebuilding, minority representation and integration into public authorities, among all minorities, especially among the post-conflict minorities in the Preevo Valley and Sandak regions. 4 All international development projects need to strike a balance between informative interethnic confidence-building projects and regional economic development projects, and possibly combine the two. 5 Special attention needs to be placed on supporting minority regional development and modernization of agriculture, farming, and infrastructure among the post-conflict minorities in the Preevo Valley and Sandak regions. 6 SIDA should continue supporting the National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion with an accentuated requirement for increased Roma participation in the decision-making, initiation, development, and execution of the projects. 7 International development agencies should continuously support promotion of intercultural dialogue, and integration or the return of the refugees in all minority regions, especially in Vojvodina where twenty-two minority groups reside. 8 Special attention needs to be placed on supporting the renovation and preservation of the Bosniak cultural heritage in the Sandak region, preferably in collaboration with the Serbian Government. 9 In order to prevent the negative reaction to what may be perceived as uneven development or an unjust affirmative action program, all development projects should attempt to conduct informational outreach to the majority and other minorities on the location. 10 International development agencies should adopt a minority-majority youth perspective when initiating projects; and the youth perspective needs to permeate all initiatives to promote intercultural dialogue.

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AFTERWORD Serbia held a second round of the presidential elections on February 3, 2008, which was conducted in a referendum atmosphere. The choice fell between nationalist Tomislav Nikoli representing the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), who advocated isolation from the West and future stronger alignment with Russia, partially due to the unresolved status of Kosovo, and the ruling president Boris Tadi representing the Democratic Party (DS). Boris Tadi, a longstanding advocate of a pro-Western EU approach to foreign policy, won the elections by a narrow margin.856 The vast majority of minority communities, especially in Vojvodina and the Sandak region, supported presidents reelection and Tadi acknowledged their support in his post-election speech. Shortly after the presidential elections, the EU decided on February 16, 2008 to launch a rule of law EULEX-mission, of approximately 2, 000 police and judicial officers to replace the United Nations UMNIK mission that has been controlling the Kosovo province since the end of the war in 1999.857 Following the EUs decision about the mission, Kosovos Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, backed by the Kosovos Parliament, declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008.858 During the proclamation of independence Kosovo promised to protect its minority communities, including the previously persecuted Serbian minority, as proposed by the Ahtisaari Plan.859 The declaration of independence was void and denounced as illegal by the Serbian Prime Minister, President and the Parliament, stressing that Serbia will never recognize Kosovo as an independent state.860 The Serbian Government stated that it does not intend to use any military violence and is committed to future peaceful diplomatic negotiations.861 UN Security Council members met on the same day at the request of Serbia and Russia; however, they were not able to reach an agreement or a statement.862 The Security Council member

856 Available at: http://www.danas.co.yu/20080204/frontpage1.html. 857 Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/17/ kosovo.independence/index.html also Ibid. 858 Ibid. 859 Ibid. 860 Serbia has also requested that the UN proclaims the declaration of independence as invalid based on the UN Resolution 1244. Available at: http://www.danas.co.yu/, visited on February 18, 2008. 861 Statement to CNN by the Serbian Foreign Minister, Vuk Jeremic, February 17, 2008. 862 Available at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080217/ap_on_re_eu/un_kosovo.

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states and the super powers remain divided on the issue.863 The European Parliament decided that each member state would make their own decisions regarding Kosovos independence, since EU members also appear divided concerning the issue.864 In addition, the declaration of Kosovos independence has also resulted in a division among the countries in the Balkan region, which appears destabilized after the declaration of Kosovos independence.865 Serbia does not welcome the EU mission in Kosovo, and Russia insists that Kosovo is a Security Council issue and not a EU issue, because it could set a dangerous precedent for other separatist and secessionist groups globally.866 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimit Putin warned the United States that Kosovos independence was dangerous for the world, whereas, US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted that the independence would bring peace and stability to the region.867 Following the declaration of Kosovos independence, the outbreak of street and small-scale group violence initiated by several hundreds of demonstrators, took place in Belgrade as well as in other parts of the country, and on the border crossing to Kosovo.868 The Serbian media reported the outbreak of violence in Novi Sad where the demonstrators destroyed shops and businesses while shouting Today Kosovo, tomorrow Vojvodina.869 No immediate incidents were recorded in the Preevo Valley and Sandak regions where the situation remained stable, but slightly tense, following the declaration of Kosovos

