Marin Barleti University and the Albanian Institute of Public Affairs have organized an international scientific conference dedicated to “Albania and National, Ethnic and Cultural Minorities”. The main aim of the conference was to stimulate debate amongst local and international academics, experts, representatives of national and international organizations, local government authorities and other stakeholders, in order to present their most important findings concerning issues and problems that the minorities have been experiencing in the region.
The main focus of the conference was placed on the legal overview of the constitutional rights of minorities in the Balkans, historical perspective and current situation of minorities in Albania, Kosovo* and “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. The presented papers have scrutinized the conditions of Vllah, Greek, Macedonian and Balkan Egyptian minorities.
The JP MIN Local Project Officer for “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” delivered a presentation entitled “Two paradigms for one minority of one nation in two states: policy of recognition of Balkan Egyptians in Albania and Kosovo”. The paper gives a comparative view of the two policies and social contexts in different Balkan states and other international practices. It explores obstacles and possibilities for improvement of the situation and protection and integration of Balkan Egyptians in Albanian and Kosovo societies.
Local Project Officer for Albania was also present at the Conference.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence
On 6 February, the Local Project Officer for “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” was a guest speaker on a popular TV show “Integral” hosted by Mr Edin Hajdarpashic , at the TV station “24 Vesti” (“24 News”). The discussion was partly dedicated to the promotion of JP MIN. Our LPO has presented the main goals and objectives of the project, as well as the upcoming activities.
Some of the other topics of the conversation included: intercultural dialog within the country, disproportionality and non-functioning of the Ohrid Framework Agreement after the 2011 census failure, state reciprocity and bilateral agreements on improvement of minority rights, ethno cultural politics, racial discrimination and Islamophobia in Europe, diverse promotion of the minority rights as well as other issues related with national minorities and multiculturalism.
This was the 6th edition of the Regional School which has its origin in a bilateral scientific project called ”Bilateral Cooperation between the Republic of Croatia and Republic of Serbia in the Protection on National Minorities“. Thanks to JP MIN the Regional School has grown this year into a regional tool where students, faculty and other experts openly discuss a wide range of issues pertaining to the protection and promotion of minority rights. A number of items on the agenda directly addressed “expected results” of the Project.
There was still no LPO from Pristina, because the Project Team’s exploratory mission there had not yet taken place.
The meeting took place in the Project Office downtown Podgorica.
The Project Management Team agreed on the splitting of tasks and on procedures between its members and on how to ensure the (ongoing) mapping of the situation of minority rights in the region, including the launch of a Newsletter towards the end of the year. The Team also discussed the provisional composition of the nascent South East European Network of Minority Rights Defenders and how to consult the members of the Network on their ideas for and involvement in the programme of JP MIN activities to be drawn up the first meeting of the JP MIN Steering Committe.
The event will begin with a description of the main elements of an integrated approach to these three issues, followed by an outline of each programme. Then, participants will be invited to take part in working groups covering the cross-cutting topics of “How to better implement antidiscrimination legislation?” (WG1), “How to enhance participation in public life?” (WG2) and “How to approach diversity through inclusive education?” (WG3). The purpose of these workshops is the exchange of concrete best practices.
The conclusions of these workshops will be presented during the closing plenary session. To conclude the event, Mr. Nebojša Kaludjerović, State Secretary for Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, Mrs. Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General elect of the Council of Europe, Mr. Andrzej Mirga, Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues at ODIHR and Mr. Alberto Cammarata, Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, will present their views and expectations regarding the three joint projects and the new sectorial approach.
A press conference will be held on 29 June at 11:30 by representatives of the three organisations.