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Local Policies in Multiethnic Communities Case Study: Gjilan/Gnjilane

KIPRED

Short Description of the Municipality

The municipality of Gjilan is one from the 7 largest municipalities in Kosovo. Located some 47 km southeast of Prishtina, and encompassing an area of 515 km2.. This municipality is also the administrative center of the District of Gjilan.[1] Gjilan borders both, Macedonia and Serbia. Apart from the town, the municipality has 63 villages and it is divided in 54 cadastral zones.

According to the data of the Statistical Office of Kosovo of December 2002, the total population is estimated to be 133.724 (68.814 males and 64.910 females), out of which 116.246 are Kosovo Albanians and 17.478 belong to other communities. A total of 79.898 inhabitants reside in urban areas, while the rest is dispersed in rural areas. It has an average of 259 inhabitants per square kilometer. These figures are municipal estimates, since there no census was conducted ever since 1981. With regard to the population before 1981, the table below illustrates the changes in population during the decades after World War II. The average natal rate stands at around 3360 newborns each year with the number of deaths recorded at around 384 per year.

Year/Population

Albanians

%

Serbs

%

Roma

%

Others

%

Total

1953

24,797

50.87

19,196

39.32

 

 

 

 

48,748

1961

29,942

57.12

18,297

34.91

735

1.50

 

 

52,415

1971

43,754

64.45

20,237

29.81

1,824

2.69

 

 

67,893

1981

59,764

71.08

19,212

22.85

3,347

3.98

1,762

2.1

84,085

2002*

116,246

86.9

12.500

9.4

3.610

2.7

1368

1.02

133,724

Source: Yugoslav Population Censuses for data through 1981. 2002 data comes from Statistical Office of Kosovo

Seven Gjilan’s villages are inhabited exclusively by Kosovo Serbs. Kosovo Turks live in the town of Gjilan and in three villages. In the Municipality of Gjlian, apart of the urban are there are and five ethnically mixed villages.

In 1999, the Camp Monteith was established as a base for KFOR operations, in the immediate neighborhood of the city, on the site of a destroyed Serbian military base. In 2007, after U.S. Military downsized its troops, this camp was handed over to Kosovo Protection Corps. Gjilan has also served as the regional headquarters of the UNMIK International Police task force from 1999, and it is also a regional headquarters of EULEX since mid April 2009.

Municipal Legislation 

The Gjilan Municipal Assembly has adopted a number of legal acts that provided provisions for protection and promotion of community rights. These legal acts are: the Statute of the Municipality, the Municipal Decision         01 Nr.       1026, for the Approval of the Regulation on the Official Use of Languages in the Municipality of Gjilan, the Regulation for the Official Use of Languages in Gjilan, as well as the Municipal Decision Nr. 01.3991/0101, namely, the Announcement of Turkish into a Language in Official Use in the Municipality of Gjilan.

The Statute of the Municipality of Gjilan

The Statute of the Municipality of Gjilan provides a numerous provisions on the protection and promotion of the rights of minority communities.

Firstly, the Article 6.2 envisages that the Seals of the Gjilan Municipality have to be written in Albanian, Serbian and Turkish Language. The Article 9.2 confirms the commitment of the Municipality of Gjilan to the human rights and liberties of its citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, language, religion, gender, race, and political opinion. This continues with proclaiming the equality of the Gjilans citizens in obtaining the municipal services at all levels.

The section ‘Languages’ (Article 47) envisages the right of members of non-majority communities to communicate in their own languages with all the organs and with all the civil servants of the Municipality is defined. It specifies also that the meetings of the Municipal Assembly, of the municipal committees, of the municipal executive bodies, and all the public meetings should be held in two languages: Albanian and Serbian. If required, the acts and the minutes will be translated in the languages of the non-majority communities. The meetings can also be hold in Albanian only, if all the participants reach the agreement on this..