863 United States supports and has recognized Kosovos independence while Russia and China strongly oppose. Available at; http://edition.cnn. com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/19/kosovo.independence/index.html. 864 UK, France, Germany, Denmark have recognized Kosovo as independent while Spain, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus oppose the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state. 865 Slovenia and Croatia have expressed that they will eventually make the same decision as the majority of the EU members whereas BiH and Montenegro have no plans to recognize Kosovos independence in the near future. BiH has stated that they will be one of the last countries to recognize Kosovos independence while Macedonia has also this far taken a careful stance concerning the issue. 866 Ibid. 867 Available at; http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080219/ wl_afp/serbiakosovopolitics_080219140130. 868 The main targets in Belgrade were the US embassy, the Slovenian embassy as well as various US and Slovenian symbols such as McDonalds and food store Merkator. A total of 65 people were injured and approximately 30 policemen were taken to the hospital. Available at: http://www.danas.co.yu/, visited on February 18, 2008. 869 Today Kosovo, tomorrow Vojvodina indicates fear of future secession attempts by other minority group in a separate province, in this case Hungarians. Available at: http://www.danas.co.yu/, visited on February 18, 2008.

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independence.870 On February 21, 2008 Serbian politicians organized a mass demonstration in Belgrade, that resulted in riots under which a large segment of the downtown Belgrade was demolished; the US embassy was set on fire, and many other embassies, including Croatian and Bosnian were attacked.871 The problematic regional post-conflict minority dimensions became highlighted and re-surfaced after the declaration of Kosovos independence.872 Serbian national identity and territorial sovereignty are perceived as violated, and their ethnic and cultural existence in Kosovo is perceived as threatened. It remains to be seen what long-term effects the declaration and the unilateral recognition of Kosovos independence will have on regional stability and minority protection in Serbia and Kosovo. It additionally remains to be seen what consequences Kosovos independence will have on other separatist and secessionist movements globally.

870 Only a small group of people celebrated the declaration of independence in public. Available at: http://www.danas.co.yu/, visited on February 18, 2008. 871 Available at: http://www.danas.co.yu/. 872 The protest and demonstrator mobilization of Serbs in BiH and Montenegro took place; the Croatian television expressed concerns over Croatian minority in Vojvodina and rushed to interview frustrated informants and Hungarian owned shops were targeted in Vojvodina during small scale street violence.

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Marshall C., and Rossman G.B. (1999); Designing qualitative research, 3rd edition, Sage Publications, Thousands Oaks. Symonides J. (2002), Human rights: concepts and standards, UNESCO 2000, MPG Books Ltd, Cornwall. Wallensteen P. (2004); Understanding Conflict Resolution - War, Peace and the Global System, Sage Publications, London. Young I.M. (2002); Inclusion and Democracy, Oxford University Press, New York. Human and Minority Rights Reports Kamberi S. Council for Human Rights Bujanovac (2007); Minority Integration in Bujanovac, Report, June 2007. European Parliament (2005); Fact-Finding Mission by the European Parliament Ad Hoc Delegation to Vojvodina and Belgrade (28-31 January 2005), Report, Results from Fact Finding Mission, available at http://www. hunsor.se/dosszie/final_report_en.pdf Vojvodina Center for Human Rights & Center for Multiculturalism (2003); Alternative Report to Article 25 Paragraph 1 of The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, March 2003. Alternative Report on implementation of the Framework Convention on the protection of national minorities, (2003), Vojvodina Center for Human Rights, available at: http://www.vojvodina-hrc.org/index.php?option=com_ frontpage&Itemid=1&lang=srp, retrieved in August 2007. Alternative Report Submitted on the Basis of Article 15 of the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (2007), Vojvodina Center for Human Rights, available at: http://www.vojvodina-hrc.org/index.php?option=com_ frontpage&Itemid=1&lang=srp, retrieved in August 2007.

