MINELRES: ECMI Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 1, February 2005

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Feb 7 20:43:13 2005

Original sender: William McKinney <mckinney@ecmi.de>

European Centre for Minority Issues
Volume 2, Issue 1
1 February 2005


The ECMI Network of Ombudsman Institutions addressing minority issues
has enjoyed an active six months, with three workshops held in Georgia,
Macedonia and Germany. As a key institution protecting human rights,
proper administration and justice, ombudsman staff members are not only
confronted daily with real issues faced by the public, but also have a
significant role to play in minority issues, and in educating the
administration and citizens about human and minority rights. ECMI's
Ombudsman Network Project is based on the principle of information and
experience sharing between institutions, exchanging good practice,
meeting to discuss developments and methodology, and developing
professional connections to support the important work that each
institution carries out. Networking meetings are supported by a network

In September 2004, ECMI and the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia
hosted a workshop for staff of the Georgian Public Defender, the Human
Rights Defender of Armenia and the Ombudsman Office of Azerbaijan.
Regional and international experts, including from the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Center for the Study of
Democracy (Bulgaria), UN Volunteers and the Human Rights Ombudsman in
the Russian Federation led discussions on international minority
protection standards, human rights implementation, terrorism, and
national legislative developments. The workshop gave an exceptional
opportunity for staff of the three institutions to exchange their own
working experiences and facilitated open discussion about issues faced
in each country and successful approaches taken.

The second workshop took place at Lake Ohrid, Macedonia in October 2004.
ECMI and the Ombudsman of Macedonia hosted Ombudsmen and legal experts
from institutions in Macedonia, Kosovo, Vojvodina, Montenegro, Stare
Zagora (Bulgaria), Bosnia & Herzegovina and Albania. The workshop was
also attended by representatives of the Ministry for Human and Minority
Rights of Serbia & Montenegro, and the OSCE Spillover Mission to Skopje.
The workshop explored the role of the Ombudsman in minority protection
and the implementation of international standards on a domestic level.
Presenters gave insights into practical experiences in their own
countries, including representatives of the Norwegian Centre Combating
Ethnic Discrimination and the Greek Ombudsman Office. This was
accompanied by expert presentations on legal standards by the President
of the Macedonian Helsinki Committee and ECMI researchers. Rianne
Letschert (Tilburg University, The Netherlands) discussed with
participants the international complaints mechanisms available for
minority issues and the Ombudsman's potential role within these systems.

The third workshop was a follow-up meeting and border region study tour
held at ECMI headquarters in Flensburg, Germany in November 2004. Staff
of network institutions from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kosovo,
Estonia, the Russian Federation and Macedonia joined together for three
days to meet with representatives of the German Federal and Regional
(Schleswig-Holstein) Commissioners for National Minorities, as well as
minority representatives from the region. The group visited the
parliament of the State of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, and participated
in in-depth workshops led by experts on minority rights, human rights,
and the role of the Ombudsman, including from the Central European
University (Budapest), the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the Danish
Ethnic Equal Treatment Complaints Committee and the OSCE High
Commissioner on National Minorities.

Look out for the Ombudsman Network Project publication appearing soon:
"Ombudsman Institutions and Minority Issues - A Guide to Good Practice.
Foundational Criteria, Strategic Development and Operational Issues"
authored by the Project's team of experts. The Guide to Good Practice
sets out international standards relevant to Ombudsman offices
addressing minority protection issues and discusses the implementation
of these standards in Europe. The Guide will be published in English and
Russian and will be available on the Project's website from February

The Ombudsman Network project is supported by a team of experts and
generously funded by the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the
German Ministry of the Interior, the Minister-President of the Land of
Schleswig-Holstein and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For further information please contact Research Associate Marnie Lloydd
at lloyd@ecmi.de.



November 2004 marked the 60th anniversary of the deportation of
Meskhetian Turks from Georgia to Soviet Central Asia. The population
group remains the last of the peoples that were deported under Stalin's
regime, and which, to date, have been denied the right to return to
their place of origin. At present the bulk of the estimated
285,000-330,000 Meskhetian Turks live scattered around nine different
countries and lately including the United States.

