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Shadow Report on the Implementation of the
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in Serbia,
Montenegro, and Kosovo


1. Introduction .................................................................................................................. 3

2. FR Yugoslavia and International Law ....................................................................... 4

3. Implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National
.......................................................................................................................... 6

Freedom to Choose One's Nationality (Article 3) ......................................................... 6

1. The Law ......................................................................................................................... 6

2. The Practice ................................................................................................................... 7

Equality and Non-Discrimination (Article 4) ................................................................ 8

1. The Law ......................................................................................................................... 8

2. Special measures to promote equality .......................................................................... 10

3. Special measures for promoting the position of Roma ................................................ 12

4. Prohibition of discrimination in new legislation .......................................................... 12

5. Domestic standards and special measures in Kosovo .................................................. 13

Culture, Preservation of Identity, Refraining from Assimilation (Article 5) ........... 14

1. Policy and practice of assimilation .............................................................................. 15

Tolerance and Intercultural Dialogue (Article 6) ....................................................... 16

1. Failure to Ensure Protection to Persons Subjected to Violence, Threats or Discrimination .................................................................................................................. 17

2. Violence and Discrimination against Roma in Serbia and Montenegro ...................... 17

3. Discrimination and Violence Against Other Minorities in Serbia and Montenegro ... 19

4. Promotion of Ethnic Tolerance in Kosovo .................................................................. 20

5. Protection of Victims of Discrimination and Violence in Kosovo .............................. 21

Freedom of Association, Peaceful Assembly, Expression, Thought, Conscience
and Religion (Article 7)
......................................................................................................... 21

Freedom of Manifesting Religion and Establishing Religious Institutions (Article 8)
........................................................................................................................................... 22

Access to the Media and Use of Own Media (Article 9) ............................................. 24

Official Use of Minority Languages (Article 10) ......................................................... 26

Use of Names in Minority Languages (Article 11) ...................................................... 27

Right to Education of Persons Belonging to Minorities (Article 12) ......................... 28

Private Educational Establishments (Article 13) ........................................................ 31

Right to Learn Minority Languages (Article 14) ........................................................ 31

Participation in Cultural, Social and Economic Life and Public Affairs (Article 15)
........................................................................................................................................... 32

1. Participation in public affairs ....................................................................................... 32

2. Serbia ........................................................................................................................... 33

3. Montenegro .................................................................................................................. 34

4. Kosovo ......................................................................................................................... 36

Refraining From Altering Proportions of the Population (Article 16) ..................... 36

Transfrontier Contacts and Participation in the Activities of NGOs (Article 17) .. 38

Agreements on Protection of Minorities and Encouragement of Transfrontier
Cooperation (Article 18)
................................................................................................ 38

1. Introduction

The present report on the position of national minorities in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo, and the state of their rights was prepared by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) proceeding from the legal principles embodied in the Council of Europe's framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities 1 . Its objective is to delineate the true position of persons belonging to national minorities in political, economic and cultural life, and the level of their participation in public affairs (representation in government bodies, legislatures, the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, etc.). The report deals also with the relevant legal and administrative measures which have an affect on minority rights and how they are exercised.

Field research was conducted in Serbia and Montenegro, the two constituent republics of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ("Yugoslavia"), in particular in the ethnically mixed regions of Vojvodina and the Sandzak, as well as the southern Serbia municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja where ethnic Albanians are a large majority and which were the scene of armed conflicts until mid-2001. The report also includes Kosovo, now under the administration of the United Nations (UN Mission in Kosovo - UNMIK), which applies the standards of international law 2 . The Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government in Kosovo ("Kosovo Constitutional Framework") specifically states that the institutions of self-government are bound to observe and ensure the human rights and freedoms enshrined in a series of international treaties (Chapter 2, Constitutional Framework), including the Council of Europe's framework Convention (Chapter 3, paragraph 2. h).

The framework Convention was signed for Yugoslavia as a non-member state of the Council of Europe on 11 May 2001 by the Federal Minister for National and Ethnic Communities. Following ratification by the Federal Parliament, it entered into force on 1 September 2001, pursuant to Article 29 (2) of the Convention. In monitoring implementation of the Convention, the Council's Committee of Ministers attaches major importance to government reports on the measures taken to give effect to the principles set out in the Convention. These reports are submitted within a year following the entry into force of the Convention in a particular country 3 .

As part of its program of legal aid to victims of discrimination and torture before national courts and international bodies, the HLC systematically monitors observance of international acts on human and minority rights. It informs the public of investigated cases of discrimination, torture, and human and minority rights abuses by issuing reports and press releases, and invests a special effort to document and objectively study cases of direct and indirect discrimination on ethnic grounds. This shadow report on the implementation of the framework Convention draws on the HLC's strategy, experience and research techniques.

Yugoslavia acceded to the framework Convention five years after other countries in its region 4 . One year clearly was not enough time to enact all the legislation required to ensure compliance with the obligations ensuing from the Convention. Passage on 26 February 2002 of the federal Act on Protection of the Rights and Liberties of National Minorities ("Minorities Protection Act) created in national law a basic structure for the implementation of the main principles set out in the Convention. The harmonization of laws and ancillary legislation regulating the field of minority rights in the Yugoslav legal system has yet to be carried out.

The Kosovo Constitutional Framework contains most of the minority rights guarantees enshrined in the framework Convention. For their part, the Serbian authorities insist on strict adherence to UN Security Council resolution 1244, considering that the Constitutional Framework does not provide sufficient protection for the Kosovo Serbs. In illustration, they cite the fact that only 126 of the 226,000 Serbs displaced from Kosovo have returned since June 1999.

2. FR Yugoslavia and International Law

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia came into being in 1992 as a federation of the constituent republics of Serbia and Montenegro, two of the six republics of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 5 . Three constitutions are in effect: the Federal Constitution of April 1992, the Serbian Constitution of September 1990, and the Montenegrin Constitution of 1992. There is a notable lack of harmony between these three organic laws, particularly in respect of the Serbian Constitution, which was promulgated before the Federal Constitution. A large number of republican laws have not been brought into conformity with federal laws and, furthermore, such major pieces of federal legislation as the Criminal Code, Minorities Protection Act and others are not applied in Montenegro.

In all three constitutions, Yugoslavia is defined as a state of equal citizens, not as a national state. This is an essential constitutional prerequisite for determining and guaranteeing minority rights. Article 1 of the Federal Constitution (Section I, Basic Provisions) lays down that Yugoslavia is a sovereign federal state founded on the equality of citizens and the equality of its member republics. The Serbian Constitution, also in its first article, states that Serbia is a democratic state of all citizens living in it, and a state founded on the rights and liberties of man and the citizen, the rule of law, and social justice. Montenegro is defined in its constitution as a democratic, social and ecological state (Article 1).

Following the federal presidential election of 24 September 2000 and the change of government in October of that year, the federal government established a Ministry for National and Ethnic Communities 6 , which is working actively on a project of a "new minority policy in Yugoslavia." After ratifying the framework Convention, the Federal Parliament, at the proposal of the federal government, adopted the Minorities Protection Act, which for the first time comprehensively regulates the field of minority rights.

Yugoslavia is currently in the process of political reform and redefining of relations in the federation. A document containing guidelines for establishing new relations between Serbia and Montenegro was signed on 14 March 2002 in the presence of the European Union's High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana. A 27-member Constitutional Commission set up as a result of this agreement, consisting of nine members delegated by each of the three parliaments, was charged with drafting a Constitutional Charter as the organic law of the new state-union of Serbia and Montenegro. Under one of the draft provisions, the republics would be entitled after a period of three years following the promulgation of the Constitution Charter to initiate the process of altering their status, i.e. seceding from the union.

Protection of human and minority rights is envisaged to be in the jurisdiction of union 7 . The activities of the present Federal Ministry for National and Ethnic Communities would be continued by a new Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and the Minorities Protection Act would continue to be in force in the new state 8 .

The Constitutional Commission began drawing up the Charter in mid-June 2002. Of its 27 members, only four are from political parties of minorities 9 . Noting in a press release of 17 August that none of the amendments it proposed had been accepted, the Union of Vojvodina Hungarians said the fact that draft envisaged a reduction in the level of collective minority rights was unconscionable. The Sandzak Bosniacs suggested that one of the government institutions of the union be based in the region's capital Novi Pazar, that it be stated in the preamble to the Charter that Bosniacs were a constituent nation of the former Yugoslavia, and that a Chamber of Nations and Regions be established in the future states as a legal mechanism that would guarantee national equality. None of these suggestions was accepted.

The area of national law vis-a-vis international law is regulated by Article 36 of the Federal Constitution. Paragraph 1 states that "The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia shall fulfill in good faith the obligations contained in international treaties to which it is a contracting party." Paragraph 2 lays down that "International treaties which have been ratified and promulgated in conformity with the present Constitution and generally accepted rules of international law shall be a constituent part of the internal legal order." The most important international treaties were ratified by the former Yugoslavia in 1971: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Protocol (which makes it possible for individuals who allege their rights under the Covenant have been violated to turn to the UN Human Rights Committee) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966. The 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was ratified in 1967, and on 27 June 2001 Yugoslavia made a declaration recognizing the competence of the Committee Against Discrimination to receive and consider individual and group applications alleging violation of rights guaranteed by the Convention. At the same time, the federal government designated the Federal Constitutional Court as the body which considers applications with regard to violation of the Convention when all other remedies under national law have been exhausted.

Yugoslavia was an active participant in the adoption of the 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities, and has signed the Council of Europe's framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, but not the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 5 November 1992. The new government has expressed readiness to accede to this international act too.

3. Implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Freedom to Choose One's Nationality
Article 3, Framework Convention:

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.

1. The Law

Article 45 (1) of the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of the expression of national sentiments and the use of one's mother tongue, and paragraph 2 states that no one is obliged to declare his nationality. The corresponding articles of the republican constitutions are very similar. These provisions are of major importance for the protection of minority rights.

In its Article 5 (1), the Minorities Protection Act is explicit that no disadvantage may result from the choice of nationality or expression of national sentiments, or from not making such a choice. The second paragraph of the Article prohibits any registration of persons belonging to national minorities which obliges them to declare their nationality against their will. Under national law, no disadvantage may result to a person because of his refusal to choose a nationality as the possibility of free choice is a hallowed principle of the freedom of declaring one's nationality.

The Serbian Constitution guarantees in Article 49 the freedom of expressing national sentiments and also states that no one is obliged to declare his nationality. The matter is regulated in much the same way by Article 34 (1, 2 and 3) of the Montenegrin Constitution.

The Kosovo Constitutional Framework lays down in Chapter 4 (2) that no one is obliged to declare to which community he belongs, or to declare himself a member of any community. In accordance with the framework Convention, it adds that no disadvantage may result from an individual’s exercise of the right to declare or not declare himself a member of a community.