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Forum for Ethnic Relations (2006); Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination Against Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous People, Regional Report for Central Serbia, Belgrade/Ni, June 2006. Forum for Ethnic Relations: Annual Report (2006): Human and Minority Rights in Serbia. Equal Opportunities (2003); Integration of Roma children and the young in the educational system, Roma Information Centre, Kragujevac. Swedish Helsinki Committee (2007); Our work 2006, Elanders, Stockholm. Decade of Roma (2005); Information Booklet of Minority Rights Centre, No. 3, 2005, Coretec, Beograd. Humanitarian Law Centre (2006); Roma in Serbia, Press Now, Belgrade. Kaar S. Sandak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms (2007); Minority Rights in Sandak. Minority Rights Group International (MRG), Abdikeeva A. (2005); Roma Poverty and the Roma National Strategies: The Cases of Albania, Greece and Serbia, published by MRG London, available at; http://minorityrights.org Minority Rights Group International, Baldwin C., Chapman C, Gray Z. (2007); Minority Rights: The Key to Conflict Prevention, published by MRG London, available at: http://minorityrights.org Government documents Strategy for Regional Development of Republic of Serbia 2007-2012 (2007), National Agency for Equal Regional Development, Republican Agency for Development. Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Utrikes Departamentet (UD) Land Strategy for SIDAs Development work in Serbia, Available at; http://www. ud.se/content/1/c6/03/24/17/5df139fa.pdf 191

Articles Duli T. (2006) Utan EU medlemskap riskeras utvecklingen p Balkan, Europaportalen. Available at: http://europaportalen.se/index.php?page=501 &more=1&newsID=20277 Guzina D. (2000); Nation-Building vs. Minority Destroying: Majority-Minority Relations in the Post-Socialist Serbia, Center for the Study of Democracy, Queens University and Kingston, Southeast European Politics, October 2000, Vol. 1, No.1 pp. 25-40. Jovanovi M.A. (2002); Territorial Autonomy in Eastern Europe Legacies of the Past, University of Belgrade, Serbia, Issue 4/2002 European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Available at; http://www.ecmi.de Kymlicka W. (2002); Mulitculturalism and Minority Rights: West and East, Queens University Canada and Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, Issue 4/2002, European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Available at; http://www.ecmi.de Magnusson K. (2000); Jugoslaviens vg till sammanbrott, Inblick steuropa Available at: http://www.inblick.org/?p=/2articles/05.html kermark Spiliopoulou S. (2007); Multiculturalism in Crisis?, Human Rights Congress, Human Rights and Diversity, February 2007. Web references United Nations: The core international Human Rights instruments Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/index.htm The Council of Europe: The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._ framework_convention_(monitoring)/1._texts/H(1995)010%20E%20 FCNM%20and%20Explanatory%20Report.asp#TopOfPage, retrieved in August 2007. 192

Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention, Opinion on Serbia and Montenegro, Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/ minorities/2._framework_convention_(monitoring)/2._monitoring_ mechanism/4._opinions_of_the_advisory_committee/1._country_specific_ opinions/1._first_cycle/PDF_1st_OP_SAM.pdf, retrieved in August 2007. Monitoring of the Framework Convention, Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._framework_ convention_(monitoring)/1._texts/H(1995)010%20E%20FCNM%20and%20 Explanatory%20Report.asp#TopOfPage, retrieved in August 2007. Serbia and the Council of Europe, Available at: http://www.coe.int/T/e/Com/about_coe/member_states/e_Serbia. asp#TopOfPage, retrieved in August 2007. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/DC/Files/Source/MFA_Serbia_speech. pdf, retrieved in August 2007. Available at: https://wcd.coe.int/ ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM/Inf(2007)25&Sector=secCM&Language=lanEn glish&Ver=original&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntrane t=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75, retrieved in August 2007. Parliament of the Republic of Serbia: Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/index.asp National Laws Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/akta/zakoni.asp The Constitution Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/eng/akta/ustav/ ustav_1.asp Minority Parliamentarians Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/poslanici.asp Parliamentary Groups Available at: http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/grupe.asp Other web references from the Parliament web site: http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/vlada/ministri.php#33974 http://www.coe.int/T/e/Com/about_coe/member_ states/e_Serbia.asp#TopOfPage 193