The Article 62.1 of the Statute determines the establishment of the Communities Committee as a permanent committee of the Municipal Assembly. This Committee is further defined in the Article 67. The members of the Communities Committee are elected by Municipal Assembly from among the members of the Municipal Assembly and the representatives of minority communities. This Committee has 7 members, and the representation of the minorities in the Communities Committee of the Municipality

Further on, the Article 71.1 and 2 determines that each community living in the municipality shall be represented by at least one representative in the Communities Committee, and that the representatives of the minority communities should make up the majority of this Committee. This Committee is responsible for analyzing the compliance of all the municipal authorities with the laws in power, as well as for analyzing all the municipal policies, practices and activities in order to ensure that all the interests of the communities are fully respected. This is done through recommendations

to Municipal Assembly on the measures that should be undertaken to ensure the implementation of provisions regarding the needs of the communities to express, defend and develop its own ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identities.

Article 72 defines the position of the Municipal Assembly Deputy Chairperson for Communities. This post is held by a candidate representing non-minority population who gets the majority of votes in elections for the Municipal Assembly. The Deputy Chairperson for Communities exercises its duties in accordance with the Law on Local Self Government.

The position of the Deputy Mayor for Communities is defined in the Article 84. The Deputy Mayor for Communities of the Gjilan Municipality is appointed for the same term as the Mayor. Upon the proposal by Mayor, the appointment and dismissal of the Deputy Mayor for Communities is approved by the majority of the members of the Municipal Assembly present and voting, as well as by majority of the Municipal Assembly members belonging to communities present and voting. When the post of the Deputy Mayor for Communities remains free, the Mayor proposes a new Deputy, no later than 30 days since the post has remained free. Deputy Mayor for Communities provides advices and guidance to Mayor on issues related to minority communities.

The Regulation on the Official Use of Languages

The regulation determines that the official languages in the Gjilan Municipality are Albanian and Serbian, and that all the communities have equal rights regarding the use of their languages in all the municipal institutions, enterprises and other organizations providing public municipal services. Regarding the use of languages, it should be stressed that with the Municipal Decision 01.3991/0101, Turkish language is announced to be a language in official use in the Municipality of Gjilan.

There have not been noticed discrepancies or contradictions noted between the municipal legislation of the Municipality of Gjilan and the legal framework at the national level.

Political Participation

Previously, this municipality was governed by the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), but, the November 2007 results brought changes in the political landscape of the Gjilan municipality but elections. The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won municipal assembly and mayoral elections.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Gjilan has been elected Mr. Qemajl Mustafa, whereas in the Municipal Assembly elections PDK got 34.26% of the votes, LDK 20.32%, LDD 15.03%, AKR 14.25%, AAK 9.21%, ORA 2.70% and PD 1.89%. In the Gjilan municipality, Kosovo Serbs adhered to the call for an election boycott of the Government of Serbia, and voted only in small numbers. The new municipal government established a formal coalition between PDK, AKR, and AAK.

In spite of the fact that Mayor Mustafa won the mayoral elections with a substantial margin, as a consequence of the dispersal of votes for the Assembly between several political parties, his main problem immediately after the elections was to stabilize the leading coalition that was created in the Assembly. Thus, for several months only four Directors of the Municipal Departments were appointed: Education and Culture (PDK); Health and Social Welfare (AAK); Finance, Economy and Development (PDK); and Urban Planning, Cadastre and Environmental Protection (AKR). In the subsequent months all the other departments had their directors appointed. Municipal administration is composed of eleven Directorates and the Local Community Office [2]

THE MUNICIPAL INSTITUTIONS ON COMMUNITIES

Due to the symbolic participation of the Serb community in the municipal elections of November 2007, the largest minority community in Gjilane does not have any directly elected representation in the Municipal Assembly. However, the Law on Local Self-Government (Article 54.2) envisages that if the non-majority communities, for whatever reason, do not have any advisor in the Municipal Assembly, then the Municipal Assembly  should elect as the Deputy Chairperson the non-majority community’s candidate who received the most votes on the open list of candidates for election to the Municipal Assembly. The Municipal Assembly of Gjilan has fulfilled this legal obligation by electing Mr. Srđan Jovanović as the Deputy Chair of the Municipal Assembly for Communities.

