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Local Policies in Multiethnic Communities Case Study: Prizren

KIPREDShort description of the municipality

Prizren is a city located in southern Kosovo with a rich historical tradition. It is the administrative center of the homonymous municipality. The Prizren District is one from the seven districts of Kosovo (which are the higher-level administrative divisions), with a seat in Prizren. This district includes the municipalities of: Prizren, Dragash, Suhareka, Malisheva and the Pilot Municipal Unit of Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša.

The Municipality of Prizren makes up approximately 6% of the total territory in Kosovo, with some 640 km2. The town of Prizren plays an important role in the regional business and commerce, due to its geographic proximity with the Republic of Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The estimated population of the municipality is about 240,000 inhabitants, comprising both, the town itself, and its 76 villages. In addition to the majority Kosovo Albanian population, it is home to large communities of Kosovo Bosniaks (22,000), Kosovo Turks (9,000 - excluding the Kosovo Turkish population living in the Pilot Municipal Unit of Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša), and of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (5,300). There is also a relatively small number of Kosovo Serbs (166), who live mainly in the villages, and a smaller number of them in the town of Prizren (30 individuals).[1]

Prizren is known for its ethnic diversity and enjoys a long tradition of tolerance and inter-ethnic cooperation. It is considered as the most culturally and ethnically heterogeneous municipality in Kosovo. The threat of ethnically motivated violence, which had started during the decade before, and it had continued during and after, the war of 1999,  still exists, but the Serbian/Bosnian language is, nevertheless, spoken freely in the town of Prizren, as well as in the areas where the Kosovo Serbs reside.

Since the antiquity, the city of Prizren is recognized as a unique place in Balkans for its cultural heritage values, civilization and various religions. Given the favourable geographic position, the harmonious merge of its cultures during the history, and enviable number of monuments from all the historical periods, the city of Prizen holds righteously the epithet of the ‘Museum City,’ and ranges as one of most beautiful cities of Kosovo. Situated along the Sharr Mountains, which were declared as a National Park, on both sides of the Lumbardhi river and on the junction of important trade routes between east and west, the city of Prizren has been recognized throughout its history as an extraordinary important cultural, economic and diplomatic center.

Prizren has a vast and a rich history starting from the antique times, always having a unique position at different historical periods. At the time of the domination of craftsmanship production, Prizren became one from the largest craftsmanship centers in the Balkans. There were more than 120 handicrafts that were practised in numerous workshops. The goods produced in Prizren were sold not only throughout the markets of Ottoman Empire, but even further. Among the numerous artisan actitities that are practiced there, Prizren was particularly well-known for the quality and the tradition of its handicraft processing of precious metals. This artisanship still remains a kind of Prizrens ‘trade-mark.’

A testimony of the exceptional values that the Prizren has, are, among others, 24 identified archeological locations, 39 Christian buildings of cult, 46 Islamic sacral buildings, and over 74 buildings with accentuated folcloric architecture. The Fort, standing uphill, above the town, the Monastery of Saint Friday, the Saint Spas (Salvation), the Mihael Gabriels Head of Angels Monastery, the Church of Helpful Lady, the Turkish Bath, the Mehmet Pasha’s Mosque, the Mosque of Sinan Pasha, the Old Stone Bridge, are only a tinny part of the cultural heritage of Prizren.

Thanking to the cultural infrastructure which tries to be in the function of preservation, cultivation and presentation of material and spiritual culture and the heritage values, the city of Prizren projects its chance in development of tourism, as a profitable economic activity.

THE MUNCIPAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK

The Municipality of Prizren has passed two legal documents that regulate the issues pertaining minority communities, the Statute of the Municipality and the Regulation on the Use of Languages.

The Statute of the Municipality of Prizren

The first from the provisions of the Statute of the Municipality of Prizren concerning minority issues is Article 8 of the Statute, determining the Albanian, Serbian-Bosniak and Turkish as languages present in the stamp and the seal of the Municipality. All the official documents of the Municipality are envisaged to be in Albanian, Serbian-Bosnian, and Turkish languages. Article 13 determines the proportional representation of the members of the national minorities in the municipal bodies and in public services of local governance.