http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/akta/zakoni.asp http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/stranke.asp http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/stranke_detalji.asp?id=12 http://www.parlament.sr.gov.yu/content/lat/sastav/stranke_detalji. asp?id=114 Other web references and information retrieved from the World Wide Web during August/September 2007: Minority Rights Group, available at: http://www.minorityrights.org Forum for Ethnic Relations, available at: http:// www.fer.org.yu/eng/index-eng.htm Humanitarian Law Center, available at http://www.hlc-rdc.org Humanitarian Law Center, available at: http://www.hlc-rdc. org/storage/docs/c56f57ab228b63d94a80ef76f42e745e.pdf http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-a-definition/ http://www.mtsmondo.com/news/world/story.php?vest=51452 The town of Novi Pazar, available at; http://www.novipazar.org.yu/about.htm http://www.novipazar.org.yu/vijece/vijece.htm http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index. php?yyyy=2007&mm=04&dd=20&nav_id=242766 http://www.balkanpeace.org/index.php?index=article&articleid=8694 http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2001/p01-017e.htm The city of Nis, available at; http://www.nis.org.yu/index-e.html Statement by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, http://www.b92. net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2007&mm=04&dd=20&nav_id=242766 http://www.danas.co.yu/20070829/dogadjajdana1.html http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/cinjenice_o_srbiji/ustav.php#top http://www.fer.org.yu/eng/index-eng.htm http://www.mrc.org.yu/?id_tekst=49&sta=saopstenja http://www.mrc.org.yu/?sta=prva&jezik=srpski http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/cinjenice_o_srbiji/ustav_odredbe.php?id=218 http://www.hlc-rdc.org http://sr.wikipedia.org/sr-el/%D0%A1%D0%A4%D0%A0%D0%88 http://www.mnt.org.yu/en/frame.php?content=1_cimoldal http://condor.depaul.edu/~rrotenbe/aeer/aeer11_1/botev.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_ 194

Socialist_Federal_Republic_of_Yugoslavia http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand%C5%BEak http://www.sida.se/sida/jsp/sida.jsp?d=886 http://www.ud.se/content/1/c6/03/24/17/5df139fa.pdf Republican Institute for Statistics, available at: http://webrzs.statserb.sr.gov.yu/axd/en/index.php. http://webrzs.statserb. sr.gov.yu/axd/en/index1.php?SifraV=157&Link= Internal Displacement Monitoring Center http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/httpCountry_M aps?ReadForm&country=Serbia&count=10000 also http://www.internaldisplacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/11E387A7E75115F2C12 570C90040D5B1/$file/IDP_Serbia-montenegro_full.jpg Conference Symposium in Uppsala on November 16, 2007: Minority Policies in Transition Experiences and Trends around the Baltic Sea, organized by land Islands Peace Institute, Center for Multiethnic Research at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Forum for International and Area Studies.

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APPENDIX I Map of Serbia 2007

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APPENDIX II List of interviews Belgrade, Non-governmental organizations and minority rights researchers: 1 Petar Anti, Executive Director, Minority Rights Center, member of the NGO coalition The League for the Decade, Belgrade 2 Nada Djurikovi, Researcher, Minority Rights Center, member of the NGO coalition The League for the Decade, Belgrade 3 Duan Janji, Director, Forum for Ethnic Relations, a network of 110 academics specializing in fields of ethnic relations and minority protection, Belgrade 4 Goran Mileti, Human Rights Lawyer, Swedish Helsinki Committee, Field Office Belgrade 5 Dragan Popovi, Director, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Belgrade 6 Roska Prodanovi, General Coordinator, Regional Centre for Minorities, Belgrade The city of Ni, Roma minority representatives and parliamentarians: 7 Osman Bali, Executive Board President, YUROM Center Assembly, Ni 8 Marija Mani, Coordinator and Researcher, Womens Space, Ni 9 Ana Saipovi, Journalist and President, non-governmental organization OSVIT, Coordinator of SOS phone-line for Roma women, Ni 10 Alija Saipovi, Director, Regional Office of The Roma National Minority Council in Ni, Educational Coordiantor for Roma Vocational Training 11 ivadin Salijevi, Former President, Roma Association Sait Bali Ni 12 Neboja Zeki, President, Roma Association Sait Bali Ni 13 Rajko uri, Member of Parliament, National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Union Roma Serbia, (Unija Roma Srbije), member of the Parliamentary Minority Group 14 Sran ajn, Roma Party, Member of the Parliament, The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Roma Party, does not belong to any of the parliamentary groups.