The Municipal Assembly of Gjilan has established the Committee on Communities on The Committee has seven members, while four members come from minority communities. The chair of the Committee is elected Mr. Kemal Sahin from Turkish Community. This committee is very active. In the first half of the year the committee has held six meetings[3].

However, the minority communities have remained unrepresented at the level of the municipal executive.  The authorities in Gjilan have not yet elected the Deputy Mayor for Communities, thus not fulfilling legal obligations that derive from national and municipal legislation. Also, in the Municipality of Gjilan communities are not represented at the leading positions at level of municipal directorates.

The municipality has a translation unit that fulfills the translating needs. Also, it provides transport for all communities. Also, in the first half of the year 2009 has not been recorded a single case of the violation of minority community rights[4].

The Municipality of Gjilan has a total number of 289 employees, where 3 of them are political appointees, and 286 are civil servants. At the political level, 2 appointees are Albanians, and 1 is Serb. At the civil service level, out of 286 employees overall, 246 (86.01%) are Albanians, whereas 40 (13.99%) are from the non-majority communities: 37 Serbs (12.84%), and 3 Turks (1.05%).  Regarding the level of the employment, at the management level, out from the total of 37 employees at this level, 33 (89.19%) are Albanians, and 4 ((10.81%) are Serbs. The structure at the administrative level is as follows: out of 249 in total, 213 (85.54%) are Albanians, and 36 (14.46%) are members of non-majority communities: 33 Serbs (13.25%), and 3 Turks (1.21%).

The Municipality of Gjilan has in place the translation unit that fulfills the needs of the municipal administration[5].

On the Decentralization in GJilan

The Municipality of Gjilan is one of the municipalities of Kosovo that will be mostly touched in its future territory, citizens and organization by the process of decentralization and creation of the new municipalities with Serbian community majority. Firstly, within the current territory of the Gjilan Municipality, is envisaged the creation of the Municipality of Partes. Secondly, an enlargement of the territory of the neighboring municipality of Novo Berdo, and secondly it is envisaged to happen at the expense of the territory of Gjilan.  These territorial changes might turn municipality of Gjilan into a municipality with less than 10% of population, which in the future may change also its legal framework for protection and advancing of community rights.

The town of Gjilan was in a state of anxiety over decentralization along ethnic lines, arguing that an enormous part of the municipality will secede which will make the municipality unviable. The local leadership of Albanian political parties in the region of Gjilan believes that decentralization will make the municipalities dysfunctional, both the new ones and the remaining one. The branches of all relevant political parties and organizations strongly opposed the Kosovo Negotiation Team (often referred to as the Team of Unity”) and accused them for instigating the partition of Kosovo. The Protest Council of the municipality, being against the proposal put forward by the Negotiating Team, called for the resignation of that Team.

The then head of PDK in Gjilan, now the Mayor, Qemajl Mustafa stressed that “the proposal for decentralization will wall Gjilan, with a population of around 130,000 into 400 km2, while the municipalities, with around 12,000 dwellers, will get 230 km2 of land. “Decentralization will remove from Gjilan a very large piece of its territory, it will take away its arable land and water resources and the town will be left with nothing; in addition to such decentralization plans, the main communication roads will be shut down”. Activists against decentralization in this municipality argue that “if the decentralization of this kind is the price for the independence of Kosovo then its cost is too high”. The initiative culminated in over 30,000 signatures collected of citizens who strongly demand to stop decentralization among ethnic lines.

