MINELRES: CoE FCNM: Publication of the 2nd cycle opinion on Serbia
Fri Jun 26 17:46:21 2009
Original sender: Nicola Markes-Goerlach <Nicola.MARKES-GOERLACH@coe.int>
ON THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES
Serbia: early publication of the 2nd cycle opinion
The Opinion of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on Serbia
has been made public by the Government. The Advisory Committee adopted
this Opinion in March 2009 following a country visit in November 2008.
Summary of the Opinion:
"Since the adoption of the Advisory Committee’s first Opinion in
November 2003, the Serbian authorities adopted a new Constitution in
2006 which includes a commendable chapter on national minority
protection. A new Criminal Code was adopted with some important
provisions in the field of non-discrimination. The State level Ombudsman
has started his work, with promising initiatives to be launched in the
field of monitoring minority protection in all regions of Serbia. The
commitment shown by the recently established Ministry of Human and
Minority Rights in pursuing reform is encouraging.
Opportunities for persons belonging to national minorities to learn
their languages have been expanded in certain areas of Serbia and some
further measures to display traditional names and topographical
indications have been taken. The national minority councils established
so far have started to play an active role in articulating minorities’
interests, despite the legal vacuum regarding their role and activities.
The delay in adopting some pending legislation, including the law on the
national minority councils, over the last five years has caused
legitimate concerns and, on the whole, the pace of reform in the area of
minority protection, has slowed down. The changes introduced to the
legislative framework with regard to minority media have been marked by
a lack of consistency and as a result, have created confusion.
In the field of education, the optional character of minority language
teaching requires further discussion with representatives of national
minorities. The problems encountered with regard to the recognition of
diplomas from educational institutions from the region still complicate
the access to education of certain persons belonging to national
It is crucial that the future National Strategy on Roma address
vigorously the difficulties encountered by the Roma in accessing
employment, education, housing and health care and that their lack of
personal documentation is tackled as a matter of priority."
Note: The Framework Convention is ratified by 39 States. The Convention
includes a monitoring system, whereby the Committee of Ministers,
assisted by an advisory committee, evaluates the adequacy of the
Convention's implementation. The Opinions of the Advisory Committee are
made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ resolution
but can be made public at an earlier stage at the country’s initiative.
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