2. The Practice

The issue of nationality arises, as a rule, at times of census-taking. After being postponed for one year 10 , the census took place in April 2002 in Serbia excluding the territory of Kosovo. The Montenegrin government has twice put off the census, which is now scheduled for 2003. For the first time, members of the Bosniac community in the Sandzak, a region in south-west Serbia and northern Montenegro, were able to declare themselves as such 11 . In contrast to Serbia, where persons of the Muslim faith declare themselves as "Bosniacs," their co-religionists in the Montenegrin Sandzak variously opt for the appellations "Bosniac", "Muslim-Bosniac", or "Muslim." The Montenegrin Muslim Association and its president Avdul Kurpejovic insist on "Muslim."

In the 1991 census, 21,552 people in Vojvodina declared themselves as belonging to the Bunjevac minority and 1,866 to the Sokac minority. Estimates on the total number of Bunjevacs vary greatly, and their representatives hold that the authorities have invested little effort to address the issue 12 .

An identical problem exists with respect to the Vlach community in eastern Serbia. Some of its members declare themselves as Vlachs while others consider Romania as their mother-state and call themselves Romanians. The federal and Serbian authorities have not supported either view.

Although some 95% of the population in the Dimitrovgrad municipality, also in eastern Serbia, have Bulgarian last names, 45% % declared themselves as Serbs, Montenegrins or Yugoslavs in the 1991 census. The relevant data gathered in the 2002 census has not yet been published.

Problems with group identification exist also in Kosovo with respect to ethnic Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians. Though these three communities perceive themselves as separate groups, they figure in the reports of international and regional organizations as one in view of their shared characteristics and status. Research has shown their position and similarities to be far closer than their differences (language, culture, customs). Albanians, Serbs and other communities in Kosovo consider the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians to be a single ethnic group.

Equality and Non-Discrimination
Article 4, Framework Convention:

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.

3.The measures adopted in accordance with paragraph 2 shall not be considered to be an act of discrimination.

1. The Law

The Yugoslav, Serbian, and Montenegrin Constitutions and the Kosovo Constitutional Framework guarantee equality before the law and equal protection of the law to all, including persons belonging to national minorities and ethnic groups. Article 20 (1) in the Yugoslav Constitution's section on the freedoms, rights and duties of man and the citizen declares the general principle of equality, and the wording of the corresponding articles in the republican constitutions is very similar. Article 20 (2) of the Yugoslav Constitution states that everyone is equal before the law. The same guarantee is embodied in the republican constitutions (Art. 13, Serbian Constitution; Art. 15 (2)), Montenegrin Constitution), and means that all citizens have equal opportunity in exercising their rights under the law (personal, political, economic, and social), equality in respect of their duties and, in particular, equality in proceedings before courts and state administrative agencies to protect their rights. Article 17 of the Montenegrin Constitution specifies that everyone has the right to protection of their rights and freedoms in legally regulated procedure, and the right of appeal against decisions pertaining to their rights or interests grounded in law.

In Chapter 3 where it treats human rights, the Kosovo Constitutional Framework states that all persons in Kosovo enjoy, without discrimination on any ground and in full equality, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Furthermore, the provisional institutions of self-government are bound to observe and ensure the internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in a series of international acts and the framework Convention. All provisions on human rights and freedoms set forth in these instruments, which are listed in the Constitutional Framework, are directly applicable in Kosovo 13 .

A republican Council for Protection of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National and Ethnic Groups has been set up in Montenegro pursuant to Article 76 of the Montenegrin Constitution. Chaired by the Montenegrin President, the Council has no regulatory functions. It concerns itself with the exercise of the rights of national minorities and ethnic groups as set out in Articles 67 through 76 of the Constitution. The functions of this body conform only in part with those of similar bodies set up in other countries to promote the principle of equal treatment. The Serbian Constitution envisages no such body.

The Serbian and Montenegrin Parliaments have special bodies dealing with issues related to the exercise of minority rights (Committee on Inter-Ethnic Relations in Serbia, and Committee on Human Rights and Freedoms in Montenegro). Representatives of minorities serve on these committees. In addition to the Federal Ministry for National and Ethnic Communities, the Montenegrin government has department of state for national and ethnic groups, which ranks as a ministry and is headed by a representative of a minority group. There is no ministry in Serbia charged specifically with the protection of minority rights. The provincial administration of Vojvodina has also set up a Secretariat for Regulations, Administration and National Minorities, which is headed by a representative of the ethnic Hungarians, the largest minority community in Vojvodina. The Kosovo Assembly has a Committee on the Rights and Interests of Communities made up of two members of each community elected to the Assembly. At the request of any member of the Assembly Presidency, any proposed law is submitted to the Committee, which by a majority vote decides whether to make recommendations regarding the proposed law. On its own initiative, the Committee may propose laws and other measures it considers appropriate to address the concerns of communities.

The Minorities Protection Act in Article 4 (1) authorizes government bodies to make regulations, bring acts and take other measures in accordance with the Constitution and law to ensure full and effective equality between the minority and majority communities. Under Article 23 (1) of the Act, persons belonging to minorities and national minority councils can file claims for compensation with the competent court in order to protect their rights. Paragraph 2 of the Article specifies that the Federal Ministry for National and Ethnic Communities and the national minority councils may, in accordance with the Act on the Federal Constitutional Court, file constitutional appeals when they believe that there has been a violation of the constitutional rights and liberties of persons belonging to minorities. They may do so also when addressed by a person belonging to a minority who alleges that his constitutional rights and freedoms have been violated.

No possibility of constitutional appeal is envisaged by the Serbian Constitution. Under Article 113 (1.4) of the Montenegrin Constitution, the republic's Constitutional Court considers constitutional appeals against violations of the rights and liberties of man and the citizen laid down by the Montenegrin Constitution when such protection is not in the jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court 14 and when other judicial protection is not available. When considering appeals of this nature and establishing that a violation of human or civil rights has occurred, the Federal Constitutional Court annuls the act in question and orders the removal of the consequences that resulted from it (Art. 39 (1)), Act on the Federal Constitutional Court). Protection of minority rights is possible also through the filing with the Constitutional Court of petitions challenging the constitutionality of legal provisions, i.e. through a special constitutional procedure. It is noteworthy in this context that all the constitutional courts also take into consideration petitions by "citizens, organs and organizations" 15 and their decisions in such cases are binding and final. Article 74 (2) of the Montenegrin Constitution states that persons belonging to national and ethnic groups are entitled to turn to international institutions to protect their constitutional rights and freedoms.

Violation of the equality of citizens is punishable under criminal law. The federal Criminal Code ensures protection in this regard by criminalizing as offenses the incitement of ethnic, racial and religious hate and intolerance (Art. 143), and racial and other discrimination (Art. 154). Both the Serbian (Art. 60) and Montenegrin (Art. 43) Criminal Codes define violation of equality as denial of the rights of a citizen, including those under ratified international treaties, on national, racial, religious or other grounds as a criminal offense. It is also an offense to deny or restrict rights (discrimination) or grant advantages (favorizing) on such grounds. The Serbian Criminal Code in Article 61 also criminalizes violation of the equal use of languages and scripts and, in Article 100, subjecting national and ethnic groups to derision.

The UNMIK administration has passed a regulation prohibiting the incitement to national, racial, religious, or ethnic hatred, discord or intolerance (Regulation No. 2000/4 of 1 February 2000). If such acts are committed systematically, or by taking advantage of one's position, or if disorder, violence or other grave consequences resulted from them, or if national, racial, ethnic or religious symbols were exposed to derision, the belongings of another were damaged, or monuments or graves desecrated, the offender faces a term of imprisonment of up to eight years.

2. Special measures to promote equality

Special measures to promote equality between persons belonging to minorities and those belonging to the majority have always been taken to deal with the effect rather than the cause. Such measures are most frequent in areas in which minority communities are the majority population, and are taken by local authorities through institutions set up by the local community.

After the armed conflicts in 2000 and 2002 in the southern Serbia municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, Serbia adopted a plan to resolve the crisis. The plan, which includes measures to promote the equality of all communities in the area, was in principle supported by the Albanian community but its implementation leaves much to be desired. The first significant measure was the dissolution of local assemblies and calling of early local elections. As a result of the elections, the Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medjvedja Assemblies now, for the first time, reflect the ethnic makeup of the population.

Some proposed amendments to laws have not always taken into account the real needs of persons belonging to minorities in areas where they are the predominant population. The planned abolition of the court in Backi Petrovac (Vojvodina), for instance, indicates that the needs of the Slovak community are being ignored 16 .

Measures for promoting equality are contained also in laws. The new Act on Local Self-government in Serbia (Sluzbeni glasnik RS, No. 9/2002) envisages in Article 63 the establishment of Councils on Inter-Ethnic Relations. These councils are made up of representatives of all national and ethnic communities in ethnically-mixed municipalities, which are defined by the Act as municipalities in which one national community accounts for over 5% of the total population, or in which members of minority groups make up over 10% of the population according to the latest census. Communities in which minorities are more than 1% of the population can delegate representatives to the councils. Focusing on the exercise of national equality, its protection and promotion, the councils address their opinions and recommendations to the local municipal assemblies. The assemblies are bound to place these on the agendas of their first sessions following reception or within 30 days at the latest. Under the law, the councils are local bodies set up to consider the multi-ethnic dimensions of ethnically mixed communities and promote inter-ethnic cooperation. Their basic role is coordination.

A republican Council for the Protection of the Rights of National and Ethnic Groups has been established in Montenegro. Similar councils at local level do not exist 17 .

At the recommendation of the UNHCR and OSCE, an Advisory Committee on Communities was established in Kosovo in December 2001. The Committee ensures that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General is provided with information on the position of minority communities, which he takes into account in discharging his responsibilities following the establishment of the Kosovo Assembly. The Committee also provides the Special Representative with policy guidelines, advice and recommendations with regard to stabilization and the integration of minority communities in Kosovo. One of its first actions was to issue guidelines on the employment of persons belonging to minority groups and freedom of movement. It considers it most important to persuade the Kosovo Albanian political leaders to support the return and integration of minority communities.

3. Special measures for promoting the position of Roma

Before enactment of the Minorities Protection Act, the Roma community had the status of an ethnic group and were formally in a position of inequality in respect of both the majority population and other minorities. The law accorded the Roma the status of a national minority and, under Article 4 (2), the authorities have an obligation to adopt legislation and measures to "improve the position of persons belonging to the Roma national minority." Yugoslavia thus became the eighth European country to declare the Roma a national minority by law, with the aim of promoting their integration into society.

An inter-ministerial group on Roma rights has been established to draw up a program of affirmative action measures for Roma. Made up of officials from different federal, republican and provincial ministries, the activities of the group are coordinated by the Federal Ministry for National and Ethnic Communities. In mid-September 2002, the Ministry signed an agreement with international organizations in Yugoslavia on setting up a group of experts to formulate a strategy for the integration of the Roma community. This strategy, which includes the issues of housing, education and employment, is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

4.Prohibition of discrimination in new legislation

Article 3 of the Minorities Protection Act prohibits any discrimination on national, ethnic, racial or linguistic grounds. Under paragraph 2, government agencies at all levels - federal, republican, provincial and municipal - may not bring discriminatory laws or take any measures of a discriminatory nature. Article 4 (1) envisages the possibility of these agencies adopting affirmative action measures to ensure the full equality of majority and minority communities. Under Article 4 (3), measures taken in the framework of affirmative action are not to be considered as an act of discrimination, which is in accordance with Article 4 (3) of the framework Convention.