One of the main issues, when decentralization process in concerned, is that Serbian villages in Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality are mutually non-connected and very distant from one another, sometimes even 20km away, in comparison to villages in Gračanica and in municipality of Viti/Vitina, which are very compact. Therefore, the decentralization process in region of Gjilan/Gnjilane is being conducted under slightly complicated methods. Namely, majority of Serbian villages, currently under jurisdiction of Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality, will be attached to Artana/Novo Brdo municipality, number of villages from Kamenice/Kamenica municipality will also be attached to Artana/Novo Brdo municipality, and a newly formed municipality of Parteš (Serbian village, currently under jurisdiction of Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality)

The Municipality of Partesh/Parteš is proposed to be comprised of three small cadastral zones with an exclusively Kosovo Serb population transferred to its control from Gjilan/Gnjilane Municipality. It will be formed from three cadastral zones transferred from the administrative Municipality of Gjilan/Gnjilane, which comprised around 5.48% of the municipal area before the process of decentralization. The total area of the new Municipality of Partesh/Parteš is 28,66 square km.

It is a purely non-industrial municipality with focus on agriculture due to it’s territorial characteristics. It has been argued by Gjilan/Gnjilane Municipality that infrastructure in the Proposed Municipality of Partesh/Parteš is undeveloped due to antagonism between the rural and urban areas of the mother municipality. In Parteš, there will be approximately between 4 and 5 thousand of inhabitants, since an approximation of the populations made in June 2007 yielded 5,217 inhabitants living in the municipality of Partesh/Parteš The population in the Municipality of Partesh/Parteš is exclusively Kosovo Serb with no other minority groups reported. Serbian villages, currently under jurisdiction of Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality, which will be attached to Artana/Novo Brdo municipality, are: Gornje Kusce, Straža, Stanišor, Koretište, Gornji and Donji Makreš, Draganac, Mozgovo, Paralovo and Melci (a local estimate by residents is that approximately 6, 000 Serbs are living in these villages).

What represents a major problem is that approximately 6,000 Serbs will remain living outside new municipality of Parteš and outside expanded municipality of Artana/Novo Brdo. Following villages in Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality are not included in decentralization process: Šilovo, Poneš, Gornji Livoč, Kmetovce and Cernica. In fact, the greatest problem is village Šilovo, located a mere couple of kilometers from the center of city of Gjilan, considered a center of political and any other type of gathering of Serbian community, and it is one of the biggest Serbian villages in Gjilan region. People of Šilovo have, from the very beginning, considered that it is best to have center of a new municipality in their village, and not in Parteš, and they refused any kind of agreement on the subject of attachment to municipality of Parteš; although, village Šilovo was, in the beginning, not included in decentralization, the possibility to remedy this was present, but due to internal squabbling it was not reached. The main argument was Šilovo’s opposition to be attached to the municipality whose center is not in their village.

Anyway, decentralization process in Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality has commenced, and advertisements for preparatory teams have been published, and those teams are expected to commence their work next month. Little has been done with regard on the Municipal Organization, as a municipality is not yet organized. The mother municipality maintains a small office and some education and health facilities.

Economic Development and Employment

Similarly to other municipalities of Kosovo, Gjilan’s economy was predominantly focused, and has been developed, around the small and medium enterprises. This is a considerable change when compared with early 80’s, when the industry was quite developed, and focused in specific sectors, for which the traditional knowledge, as well as the geographic position of the municipality, provided the niche of the goods produced.

Sectors such as: textiles, tobacco, batteries, radiators, etc., were the backbone of the economic development of the municipality.

The deteriorating situation during the decade before the end of the War of 1999, made the re-activation of these potentials quite difficult. It can be said that, with the privatization of the factory, the tobacco industry is, up to a certain extent back on track, in spite of the fact that according to the municipal officials, there are still some difficulties remaining, pertaining to the supply of raw materials, which were previously gathered mainly from the farmers in Gjilan. Other sectors are also having a slight improvement, and they are reported to be successful in supplying their goods not only to Kosovan market, but to the regional one as well.

Healthcare

Regarding healthcare, Gjilan has 33 Ambulances and 2 Centers of Family Medicine, one of which is the main one. At the same time in Gjilan is located the Regional Hospital that caters to the needs of this region.