Articles 11 and 12 guarantee the right of national communities to express freely its ethnic, cultural and religious identity. The members of the communities have the right to communicate in the language of their own with the bodies and civil services of the Municipality, in accordance with the Law in power and the international conventions. The meetings of the Municipal Assembly, of its committees, of the Board of the Directors and all the public meetings will take place in Albanian, Serbian-Bosnian, and Turkish languages.

Article 35 determines the post of the Deputy Chairperson for the Communities. The Municipal Assembly (Article 37) elects the Deputy Chairperson for the Communities from the members of the Municipal Assembly belonging to the non-majority communities in accordance with the Law on Local Self Governance. This Deputy Chairperson is responsible for treating the complaints of minorities or of their members regarding the municipal acts and decisions that can violate their constitutionally guaranteed rights. The Deputy Chairperson provides these acts and decisions for review to the Municipal Assembly. If these acts and decisions are not reviewed, or if the Deputy Chairperson considers that the outcome of the review still represents violation of the constitutional rights, he can submit the issue to the Constitutional Court.

Article 52 of the Statute establishes the post of the Deputy Mayor for Communities. The appointment and the dismissal of the Deputy Mayor for Communities is proposed by the Mayor and has to be approved by the majority of the members of the Municipal Assembly present and voting, and the majority of the members of Municipal Assembly belonging to minorities present and voting. Article 57 determines that the Mayor can initiate the procedure for the dismissal of the Deputy Mayor for Communities, when there are justified reasons for this, and that the procedure in this case will be the same as the one in the case of appointment.

The Article 58 of the Statute of the Municipality of Prizren establishes the Committee of Communities as a permanent committee of the Municipality. Further on, Article 62 specifies that the Committee of the Communities is responsible to review the compliance of the municipal authorities with the Law, reviewing all the municipal policies, practices and activities, in order to ensure the full respect of the rights and the interests of the communities. This Committee also proposes to the Municipal Assembly the measures necessary for the promotion, expression, defense and development of the ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identities of the communities. The Committee of the Communities consists of the simple majority of the members of the Municipal Assembly, and other members are members of the communities. Each community living in the municipality is represented by at least one member.

Finally, the Article 69, on the Civil Service of the Municipality, determines that the employment in this service is observed and regulated by the Mayor, through the head of the personnel, and reflects the appropriate proportion of the qualified members of the communities at all levels of the municipality.

The Regulation on the Use of Languages

This Regulation is particularly important for a municipality with linguistic diversity as the one encountered in Prizren. According to its Article 1, the objective of the Regulation on the Use of Languages of the Municipality of Prizren is to ensure the use of official languages in the workings of the municipal administration, in the educational and health institutions administered by the Municipality, and in the public enterprises established by the Muncipality, in compliance with the provisions of the Law on the Use of Languages.

Article 2 determines that official languages in use on equal terms in all the organs of the municipal administration, in municipal educational and health institutions, and in municipal public enterprises, are Albanian, Serbian, Bosnian and Turkish languages. Articles 3 – 5 determine the equality of the official languages in the use in official meetings, in public meetings and in other meetings of the Municipality.

Based on Article 6, during their communication with the organs of the Municipality, the citizens can make requests, and they will get responses, in written or verbal form, in any from the languages in the official use in the Municipality.

In this short Regulation (3 pages), there is, further on, Article 7, defining the use of languages in communication of the Municipality with other municipalities, as well as Article 8, on the use of languages in official names and signs, and, 3 other final provisions.

The Regulation on the Use of Languages, of Prizren Municipality is not in full compliance with the Law on the Use of Languages, in its Article 6. The text of this article is as following: During the communication with the organs of the institutions mentioned in the Article 2 of this Regulation, citizens-parties, can use, and will get the responses, in writing or verbally,  in any language which is in official use in the territory of the Prizren Municipality. The language of the party will be considered the language used in the initial request made to the Municipality (to organs, institutions, and local enterprises).” Hence, this Article 6 determines the equality of languages in official use in Municipality, in full accordance with the Articles 7.1 – 7.4 of the Law on the Use of Languages.