The new Serbian Act on Elementary Schools contains in Article 7 a provision that prohibits any activities in schools which threaten or disparage groups and individuals on the grounds of race, nationality, language, religion or gender, incitement to such activities, and corporal punishment or humiliation of schoolchildren. The new Serbian Labor Act in Article 12 prohibits discrimination and states that both persons seeking employment and those already employed may not be at a disadvantage in respect to others because of their sex, birth, language, race, nationality, religion, etc. The Serbian Broadcasting Act lays down in Article 3 (6) that regulation of relations in the field of broadcasting is based, inter alia, on "the principle of the prohibition of discrimination."

In addition to this new legislation, Yugoslavia on 27 June 2002 made a declaration pursuant to Article 14 (1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination recognizing the competence of the UN Committee Against Discrimination to receive and consider individual and group applications alleging violation of the rights guaranteed by the Convention. The federal government at the same time designated the Federal Constitutional Court as the body which considers such applications after the exhaustion of all other available domestic remedy. The Federal Constitutional Court, however, is unable to consider applications of this nature since such matters, under the Federal Constitutional Court Act, are not in its jurisdiction. The competence of the Court cannot be based on a government declaration and it is necessary to either amend the law or adopt a new one. In January 2002, the HLC submitted an application regarding the barring of Roma from a Belgrade discotheque to the Federal Constitutional Court as the highest instance, and before lodging it with the UN Committee Against Discrimination. To date, the Court has been silent on the matter. Government agencies also failed to provide protection to these victims of discrimination since the Public Prosecutor's Office has taken no action on the criminal complaint filed by the HLC in July 2000, that is, for 18 months.

5. Domestic standards and special measures in Kosovo

All legislative and executive powers, including court administrations, in Kosovo are in the competence of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General. Laws in force before 24 March 1999 remain in effect if they conform with international standards, the UNMIK mandate, Security Council resolution 1244, and regulations adopted by UNMIK 18 . The Kosovo Constitutional Framework 19 has not been published in the Turkish, Romani or Bosniac languages. Indeed, no provision has been made to ensure publication of UNMIK regulations, which appear only in English, Albanian and Serbian, in those minority languages. A category of complaints relating to human rights have been removed from the jurisdiction of courts and transferred to UNMIK, against whose decisions there is no possibility of judicial appeal.

Discrimination against minority communities is present in a variety of fields. HLC research has brought out that it is most pronounced in education, the use of minority languages in official matters, and in employment, with the Roma population being the most threatened. Roma, Egyptians and Ashkali displaced from Kosovo to Serbia and Montenegro are in the direst position as they are discriminated against in both republics. Their position improves somewhat with their return to Kosovo 20 .

Culture, Preservation of Identity, Refraining from Assimilation

Article 5, Framework Convention:

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.

Though there are no formal restrictions on fostering the culture of national minorities, their amateur cultural societies operate in difficult conditions. The position of minority cultural organizations founded by municipal authorities is somewhat better as the founders provide financial assistance for their activities. The activities of the ethnic Hungarian Cultural Center Nepkor and the Roma Cultural Center in Subotica are, for instance, funded by the local authorities.

Under the new Serbian Act on Local Self-Government, municipalities are entitled to set up cultural institutions whose activities they monitor and support (Art. 18, para. 14). Although with a long tradition, minority cultural institutions are in difficulties. Despite the obligation of the state to promote conditions for maintaining and developing the culture of minorities, such measures are on the whole absent. Cultural projects do occasionally receive support but generally on a case-to-case basis.

The Montenegrin Council for Protection of the Rights of National and Ethnic Groups established in 2001 a Center for Fostering National and Ethnic Cultures, which is in accordance with Article 5 of the framework Convention and was the first significant measure aimed at maintaining and developing minority cultures.

Amateur cultural societies are in rural areas virtually the only form of organized minority cultural activities. Almost every town and village in Vojvodina with Hungarian inhabitants has a society which maintains, develops and promotes their culture. All these societies have problems in securing funding for their activities, in particular, musical, theatrical and similar performances. The societies of other minorities in Vojvodina are in a very similar position.

The sole organization whose aim is to promote the culture and national identity of Bulgars, who are concentrated in the eastern Serbia municipalities of Dimitrovgrad and Bosilegrad, is the Caribrod Cultural and Information Center in Dimitrovgrad. The Center has cultural exchange agreements with the National Library and City Assembly of Sofia in neighboring Bulgaria. It has a branch office in Bosilegrad which, as part of its activities, brings out a monthly news bulletin with a circulation of 2,500.

The Cultural-Educational Society in Sjenica is a major Bosniac cultural institution in the Sandzak. Founded in 1984, it brings out the Zbornik Sjenice whose publication has been assisted by the Federal Ministry for National and Ethnic Minorities and the Serbian Ministry of Culture since the ratification of the framework Convention. The Federal Ministry also financially supports an literary event held annually since 1998.

Owing to the armed conflicts in the Presevo, Bujanovac and Medjvedja municipalities, minorities cultures were pushed to the sidelines. The main institutions in the region are the cultural centers founded by the municipalities. Few ethnic Albanians are employed in these centers, and books in Serbian make up the bulk of the public libraries. Of the 35,000 books in the Bujanovac library, for instance, only 1,000 are in Albanian. The only Albanian national song and dance ensemble had its last performance back in 1997. Since Yugoslavia's accession to the framework Convention, the state has taken no measures specifically designed for the maintenance and development of the culture, language and cultural heritage of ethnic Albanians in Serbia. Only some of the necessary conditions have been created in Presevo, due to the efforts invested by the local authorities.

A proportion of Bosniac children in Kosovo have to attend Albanian-language elementary schools since education in their own language is not provided 21 . High-school graduates belonging to this group have no possibility of obtaining a higher education in Kosovo in the Bosniac language. The community insists on the provision of Bosniac-language education, saying that it will soon be culturally assimilated if this is not done. The Turkish minority is in a somewhat better situation since the Turkish government grants scholarships for study at schools and universities in that country. The majority of Roma children in Kosovo do not go to school at all and those who do attend classes in the language spoken by the majority population in the particular area. The Ashkali and Egyptians who speak Albanian are in a slightly better position. All the measures taken by the international community are aimed at the integration of minorities while at the same time maintaining their identity, and are in accordance with Article 5 of the framework Convention.

1. Policy and practice of assimilation

The HLC registered no direct and forcible attempts at assimilation in areas in which it conducted its field research although various actions by the authorities and the absence of appropriate measures results in a greater or lesser loss of national or ethnic identity. In Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, such actions are present mostly in the field of education where the approach to secondary and higher education in minority languages is unbalanced. In addition, the programs and curricula at all three levels of education do not include classes on the culture and traditions of minority communities.

The problem with forming classes providing instruction in minority languages is most acute in Vojvodina 22 where students who are unable to enroll in a class providing instruction in their language are forced to attend Serbian-language classes. It also happens that the number of periods in which minority languages are taught as a subject is inadequate (Bulgar minority in Serbia) and in some cases curricula do not envisage teaching of minority languages as a separate subject (Bosniac in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo). School programs and curricula continue to be ethno-centric and focused on Serbian culture, history and traditions. That this results in assimilation is evident from the way Bulgars and Vlachs declared themselves in the 1991 census.

Tolerance and Intercultural Dialogue
Article 6, Framework Convention

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.

The Federal Ministry for National and Ethnic Communities launched in 2001 a media campaign titled "Tolerance" to promote multiculturalism. It also established a Multiculturalism Center based in Belgrade to advance minority cultures. In May 2001, it started bringing out a bulletin designed to promote intercultural dialogue and, in a special edition of this bulletin, published the Minorities Protection Act in Serbian, English and nine minority languages (Albanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Romani, Romanian, Ruthenian, Slovak and German. Ethnic tolerance is at its best in Vojvodina. Serious ethnic incidents involving Bosniac and Serb groups have been registered in the Sandzak, and the situation in the Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja municipalities is similar, with insufficient cooperation between local Serbs and Albanians even after the armed conflict.

A new minority policy was implemented in dealing with the ethnic conflicts in southern Serbia. The state Coordination Center drew up a special plan to resolve the crisis, which included a cessation of hostilities, the political integration of local Albanians, and economic and social restructuring of the region. The negotiations were mediated by the international community and resulted in an agreement on ending the conflict. Since few Albanians were on the police force prior to the conflict, a multi-ethnic force was trained with OSCE assistance. After the first local elections in the three municipalities in 2002, Albanians have been adequately represented in the local governments. At the request of the Albanian community, a federal act was passed amnestying those all those involved in the armed conflicts in the period from 1 January 1999 to 31 May 2001.

Local assemblies in which political parties of minorities are in power hold sessions devoted to the state of human and minority rights in the particular municipality (e.g. Sjenica and Presevo). This is not the practice in municipalities in which Serbs and Montenegrins are a majority. In Kosovo, such a practice exists also and its focus is on the return of displaced person, almost all of whom belong to minority groups. This has resulted in specific initiatives such as the Vucitrn Assembly declaration.

The Montenegrin Council on the Protection of the Rights of National and Ethnic Groups convenes periodically, adopts positions and recommendations on the exercise of minority rights 23 . Though the Council's positions are not legally binding, they do have political weight. Similar recommendations have been made by the Advisory Council on Communities in Kosovo.

1. Failure to Ensure Protection to Persons Subjected to Violence, Threats or Discrimination

In the course of its field research, the HLC registered a large number of cases of threats, discrimination and police torture of persons belonging to all ethnic groups. In most of these cases, the victims were Roma (Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo), followed by Albanians and Bosniacs. The safety and security of persons belonging to the Serb, Bosniac and Gorani communities is one of the biggest problems in Kosovo.

2. Violence and Discrimination against Roma in Serbia and Montenegro

Although the constitutions and laws declare the principle of equality, practice shows that Roma find it hardest to obtain the protection of the law and to exercise their basic rights. Persons belonging to this community are discriminated against in the fields of education, employment, housing, access to social services, and are barred from public places. In drastic cases, Roma are even unable to obtain the required personal papers. When Roma in Podgorica, Niksic and Kotor (Montenegro) applied for identity cards, they were insulted and derided clerks and officials of the city administrations 24 . Virtually none of the persons denied access to public places has received the protection of the law (cases of barring from four discos in Belgrade), or the judicial proceedings have been unduly prolonged (barred from public swimming pool in Sabac 25 ). In the case of denial of access to the Trezor disco in Belgrade, the Federal Constitutional Court has not yet considered the petition filed by the HLC 26 .