These institutions are directed by the municipality, and they employ 318 workers at different levels. The Director of the Directorate for Health in the municipality has a medical background, and is lobbying for the improvement in both, the working conditions, and in the number of the staff employed, which, as she insists, is low and inadequate for the size of the population it covers. The municipal budget for healthcare for 2009 is 1,304,686 €.

All the Serbian villages in the municipality of Gjilan have elementary ambulances. Aside from that, in the village Šilovo there is a Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, while the Surgical Ambulance is in the village Koretište.

Education

Gjilan has 20 schools which operate with the curricula based on the laws of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kosovo, and another 13, operated via the Serbian parallel municipality. From the former 20 schools, 14 are primary, and the other 6 are high schools.

In the municipality, there are 1971 workers employed in this sector. With the new legal framework for education in place, the municipalities have more competencies than earlier, and, consequently, they can be more involved. There are several issues faced by this sector, in both, the infrastructural, and the human resource aspects. The school space is insufficient, and in spite of the fact that there were plenty of efforts made for alleviating this situation, the budgetary constraints have brought about considerable limitations. The Municipality plans to build seven additional schools, and, according to the Director of the Education Directorate, this will alleviate the situation. However, given the immense demographic changes, it remains to be seen if this will resolve the difficulties. The existing facilities require continuous investments, which, the municipality quite often is not able to provide. The municipal budget for education for 2009 is 7,563,930 €.

Regarding the education, the Serbian villages are in a solid position. Only in Partesh/Parteš there are four primary schools, two secondary schools and two high schools, with the total number of students above 1,150. The educational process in the Serbian villages is conducted with the curricula of the Republic of Serbia. All Serbian villages in the municipality of Gjilan have elementary schools. The secondary schools are located in the villages Kusce, Šilovo and Koretište.

Non Majority Communities in Gjilan

The Serbs

Before 1999, most of the Serbs of Gjilan used to live in the city. However, a large number of them has left. Majority of the Serbs decided to leave the city shortly after the War of 1999, as a consequence of general insecurity. The total number of Serbs who were assasinated and abducted in the municipality of Gjilan after 1999, is approximately 150.

During the turmoil of March 2004, the majority of the Serbs remaining (several hundred residents), became target of attacks, and in these events many houses and apartments were burnt and destroyed, which resulted in a second wave of mass departure of Serbs from the city. Some from the Serbs who left the city in 2004, are nowadays living in the village of Šilovo as displaced persons. Since 1999 the majority of the apartments and houses owned by the Serbs in Gjilan, has been sold.

The vast majority of Serbs continued to live in the surrounding villages. This demographic shift is not only a shift from the city to the villages, but also from the region, although this occurs in a large measure because of economic reasons. For instance, during the last two years, approximately 500 people have moved to Scandinavian countries (mostly to Norway).

A large number of Serbs works in agriculture. Land is very fertile, but the profit that can be made out of it is small. There are issues pertaining to the perceptions of security that also influence working on the meadows distant from the Serbian villages. Aside from that, after something is produced, it is quite difficult to sell it, because there is no market for these agricultural products (the goods produced in agriculture are hardly being sold in Kosovo, while the Serbian state requires the villagers to pay the customs for selling their products in Serbia).

Besides engaging in agriculture, the Serbs receive assistance from the budget of Serbia, while approximately 350 of them receive their salary from the Kosovo budget. It is difficult to say how many users receive assistance from the budget of the Republic of Serbia. These are mainly the Serbs who work in educational and health institutions, former employees of the social and the state owned enterprises, who are nowadays receiving minimal wage, as well as users of child and social welfare. In addition, there are, as mentioned earlier, 41 Serbs who work in the Municipality of Gjilan, as well as about 50 who are employed in the Serbian parallel institutions, both, municipal, and regional.

