Minority rights in practice in Southeast Europe 2006 - 2008
Interethnic Program of Civic Initiatives which started in November 2006, with support of King Boudauin Foundation (Belgium) and Fund for an Open Society (Serbia), implements a two-year program «Minority rights in practice in Southeast Europe 2006 - 2008». This program is based on the previous initiatives/programs of the Interethnic Program such as the „Improving interethnic relations in Southeast Europe" and „Minority rights in practise in Southeast Europe 2004-2006"
Program «Minority rights in practice in Southeast Europe 2006 - 2008» is based on the analysis of the factors that substantionally determine the position of national minorities in present Serbian society, primarily of the institutional framework, by which we mean legislation referring to rights, freedoms and position of minorities as well as the state institutions/organs and bodies, authorised to deal with issues of national minorities.
The valid legislative regulations anticipate one important instrument within otherwise weak institutional framework. Municipal Councils for Interethnic Relations, according to defined competences, could play very important role in monitoring and controlling the decisions of local self-governments related to minority rights and position, thus significantly contributing to implementation of minority rights at local level. Perceived as mentioned, they should also have an impact on creation of a positive ambiance for implementation of these rights, encouraging integrative processes. Therefore, our intention is to focus, during implementation of this project, on these bodies with the aim to strengthen selected Councils so that they become functional and operational. Also, our intention is to facilitate the process of establishing the councils in certain Municipalities where they haven't been established yet.
In summary, we can say that our Action Plan is going to contribute to stabilization and operationalization of the institutional framework, which determines rights and position of national minorities by capacity building of the selected Municipal Councils for Interethnic Relations and by advocating for establishing the Councils in the chosen municipalities, where they do not already exist.
Specific objectives are:
Considering our years-long work in IER and MRP programmes and our wish to provide continuity and to contribute to the general impact of the mentioned programmes, we have decided to implement project activities in the regions, where we have already been engaged . We shall continue our work in Sandzak and Vojvodina but also in the Southern Serbia .
As the main results of the project we expect increased capacities (knowledge and skills) of the Municipal Councils' members; more efficient and functional work of the Councils in accordance with their mandate; raised awareness of the key actors about the importance of the Councils in all involved municipalities; initiated process of establishing the Councils in municipalities in Southern Serbia .