The problem of access by Roma to public places is at times compounded by violence against them by private citizens, with Albanian-speaking Roma from Kosovo being the most frequent targets. Ashkali, who also speak Albanian, have been subjected to unlawful police conduct 27 . The Serbian and Montenegrin authorities have no clear strategy for encouraging the majority communities to understand the problems of Roma and the conditions they live in, and frequently fail publicly to condemn instances of violence and discrimination against persons belonging to this minority.

Roma also do not enjoy full protection of the law. Judicial proceedings are unduly prolonged when Roma appear as plaintiffs, and the police response when they are physically assaulted by private citizens is often inadequate. Presuming that they must be guilty of criminal offenses, mainly theft, police resort to extracting statements and confession from Roma, even though such statements are inadmissible in court except as evidence against persons accused of torture (Art. 15, UN Convention Against Torture). Numerous criminal complaints alleging torture have been filed, with prosecutors most frequently taking no action on tem. On the other hand, police and prosecutors often bring charges against Roma even on the flimsiest evidence.

Several cases of police abuse of Roma investigated by the HLC brought out lack of respect for a person's dignity and physical integrity, disparagement on ethnic grounds, and harboring of stereotypes such as "Roma are born thieves." A number of these incidents involved minors, who were beaten in the street 28 or in police stations 29 . Complaints alleging use of excessive force by police officers addressed to Ministry of Internal Affairs' Internal Control Division by the HLC and other human rights organizations are not properly investigated and most often dismissed as unfounded.

Though courts have started sentencing officers found guilty of subjecting Roma to acts of torture, the punishment they receive is usually the lightest envisaged by law and inappropriate to the severity of the crime. Two sentences handed down against private citizens were also very light 30 . The fact that it sometimes takes years before courts finally rule on such cases additionally discourages the victims from seeking redress.

A large majority of Roma in Serbia live in slums erected in defiance of zoning regulations, without electricity, running water, or sewers. Cases on record with the HLC demonstrate the authorities' lack of concern when these people are evicted from their homes. Evicted Roma most frequently find new locations on which to build ramshackle dwellings and, as a rule, are soon evicted again (settlements in the Novi Beograd district, in Zimonjiceva and Zvecanska streets in Belgrade).

Roma are in a somewhat better position in Montenegro where housing is concerned. Local authorities in some municipalities have allowed Roma to build settlements on land owned by city assemblies (two in Bijelo Polje) or provided alternative housing (Cetinje). In some cases, Roma squatters moved into abandoned buildings and local authorities, by issuing them with ID cards, have accepted the fact (Herceg Novi, Kotor). Nonetheless, a large number of Roma still live in slums without even basic amenities.

Roma displaced from Kosovo are the most frequent victims of discrimination in the field of housing. The overwhelming majority of almost 7,000 are inadequately housed. Many families live in organized family accommodations (Konik, Vrela Ribnicka), some have moved into the settlements of local Roma (Cetinje, Budva, Niksic). The worst off are those who were forced to set up home on municipal landfills (Lovanja and Pljevlja). Displaced Roma receive worse treatment than local Roma (Safari settlement in Ulcinj), and even those who have been assigned temporary housing have to deal with frequent cuts in water and power supply (Cetinje, Bijelo Polje).

Roma are discriminated against in the field of employment in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo (case of Natasa Stevic in Kragujevac).

3. Discrimination and Violence Against Other Minorities in Serbia and Montenegro

During the 1990s, the Sandzak Bosniacs were victims of violation of the right to physical integrity, with Serbian police officers most frequently being the perpetrators. No proceedings were ever instituted in many of these cases, others were started years afterwards (on criminal complaints filed by the Sandzak Human Rights Committee) and of these many unduly prolonged. Bosniacs do not enjoy equal protection of the law in cases with an ethnic background (the "Group of 24," stoning of a house in Prijepolje). One drastic case of prolonged proceedings involved the torture by police of Hajdarevic and Kamberovic, which, eight years after the event, is still winding its way through the courts 31 . Final judicial decisions are few and far between. Bosniacs in other parts of Serbia and Montenegro find it hard to obtain the protection of the law when subjected to violence and discrimination 32 .

Bosniacs and Muslims who were dismissed from their jobs during the previous regime were unable to obtain redress. The statute of limitations expired in many of these cases, some proceedings are still under way, and some judicial decisions have never been executed 33 .

Discrimination against ethnic Albanians in Serbia was most pronounced in the 1990s. Since Yugoslavia's accession to the framework Convention, the HLC has investigated several cases of physical abuse of Albanians by police, finding that the police authorities in many cases failed to conduct prompt and impartial investigations. Discrimination is still present in education, official use of languages and participation in public affairs. This is the result of unchanged legislation and the Serbian authorities' lack of readiness to carry out effective reforms in these fields. With the exception of acts involving Yugoslav Army members, there were no major incidents of threats or hostility against Albanians in Montenegro 34 .

When the former Yugoslavia disintegrated, ethnic Croats in Vojvodina, who live mainly in the Srem and Backa regions, and in Montenegro (Boka Kotorska), became a national minority. About 30,000 Croats have moved out of Serbia under pressure since 1991. Croats do not enjoy equal protection of the law in either Serbia or Montenegro 35 . They are still subjected to pressures, from which the police fail to protect them (anonymous letter addressed to Mila Franovic-Martinovic, assault on a Croatian state television crew in Kotor).

4. Promotion of Ethnic Tolerance in Kosovo

The lack of cooperation between ethnic groups is most evident in Kosovo. Cooperation between albanian majority and other communities is not satisfactory. In spite of the constant efforts of the international community, which organized events such as the Carnival of Communities in Urosevac/Ferizaj, and the Multi-Ethnic Concert in Gnjilane), the results are unsatisfactory. The parallel systems that continue in contravention of Security Council resolution 1244 are a major obstacle to the promotion of tolerance, understanding and cooperation between the majority Albanians and the minority communities in Kosovo. Since the establishment of the institutions of provisional self-government, Kosovo officials have come out publicly in support of the return of displaced persons and the integration of minorities in Kosovo society 36 . The civil sector plays the most important role in promoting tolerance.

5. Protection of Victims of Discrimination and Violence in Kosovo

Physical assaults on Bosniacs, Serbs, Goranis and Roma are still commonplace in Kosovo. The Special Representative has passed a regulation (No. 2000/4) prohibiting incitement to hatred, and national, racial, religious and ethnic intolerance and envisaging terms of imprisonment of up to 10 years for offenders. The HLC has investigated cases of ethnically motivated violence, which are aimed primarily against Bosniacs, Serbs, Goranis and Roma (Plamentina and Osojane villages). Persons belonging to these communities do not have the freedom of movement and even their lives may be in danger when they travel to other villages or towns (attack on Osojane Serbs). In the period under review, the police were in several cases able to identify the assailants. The punishment for such acts is generally too lenient 37 .

Discrimination against minority communities in Kosovo is pronounced in the fields of employment, use of languages, education, and health care, and is aggravated by the poor economic situation. Where discrimination in employment is concerned, it occurs primarily in the areas of hiring and the restructuring of companies or public institutions. Persons belonging to minorities are often ineligible job openings because of their poor knowledge of Albanian.

Freedom of Association, Peaceful Assembly, Expression, Thought, Conscience and Religion
Article 7, Framework Convention:

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.

The freedoms cited in Article 7 of the framework Convention are guaranteed by the constitutions of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Kosovo Constitutional Framework. Everyone is entitled to freedom of association and only organizations whose goals are aimed against rights and liberties and at incitement of ethnic, racial and religious hatred and intolerance are prohibited.

Exercise of the freedom of association is in practice hindered by obstacles and formalities which delay entry of minority societies and organizations (e.g. the Roma Pharo Drom) into the appropriate registers. Although required by law to enter the applying society or organizations within 30 days, issuance of certificates of entry is frequently late (e.g. the Bosniac Ikra Society for Science, Culture and Arts).

The freedom of political association of minorities is also guaranteed and is respected in practice. It takes different forms, with all minorities in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo having their own political parties. These generally win the votes of all their co-nationals (Albanians, Hungarians, Bosniacs in Serbia) though persons belonging to minorities at times opt for parties with civil rather than national programs (Bosniacs in Montenegro). Cases have been recorded of minorities voting for rightist parties (Bulgars in Bosilegrad).

The HLC has no information on violation of the right to the freedom of thought, conscience or religion of persons belonging to minorities since September 2001.

Freedom of Manifesting Religion and Establishing Religious Institutions
Article 8, Framework Convention:

The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to manifest his or her religion and to establish religious institutions, organisations and associations.

National minorities are able freely to manifest their religion or belief. Numerous rights, however, are accorded by law and other regulations to the "traditional religious communities," most importantly the organizing of religious instruction in public schools.

All three constitutions guarantee the freedom of religion, public or private profession of religion and performance of religious rites. Small religious communities are, however, under the pressure of the large communities and frequently the target of threats and attacks (desecration of religious buildings, offensive graffiti and the like).

Religious instruction was introduced as an elective subject by a Serbian government decree, which also envisages another subject as an alternative in elementary and secondary schools. When it passed the decree, the government failed to take into the account the equality of all religious communities. The decree favors the traditional Serbian Orthodox Church, Islamic Community, Jewish Community, Slovak Evangelical Church, Christian Reformist Church and the Evangelical Christian Church, and thus discriminates against other minority religious communities (e.g. Romanian Orthodox Church). A number of instances have been registered of Serbian Orthodox clergy openly exerting pressure on students to choose religious instruction as a school subject (case in Beocin).

Treatment of religious communities is also unequal where building of churches and other religious institutions is concerned, and when people are compelled to give contributions toward the construction of churches of a religion other than the one they profess (e.g. for the Serbian Orthodox church in Secanj).

All minority communities in Kosovo have the right freely to manifest their religion and establish religious institutions. Exercise of this right, however, is at times difficult owing to threats to the safety and security of some ethnic groups (Serbs, Bosniacs, Roma).

Access to the Media and Use of Own Media
Article 9, Framework Convention:

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.

Access to the media and public information in minority languages are guaranteed by law. In July 2002, the Serbian Parliament adopted the Broadcasting Act as the first law in the field of public information since the change of government in October 2000. Under the Act, the sphere of broadcasting is regulated by the independent Broadcasting Agency, one of whose nine members "shall be from an organization focusing primarily on the protection of freedom of speech, the rights of national and ethnic minorities, and the rights of the child." Serbian state television is to become a public service.

TV Novi Sad covers the whole territory of Vojvodina and broadcasts daily news programs in Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian and Ruthenian. Weekly programs in Romani and Croat have been introduced recently. The HLC registered only one violation of the right to information (banning of an item in a magazine-type TV show). Depending on their size and interests, all minority communities in Vojvodina have their own printed media, and there are no restrictions, formal or otherwise, in this regard.

Sandzak Bosniacs have a large number of printed and electronic media, most of which are based in Novi Pazar. In Sjenica, a municipality where Bosniacs are predominant, the local radio station cannot go on the air as an essential piece of equipment confiscated in 1997 has not yet been returned. There are no Bosniac-language programs on Serbian state television, nor are programs on Bosniac traditions and culture broadcast with any regularity.