Since October ECMI's unique research project on the Meskhetian Turks has
progressed into the second phase. Currently, over thirty researchers in
the Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan, the United States and Turkey are conducting qualitative
fieldwork in over fifteen different locations. Simultaneous to the
ethnographic fieldworks, the project's exceptionally qualified and
diverse research team has also commenced several thematic and legal
studies on various issues.

As a rule, each field study consists of two researchers, one male and
one female, who live with the local Meskhetian Turkish communities over
a period of six weeks while conducting the research. The core research
topics for the fieldwork is the Meskhetian Turks' concepts of home and
homeland, social organization and identity as well as migration
processes. In a latter phase of the project, the fieldwork will be
extended to almost twenty other locations. The thematic studies will
cover issues such as the role of the international organizations and
regional politics with regards to the case, social dynamics of the
communities and human rights aspects of the issue. Also, two legal
studies are being prepared in the Russian Federation and Georgia

The beginning of the fieldwork was preceded by training seminars and
workshops in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to
ensure maximum harmonization of research methodology and techniques. The
project's external expert on methodology, Viktor Voronkov, who is also
the director of the St. Petersburg based research institute Centre for
Independent Social Research in Russia, conducted the trainings with
facilitation by the local project affiliates and the project's
coordinator Oskari Pentikaeinen from ECMI. Also, in some countries,
preliminary studies were conducted in order to identify the most
relevant locations for the ethnographic studies. The training events
were coupled with elaborate guidelines on methodology and research
requirements for the research teams. The documents were produced by the
external experts on methodology, Prof. Erhard Stolting from Potsdam
University, Germany, and Mr Voronkov together with the project
management team.It is envisaged that the project's second workshop will
take place in the end of May 2005 in Bishkek, where the first drafts of
the country case, legal and thematic studies will be reviewed.
Consequently, the ensuing months after the workshop will be utilized for
further research and writing until the end of September.

In recognition of ECMI's expertise on the issue, Mr Pentikaeinen acted
as an external expert for the Council of Europe Parliamentry Assembly's
Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population to exchange views on the
Meskhetian Turks on 5 October 2004 in Strasbourg, France. 

The Meskhetian Turks project is generously funded by the Volkswagen
Foundation. For further information please contact Senior Research
Associate Tom Trier at trier@ecmi.de.



At a December conference on education organized by ECMI in the Armenian
minority region of Javakheti, the Georgian Deputy Minister of Education,
Bela Tsipuria, made her way to the remote and isolated region to take
part in a discussion with the local population on a controversial draft
law on primary education. As a result of the conference, the Javakheti
Armenian population is now being directly consulted in the process of
preparing a new legislative act on primary education. 

In the fourth quarter of 2004, ECMI has greatly advanced its activities
in Georgia and has been successful in facilitating direct consultation
between regional actors and the central authorities in the field of

ECMI implements a multi-strand programme in Georgia to promote
integration and defuse ethnic tension in regions with large
concentrations of minority populations. In 2004, ECMI has especially
focused on the Javakheti region, where 95% of the population is ethnic
Armenian. Other population groups are Greeks and Russians, while the
Georgian population in the region constitutes a small "minority within
the minority". Located on a mountain plateau and geographically isolated
from the rest of the country, the Javakheti region has drawn increasing
attention as a potential conflict zone. A serious decline in the
population's living standards over the past decade, combined with poorly
developed legislative and administrative standards, raises concerns that
popular unrest may erupt on social and economic grounds and translate
into ethnic tension.

Starting in early 2004, ECMI implemented a project in Javakheti to
enhance the dialogue on policy issues between civil society and local
government on the one hand and local actors and central government on
the other. The project aims at advancing a constructive dialogue on
matters of concern to the local population and to enhance the level of
engagement of the regional population in decision making processes so as
to ensure that the development of the range of new policies being drawn
up in the aftermath of Georgia's November 2003 "Rose Revolution" takes
the interests and concerns of minority populations into account and
enhances the Georgian authorities standards for governance on

As part of this project, ECMI has established a "Javakheti Citizens
Forum", which embraces civil society actors and authorities alike and
convenes on a regular basis in conferences focusing on thematic issues
of relevance to the region. In between the conferences, two working
groups, respectively dealing with matters of economic development and
integration and language questions and education, work on specific
issues pertaining to current policy making and develop suggestions and
recommendations on improvements in legislation and governance.

