MINELRES: AC FCNM: Opinion on Kosovo published
Fri Jun 4 17:42:02 2010
Original sender: Nicola Markes-Goerlach <Nicola.MARKES-GOERLACH@coe.int>
RECENT NEWS ON
THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES
Council of Europe report on Kosovo: Inter-ethnic relations to be
improved; minority protection laws to be implemented
The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for
the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) today published an Opinion
on Kosovo*, in which it acknowledges improvements in the legal framework
on minority protection. However, it also expresses its concern about
shortcomings in the implementation of legislation and policies, access
to justice of persons belonging to national minorities, education and
The Advisory Committee adopted this Opinion in accordance with the
Agreement between the Council of Europe and the United Nations Interim
Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and following reports provided
by the authorities and NGOs, and a visit of the Advisory Committee to
Kosovo in April 2009. UNMIK submitted Comments on the Opinion in May
2010. Based on the above-mentioned documents, the Council of Europe
Committee of Ministers is expected to adopt a resolution including its
final conclusions and recommendations on the implementation of the
Convention in Kosovo.
The key conclusions are the following:
Inter-ethnic relations remain tense, in particular between persons
belonging to the Serbian and Albanian communities. Separate education
systems and increasing language barriers aggravate the existing ethnic
divisions. Resolute action needs to be taken to improve inter-ethnic
dialogue and trust. Further efforts are needed to combat effectively
ethnically and religiously motivated crimes.
In spite of solid legal basis for minority protection, there is a gap
between the existing legislation and reality when it comes to their
practical implementation. Increased funds need to be allocated for its
There are serious shortcomings in access to justice and domestic
remedies available to persons belonging to minority communities that
need to be addressed as a matter of priority.
The Integration Strategy devised for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians needs
to be implemented fully and effectively. The Advisory Committee also
calls for a solution to the situation of those living in the
lead-contaminated camps in Northern Kosovo.
With regard to education, the Advisory Committee acknowledges that,
although some positive steps have been taken, attention should be paid
to providing a balanced and pluralistic history teaching, and to the
teaching of official languages in schools.
There is a need to identify further ways to ensure the effective
participation of persons belonging to minority communities in
socio-economic life, and in public services.
* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or
population in this text shall be understood in full compliance with
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice of
the status of Kosovo
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