Thanks to a cable TV system in Dimitrovgrad and Bosilegrad, Bulgars in these municipalities can receive three channels of stations in neighboring Bulgaria. There is also a local television station established by the municipality. Broadcasting of a weekly news and information program in Bulgarian was discontinued in 1999 and has not resumed. Bulgars do not have their own daily newspapers, and Bulgarian newspapers reach Belgrade with several days' delay. Police on a number of occasions seized magazines and books private citizens were bringing in from Bulgaria, even after FR Yugoslavia's accession to the framework Convention.

The weekly Jehona is the only Albanian-language printed media in Serbia. It received financial assistance from the local government in Bujanovac for the first time in 2001. There were no Albanian-language printed or electronic media in the Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja municipalities before the armed conflict in the region. The situation improved in 2001 with the opening of Radio Presevo and assistance to a private radio station in Bujanovac. With the signing of an agreement on the criteria for the reorganization of public media in Bujanovac municipality, local Albanians have the possibility of participating in creating the programs of such media (Albanian-language program on Radio Bujanovac).

Freedom of public information in Montenegro is protected by the Council on Protection of the Freedom of Public Information. The republic's Parliament is the founder and publisher of the Albanian-language magazine Koha Javore. A number of private radio and television stations in Podgorica and Ulcinj municipalities broadcast Albanian-language programs, and Ulcinj also receives several radio and TV programs from neighboring Albania. The only Bosniac/Muslim printed media in Montenegro is the Almanah magazine whose subject matter is the cultural and historical heritage of Bosniacs/Muslims in Montenegro.

A large number of minority communities in Kosovo have applied for licenses to establish private radio stations. Bosniacs and Goranis in the Prizren area alone have filed 40 applications for radio frequencies. Up to the establishment of the international administration in Kosovo, the sole Bosniac/Muslim-language printed medium was the Selam magazine on cultural, religious and societal issues, which was banned by the Serbian authorities a year before the withdrawal from Kosovo. Brief news programs in the Bosniac and Serb language are broadcast for members of these communities by local stations and Kosovo Radio and Television. The Roma have only one periodical on cultural topics. There are no longer any radio and television programs in their language. Publication of the only Turkish-language newspaper Tan, which came out for 30 years, has been discontinued.

Official Use of Minority Languages
Article 10, Framework Convention:

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, 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.

Article 49 of the Yugoslav Constitution guarantees to everyone the right to use his own language in proceedings before a court or other authority or organization which, in the performance of its public powers, decides on his rights and duties, and in the course of those proceedings to be informed of the facts in his own language. Under the Act on Official Use of Languages and Scripts, local communities inhabited by minorities decide when a minority language is in official use alongside Serbian in their territories. This right has been realized mainly by municipalities in which minority political parties hold power in the assemblies (Sjenica, Bujanovac, Novi Pazar).

In Vojvodina, the matter is regulated by Article 10 (4) of the province's Statute under which the Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Ruthenian and, since recently Croatian, languages are in official use along with Serbian. Use of all the minority languages is compulsory in the Vojvodina Executive Council (provincial government). Birth certificates and other forms are multilingual and are filled out in a minority language upon request. One minority language in addition to Serbian is in use in 20 Vojvodina municipalities, two minority languages and Serbian in 11, and three minority languages and Serbian in five municipalities and in the capital city of Novi Sad.

A proposal to introduce Croatian as a language in official use was heatedly debated in the Vojvodina Assembly before its passage. Croats in Montenegro, who live mainly in the Kotor and Tivat municipalities, are unable to use their language in relations with administrative bodies.

Albanian is in use in Presevo municipality together with Serbian and, following the change of local government, the same decision was taken in Bujanovac. The Serbian language and Cyrillic script are in official use in Medjvedja municipality where Albanians make up approximately 30% of the population. Serbian is the only language in official use in the Montenegrin municipality of Bar in which Albanians account for 12.5% of the population although the municipal assembly's statute envisages the possibility of the Albanian language being used.

Election legislation lays down the compulsory use of minority languages in the election process (Act on Election of Parliamentary Deputies and Act on Local Elections). This provision creates practical problems and considerably increases costs (e.g. Backa Topola municipality).

Federal legislation and regulations of significance for the exercise of the rights and liberties of persons belonging to national minorities are required by law to be published in minority languages.

Because Bulgars are a majority in the Dimitrovgrad and Bosilegrad municipalities, Bulgarian should be in official use along with Serbian. This, however, is not the case; all forms and documents issued by the local administrations and republican agencies, including birth, marriage and death certificates, are in Serbian alone, as are also the statutes and other acts of the local assemblies.

In contrast, use of minority languages is the practice in the ethnically mixed municipalities of Vojvodina. In Alibunar municipality, for instance, Romanian and Slovakian are used along with Serbian, enabling persons belonging to these minorities to communicate orally and in written form with the administrative authorities in their own languages.

Bosniac is in official use in the Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin areas of the Sandzak where there this minority lives in substantial numbers. In Prijepolje municipality where Bosniacs account for some 45% of the population, only Serbian is used. The Minorities Protection Act envisages in Article 11 (2) that "units of local self-government shall introduce into equal official use the language and script of a national minority when the national minority constitutes 15% of the population of the municipality according to the latest census."

Bosniacs and Croats in Montenegro are not yet able to exercise their right to use their own language. Albanian and Serbian are in use in Ulcinj municipality, but only in bodies that are in the purview of the local self-government authorities.

Sessions of the Kosovo Assembly and its committees are conducted in Albanian and Serbian, and all official documents are in both these languages. Deputies belonging to other ethnic communities may address the Assembly and its committees orally and in writing in their own languages. The situation is identical where the Kosovo government and its agencies are concerned. Turkish, however, is no longer a language in official use in Kosovo. Persons belonging to minorities can use their languages in judicial proceedings, with the assistance of an interpreter.

The new Serbian Act on Local Self-Government envisages the display on official premises only of symbols of the state and the units of local self-government. The Federal Ministry for National and Ethnic Communities and the Vojvodina Secretariat for Regulations, Administration and National Minorities have submitted a petition to the Federal Constitutional Court challenging Article 7 (3) of the Serbian Act on Official Use of Languages and Scripts and Article 118 (2) of the Act on Local Self-Government. They maintain that both provisions are in contravention of the federal Minorities Protection Act as they stipulate that only symbols of the state and units of local self-government may be displayed on official premises, and not also the symbols of minorities. This, the Ministry and Secretariat assert, substantially restricts the right of minorities to use their symbols.

In accordance with international law, the Yugoslav Constitution recognizes the right of national minorities to use and display their symbols. The relevant article of the Montenegrin Constitution is very similar although it recognizes this right as the right of members of national minorities.

The use of national symbols is regulated in more detail by the Minorities Protection Act, which in Article 16 states that persons belonging to national minorities may display the symbols and observe the holidays proposed by their national councils. Paragraph 2 of the Article stipulates that these symbols may not be identical with the national symbols of other states. Under the Act, minority symbols and emblems may be displayed on state and minority holidays on and inside the buildings of local organs and organizations exercising public authority in areas in which minority languages are in official use, and along with the symbols of Yugoslavia or its constituent republics.

The matter is differently regulated by the laws of the two republics. Under the Serbian Act on Local Self-Government, only state symbols and symbols of the units of local self-government may be displayed on and in official premises. The Montenegrin Act on Use of National Symbols envisages the display of minority symbols outside the buildings of units of local self-government in areas where minorities are the majority population on Montenegrin public holidays, and alongside the symbols of Montenegro.

In accordance with Article 10 (3) of the framework Convention, all the highest acts of Yugoslavia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo state that every person must be informed in a language he understands of the reason for his arrest and the accusations against him.

Use of Names in Minority Languages
Article 11, Framework Convention:

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.

The use of personal names in minority languages as envisaged by the framework Convention has not been accepted by domestic law. All personal and public documents are in the Serbian language and Cyrillic script, and first and last names cannot be in the spelling of minority languages. This occasionally has inappropriate and even derogatory outcomes, causing dissatisfaction among persons belonging to minorities. When parents insist on names in minority languages and in keeping with their traditions, registrars have refused to enter children in the Register of Births (case in Bosilegrad). The HLC has registered no cases of restrictions being placed on inscriptions of a private nature in minority languages.

Displaying of inscriptions with traditional local names, street names and other topographical indications in minority languages depends on the official use of minority languages at local level. Under the Act on Official Use of Languages and Scripts, inscriptions intended for the public are in Serbian and in the minority language in official use in a particular area. Such inscriptions are commonly to be found in municipalities where a minority is the majority population (Subotica, Coka, Presevo, Ulcinj, Novi Pazar), and are regulated by the statutes of local assemblies. HLC research has brought out that the republican authorities pay the least heed to these requirements. Inscriptions on buildings of republican agencies in multi-ethnic communities are in Serbian alone.

Right to Education of Persons Belonging to Minorities
Article 12, Framework Convention:

1.The Parties shall, where appropriate, take measures in the fields of education and research to foster knowledge of the culture, history 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 of the Minorities Protection Act lays down the right of national minorities to education in their languages from pre-school over elementary to secondary school. The HLC has found, however, that minorities do not have equal access to education at all three of these levels, although the state has a duty to create the requisite conditions. In the case of some minorities, education in their language is ensured only up to a certain level, e.g. from grades 1 to 4 and but not up to grade 8, the final year of elementary school.

The situation is particularly bad for Roma schoolchildren who, owing to school entry tests that have not been adapted to their circumstances, are over-represented in special schools (school for special-needs children in Bor). In Vojvodina, where classroom instruction is provided in five languages (Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, Ruthenian and Romanian) over 70% of Roma are illiterate or semi-literate. There has been an expansion in the past two or three years of various forms of extramural alternative education for Roma children, mainly at the initiative of non-governmental organizations (in Backa Palanka, Obrenovac, Backi Monostor, Podgorica).

Grave violations of the right to education have taken the form of refusal to enroll Roma children (Niksic) or their segregation in separate, all-Roma classes (Subotica, Belgrade, Podgorica). Preparatory classes and additional lessons for Roma children are organized chiefly by non-governmental organizations. These have proved successful as the teachers are more responsive to the needs of the children, who then achieve better results in regular school.

Under the Serbian Act on Secondary Education (Art. 4 (1)), classroom instruction is in Serbian, while Article 5 (2) states that instruction is in a minority language or two languages when requested by at least 15 children in a first-grade class. The new Serbian University Act states that instruction in institutions of higher education may also be in minority and foreign languages.

The Hungarian and Slovak communities have the best access to education in their languages from the lowest to the highest level. There are several elementary and secondary schools providing instruction in Romanian (Vrsac, Alibunar, Plandiste,) as well as a class at the Teachers College in Vrsac. Persons belonging to the Romanian community can obtain a higher education in their language at the Novi Sad University School of Languages which has a Romanian Studies department.