The ECMI Working Group on Language Issues and Education has been
especially successful in establishing a dialogue with the central
authorities, i.e. the Georgian Ministry of Education. In November,
members of the Working Group submitted a formal letter to the Minister
of Education in response to a draft law on primary education currently
being debated in parliament. In the letter, the representatives of the
working group expressed concerns that the Armenian and Russian languages
under the new law might not be maintained as the languages of
instruction in minority schools. The letter suggested that guarantees
should be provided in the law for maintaining minority languages for
instruction in schools. At the same time the letter stressed that the
Armenian population in Javakheti is not opposed to the introduction of
Georgian language in the region's schools, however, Georgian should be
taught as a second language. The letter also encouraged more resources
for teaching in Georgian, as currently there is a great lack of Georgian
language teachers and textbooks.

In response to the letter, Bela Tsipuria, Deputy Minister for Education,
accepted an invitation by ECMI to take part in an ECMI organized
conference on the law on education and made the eight hour drive through
heavy snow to Akhalkalaki, the principal town of Javakheti, to
participate in an open and trans-parent discussion on the implications
of the proposed law. At the conference, Bela Tsipuria, after a spirited
but fruitful discussion, handed over a letter from the Minister of
Education, Alexander Lomaia to the members of the working group. Though
the Minister and his Deputy did not approve of the suggestions made by
the working group members, it was stressed that the parents and teachers
at each individual school are entitled to decide on the language of
instruction. The position of the Ministry has subsequently been
discussed by the Working Group at a meeting in January. While the
Working Group members welcome the commitments made by the Minister and
Deputy Minister, there are still concerns that guarantees for
instruction in minority languages are not clearly provided in the draft
law. To this end, the working group is now preparing an additional
letter to the Ministry of Education.

Regardless of the differences in positions, the visit of the Deputy
Minister marked the first occasion in several years, where a high
official from Tbilisi made the effort to travel the long distance to
Javakheti to take part in direct dialogue with local stakeholders and
the Deputy Minister's appearance in the region was highly appreciated by
the local authorities and civil society actors alike as a sign of
good-will of the new government. Hence, the Citizens Forum conference on
education was a great success in terms of initiating a direct dialogue
and allowing for policy consultation with the regional stakeholders.
Over the coming months, ECMI will seek to broaden the consultative
process to cover other policy areas of concern to the regional
of Javakheti.



>From September to December 2004, ECMI conducted an integrated analysis
of the situation of the Romani population in the Union of Serbia and
Montenegro. Designed on the basis of a needs assessment methodology
developed and employed successfully in the first global assessment of
the needs of the Romani population in Macedonia, which ECMI conducted in
fall 2003, the analysis combined the following components: 

* Capacity assessment of relevant local NGOs with activities aimed at

* Consultation with government organs, IGOs and international NGOs;

* Focus group discussions; and

* Fact-finding visits to Romani settlements.

Like the needs assessment in Macedonia, the analysis in Serbia and
Montenegro was commissioned and financed by the Swedish International
Cooperation Agency (Sida). The aim of the project is to provide a basis
for Sida's work with Roms in Serbia and Montenegro for increasing Roms'
level of integration into the society of the Union as a whole by
equipping them with the resources needed for playing an effective role
in a democratic society based on the rule of law as well as for
participating successfully in a competitive labour market.

Taking into account recent advancements in research and policy
addressing the Romani population of Serbia and Montenegro, the project
was undertaken in the spirit of supporting and supplementing ongoing
government efforts to raise the level of integration of the Romani
population. With this in mind, the analysis focused on three core areas
in particular need of attention: migration, employment, and civil
rights. While each of these areas constitutes a distinct set of needs
requiring consideration in its own right, the findings of the focus
groups held in five cities throughout the Union point to close links
among the core areas.



In October 2004 ECMI-Bulgaria began implementation of a project on
"Enhancing Minority Governance in Bulgaria" supported through funding
from the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global
Conflict Prevention Pool. The project has brought together more than 80
institutions and organizations at national, regional and local levels. 