The Turks

The number of Turks who live in the municipality of Gjilan is approximately 1,000. This ethnic com­munity is completely integrated in society. The Turks have always had full freedom of movement. They freely access all Kosovo institutions and public com­panies. In the same manner as the municipality, the public company write in their bills the Turkish names, albeit, using Albanian orthography and grammar. This was an issue since the registration of 2001, when the OSCE was informed about the incorrect writing of the Turkish names. After the response of OSCE, the errors were fixed. The civil servants, however, still make the same mistakes. Their justification is that the problem is of technical nature, and that they can not do anything about it. This is quite alarming, given that according to Turkish citizens, during the last parliamentary and local elections, in the town there was not even a single piece of information written in Turkish. There were no ballots, nor voting instruc­tions, written in Turkish. In the town itself, it is impossible to see any advertisement, information, or invitation in the Turkish language.

When in need, the members of the Turkish community in Gjilan visit health institutions under the jurisdiction of the Kosovo Government, where they communicate with doctors in Albanian, because they can speak Albanian, while most from the doctors can not speak Turkish. In these institutions, there is no information in Turkish. The Turks in Gjilan/Gnjilane also use some local media that broadcast programmes in Turkish. Since members of the Turkish community know Albanian, they also use the media in Albanian. Less than 10 members of the Turkish community work in the Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality, and a small number of them works for in the public companies.

The Roma

There are several dozens of Roma living in the Avdulah Preševa/Abdullah Presheva neighborhood of Gjilan/Gnjilane. All the Roma families had left after June 1999, but they started to return in 2002. All the Gjilan’s Roma speak Serbian, and most of them speak Albanian. The Roma citizens have full freedom of movement throughout Kosovo and they broadly use public transportation. They have no complaints about the work of the Kosovo Police Service. Due to the increased number of thefts in the Avdulah Preševa/Avdullah Presheva neighborhood, the KPS has organized several patrols at the request of the Roma community.

The Roma use to visit freely the municipal institutions and the court, but they cannot use their mother tongue in communication with civil servants, because they do not speak Roma. There are no translators for the Roma language. None of the information on the notice boards in the municipality of Gjilan/Gnjilane is in Roma. All the information is exclusively in Albanian and/or in Serbian. Thus, in their communication with civil servants, the Roma uses either Serbian or Albanian lan­guage, and the responses they get are in the language in which they have started to use.

Most Roma from Gjilan/Gnjilane go to Serbian schools where Serbian is the language of instruction. None of the classes in any of the schools are taught in the Roma language.

Roma use in equal measure the services provided by the health institu­tions under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Government and the Kosovo Government. Doctors are kind to Roma citizens in all the health institutions they use to visit. However, due to financial constraints, Roma usually go to Serbian health clinics, because they do not have to pay any fees for medical examinations there. Sometimes, even civil servants who work for the out­patient clinic in Gjilan/Gnjilane do not charge addi­tional fees to Roma who receive social welfare.

The Roma can obtain information about municipal activi­ties or job vacancies from notice boards in the munic­ipal building. Most Roma citizens are unemployed and receive social welfare assistance ranging from 35 to 65 €. Roma representatives are primarily concerned with the preservation of Roma identity. According to them, the Law on the Use of Languages is not applied at all in the case of the Roma population, since Roma language is not an official language in any from the municipalities. In addition, 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 held in Albanian, or to schools under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Government, where the classes are in Serbian. Consequently, Roma are feel the danger of losing their cultural identity.

 

The Use of Languages in Gjilan

The Use of Languages in the Municipality

Regarding the two main languages (Albanian and Serbian), in Gjilan there is a tendency to apply the Law on the Use of Languages in its entirety. It should be stressed that, on May 14th, 2007, the Municipal Assembly of Gjilan/Gnjilane took the decision that the Turkish language is an official language of the municipality; alongside with Albanian and Serbian. This decision seems to be only a formal one, since there were no additional measures undertaken to implement it in practice. The municipal administration does not have an official translator for Turkish lan­guage, and the explanation given is that the municipality does not sufficient fund­ing to hire one. At the same time, the institutions at the central level forward their documents written exclusively in Albanian, which makes the translators’ work even more difficult.

