MINELRES: CoE FCNM: Interview on Kosovo with the President of the ACFC

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat Mar 11 10:29:08 2006

Original sender: Nicola Markes-Goerlach <Nicola.MARKES-GOERLACH@coe.int>

Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities: Interview on Kosovo with the President of the ACFC 

Upon publication of the Advisory Committee opinion on Kosovo on 02 March
2006, the following interview was conducted with Asbjorn Eide, President
of the Advisory Committee that monitors the Framework Convention on
National Minorities. 

Question: What is special about the Advisory Committee’s visit to

Asbjorn Eide: This is a new departure for the Advisory Committee: for
the first time we have carried out monitoring in territory administered
by the United Nations. 

Kosovo has a very particular status – it is still formally part of
Serbia and Montenegro, which has ratified the framework convention and
had no objections. Our visit was made possible because of an agreement
between UNMIK and the Council of Europe. 

Question: Why visit Kosovo now? 

Asbjorn Eide: For us to assess properly whether Kosovo meets the Council
of Europe standards in the field of minority protection, we need to
check what is the situation on the ground. This is also a very important
time to visit Kosovo because its status is up for negotiation. This
means it is crucial to gain some perspective on what would be the future
for minorities who were very seriously affected by the conflict. 

We visited various parts of Kosovo and discussed with groups such as the
Serbians, the Turks, the Bosniaks and the Roma, as well government
representatives and people in the UN administration. 

Question:Your report points out some problems: can you tell us more? 
Asbjorn Eide: We found that although the UN has put laws in place to
protect minorities, they are not reflected in practice. This has led to
a great deal of insecurity, especially for the Serbs, but also for other
minorities such as the Roma. 

For example, although the use of the Serbian language is protected by
law, in practice those speaking it run the risk of becoming the victim
of violence. We hope our report will help to point out the problems
existing at the moment so that they can be taken into account in the
negotiations for the future of Kosovo and by the present authorities.

Secretariat note: The Agreement between UNMIK/CoE, the report and
annexes, the ACFC opinion (in English, French, Albanian and Serbian),
together with UNMIK comments on the opinion can be found on the
following page:

Nicola Markes-Goerlach 
Council of Europe 
Directorate General of Human Rights 
Secretariat of the Framework Convention 
for the Protection of National Minorities 
F-67075 Strasbourg-Cedex 

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