On 2-3 December 2004 a major stakeholder training event took place in
Borovetz on stakeholder analysis, needs assessment, participatory
monitoring and evaluation was provided to the participants. The
constructive dialogue between public officials and representative of the
civil society led to specific recommendations that will be developed,
refined and prioritized in three Working Groups focusing on priority
minority areas such as education, minority access to public services,
and minority participation in public, political and economic life. 

The new challenge for the Working Groups is to take forward the relevant
proposals of the Borovetz seminar by agreeing on specific conclusions on
needs, legislative deficits, evaluation of action plans and projects,
and on this basis propose standards for good governance on minority
issues. Meetings of the Working Groups are planned to take place in the
first part of 2005, followed by a major conference after the
parliamentary elections in Bulgaria in May 2005. 



Ms. Ewa Chylinski has been appointed ECMI's Deputy Director and has
joined the team on 15 November 2004 directly from the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions
and Human Rights in Warsaw, Poland where she was a project coordinator
for several years. She has also spent almost three years at the OSCE
Conflict Prevention Mission to Tajikistan during the civil war 1996-1997
as human rights/political officer and deputy/acting head of mission. 

Ms Chylinski has an extensive background in management and development
of academic and other projects and advisory experience in
democratization and human rights promotion and protection programs. She
also has extensive research and field experience from the Caucasus,
Eastern Europe and Central Asia as a former Assistant Professor and
Researcher at the Institute of East-West Studies at the University of
South Jutland, Denmark.



Throughout December 2004, members of the working groups in ECMI's Policy
Dialogue Initiative in Macedonia have been actively engaged in lobbying
members of Parliament, representatives of individual Ministries and
relevant government institutions to adapt and implement their policy
recommendations in the fields of education, health, economy and human
rights. In addition to individual presentations targeted towards
relevant government actors, a large press conference was held for
members of the domestic and international press, on December 14 at the
Holiday Inn Skopje, to publicise the recommendations to local citizens
and members of the international community.

The recommendations of the Working Group for Education highlight the
necessity of recognizing the value of multi-culturalism, strengthening
infrastructural needs, encouraging depoliticization in the education
sector, and enhancing teacher training institutions. Separate
presentations were made to the Ministry of Education, the Parliamentary
Committee on Education, the Bureau for the Development of Education and
also to international organizations operating in Macedonia.

The Human Rights Working Group has focused on finding ways for
strengthening the capacity of institutions responsible for human rights
protection, as well as the issues of citizenship and the personal right
to liberty. With the aim of promoting the development of sustainable
strategies in the field of health, the Working Group for Health have
recommended developing a new national strategy for health care. Their
recommendations in particular focus on relevant themes and prerequisites
for consideration during the preparation of this new strategy as well as
strategies for implementation. It is intended that once the new
Government takes power, recommendations will be presented to the
relevant Ministries and institutions.

The Working Group for Economy has adapted a dual approach toward issues
in the economic sphere: macroeconomic and microeconomic policy problems.
Recommendations were presented at the Economic Forum. The press coverage
emphasized the indifference of the relevant institutions toward such
important issues for Macedonia.

In addition to the planned events and presentations, a meeting with the
Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee on Education was held to
discuss future cooperation between the education working group and the
Parliamentary Committee for Education in the course of 2005. This
positive step was proposed by the Committee itself based on their
favourable impression of the recommendations made by the Working Group
on Education earlier this month. 



The Kaliningrad region constitutes one of the most important areas of
contact between the Russian Federation and the European Union. The
large-scale influx of migrants from some CIS countries with negative
interethnic experiences and the position of other non-dominant groups of
longer standing in the region demand close attention and assistance in
order to maintain stability and diminish negative developments such as
illegal westward migration from the region.

ECMI has been involved in the region for a number of years which has
allowed ECMI to establish strong and active ties with the local expert
community, NGO sector and governmental organizations. ECMI's project in
Kaliningrad in 2004 included several strands of activities. An
ECMI-sponsored group published a guide on national-cultural autonomies
of the Kaliningrad region in December 2004.

