On Friday, 29th of March 2019, NGO AKTIV held a conference and panel discussion on the challenges and obstacles that non-majority communities are currently facing in Kosovo.

Caleb Waugh, Head of Aktiv’s Policy Office, presented and outlined findings included in the report “Status of Minority Rights in Kosovo – Challenges and Obstacles.” His presentation covered the challenges that occur within the return process, the lack of access to institutions, the ‘silent departure’, the ongoing political and security crises, the right of use of language and the representation of communities in the civil service in Kosovo. As for right of use of language, Waugh added that Serbian and Albanian enjoy equality in law but not in practice.

Ardian Arifaj, Political Advisor at Office of the President, stated that the term “minority” is not used by Kosovo institutions and that ‘communities’ should be used instead. Mr. Arifaj also mentioned the initiative for establishing the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, which he believes has been supported by media, communities, and religious representatives. He considers that it is necessary to implement all agreements stipulated in the Brussels Agreement and that this will be reflected in inter-ethnic relations.

Dejan Radivojevic, Executive Director at Forum for Development and Multiethnic Collaboration (FDMC), added that the Serb community is very confused about the current situation and the ongoing dialogue process. He added that there is a lack of sufficient representation which is reflected at all levels. He notes that there are certain organizations that deal with Serb’s community issues but there is no political pressure for further implementation.

Darko Dimitrijevic, journalist, stated that the capacities of the Consultative Council for Communities are limited, including capacities of its secretariat, allocated budget, and the capacities of the Council itself. When it comes to the property rights it was underlined that the situation is most critical in the Pec region.  Regarding the representation of Kosovo Police officers in this town he mentioned that there are only two Serbs employed. In does not reflect ethnic representation and that leads to a lack of credibility in these institutions – concluded Dimitrijevic.

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