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Municipality of Bujanovac in the Preevo Valley, Albanian minority representatives and a parliamentarian: 15 Nagip Arifi, Mayor of Bujanovac, Party of Democratic Action PDA (Partija za Demokratsku Akciju) 16 Fatmir Hasani, Party for Democratic Activity PDD (Partija za Demokratsko Delovanje), Stirring Board, Director of elementary school in Bujanovac 17 Behljulj Nasufi, Director, Center for Multicultural Education, member of the Party for Democratic Activity (PDD), previous member of the parliament 18 Shaip Kamberi, President, NGO The Committee for Human Rights of Bujanovac 19 Riza Halimi, Member of the Parliament, The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Party for Democratic Activity PDD (Partija za Demokratsko Delovanje), Member of the Parliamentary Minority Group The town of Subotica in the Vojvodina region, Hungarian minority representatives and a parliamentarian: 20 Deli Andor, Secretary for Regulations, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Provincial Secretariat for Regulations, Administration and National Minorities, member of the National Council of the Hungarian Ethnic Minority, Novi Sad 21 Kudlik Gabor, President, NGO Open Perspectives, Subotica 22 Blint Psztor, Member of the Parliament, The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians AVH (Savez Vojvoanskih Maara), President of the Parliamentary Minority Group, President of the Executive Board of the Hungarian National Minority Council 23 Valria goston Pribilla, Director, Public Library, Subotica 24 Marius Rou, Project Coordinator Affirmation of multiculturalism and toleration in Vojvodina, Assistant Secretary, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Provincial Secretariat for Regulations, Administration and National Minorities, Novi Sad 25 Aleksandra Vuji, Director, NGO Vojvodina Center for Human Rights

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The town of Novi Pazar in the Sandak region, Bosniak minority representatives and parliamentarians: 26 Semiha Kaar, Director, Sandak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, Novi Pazar 27 Esad Dudevi, Member of the Parliament, Vice Speaker in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Bosniak Democratic Party of Sandak BDSS (Bonjaka Demokratska Stranka Sandaka), member of the Parliamentary Minority Group and President of the Bosniak National Minority Council 28 Bajram Omeragi, Member of Parliament, National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Social Liberal Party of Sandak SLPS (Socijalno Liberalna Partija Sandaka), member of the Parliamentary Minority Group 29 Anonymous In addition, I recorded two short interviews about the status of Kosovo, human rights and minority issues in Serbia with Nataa Kandi, Director of the Humanitarian Law Center and Andrej Nosov, President of Youth Initiative for Human Rights in May 2007, when they visited Stockholm as guest speakers at the Swedish Helsinki Committee 25th anniversary. I was also invited to participate as an observer when Minority Rights Center held their monthly meeting within the framework of the League for the Decade with representatives from the Serbian Ministry of Health in Belgrade in June 2007.

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APPENDIX III Samples of interview questions Interview questions for local minority representatives: 1) In what way do you or your organization work for the advancement of minority rights on the local and regional level? 2) Which minority rights issues in your town/municipality are currently the most alarming? 3) How is the situation regarding education and access to information in minority language? Are your children able to attend classes in minority language and is there electronic and printed media available in the minority language? 4) Can you officially use your language and symbols? Are there signs and street names in the minority language and would you like to have to signs and street names written in a minority language? 5) What about employment discrimination and representation in public authorities? How many members of your minority group are employed at the police, courts, judiciary and administration? Are there any affirmative action programs on the state and local level for the advancement of ethnic equality in your town/municipality? 6) Has your right to freedom of religion been violated? Is there a church/ mosque in your town/municipality and do you have well functioning religious services? 7) Do you have cultural organizations and associations? What is the status of your cultural heritage? Is the current status of cultural rights satisfactory and does it allow for development of your identity? 8) What issues is your National Minority Council currently addressing?