The guide contains information on ethnic minority organizations in the
region and is the first publication of its kind in Kaliningrad. ECMI has
also prepared a manual for municipal officials that work with migrants
and minorities. The manual contains information on federal and regional
legislative acts that regulate issues of migration and nationality
policies as well as provides recommendations for municipal bodies on how
to address specific issues that migrants and minorities face. Other
strands of activity were aimed at developing legal recommendations to
help migrants to resolve their housing problems and to address
difficulties in finding information on the employment situation in
Kaliningrad. ECMI also supported research on the patterns of political
participation and involvement of minorities and migrants in regional and
local government structures in the region. The results of this research
will be published in a separate brochure in the early 2005.




The significant political event of 2004 was the March riots. The violent
clashes between ethnic Albanians, Serbs and international peacekeeping
forces in Kosovo left 19 civilians dead, hundreds wounded, several
thousand persons displaced and much damage to property. The riots
indicate that much remains to be done in achieving sustainable peace and
development in Kosovo.

The international community and Kosovo institutions agreed immediately
after the riots to jointly launch the Standards Implementation Plan of
31 March 2004 as the way forward. The Plan can be compared to a
governmental plan of programming priorities, representing the
partnership between the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government
(PISG) and the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).A Norwegian diplomat, Kai
Eide, was
called to conduct a thorough analysis of UNMIK work with a view to
restructuring the international presence in Kosovo. Shortly after the
report was released, the new Special Representative of the UN
Secretary-General (SRSG), Soren Jessen-Petersen, took office. Building
on the momentum of the new approach, the SRSG emphasized that the points
in the report would be taken into account. The report is now central to
UNMIK restructuring, transfer of power and a revision of the "Standards
before Status" policy. The report suggested a new strategy of four

* Responding to the immediate concerns caused by the March events;

* Managing the interim before addressing the future status question;

* Preparing for and negotiating the future status;

* Overseeing and assisting in implementing the political settlement for
    future status.


The 2004 elections saw a slight decline in support for the traditionally
strong ethnic Albanian party, LDK. The gains of the Citizen's List
Initiative, ORA, is a new development in the political scene. Parties
attained votes as follow: LDK (45%), PDK (28%), AAK (8%), ORA (6.3%),
PSHDK (2%).

Coalition Povratak (KP) boycotted the work of the Assembly following the
March riots despite attempts by UNMIK and PISG to include them.
Endeavors to remedy the consequences of the riots, such as the
allocation of 11.6 million Euro for the rebuilding
of Serb property, were met with a persistent rejection of mainstream
political life. The divided political scene in Belgrade contributed to
this directly. The Union of Serbia and Montenegro President Kostunica
and the Serb Orthodox Church opposed participation in the October
elections. Meanwhile some groups close to Serbian President Tadic
diverged from this position and two Serb entities took part in the
elections. None of the competing
Serb entities secured a place in the new Assembly, however, they will be
represented via the ten seats set aside for the Serb community.


The results of the October Elections in Kosovo made clear that none of
the parties came close to securing the 61 seat majority in the Assembly.
Parties were reportedly given a certain timeframe to reach an agreement.
After that UNMIK would step into the negotiation process.

With a fast-approaching deadline, the LDK-AAK announced a coalition on
17 November. In the inaugural session of the Assembly, Mr Nexhat Daci
was elected the Parliament Speaker, Mr Ibrahim Rugova President, and
endorsed the new Government, including the Prime Minister, Mr Ramush
Haradinaj, the AAK president. The LDK leads six Ministries, the AAK four
Ministries, and, although not part of the coalition agreement, Kosovo
Serb representatives will lead two ministries. The non-Serb communities
will lead with one.

Reactions to the coalition agreement and the subsequent government have
been overshadowed by the AAK's Ramush Har-adinaj being elected Prime
Minister. Amidst coalition negotiations, Haradinaj was interviewed by
the Hague Tribunal (ICTY) regarding his combat activities as a commander
of the KLA in 1998-99. Following this, Haradinaj stated that would not
be required for further interviews. However, it is speculated that his
case with the ICTY has not been concluded.