At the start of the 2002/2003 school year, the Subotica educational authorities made it possible for Croat children to start their education in the Croatian language. Thus 41 first-graders are now receiving instruction in Croatian at three schools in the municipality. The curriculum was drawn up by the Croat Academic Society in Subotica and approved by the Vojvodina educational authorities.

Education for Bulgar children is organized in Bosilegrad and Dimitrovgrad municipalities. Besides Serbian, the curriculum includes two Bulgarian-language periods a week. After elementary school, Bulgar children choose which kind of secondary school they wish to attend. Instruction is in Serbian with two Bulgarian-language periods a week since there was not enough interest in all-Bulgarian or combined Bulgarian-Serbian instruction. Students may take their secondary school final examinations in the Bulgarian language, an option chosen by only two students in 2001. The curricula of Serbian-language schools contain no lessons on Bulgarian culture, traditions and history.

Owing to the armed conflicts, Albanians had only partial access to educational institutions in Serbia in 2001. Some school buildings were taken over by armed formations and other, such as the secondary school in Bujanovac, were sequestered by the armed forces even before the fighting broke out. There are no institutions of higher learning in Serbia providing instruction in Albanian, and diplomas obtained in Kosovo were not recognized by the Serbian authorities up to 2001. The problem was resolved by instructions issued by the Serbian Ministry of Education which, however, do not have the force of law. No measures for dealing with the numerous educational problems of minorities are envisaged in the plans for overcoming the crisis in the Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja municipalities. Together with their demands, representatives of the Albanian community have proposed specific measures to improve the situation 38 . Elementary and secondary school textbooks in the Albanian language are almost all translations of Serbian textbooks and are out of date. A large number feature sections the Albanian population finds offensive, some contain parts printed in the Cyrillic script, and virtually none have anything to say about the culture and traditions of Albanians.

Albanian-language elementary school education in Montenegro is provided in Ulcinj, Podgorica, Bar, Plav and Rozaje municipalities while the only pre-school institutions are located in Ulcinj and Tuzi near Podgorica. Some 300 Albanians students receive instruction in Albanian alone in an elementary school at Ostros near Bar. Secondary education in this language is available in Ulcinj, Plav and Tuzi, and the Montenegrin government recently decided to establish an Albanian-language chair at the Faculty of Humanities in Niksic. Since the government disregarded the request of Albanian political parties that the chair be located in an area where Albanians are the majority population, not enough students enrolled.

Skolski Biseri, a magazine for elementary school children in Serbia, Montenegro and the Republika Srpska (Bosnia-Herzegovina) whose publication is financed jointly by the educational and cultural authorities of the three entities, featured in the February 2002 issue (pages 22 and 23) a strip cartoon in which Bosniacs/Muslims were depicted in an inappropriate and insulting way.

Roma and Bosniac children in Prizren, Kosovo, are indirectly discriminated against in respect of their right to education in their own languages. The Romani language was taught in Prizren up to a few years ago but this has not resumed. Parents are concerned over the failure of the Kosovo educational authorities to create conditions for education in the Bosniac language (cases in Skorobiste and Rezane).

The Serbian and Montenegrin Ministries of Education have invested no effort to train teachers and other staff for schools in which minorities make up the bulk of the student body. This pertains in particular to counseling services in Albanian-language schools in Montenegro. The shortage of teachers able to teach in Albanian is due also to the non-validation or delayed validation of degrees obtained in Albania. Individual teachers and schools procure textbooks and required reading on a private basis from neighboring Albania.

Under the relevant Serbian law, the Minister of Education determines which textbooks and teaching aids are to be used in elementary and secondary schools. The law envisages printing of textbooks in minority languages. Following the NATO intervention in 1999, no textbooks have come out in Kosovo in any minority language. Some Bosniac children use textbooks from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Goranis textbooks from Serbia.

Private Educational Establishments
Article 13, Framework Convention:

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.

HLC research has brought out that conditions have not yet been created for setting up of private educational establishments by minorities, which is surprising since the state has no financial obligations in this regard. Initiatives have been put forward but, owing to the slight interest among minorities, none have materialized.

The Serbian University Act states in Article 10 (1) that universities and faculties may be founded by the republic as well as legal persons and private citizens. Taking advantage of the law, a committee headed by the Mufti of Sandzak, Muamer effendi Zukorlic, recently established a university with four faculties (law, computer science, languages, economics) and 12 departments in Novi Pazar. The opening ceremony was attended by the Serbian Minister of Education and Sport. Some 300 students, the planned quota, enrolled in the 2002/2003 academic year.

Programs of alternative education for Roma exist in both Serbia and Montenegro but the diplomas are not recognized by public schools in the two republics 39 .

Right to Learn Minority Languages
Article 14, Framework Constitution:

1.The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to learn his or her minority language.

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 of this language.

As the 1992 Serbian legislation on elementary education was restrictive with regard to minority rights, it was amended on 25 April 2002. However, the rule that a class receiving instruction in a minority language or in two languages must have at least 15 students continues to apply. A smaller number of students in a class requires the approval of the Minister of Education. Decisions in this regard have varied from rigid adherence to the rule or liberal. Students receiving instruction in their own language have a obligation to learn Serbian. Schools in which classroom instruction is in Serbian provide opportunities for students who belong to minorities to learn their own languages and about their cultures. The subject is an elective and two consecutive periods are taught once a week, mainly on Saturdays, if there is a sufficient demand.

Participation in Cultural, Social and Economic Life and Public Affairs
Article 15, Framework Convention:

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.

The participation of national minorities in cultural, social and economic life and public affairs is regulated by the Minorities Protection Act. The Act provides for the forming of national councils as bodies of minority self-government in the fields of culture, official use of languages, public information, and education. To enable minorities to maintain, promote and protect their national, ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural characteristics, the federal government has established a Federal Council on National Minorities made up of representatives of the national councils.

Regulations on the work of electoral colleges which elect the minority councils have also been adopted. The Minorities Protection Act defines the Federal Council as a body of minority self-government elected by persons belonging to national minorities to represent them and work in their interest in the fields of the official use of languages, education, culture and public information. Article 19 (7) of the Act states that the national councils decide on issues in these fields, and thereby entrusts them with exercising public authority in fields of significance for maintaining the identity of national minorities. The process of establishing the national councils and the Federal Council is currently under way. The Hungarian and Ruthenian national councils were established in early November 2002.

1. Participation in public affairs

There is no effective participation of national minorities in cultural, social and economic life and public affairs. The situation is satisfactory only in municipalities in which minorities are over 80% of the population (Tutin, Kanjiza, Presevo) and where they participate in local government, institutions and companies founded by the municipality. In smaller places, minorities participate in public life through their activities in local neighborhood communities (Sid). Effective participation is, however, rarely ensured in areas where minorities are under 50 % of the population, and the number of persons belonging to minorities holding senior positions in local offices of republican agencies and state companies is negligible.

With the exception of a few municipalities (Kovacica, Ulcinj), the situation is similar where the office of judges and prosecutors is concerned. By far the worst is the state of affairs in law enforcement where persons belonging to minorities are severely under-represented in the command structure. Only symbolic changes have been carried out in this area, such as the appointment of persons belonging to minorities as the police chiefs in Presevo and Novi Pazar.

2. Serbia

Interference by the central authorities in local government affairs was commonplace during the Milosevic regime, especially in multi-ethnic municipalities where the rights of the minorities were completely disregarded. A "technique" was developed to enable the central authorities to take over local governments by placing municipalities under interim administration 40 .

At the local elections on 24 September 2000, the List for Sandzak - Dr Sulejman Ugljanin coalition secured 34 seats out of the 47 seats in the Novi Pazar municipal assembly, 34 of 37 seats in the Tutin assembly, and 20 of the 39 seats in the Sjenica assembly. The mayors of all three municipalities, in which Bosniacs are a majority, are Bosniacs and members of the List for Sandzak - Dr Sulejman Ugljanin. Cooperation between the local governments in the Sandzak and the republican authorities is poor 41 , and Bosniacs are under-represented in state bodies, state companies and their boards of directors (Serbian state television, electric power and oil companies, etc.). Only recently have Bosniacs been appointed to senior positions in law enforcement. Thus a Bosniac became the chief of police in Novi Pazar for the first time on 1 March 2002, but with a Serb as the assistant chief. Announcing the appointment, the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs said adequate representation of national minorities would be taken into account in the future. Only some 15 Bosniacs (16.5%) are on the 95-man local police force in Sjenica even though this nationality accounts for over 75% of the municipality's population.

There are five municipal courts in the Serbian Sandzak (Novi Pazar, Sjenica, Tutin, Priboj and Prijepolje) and Novi Pazar is also the seat of the District Court. Three municipal court presidents are Serb and two Bosniac. Of the 46 judges of these courts, 21 are Bosniac and 25 Serb (45.6% Bosniacs). The percentage shows that the principle of proportionality is not observed in the judiciary. The number of Bosniac judges differs from municipality to municipality. In Sjenica (75% Bosniacs), the president of the municipal court is Serb and judgeships are evenly divided. In Tutin (95% Bosniacs), 60% of judges are Bosniac. The president of the Novi Pazar District Court is Bosniac and of nine judges only four are Bosniacs.

In the five municipal prosecutor's offices, prosecutors in four are Serb and only the Tutin prosecutor is Bosniac. Of the eight deputy prosecutors, six are Serb and two Bosniac, or only 25%, which is not in accordance with the principle of proportionality. Especially illustrative is the situation in the Sjenica municipal public prosecutor's office where both the prosecutor and his deputy are Serb. The district prosecutor in Novi Pazar is Bosniac and of his two deputies one Bosniac and one Serb. The office has a total staff of five, of whom four Serb and only one Bosniac.

Roma are severely under-represented politically in Serbia and are not effectively represented at any level of government, in particular in senior positions. A Rom is an advisor to the Federal Minister for National and Ethnic Communities and heads a new section charged with advancing the position of Roma. The deputy president of the Nis executive committee is a Rom, and a Rom is on the executive committee of Apatin, a town in which Roma live in significant numbers.

The local assemblies of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medjvedja, which failed to ensure effective participation of Albanians, were dissolved. New assemblies were constituted following local elections and resulted in the more effective participation of Albanians in public affairs 42 . Now that they have the majority in the local assemblies, Albanians can work to improve the position of their community. This is particularly the case in municipalities in which Albanians were elected mayor (Riza Halimi in Presevo and Nagip Arifi in Bujanovac). Affirmative action measures have been implemented in Presevo owing to which more Albanians have gained employment in local government bodies, as against almost none in Bujanovac.

3. Montenegro

In researching the representation of the Bosniac/Muslim community in local assemblies in Montenegro, the HLC found that the number of seats held by persons belonging to this minority does not correspond to the ethnic makeup of the population in Bijelo Polje, Pljevlja, Berane, Bar and Podgorica municipalities, and is adequate only in Rozaje and Plav municipalities. Among the reasons for this situation is the fact that many Bosniacs/Muslims vote for non-Bosniacs, and that election lists for assemblymen and deputies in the republic's Parliament as well as political parties are headed by Montenegrins. It was evident that Bosniacs/Muslims voted in the last several elections mainly for political parties with a civil orientation (Democratic Party of Socialists, Social-Democratic Party, and Liberal Alliance of Montenegro).