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9) Are there any programs or projects in the field of education, media and culture that promote intercultural dialogue between your minority group and the Serbian majority? 10) Is there a wide socializing gap and what is the situation regarding interethnic relations on the local level? What about interethnic marriage, does it occur, is it common? 11) How do you and your community perceive the last election results and the fact that members of your minority group got elected within the framework of a minority political party? What significance does this have for your community and greater realization of minority rights? 12) Are you allowed to maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers and what is the status of promotion of cooperation between Serbia and your kin-state? 13) Is there a current risk of conflict and what risk would that be? 14) What kind of projects should the international community support in your town/municipality? Interview questions for NGOs and researchers: 1) How does your organization work with minority rights issues in Serbia? 2) Could you tell me in detail about national minority groups that you are specifically working with? 3) Which are currently the most alarming minority issues in Serbia and why? 4) Has the situation for minorities improved or worsened when compared to a few years ago?

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5) Why are there differences in the scope of implementation among different minority groups? 6) In addition, I asked a set of questions related to provision of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and discussed other legal instruments that are related to implementation of minority rights. Interview questions for minority parliamentarians: 1) In what way do you as a minority parliamentarian work for the advancement of minority rights of the group that you belong to? 2) Which are currently the most alarming minority issues that the members of your minority group are facing with on the regional and local level? 3) Do you feel limited in your role as a minority parliamentarian or do you see possibilities of contributing to a greater change and advancement of minority rights? 4) Have you had a good cooperation with the different governmental bodies such as the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture and what response did you face when addressing minority issues on that level? 5) Are you satisfied with the election results and do you think that minority political parties will be able to gain more seats in the next parliamentary elections? 6) In addition, I asked a set of questions related to the provisions of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

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APPENDIX IV Basic Facts about Serbia873 Official name: Republic of Serbia (Parliamentary Republic) Constitutional order: Parliamentary democracy President: Boris Tadi Prime Minister: Vojislav Kotunica Capital: Belgrade (population 1.6 million) Autonomous provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija Territory: 88,361 km2 Population: (total number 7,498,001)* The composition on Serbia according to the last official census data from 2002*: Serbs: 6,212,844 (82.86%) Hungarians: 293, 172 (3.91%) Bosniaks: 136, 464 (1.82%) Roma: 107,971 (1.44%) Yugoslavs: 80,978 (1.08%) Others (each less than 1%): 666,572 (8.89%) According to the poll conducted on January 1, 2006 by the Yugoslav Survey Society, Serbia had 7,395,600 inhabitants, a 1.5% decrease when compared to the 2002 Census. Serbia has the largest refugee population in Europe. Refugees and IDPs in Serbia form between 7% and 7.5% of its population since about a half a million refugees sought refuge in the country after the Yugoslav wars, mainly from Croatia, to an extent from BiH as well as Serb and Roma IDPs from Kosovo, which are the most numerous at over 200, 000. *The census was not conducted in the province of Kosovo, which is under the administration of the United Nations. According to the EU estimates, the overall population is estimated at 1, 350, 000 inhabitants, of whom 90% are Albanians, 8% Serbs and others 2%. Approximately 200,000 Serbian, Roma and other refugees were expelled from Kosovo since the 1990s.

873 Serbian Government (Basic Facts), available at; http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/pages/ intro.php?id=5, also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbia, visited on August 20, 2007.