Nevertheless, the Law on the Use of Languages, in its Article 8.4, defines another equality, that of the languages that are not official languages in a municipality. Based on this Article 8.4 of the Law, the languages that are not in official use in the Municipality, can also be used freely by the members of respective communities, in the municipal workings and meetings, and the facilities for interpretation should be made available whenever requested. Documents submitted by such members will be translated into the official languages, and the responses will be provided in the original language.

Thus, the Article 6 of the Regulation, while recognizing the equality of the official languages in the municipality, which is in full compliance with the Law, fails to recognize equality of the languages that are not official in the municipality, with the official ones, equality which is also guaranteed by the Law.

Political Participation

The results of the November 2007 local elections brought about substantial shifts in the political landscape of the Prizren municipality. During the previous two mandates, the Municipality of Prizren was governed by LDK. However, the recent events in this party (the death of President Rugova, the major split, and the subsequent creation of LDD from one from the fractions that have consequently emerged), in the November 2007 elections LDK has failed to repeat its achievements from the previous period and the  Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won municipal assembly and mayoral elections.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Gjilan has been elected Mr. Ramdan Muja, whereas in the Municipal Assembly elections PDK 11 seats, LDK 10, AKR 4, KTDP 3, VAKAT 3, LDD 2, ORA 2, AAK 2, SDA 1 and PD 1. The political participation of the minority communities in the election process in the Municipality of Prizren is exceptionally high. As a result, minority communities are represented with 7 out of 71 seats in the Municipal Assembly.

In the Municipal of Prizren minority communities are part of the coalition government, comprised by Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Turkish Democratic Party of Kosovo (KTDP), Bosnian Coalition VAKAT and the Reformist Party ORA.

THE MUNICIPAL INSTITUTIONS ON COMMUNITIES

The Municipality of Prizren has in place and functional all institutions and posts in accordance with the national and municipal law. The post of the Deputy Mayor for Communities is held by Mr. Ercan Shpat from Turkish Democratic Party (KTDP). Also, the Deputy Chairman of the Municipal Assembly for Communities is Mr. Cemail Kurtisi from Bosnian Coalition VAKAT. Both, KTDP and VAKAT are part of the municipal coalition government.

The Municipal Assembly of has established the Committee on Communities. The Committee has eleven members, while six members come from minority communities. The members of minority communities of the Committee come from Turkish, Bosnian, Serbian and RAE communities. This committee is very active. In the first half of the year the committee has held five meetings[2].

The Municipality of Prizren has also in place the Office for Communities. The office is led by Mr. Alija Ajradin from Bosnian community. The officials of the office come from all minority communities of the Prizren Municipality. The rights, functions, duties and responsibilities of the Communities Office have been defined by the UNMIK Regulation 2007/30 that has ceased to be in force with entering in force of the Law on Local Self Government on June 16th, 2009. The Communities Office is an integral part of the municipality and of the municipal administrative structure, and the Head of the Communities Office is an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of the municipality. This Office is responsible for enhancing the protection of the communities’ rights, and for ensuring the equal access for communities to public services at the municipal level.

Before the promulgation of the Law on Local Self Governance, the communities offices in the municipalities throughout Kosovo were put in place, and they were functioning, sometimes, like in the Municipality of Prizren, with a considerable success. Now, these offices are not required by the Law – indeed, they are neither forbidden, so they continue to exist and to function, in spite of the fact that their position is so undetermined.

The Office for Communities of the Municipality of Prizren has recently shown more commitment towards improving the well-being of the Roma/Ashkali/Egiptian (RAE) minority groups within its territory. These three communities are dispersed predominantly in three neighborhoods: Terzimahall (mostly Roma), Jeta e Re (Ashkali) and Edith Durhem (Egiptians). In order to take concrete steps towards the improvement of these communities’ lives, the municipality has organized a series of meetings designed so that the local governance closely hears and analyzes the needs, requests, worries and problems that the RAE communities face today, especially regarding poor infrastructure, water supply, public lighting, pre-school programs, education and unemployment

