MINELRES: Fwd: DIVERS: Minority Councils in Serbia: Challenges and Solutions

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Fri Oct 12 17:55:58 2007

Original sender: Roma Virtual Network <romale@zahav.net.il>

Minority Councils in Serbia: Challenges and Solutions

The Project on Ethnic Relations and its PER Regional Center for Central,
Eastern, and Southeastern Europe based in Romania, invited a group of
Serbiaís minority council presidents, experts and senior
parliamentarians to discuss the present situation of the minority
councils in Serbia, the existing drafts for a new Serbian law on
minority councils, and recommendations for improving the work of the
councils and their effectiveness.

The agenda of the roundtable covered the following:

1. The current state of minority councils in Serbia. Are the councils
capable of acting on their competencies and are they financed
sufficiently? What are the hopes and expectations of minorities with
regard to the councils? What is the relationship between the councils
and Serbia ís government and parliament? What are relations among Serbia
ís minority councils? Do the councils favor joint action or do they
prefer to act separately? What do the councils need in terms of
additional help (finances, authority, expertise, institutional help,

2. Majority-minority relations and minority politics: experience of
Serbia ís neighbors.

3. Key issues that need to be resolved to assure effective functioning
of the councils and election of new councils. 

4. Review of drafts of legislation for re-election of councils of
national minorities: procedures and mechanisms. 

5. What is the most realistic timeframe for adopting the new minority
councilsí legislation?

PER has been involved in Serbia ís minority issues since 1991 and has
been sponsoring numerous dialogues between the government and the main
political parties in Serbia , as well as the minority leaders. Similar
work has been done by PER in other countries of Central and Southeastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union including helping a number of them to
draft their minority laws. PER assisted in Hungary and Montenegro in
creation of minority self-governments and minority councils
respectively. Reports on PERís activities can be found at
www.per-usa.org or www.per.org.ro. 


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