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National and/or ethnic minorities: approximately 24 national minorities and a total of 37 ethnic groups; Albanians, Bosniaks, Bulgarians, Bunjevci, Croats, Checks, Egyptians, Germans, Gorani, Greek, Jewish, Hungarians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Poles, Slovaks, Vlachs, Ukrainians, Russians, Rumanians, Roma, Ruthenians, Slovenes, Turks and others. Religion: majority Christian Orthodox, but also Islamic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and other religious communities. Language: the official language is Serbian and the official script is Cyrillic, also Latin script is in use as well as several regional/minority languages including Albanians, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak and others. Neighboring countries: Hungary (north), BiH and Croatia (west) Romania and Bulgaria (east), Albania, Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro (south). Currency: Serbian dinar GDP growth rate: 2007 - 7.5%; 2006 5.8%; 2005 6.3%. Economy: successful economic reforms since 2000 with high percent of foreign direct investment; economy mostly based on services, industry and agriculture; EU is one of the most important trading partners concerning both export and import. Election Results from Parliamentary elections in Serbia on January 21st, 2007874 Data issued by the Election Committee: Serbian Radical Party 81 seats Democratic Party 64 seats Coalition Democratic Party of Serbia, New Serbia 47 seats G17 Plus 19 seats Socialist Party of Serbia 16 seats Coalition LDP-GSS-SDU-LSV 15 seats Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians 3 seats Coalition List for Sandak 2 seats Roma Union in Serbia 1 seat Roma Party 1 seat Coalition of Albanians from Preevo Valley 1 seat

874 Available at: http://www.rik.parlament.sr.gov.yu/cirilica/ propisi_frames.htm, visited on August 13th, 2007.

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APPENDIX V Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities875 Section I Article 1 The protection of national minorities and of the rights and freedoms of persons belonging to those minorities forms an integral part of the international protection of human rights, and as such falls within the scope of international cooperation. Article 2 The provisions of this framework Convention shall be applied in good faith, in a spirit of understanding and tolerance and in conformity with the principles of good neighborliness, friendly relations and cooperation between States. Article 3 1 Every person belonging to a national minority shall have the right freely to choose to be treated or not to be treated as such and no disadvantage shall result from this choice or from the exercise of the rights which are connected to that choice. 2 Persons belonging to national minorities may exercise the rights and enjoy the freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention individually as well as in community with others. Section II Article 4 1 The Parties undertake to guarantee to persons belonging to national minorities the right of equality before the law and of equal protection of the law. In this respect, any discrimination based on belonging to a national minority shall be prohibited. 2 The Parties undertake to adopt, where necessary, adequate measures in order to promote, in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life, full and effective equality between persons belonging to a national minority and those belonging to the majority. In this respect, they shall take due account of the specific conditions of the persons belonging to national minorities.
875 Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._framework_ convention_(monitoring)/1._texts/H(1995)010%20E%20FCNM%20and%20 Explanatory%20Report.asp#TopOfPage, visited on August 25, 2006.

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3 The measures adopted in accordance with paragraph 2 shall not be considered to be an act of discrimination. Article 5 1 The Parties undertake to promote the conditions necessary for persons belonging to national minorities to maintain and develop their culture, and to preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage. 2 Without prejudice to measures taken in pursuance of their general integration policy, the Parties shall refrain from policies or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to national minorities against their will and shall protect these persons from any action aimed at such assimilation. Article 6 1 The Parties shall encourage a spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue and take effective measures to promote mutual respect and understanding and cooperation among all persons living on their territory, irrespective of those persons ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, in particular in the fields of education, culture and the media. 2 The Parties undertake to take appropriate measures to protect persons who may be subject to threats or acts of discrimination, hostility or violence as a result of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity. Article 7 The Parties shall ensure respect for the right of every person belonging to a national minority to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Article 8 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to manifest his or her religion or belief and to establish religious institutions, organizations and associations.