The Municipality of Prizren has in total of 311 employees, 13 political appointees and 298 civil servants, employed in positions across 11 At the political level, out of 13 employees in total, 11 (84.61%) of them are members of the majority community and 2 (15.39%) of them of minority communities. At the civil service, out of 298 employees overall, 244 (81.88%) of them are members of the majority community, whereas 54 (18.12%) of them belong to minority communities: 26 (8.72%) Bosniaks, 22 (7.38%) Turks, 5 (1.68%) Roma and 1 (0.34%) Gorani. The Municipality of Prizren has in place the translation unit that fulfills the needs of the municipal administration

Education as a challenge

The legislation applied in Kosovo provides for comprehensive and specific educational rights for non-majority communities (Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Communities and their Members in Kosovo, promulgated on June 15th, 2008). These include the right to receive public education at all levels in one from the official languages (Albanian and Serbian). In areas inhabited by communities whose mother tongue is not an official language, students belonging to these communities are entitled to receive pre-school, primary, and secondary public education in their mother tongue.

Where, due to an insufficient number of students or to other reasons, education in the chosen official or community language is not provided, alternatives should be guaranteed. The legal provisions further recognize the right of communities to set up private educational and training establishments and to generate educational modules on their culture, history and traditions.

Thus, Kosovo legislation recognizes the right for receiving public education at all levels in the chosen official language and the right for receiving pre-school, primary and secondary education in other languages of Kosovo’s traditional communities in those municipalities where these communities live. In practice, in Prizren municipality, Kosovo Bosniak and Kosovo Turk students have access to mother tongue education but there are no books in their languages for secondary and, in some cases even for primary education. The RAE communities have no access to community-specific educational subjects enabling the preservation of their identity. Quality and availability of curricula and textbooks for non majority communities depends on the non-majority community language, namely, Serbian, Bosnian and Turkish.

The Kosovo framework curriculum is divided into general subjects and community-specific ‘national’ subjects. These subjects are language, history, art and music. National subjects for Kosovo Turks and Kosovo Bosniaks are developed by experts from the respective communities. Curricula and textbooks for the general subjects are created by Kosovo Albanian experts and then translated into Turkish and Bosnian. In both cases, translation is often considered to be not of the best quality. The law on primary and secondary education obliges the Ministry of Education to ensure availability of free of charge textbooks for all grades (1-9) of compulsory education (Section 3.2 (b), Law on Primary and Secondary Education).

The Ministry, in co-operation with municipalities, is also responsible to provide students with adequate textbooks ‘in their mother tongues.’ Since 2008, the Ministry of Education has been providing free textbooks for primary school children. Poor economic conditions also make educational costs unaffordable for Ashkali students in this region, resulting in non-enrolment and drop-out from education. They often rely on donations of textbooks and other supports from the Ministry of Education, international organizations or private donors.

The lack of curriculum-based textbooks seriously affects the quality of mother tongue education in the Bosnian and Turkish languages. There are no (for upper secondary education, grades 10-13) or only few (for lower secondary education, grades 6-9) curriculum based books available in these languages. In 2008/9, Bosnian and Turkish language students have received incomplete sets of free of charge textbooks from grades 1-5 from the Ministry of Education. While the Ministry of Education invested 200,000 € in 2008/9, several from the books are not available in the Bosnian and Turkish languages. For instance, in Prizren as of October 2008, the following national subject books were not available: Bosnian Alphabet (grade 1), Bosnian Language Reader’s (grades 4-5), Bosnian Art (grades 3 and 5) and Bosnian Music (grades 3-5), Turkish Reader’s Textbook (grade 5). Turkish Music Textbooks are not available, and no Turkish Alphabet Textbook has been published in Kosovo. In addition, general-subject books were missing in Prizren: Mathematics (grade 3 and 5), Practical Work (grade 5), Nature (grade 5), and Civic Education (grade 5) in Turkish; and Mathematics (grades 1, 2 and 5), Nature and Civic Education (grade 5) in Bosnian language.

In the town of Prizren, Kosovo Turkish students have access to primary and secondary education in their mother tongue. Courses in Turkish language are available in Prizren (Faculty of Education) and Prishtina (Faculty of Philology). However, many textbooks are still not available, creating a disadvantage in relation to Kosovo Albanian students, in particular regarding the admission exams for secondary schools and for higher education. Students often use books imported from Turkey and, in some cases, handwritten notes delivered by teachers. Most teaching time is used for lecturing and dictation, which is often perceived as biased or inconsistent with the curricula and does not allow for interaction or questioning by students.