A statement from UNMIK SRSG Jessen-Petersen commenting on the nomination
of Ramush Haradinaj for the Prime Minister post said: "If I say no to
his nomination I will say no to democracy", thus making clear that he
will not intervene in the process. A more critical viewpoint has come
from EU Foreign Affairs Representative, Javier Solana. He was quoted on
22 November as saying: "Whoever the prime minister, he has to work on
the standards issue and if in the end the prime minister is somebody who
has to go to The Hague, he may not be the most appropriate person to
work towards those standards."


The new Prime Minister has received few visits from foreign diplomats,
while at the same time being fully engaged with UNMIK and the SRSG. On
his part, the new Prime Minister has stressed his full commitment to the
standards implementation and to principles of human rights. Since
December, he has shown considerable zeal to work on standards and
accelerate the process of their implementation. However, with
speculations over his indictment at the end of January, the Kosovo
political scene remains tense and volatile.


Mechanisms for the implementation of minority rights

This new publication, the second in the series, offers a comprehensive
and critical overview of the political and legal mechanisms that are
available at both European and international levels for the
implementation of minority rights standards. Amongst the aspects covered
in separate chapters are: the United Nations treaty monitoring bodies;
the proceedings before the International Court of Justice; the Council
of Europe's treaties and mechanisms (the European Court of Human Rights
mechanism, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages);
the OSCE political commitments and mechanisms in the human dimension,
including the High Commissioner on National Minorities, and the EU
contribution to the protection of minorities and the prevention of
discrimination. For each chapter, the authors discuss prospects for the
future and provide practical guidance for minority rights practitioners.
This work will be of interest to human rights scholars, students of
international law and international relations, non-governmental
organizations and other institutions involved in minority issues. 

To order this book please send an email to publishing@coe.int or order
directly at http://book.coe.int.



ECMI Report #52

Malloy, Tove H. and Tankut Soykan. Cyprus Settlement Initiative Project.
Addressing the Settlement of Self-Determination conflicts through
Complex Power Sharing: The Case of Cyprus. Antalya, Turkey. March 2004,
62 pp., appendix.

ECMI gratefully acknowledges the generous support from the Carnegie
Foundation of New York. This project is done in collaboration with the
Centre for International Studies at the University of Cambridge. The aim
of the ECMI Cyprus Settlement Initiative was to assist the authorities
of Northern Cyprus in understanding the ramifications of adopting the
so-called Annan Plan for Cyprus prior to becoming a member of the
European Union. The project targeted members of the Northern Cypriot
negotiation team, high-level policy and decision-makers in Northern
Cyprus as well as opinion forming groups and individuals. Among the
outputs envisaged for the project was (1) a greater overall
understanding of the Annan Plan within the leadership of Northern Cyprus
as early as possible in the negotiation process, (2) improved technical
understanding of specific issues and aspects of the Annan plan, and (3)
empowerment of the negotiation team as well as the supporting technical
committees in the negotiation process, and (4) improved networking
opportunities for the Northern Cypriot authorities with international

ECMI Brief #12

Zeqiri, Adrian. A New Challenge for Kosovo's Emerging Democracy.
November 2004,
7 pp.

 On 23 October 2004, elections for the central institutions of Kosovo
were held for the second time. According to Council of Europe and OSCE
observers, the elections were held in a free and fair environment and
there were no irregularities in the results. This report analyzes the
election results and their implications for the formation of a Kosovo
assembly, and discusses the impact of these developments in the current
and upcoming intensive political period in Kosovo.


The European Centre for Minority Issues advances majority-minority
relations in the wider Europe through action, research and
documentation. It supports the stabilization of areas of ethno-political
tension and conflict, contributes to the strengthening of relevant
legislation and best practices in governance and enhances the capacity
of civil society actors and governments to engage with one another in a
constructive and sustainable way.


PUBLISHER: European Centre for Minority Issues, Schiffbrucke 12, D-24939
Flensburg Germany, info@ecmi.de; www.ecmi.de; tel. + 49(0) 461 141 490;
fax. + 49(0) 461 141 4919 PRINT ISSN: 1814-1366 ; ONLINE ISSN: 1814-1447