Author(s): Author Not Specified
Subject(s): Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Evaluation research, Ethnic Minorities Studies
Published by: Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji
Keywords: Serbia; rights and freedoms; ethnic minorities; conclusion; recommendation;
Summary/Abstract: General conclusion of this survey is that rights and freedoms of minorities in Serbia are no implemented in compliance with proclaimed principles and standards of international practice and law. Domestic legislation related to minority rights is not quite harmonised with international law in this sphere, and in practice is not implemented everywhere and always. But much has changed in this regard after the 5 October 2000 political changeover. Currently under way is harmonisation between domestic and international legislation, and efforts are made to consistently implement pertinent legal provisions in practice. New authorities in Serbia are manifesting their political will to comply with conditions set by the Council of Europe. In normative terms the most important move was adoption of the Act on Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities. This was preceded by the FRY accession to the Framework Convention for Protection of Rights of National Minorities and adoption of other documents of European legislation related to the national minorities (the OSCE recommendations from the Hague, Lund and Oslo). As regards normative protection of rights and freedoms of minorities in Serbia is it needed to urgently fine-tune domestic legislation to international legislation related to that sphere. In those terms it is necessary to first promulgate the new Constitution of Serbia, or at least amend the old one, so that its provisions guarantee a higher degree of protection of rights of national minorities, than the one guaranteed by the federal constitution. It is also necessary to amend the Act on National Minorities in terms of envisaging sanctions for state bodies when they violate rights of national minorities, or don't take measures to provide for full and effective equality of members of national minorities with the majority nation. And finally it is also necessary to fine-tune republican laws with the Federal Act on Protection of National Minorities, by striking off discriminating norms. Survey of implementation of legal provisions indicated that national minorities in Vojvodina exercise their rights better than minorities in Central Serbia. Added to that it seems that a turnaround has been achieved also in South Serbia, in municipalities of the Preševo valley mostly inhabited by Albanians. During Milosevic era their rights were grossly violated, while now they are better treated. But Albanians are still not treated equally as the majority people. However there is hope that through mutual understanding and patience things could improve even more in this regard. Added to implementation of the aforementioned Act and other pertinent acts by the state authorities, of major importance is the formation of the Federal Council for National Minorities and National Councils of National Minorities, with a view to exercising rights to selfrule in the area of use of minorities languages and alphabets, education, information and culture. Only Hungarians (by the date of publication of this survey) have formed their national council, while formation of other councils is still under way. Survey of national minorities also indicated that most minorities were not aware of their rights. Good news is that a vast majority of respondents is not interested in rights which are not regulated by law, and that they are ready to abide by the law in exercise of their rights. This is an encouraging sign for the process of democratisation of society, but one should not overlook the fact that minorities still considerably feel threatened. Better information of national minorities about their rights is also an important factor, as is enhanced information of the majority people that better exercise of minority rights is beneficial for them too, for thus are secured harmonious multi-ethnic relations without which political and economic stability of a multi-ethnic community of Serbis is not viable.

  • Page Range: 122-123
  • Page Count: 2
  • Publication Year: 2002
  • Language: Serbian