Regarding the teaching staff, based on the existing legislation, authorities have the obligation to ensure that the sufficient qualified personnel is available for training the candidates seeking to become teachers in the languages of the communities. The training should be conducted in the community languages and selected candidates should be either native speakers or qualified speakers of that language. Further, the Ministry of Education and municipalities should ensure that heads and teachers of public educational institutions, operating in community languages, are mainly representatives of such communities or are familiar with the identity of the relevant community.

In practice, there is insufficient representation of non-majority communities in school management positions. The education system provides to some extent the mother-tongue training for Turkish and Bosnian language teachers, but training in the specialized subjects is available only in Albanian. No specific training is provided for Romani language teachers in their language. There is a considerable number of under-qualified teachers in the Kosovo-curriculum system, while the number of Turkish and Bosnian language teachers is insufficient in some schools.

Access to higher education is necessary to enable the training of a sufficient number of qualified teachers from all communities. Applied legislation provides for equal access to university education, including the special measures to ensure the admission of candidates from all communities. In practice, however, in Kosovo there is a limited range of higher education opportunities in non-official languages. The Prishtina University offers some Bosnian and Turkish language courses on Turkish Philology (50seats), Bosnian and Turkish language for Teachers (35 seats each), Information Technology in Bosnian (35 seats) and Business Administration in Bosnian (80 seats).

In Prizren, Kosovo Bosniak, Ashkali and Egyptian teachers participate in trainings supported by the Ministry of Education. Training is usually conducted in Albanian (and in some cases in Bosnian). In the first case, interpretation is provided but several of those participating are dissatisfied with its quality. Training sessions for Kosovo Turk teachers are sponsored by the Ministry of Education and by the Turkish Government and offered in Albanian with simultaneous interpretation. Teachers stress that the training would have been substantially better if it were to be delivered directly in Turkish. Approximately 90 per cent of the Kosovo Turk teachers in Prizren have an adequate academic background and qualifications,

School management positions are mainly kept by representatives of the respective majority community. RAE communities are under-represented in teachers and not represented at all at the level of school management. The Kosovo Bosniak and Kosovo Turkish communities lack sufficient management representation within mixed language schools, In the town of Prizren, only one from the six primary schools providing education in Turkish, has a Deputy Director who is a Kosovo Turk. None of Prizren’s four secondary schools providing education in Turkish has a Kosovo Turk manager. On the other hand they do have school management positions where education is conducted in non-official languages. In the mono-ethnic Bosnian language schools of the Zhupa valley, teachers and principals belong to the Kosovo Bosniak community.

If education in the chosen official language or in the native community language is not available, Articles of the Law on the Use of Languages (Art. 19:4) and of the Law on the Rights of Communities (Art. 8:2), foresee that ‘Roving teachers are teachers that would travel and provide mother tongue education to small groups of students living in different locations. Offers for boarding would ensure that a child for which mother tongue education is not available in the municipality of origin can attend such education in another location with board and lodging expenses paid for by the Kosovo Government or by the Municipality of origin.’ In practice, where mother tongue education is not available, alternative solutions are mainly limited to transport arrangements.

In the absence of tangible central measures and guidance, active initiatives to ensure the educational integration of the vulnerable students from the RAE communities, such as the potential impact of educational scholarships being introduced for pupils of these communities, needs to be further assessed, particularly as it refers to the completion of primary and secondary education and access to tertiary education.

Following a 2004-2007 catch-up classes programme which targeted some 1,800 RAE children in nine municipalities of Kosovo, including Prizren, the need for sustained measures to ensure the educational integration of RAE pupils is recognized in a multi-year strategy of the Ministry of Education.