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Article 9 1 The Parties undertake to recognise that the right to freedom of expression of every person belonging to a national minority includes freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas in the minority language, without interference by public authorities and regardless of frontiers. The Parties shall ensure, within the framework of their legal systems, that persons belonging to a national minority are not discriminated against in their access to the media. 2 Paragraph 1 shall not prevent Parties from requiring the licensing, without discrimination and based on objective criteria, of sound radio and television broadcasting, or cinema enterprises. 3 The Parties shall not hinder the creation and the use of printed media by persons belonging to national minorities. In the legal framework of sound radio and television broadcasting, they shall ensure, as far as possible, and taking into account the provisions of paragraph 1, that persons belonging to national minorities are granted the possibility of creating and using their own media. 4 In the framework of their legal systems, the Parties shall adopt adequate measures in order to facilitate access to the media for persons belonging to national minorities and in order to promote tolerance and permit cultural pluralism. Article 10 1 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to use freely and without interference his or her minority language, in private and in public, orally and in writing. 2 In areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities traditionally or in substantial numbers, if those persons so request and where such a request corresponds to a real need, the Parties shall endeavour to ensure, as far as possible, the conditions which would make it possible to use the minority language in relations between those persons and the administrative authorities. 3 The Parties undertake to guarantee the right of every person belonging to a national minority to be informed promptly, in a language which he or she understands, of the reasons for his or her arrest, and of the nature and cause of any accusation against him or her, and to defend himself or herself in this language, if necessary with the free assistance of an interpreter. 207

Article 11 1 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to use his or her surname (patronym) and first names in the minority language and the right to official recognition of them, according to modalities provided for in their legal system. 2 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to display in his or her minority language signs, inscriptions and other information of a private nature visible to the public. 3 In areas traditionally inhabited by substantial numbers of persons belonging to a national minority, the Parties shall endeavour, in the framework of their legal system, including, where appropriate, agreements with other States, and taking into account their specific conditions, to display traditional local names, street names and other topographical indications intended for the public also in the minority language when there is a sufficient demand for such indications. Article 12 1 The Parties shall, where appropriate, take measures in the fields of education and research to foster knowledge of the culture, history, language and religion of their national minorities and of the majority. 2 In this context the Parties shall inter alia provide adequate opportunities for teacher training and access to textbooks, and facilitate contacts among students and teachers of different communities. 3 The Parties undertake to promote equal opportunities for access to education at all levels for persons belonging to national minorities. Article 13 1 Within the framework of their education systems, the Parties shall recognise that persons belonging to a national minority have the right to set up and to manage their own private educational and training establishments. 2 The exercise of this right shall not entail any financial obligation for the Parties. Article 14 1 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to learn his or her minority language.

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2 In areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities traditionally or in substantial numbers, if there is sufficient demand, the Parties shall endeavour to ensure, as far as possible and within the framework of their education systems, that persons belonging to those minorities have adequate opportunities for being taught the minority language or for receiving instruction in this language. 3 Paragraph 2 of this article shall be implemented without prejudice to the learning of the official language or the teaching in this language. Article 15 The Parties shall create the conditions necessary for the effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in cultural, social and economic life and in public affairs, in particular those affecting them. Article 16 The Parties shall refrain from measures which alter the proportions of the population in areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities and are aimed at restricting the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention. Article 17 1 The Parties undertake not to interfere with the right of persons belonging to national minorities to establish and maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers with persons lawfully staying in other States, in particular those with whom they share an ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, or a common cultural heritage. 2 The Parties undertake not to interfere with the right of persons belonging to national minorities to participate in the activities of non-governmental organizations, both at the national and international levels. Article 18 1 The Parties shall endeavour to conclude, where necessary, bilateral and multilateral agreements with other States, in particular neighboring States, in order to ensure the protection of persons belonging to the national minorities concerned. 2 Where relevant, the Parties shall take measures to encourage transfrontier cooperation. 209

Article 19 The Parties undertake to respect and implement the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention making, where necessary, only those limitations, restrictions or derogations which are provided for in international legal instruments, in particular the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in so far as they are relevant to the rights and freedoms flowing from the said principles. Section III Article 20 In the exercise of the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention, any person belonging to a national minority shall respect the national legislation and the rights of others, in particular those of persons belonging to the majority or to other national minorities. Article 21 Nothing in the present framework Convention shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or perform any act contrary to the fundamental principles of international law and in particular of the sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political independence of States. Article 22 Nothing in the present framework Convention shall be construed as limiting or derogating from any of the human rights and fundamental freedoms which may be ensured under the laws of any Contracting Party or under any other agreement to which it is a Party. Article 23 The rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention, in so far as they are the subject of a corresponding provision in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or in the Protocols thereto, shall be understood so as to conform to the latter provisions.

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