In Bar municipality where Bosniac/Muslims are 13.76% of the population, only 1.88% are employed in local administration bodies. In Podgorica, where they are 5% of the population, only 1% Bosniacs/Muslims work for the municipal administration. There are 41.57% Bosniacs/Muslims in Bijelo Polje, of whom only 18.44% are employed by the local administration. The percentage of Bosniacs/Muslims working for the administrations of Pljevlja and Berane is very low and those who do work there hold the lowest-paid jobs (messengers, cleaners and the like).

With the exception of Plav and Rozaje, minorities are not represented in sufficient numbers in the Montenegrin judiciary, especially in the highest positions. All the prosecutors and advisers at the municipal prosecutor's office in Podgorica are Montenegrin although the population is ethnically mixed and Podgorica is the Montenegrin capital. Of the nine judges of the Pljevlja municipal court, only one is Bosniac/Muslim and there are no prosecutors who belong to this minority. The number of persons belonging to minorities in the judiciary falls as the seniority of positions rises. The High Court in Bijelo Polje, which has jurisdiction over seven municipal courts, has 12 judges of whom only three, or 25%, are Bosniacs/Muslims. There are no Bosniacs/Muslims at the Montenegrin state prosecutor's office and, of the 23 judges of the Montenegrin Supreme Court, only one who was appointed two months ago, is Bosniac/Muslim. There are no regulations governing in any way the representation of minorities in the Montenegrin judicial system.

The police chief and commanding officers of the Pljevlja police force are Montenegrin and of the 178 persons employed there only 12 are Bosniac/Muslim (6.74%). Of the 20 persons working for the criminal investigations squad, two (10%) are Bosniac/Muslim, and of the 51 border police only three are Bosniac/Muslim (5.88%). The administrative affairs service employs 19 people of whom two are Bosniac/Muslim (10.52%). In Rozaje where Bosniacs/Muslims are the majority population, 65% of the police force are persons belonging to this nationality, which corresponds to the ethnic makeup. By contrast, the representation of Bosniacs/Muslims in Bijelo Polje, Plav, Podgorica and Bar municipalities is inadequate.

The mayor and two deputy mayors of Ulcinj municipality are Albanian, as well as the secretary of the municipal assembly. Of the 33 assemblymen, 28 are Albanian whereas only four of the 32 Plav assemblymen are Albanian (12.5%). There is only one Albanian on the Rozaje municipal assembly, and three on the Bar assembly. The recently dissolved Podgorica assembly had 54 seats, of which three were held by Albanians (5.5%).

Of the 109 administrative and cleric workers in Ulcinj, 86 are Albanian (79%); in Podgorica 13 of 402 (3.23%), in Bar 10 of 159 (6.29%). There are no registered workers in the Rozaje local administration who declared themselves to be Albanian. Of the 65 workers in Plav, 6 (9.23%) are Albanian.

The president of the Ulcinj municipal court is Montenegrin/Serb and three of the five judges are Albanian (60%). The majority of the court administration are Albanian, and of the 20 lay judges 15 (75%) belong to this national group. The public prosecutor in Ulcinj is Montenegrin/Serb, the president of the magistrates chamber is Bosniac/Muslim and the magistrate Montenegrin. Of the seven administrative workers, 40% are Albanian.

The Ulcinj police chief and the head of criminal investigations are Albanian. The local force numbers 130, of whom about 50% are Albanian, 35% Montenegrin, and 15% from other national groups. The commanding officer of the police station in Tuzi near Podgorica, which has a large Albanian majority, is Albanian as are also three police officers. There are only eight Albanians on the Podgorica police force although Albanians account for 8.5% of the municipality's population.

4. Kosovo

Pursuant to the Kosovo Constitutional Framework, the Assembly of Kosovo has 120 seats, of which 20 are reserved for the additional representation of non-Albanian communities. Ten of these seats are allocated to parties, coalitions, citizens' initiatives and independent candidates representing the Serb community, and 10 seats to other communities: four to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, three to the Bosniac community, two to the Turkish community, and one to the Gorani community. The Assembly's presidency has seven members of whom one is appointed from members of the Assembly who represent the Serb community and one from parties representing non-Albanian and non-Serb communities. The Kosovo Serb coalition won 22 seats in the Assembly and has one representative on the Assembly Presidency, two in the Kosovo government (co-ordinator for the return of displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians, minister of agriculture and forestry), and a Serb is an advisor at the office of the UNMIK chief on issues relating to the return of displaced persons.

Following the adoption of the Constitutional Framework and the parliamentary election in Kosovo, the Roma community has one representative in the Assembly, who is also on its Presidency. There are no Roma in the Kosovo government. Of the 869 representatives in local assemblies, 123 were appointed by the UNMIK chief: 10 Ashakalis, 9 Roma, and four Egyptians. Representation of Roma in local assemblies is not satisfactory. There is, for instance, only one person belonging to this community in the 47-member municipal assembly of Prizren.

Refraining From Altering Proportions of the Population
Article 16, Framework Convention:

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.

The massive influx of refugees and displaced persons from the former Yugoslav republics and Kosovo and emigration from Yugoslavia resulted in significant changes in the ethnic makeup of the population. There are at present some 700,000 registered refugees and internally displaced persons in Serbia, mostly in Vojvodina (approximately 50%) where the most progress has been achieved in respect to programs for their permanent settlement there and integration in local communities. The most heated reaction to these programs came from the Party of Vojvodina Hungarians and the Democratic Union of Vojvodina Hungarians, both of which consider that the settlement of refugees in the province alters the ethnic composition of the population, and that measures such as the purchase of empty houses for them are in "direct contravention of the federal Act on National Minorities which expressly prohibits changing the national composition of the population on any grounds whatsoever."

Concurrently with the influx of refugees to Vojvodina, the size of the Croat community in the province decreased, especially in the Srem region from which many persons belonging to this group were forced to move out 43 . A significant number of Bosniacs left the Sandzak. Refugee relief programs concentrated mainly on areas traditionally inhabited by minorities, significantly altering the ethnic structure of the population. Another problem is the low birth rate owing to which some small areas inhabited by minorities are being depopulated (e.g. Jakov Most near Zrenjanin). The state and local communities in general are not taking effective measures to preserve multi-ethnicity and encourage the economic development of such areas (e.g. Muzlja village near Zrenjanin, Lug village near Beocin).

A significant number of Croats in the Boka Kotorska area of Montenegro were forced to move out in the 1990s, and Bosniacs were expelled from the north of the republic. Most of these people have not returned.

Low-intensity but serious armed conflicts in southern Serbia during 2000 and early 2001 also induced major population changes. This ended with the signing of a agreement on 31 May 2001 under which the armed groups were disarmed and the tight security in the ground security zone along the administrative boundary with Kosovo was eased. Following restoration of the freedom of movement, 8,982 displaced Albanians returned to their homes in the region in the period from 24 May 2001 to 1 February 2002.

Persons belonging to minorities, including the Serb, were accused by Albanians of involvement in crimes and collaboration with the Serbian regime, and the attacks and even murder they were subjected to forced them to leave their homes in large numbers after the deployment of international peacekeepers in Kosovo. Some municipalities (Vucitrn and Stimlje) have passed resolutions on the reintegration of displaced persons. The main obstacles to the return of the displaced are the continuing lack of personal safety, the fact that their homes and apartments remain illegally occupied, and the impossibility of finding jobs.

Transfrontier Contacts and Participation in the Activities of NGOs
Article 17, Framework Convention:

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 personal 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 rights of persons belonging to national minorities to participate in the activities of non-governmental organisations, both at the national and international levels.

Contacts with co-nationals in mother-states and their organizations, and participation in the activities of international non-governmental organizations are improving. Approval of the implementation in Yugoslavia of the "status law" passed by the Hungarian parliament, which accords privileges to ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries, caused a major political controversy, and several attacks were registered on Vojvodina Hungarians who exercised their rights under the law. Some municipal governments have the possibility of participating in different forms of international cooperation (e.g. Subotica).

Persons belonging to the Albanian community were harassed on a number of occasions when travelling to Kosovo. Albanians who work or have relatives in Kosovo are in particular affected by such incident, the number of which dropped in 2002.

Agreements on Protection of Minorities and Encouragement of Transfrontier Cooperation

Article 18, Framework Convention:

1.The Parties shall endeavour to conclude, where necessary, bilateral and multilateral agreements with other States, in particular neighbouring 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.

The Yugoslav government has expressed readiness to conclude agreements with all neighboring countries. The first such agreement has been signed with Romania.

The Montenegrin government and the government of Albania have intensified cooperation in the framework of which, at the request of the Albanian community in Montenegro, another border crossing has been opened. The most progress has been made in cultural and scientific exchange. Political parties of Vojvodina Croats have urged the concluding of an agreement between Yugoslavia and Croatia on the protection of minorities but this has not materialized as yet.

With the aim of promoting inter-regional cooperation, the Vojvodina Assembly on 5 September 2002 confirmed the protocol signed with Croatia's Vukovar-Srem county. In early September, the Minister for National and Ethnic Communities discussed with a Hungarian government official the position of ethnic Serbs in Hungary and ethnic Hungarians in Yugoslavia. They announced that a bilateral agreement on the protection of these minorities, for which there has been a need for a long time, would be signed shortly.

The interest in developing transfrontier cooperation has not been clearly defined in some cases. Bac municipality in Vojvodina, which borders on Croatia, has over 2,000 Croats and cooperates with Vukovar municipality in that country. The main reason is the fact that some 400 people in Bac and as many in Vukovar own property on the other side of the border. To help these people go about their business, the two countries have introduced border passes.