In Prizren, where Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian pupils, and particularly girls, are affected by high drop-out and low enrolment rates, mostly due to a poor economic condition, the municipality has organized public awareness campaigns encouraging parents to enroll their children into schools. Aiming at supporting educational integration through enhanced access to pre-school education, in November 2008, the Swiss Caritas and the Prizren Municipality have jointly established two pre-school education facilities where half of the staff belongs to the Roma community. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided scholarships to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian students attending secondary school and university To date, the UNDP Roma Regional Project funded 26 scholarships in Prizren (24 for secondary and 2 for university students)

Kosovo Turk students receive education in Turkish. The Turkish language curriculum includes community-specific ‘national’ subjects whose syllabus were drafted by Kosovo Turk experts. Twenty to thirty per cent of history books cover the history of the Kosovo Turk community, as well as of Turkey and its influence on the Balkans. While primary education curriculum-based textbooks are generally available, those used in secondary education are imported from Turkey, and do not contain reference to Kosovo and to the Kosovo Turkish community. Several respondents were dissatisfied with the insufficient representation of their community within the Kosovo curriculum and concerned over the representation in history books of Turks as occupiers[3].

Kosovo Bosniak respondents were dissatisfied as well with the insufficient representation of their community within the Kosovo curriculum. These students consistently confirm that they learn sufficiently about the Bosnian language and literature, but need to learn more about the history of Kosovo Bosniaks themselves. Bosnian language teachers need further support, in terms of textbooks and for the organization of educational and cultural activities that would enhance students’ motivation and help to transmit and preserve the community’s identity.

The Romani language and the history and culture of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities are not included in the Kosovo curriculum. Roma parents in Prizren are concerned that their children cannot speak or be taught in their language beyond the private sphere, and that they are consequently at risk of losing their historical and cultural heritage. Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian respondents request that these curricula be amended to include information or subjects regarding their culture, history and identity.

While in Prizren the Roma community has taken various initiatives aimed at developing educational modules on their culture, history and traditions, such as requesting additional classes in Romani, and proposing a curriculum for a subject on the Romani language, culture and history, the situation remains bleak.

According to articles of the Law on the Use of Languages (Art. 21.1), and of the Law on the Rights of Communities (Art. 8.10), as well as to the Administrative Instruction No. 10/2007 of the Ministry of Education, on Learning in the Elective Official Language, in primary and secondary schools or classes where the language of instruction is not an official language, pupils are obliged to study an official language of their choice. However, the Kosovo curricula in the Bosnian and Turkish languages do not envisage the second official elective language as a compulsory subject, but rather as one of the additional subjects that parents and students can choose. Kosovo Bosniak and Kosovo Turk parents consistently avail of this option and request that their children receive two additional classes per week in the Albanian language. Insufficient and inadequate Albanian language education results in poor learning of this language as well as lower opportunities for educational and employment integration, and thus puts non-Albanian mother tongue students at a disadvantage. As highlighted by Kosovo Bosniak and Kosovo Turk students in Prizren, while the Ministry of Education has developed a curriculum for the second elective Albanian language, school-books have not been printed and are not available. Instead, teachers and students are provided with textbooks for Albanian mother tongue learners that are too complex and are not used in practice.

The University of Prishtina has signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Sarajevo, to create a multi lingual education center in the town of Prizren. The signatories of this agreement say the project will enable local minorities in Prizren, be they Turks, or Bosniaks and Albanians, to study together. This could prove to be a real boon to the development and fostering of further cooperation.

Employment and business opportunities

Owners of businesses in Prizren complain that all documents are exclusively in Albanian. Forms for businesses registration and tax forms are only in Albanian. Only the form for the annual municipal tax is in Albanian, Serbian and Turkish languages. This document is designed by the Municipal Directorate for Economy and Finances of the Department for Public Revenues of the Prizren Municipality. The entire pro­cedure for the registration of businesses and tax rev­enues is in Albanian.

Public companies PTK and KEK do not issue bills or other documents in Turkish. They issue bills only in Serbian, English and Albanian languages. Public company bills for water and city maintenance, which provide their services to citizens of Prizren/Prizren, are only in Albanian. KEK, PTK and other public companies do not respect the orthographic and grammar rules of the Turkish language when billing individuals belonging to the Turkish community.

Turkish representatives believe that members of the Turkish community have absolute freedom of move­ment and that they have fully integrated into the Kosovar society. They also believe that Turks have full access to all Kosovo institutions and public companies. The primary reason for their successful integration into Kosovo society is that almost all Turks speak Albanian while a good number of Albanians speak Turkish. However, Turkish representatives are dissatisfied with the application of the Law on the Use of Languages in the Kosovo Parliament and in the municipalities where the Turkish language has been declared an official language (as is the case in Prizren/Prizren and Gjilan/Gnjilane).

