Pristina, 15 December 2010 – Kosovo institutions have taken considerable steps to enhance the protection and promotion of non-Albanian community rights, but implementation of laws and a stronger institutional commitment is necessary to achieve full respect for their rights, according to a report by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo released today. The second Communities Rights Assessment Report analyzes efforts made by local officials to implement recommendations provided in the first assessment report published in December 2009. The reports evaluate local officials’ work in light of the specific standards of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The 2009 report assessed the Kosovo institutions’ compliance with the Framework Convention in the thematic areas of return and reintegration, cultural and religious heritage, education, use of language and participation in public life. The report concluded that, despite the adoption of a comprehensive legislative framework and policies for the protection and promotion of community rights, further efforts were necessary to ensure their implementation. This year’s report recommends that Kosovo institutions ensure appropriate conditions for the safe and dignified return of non-Albanian communities through concrete measures to facilitate access to property, housing and socio-economic opportunities. It also recommends that the visibility of the Language Commission be empowered to handle complaints related to the implementation of the Law on Use of Languages and that its visibility be increased. The report found that the Strategy for the Integration of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities is not sufficiently implemented and that there is a lack of financial and political support for this purpose. “It is time for Kosovo institutions to create better conditions for the protection and promotion of the rights of all communities,” said Ambassador Werner Almhofer, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo. The report calls on officials to take further actions to promote and protect cultural rights, guarantee access to education in all the official languages, respect the language rights of all communities, support participation and representation of non-Albanian communities in public life, and ensure that projects to encourage the return of displaced people are sustainable. The OSCE Mission in Kosovo is mandated with the protection and promotion of human rights with a special focus on the rights of vulnerable groups and individuals.

The report is available here.

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) December 2010