Additional info
1 The 32-article framework Convention is a legally binding act which catalogues specific principles for the protection of minority rights. It was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 November 1994, opened for signature on 1 February 1995, and entered into force three years later, on 1 February 1998.
2 In parallel with its peace-keeping function, UNMIK is in the process of establishing institutions of Kosovo self-government in accordance with the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government (UNMIK/Reg/2001/9) of May 2001.
3 Art. 25 (1): "Within a period of one year following the entry into force of this framework Convention in respect of a Contracting Party, the latter shall transmit to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe full information on the legislative and other measures taken to give effect to the principles set out in this framework Convention."
4 Romania on 1 February 1995, Albanian on 29 June 1995, Hungary on 1 February 1995, etc.
5 There is a major disparity between these two republics in terms of both territory and population. Serbia covers 86% of the country's 102,173 square kilometers, and Montenegro 14%; the population of Serbia is 16 times larger than that of Montenegro.
6 Three divisions have been set up within the Ministry dealing respectively with cooperation with organizations of national and ethnic communities and NGOs, the rights of national and ethnic communities in Yugoslavia, and cooperation with international organizations.
7 Defense and security, the monetary system and currency, and the customs system are also to be in the purview of the union.
8 "The laws of the FRY shall be applied in the affairs of Serbia and Montenegro as the laws of Serbia and Montenegro." XVIII, draft Constitutional Charter of the state-union of Serbia and Montenegro.
9 Federal deputy Esad Džudžević representing Sandžak Bosniacs, republican deputy Mujo Muković of the Sandžak Democratic Party, Ferhat Dinos of the Montenegrin Party of Albanians, and Istvan Ispanović of the Union of Vojvodina Hungarians.
10 The regular census was to have been taken in 2001.
11 Until the 2002 census, only the option available was "Muslim."
12 The executive committee of the Bunjevac organization in Sombor believe that the number of Bunjevacs in Vojvodina has increased five-fold. They estimate that some 70% to 75% of the Roman Catholic population declare themselves as Bunjevacs. Rather than seeking national minority status for the community, the organization urges that Bunjevacs be designated in the Constitution as a constituent nation as "they participated in building this country and do not consider Croatia to be their mother-state." A Bunjevac delegation headed by Djuro Bošnjak met with Yugoslav President Vojislav Koštunica to discuss the issue in September 2001. Assistant Federal Minister for National and Ethnic Communities Jelena Marković, who was present at the meeting, said the Bunjevacs had historical grounds for their request but that the issue could not be discussed at the present time.
13 Kosovo Constitutional Framework, Chapter 3 (3.3.).
14 Under Art. 37 (1) of the Act on the Federal Constitutional Court (Službeni list SRJ, No. 36/92), a constitutional appeal may be filed by any person who alleges violation by judicial, administrative or other state bodies or companies and organizations exercising public authority of his human and civil rights and liberties as laid down by the Yugoslav Constitution.
15 See, e.g. Art. 4 (4) of the Act on Proceedings Before the Constitutional Court (Serbia), and legal effect of its rulings (Službeni glasnik RS, No. 32/91).
16 Amendments to legislation on the organization of the judiciary in Serbia envisage abolition of the Bački Petrovac division of the Novi Sad Municipal Court. Since Slovaks account for over 75% of the population of the Bački Petrovac municipality, this is clearly against their interests. Reacting to the decision, the local assembly noted that the municipality had its own municipal court from 1961 until 1991 when it became a division of the Novi Sad Municipal Court, enabling the inhabitants to realize their rights in their own municipality. Pointing out that the population was ethnically mixed, with Slovaks in the majority, the assembly maintained it would be more rational to retain the court in Bački Petrovac since the staff and lay jurors spoke both the languages in official use in the municipality, which considerably facilitated the organization and work of the court. In response to the insistence of the local authorities, amendments to the law were enacted under which the Novi Sad Municipal Court now has divisions in Bački Petrovac, Beočin, Žabalj, Sremski Karlovaci (Art. 2, para. 90, Act on Seats and Territorial Jurisdiction of Courts and Public Prosecutor's Offices, Službeni list RS, No. 63, 8 November 2002, 42/02).
17 More about the Montenegrin Council in the section reviewing implementation of Article 3 of the framework Convention.
18 UNMIK Regulation No. 1/1999 (UNMIK/Reg/1999/01).
19 Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government, UNMIK/Reg/2001/9, 15 May 2001.
20 In a special resolution, the Vučitrn assembly called on displaced Ashkali to return. Some 100 people responded but only to face housing problems. Of the 127 illegally occupied houses, 35 homes of local Ashkali have not been restituted.
21 Forty-three Bosniac children in Ljubižda village near Prizren did not attend school for three months in the 1999/2000 school year since instruction was in Albanian, a language they did not know since they previously went to a Serbian-language school, and no instruction in their own language was provided.
22 The Mihajlo Pupin high school in Kovačica, a municipality where Slovaks are the majority population, has a total of 14 classes of which only four provide instruction in Slovak.
23 Positions of the Republican Council on the Protection of the Rights of National and Ethnic Groups, Sl. list RCG, No. 35/01.
24 Ramiz Zenedi, a Roma man displaced from Kosovo, has been living in Požarevac, eastern Serbia, since November 2001 without papers of any kind. He applied for an ID card but was told that he could obtain the required birth certificate in Niš, to which the Register of Births of his municipality in Kosovo had been transferred. There was no response from Niš to his request for a birth cerficate, without which he cannot realize his rights as an IDP. Alji Beriša, also a Rom displaced from Kosovo, was unable to register the birth of his granddaughter who was born during the family's flight from Kosovo.
25 After gathering evidence in this case and acting for the barred Roma, the HLC sued for damages and filed a criminal complaint, charging the owner of the sports center in which the pool is located with violation of the equality of citizens. In the civil action, the Municipal Court in Šabac in February 2002 ordered the owner to publish a public apology in the Politika daily and to cease such discriminatory practice. The ruling was the first in domestic jurisprudence to unequivocally determine that discrimination on the grounds of race is clearly a violation of the rights belonging to a person. The court in addition admitted random testing as valid evidence of discrimination. Investigative proceedings are currently under way in the criminal case.
26 When it made a declaration recognizing the competence of the UN Committee to receive and consider applications by individuals, the Yugoslav government designated the Federal Constitutional Court as the highest instance to which persons alleging violations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination could apply when other domestic remedy is exhausted, and prior to addressing the Committee.
27 On 14 September 2001, the police used force to disrupt a birthday party in the home of a Kosovo Ashkali in a Novi Sad suburb, injuring one of the guests.
28 Miroslav Milić (18) was beaten by four officers in Belgrade on 5 March 2001 to make him confess to burglarizing his ex-girlfriend's apartment. Ljubica Ristić (14) and Dragan Stanić (14) were physically abused by a policeman on 29 June 2002 when they were washing windshields of cars at a major intersection in Belgrade. A police patrol ill-treated a group of Roma children on 22 September 2001 when they were collecting waste paper in the center of Novi Sad, breaking one boy's arm.
29 Police in Sombor insulted Svetozar Miletić on 26 November 2001, confiscated 300 deutsche marks from him and beat him at the police station. Boban Spasojević of Čačak was taken in by police from a birthday party because he was not carrying his ID card, and verbally and physically abused at the police station.
30 Belgrade's First Municipal Court on 7 August 2002 placed on probation and terminated the criminal proceedings against juveniles who attacked and injured a Roma girl, Gordana Jovanović. Two skinheads in Niš were fined 600 dinars for beating up a 15-year-old Roma boy, Dragiša Ajdarević, on 8 April 2000.
31 Proceedings against 24 Bosniac intellectuals and activists of the Party of Democratic Action in the Sandžak on charges of conspiring to endanger the territorial integrity of FRY are still under way. The trial began on 31 January 1994 and ended with the conviction of the defendants on 12 October 1994. On 25 March 1996, the Serbian Supreme Court quashed the decision and ordered a retrial because of procedural violations. Most of the defendants were in custody for over three years and one died. The new trial opened on 10 January 2002, five years after the Supreme Court's decision and only subsequent to the HLC's intervention with the Serbian Ministry of Justice. It was adjourned indefinitely on 12 March 2001. None of the judges and prosecutors involved in this rigged political trial have been dismissed.
32 The Bosniac family Gojak in Novi Sad has been subjected to harassment by their neighbor Momir Vujić for three years. No criminal or misdemeanor charges against Vujić have been brought to date.
33 Igbala Derviši, a Bosniac who worked for 23 years for the Defense Affairs department of the Pljevlja municipality, was dismissed on 13 March 2000. The court decision on her reinstatement has not been carried into effect.
34 Kaludjerov Laz, an Albanian village in Rožaje municipality, was has been abandoned since 1999 when Yugoslav Army members killed several civilians in a refugee column.
35 In March 2002, the Montenegrin government turned down a request by the Croat Civil Union in Kotor to install a TV repeater to enable the community to receive the program of Croatian state television.
36 Agreement on the President and Government of Kosovo, Section II, point 8, 28 February 2002.
37 Džemail Fetahai, an Albanian who attacked the Agović family in their yard in Pečka Banja on 9 March 2002 was sentenced to one month in jail.
38 "... Participation of Albanians in the management of schools, appointment of principals and school boards; making possible by law the creation of special educational institutions which would focus on programs and curricula, and Albanian-language elementary and secondary school textbooks; establishment of a special Committee on Education (Serbia-Kosovo) which would regulate the issue of the education of local Albanians in secondary schools that do not exist in the Preševo Valley and at post-secondary schools and institutions of higher education in Kosovo; validation of all diplomas and degrees obtained from secondary, post-secondary schools in Kosovo and Priština University in the 1991-2001 period; and acceleration of validation of degrees from universities in Albania and other countries by way of a special decision of the Ministry of Education; giving Albanians students equal access to student living standards funds; building and reconstruction of school facilities and provision of equipment for the modernization of the teaching process..."
39 The Trifun Dimić elementary school in Podgorica has about 80 Roma students, and a pre-school attended by 60 Roma children. The school provides one of the best alternative Roma education programs.
40 Invoking Art. 45 of the Act on the Territorial Organization of the Republic of Serbia and Local Self-Government (Službeni glasnik RS, Nos. 47/91, 79/92 and 47/94) and Art. 29 of the Act on the Government of the Republic of Serbia (Službeni glasnik RS, Nos. 5/91 and 45/93), the Serbian government on 10 July 1997 took over local government in Novi Pazar municipality. Something similar happened with the municipality of Tutin. The Serbian Public Prosecutor's Office challenged the constitutionality of articles of the municipality's statute which state that the municipality "is situated in the territory of the Sandžak", that "Bosniacs are the majority population", on the introduction of the Bosniac language into official use, and the choice of 28 March, "the first documented mention of Ottoman power in this municipality," as Tutin's day. The Prosecutor's Office also disputed the flag and coat of arms of Tutin since municipalities, as territorial units, have no authority to determine these symbols. On 11 January 2001, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled the disputed articles unconstitutional. It noted that the appellation "Bosniac" did not appear in the 1991 census either in Serbia or Yugoslavia, and said there were no sociological or linguistic reasons for naming as Bosniac "the standard language of today's Muslims, which is an authentic variety of the Serbian language."
41 Representatives of the List for Sandžak discussed with the Serbian Prime Minister on two occasions the participation of Bosniacs in the Serbian government (one ministerial post). No agreement was reached.
42 Winning 48.41& of the vote, the ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic Action (PDD) secured 18 seats in the Preševo assembly, and was followed by another Albanian party - Party of Democratic Union of Albanians - with 11 seats. The PDD wons 11 seats in the Bujanovac assembly and the Party of Democratic Union of Albanians only one. The PDD has five seats in the Medvedja assembly.
43 "The ethnic makeup of Vojvodina was altered also by the massive emigration of Vojvodina Croats as the result of various pressures, including physical violence." Samardžić, Miroslava, Position of Minorities in Vojvodina, Center for Anti-War Action, Belgrade 1999, p. 43.