Although Prizren/Prizren is a municipality where the municipal leadership is trying to apply all the provi­sions of the Law on the Use of Languages, this law is still not fully applied. The municipal sign is still not in Turkish. Municipal documentation has not been completely translated into Turkish. Turks usu­ally address civil servants in Albanian. Some Kosovo Parliament representatives addressed the municipal­ity in writing but received replies in Albanian. All Turkish representatives agree that it is hard to find good Turkish translators, which is why it is hard to expect all municipal documentation to be translated in a reasonable amount of time.

Roma representatives are primarily concerned with the preservation of Roma identity. The Law on the Use of Languages is not applied at all, in respect of the Roma population. The Roma language is not an official language in the municipality. Additionally, since there are no schools where Roma can attend classes in the Roma language, they have to go to schools, under the juris­diction of the Kosovo Government, where classes are in Albanian, or to schools, under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Government, where the classes are in Serbian. As a result, Roma are in danger of losing their cultural identity.

Roma use the Serbian or Albanian language when they speak with municipal civil servants. Documents issued by the municipal institutions are either in Albanian or in Serbian depending on the language in which Roma file a request.

They emphasize that there are no Roma individuals in high positions in the Kosovo Parliament and that there are no Roma citizens working for Kosovo’s banks, PTK or KEK.

Egyptians enjoy complete freedom of movement. Their mother tongue is Albanian which has enabled them to integrate into Kosovo society faster than oth­ers. They are satisfied with the services provided by municipal institutions, outpatient clinics and public companies in Kosovo. Nonetheless, Egyptian repre­sentatives believe that all the laws which are in the interest of minority communities are not implement­ed satisfactorily.

Unemployment is the single biggest problem that Egyptians face. The vast majority of them are unem­ployed. Egyptian representatives in the Kosovo Parliament claim that not a single Egyptian in Pejë/Peć works for KEK or PTK. Egyptians believe that other ethnic communities in Kosovo are in a privi­leged position compared to Egyptians.

Recommendations

  • The municipality should urgently launch a campaign whose task would be to inform the citizens of Prizren who belong to non-majority communities on their minority rights and on all the mechanisms available to them for protecting those rights. This campaign should also include the information of all the persons employed in public institutions on the responsibilities of institutions according to Laws pertaining to minorities.
  • The municipality should especially include minority representatives in the decision making process directly relating to respect for minority rights, such as freedom of movement, use of languages, education in their mother tongue and employment.
  • The municipality should improve the level of implementation of usage of languages in municipal administration and civil service.
  • The Municipality in cooperation with the central Government should aim additional efforts in order to improve the position of eth­nic communities in Kosovo minorities’ right to employment in publicly owned enterprises, to continue enforcing the law on usage of languages, and the right to education in minority languages.
  • The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) of Kosovo should develop a curriculum for edu­cation in the Serbian language, that is, for Serbian students and minorities that want to be educated in Serbian. The MEST should also look for the improvement of the educational opportunities for the RAE communities, particularly in the fields of their national subjects.
  • MEST Kosovo should provide high-school stu­dents from non-majority communities, which follow the Kosovo Government curriculum, with textbooks. The municipality in cooperation with MEST could also provide all textbooks in elementary schools as an additional incentive.
  • National Government and Municipal authorities should regulate representation of minorities in publicly owned enterprises to at least ensure compatibility to ethnic estimations. The percentage of minorities working for public companies should reflect the ethnic structure of the region where the public company operates.


[1] Prizren Municipal Community Office, October 2007.

[2] Raporti i funksionimit të Komunave të Republikës së Kosovës, Janar – Qershor 2009,. Ministria e Adminsitrimit të Pushtetit Lokal, Korrik 2009, f.73

[3] Following a complaint of the Kosovo Turk community and recommendations of the Republic of Turkey Liaison Office in Kosovo, in 2007 MESTintroduced curricular and textbook changes, enabling a more objective cultural and historical representation of this community.