Municipal public documents, deci­sions, conclusions, internal rulebooks and regula­tions, and resolutions, are written in Albanian and Serbian languages. Civil Servants do not speak Turkish, hence, the Turks communicate with them in Albanian.

The Statute is in Albanian, Serbian, and English. However, most of the information posted on the bulletin board is in Albanian only. The Municipal Registrars Office issues documents to citizens in Albanian, Serbian, and English, according to the form, which is the same in all municipal administrations in Kosovo. This office issues documents in Turkish only upon request. Documents issued to citizens in the Turkish language are not in accordance with the Turkish gram­mar and orthographic rules. There are certain irregularities regarding the correct spelling of Turkish names in personal identification documents, which, if they are not identical to docu­ments in which the names were spelled correctly, need to be changed. The process of changing documents costs 20 €, therefore, the citizens bear these expenses even though it is not their fault

Generally, the Registrar Office issues documents in the language in which clients submit their requests. Simultaneous interpretation equipment has been installed. During the Municipal Assembly sessions, interpretation into Serbian is provided.

All public and internal documentation such as the collegium of directors’ decisions, resolu­tions and conclusions, administrative guidelines, rule­books and regulations are prepared and published in Serbian and Albanian. Certain documents, such as the different strategies for development, are also published in English. Signs placed at the entrance of the municipal building, names of municipal services and employees, information, clas­sified ads inside the municipal building, are written in Albanian and Serbian. The number of translators is insufficient. Translation services have a large volume of material that needs to be translated. Municipal officers do not have all nec­essary working conditions and because of this clients do not receive requested documents on time.

Names of streets and suburbs are written in Serbian and Albanian (although in several cases the Serb writing was over painted with spray), but not in Turkish which is also one of the municipality’s official languages. The municipal stamp is in Albanian, Serbian and Turkish, while the logo is presented with naming in the above mentioned languages, with the English added. A municipal website has been recently re-built and as far as the information contained, it is exemplary. Unfortunately due to fact that the public relations office seems understaffed and with a vast portfolio, while it does not have a person specially tasked with only the web-updating, the translation of the web-site in English and Serbian is taking more time and remains under construction. There is no web-section in Turkish.

The Use of Languages in the Publicly Owned Enterprises

Following a similar methodology to the previous research, a series of interviews were conducted with public relations officers in the public companies operating in Gjilan. The objective of the interviews was to assess the extent to which public companies hire members of minority communities, and to ascertain the number of minority employees, their opportunity to use mother tongue in the workplace and to ascertain the relationship between the public companies and the end-users of their services (i.e. in what languages are the bills, contracts and other information issued).

The main characteristic of all national public companies in Kosovo is their centralized structure. The administrations of these companies are located in Prishtinë/Priština. All documentation (e.g. employment contracts) are prepared in Headquarters. Employment procedures and all the decisions relating to the hiring of new employees are made in the head offices of the companies’ headquarters, regardless of where the future employees will work, i.e. in the head office, or in the companies’ regional centres.

The plates with the company names placed on the entrances to the Gjilan’s PTK regional centers (Post-Telecom of Kosovo) are written in Serbian, Albanian and English languages. The employment contracts for Serb employees are written in the Serbian language. The employment contracts for Bosniaks and Turks are written in Albanian. Simultaneous translation is provided at meetings attended by Serbs. Documentation issued to customers, bills, debt contracts and requests for new phone lines, are issued in Serbian and Albanian languages. The Work Rules and Procedures Book are also written in the two aforementioned languages. The internal documentation, information on the bulletin boards in PTK buildings, names of employees and the names of departments are, however, all written in the Albanian language. The regional PTK centre in Gjilan/Gnjilane covers the municipalities of Gjilan/Gnjilane, Kamenicë/Kamenica, and Viti/Vitina.

PTK announces job vacancies in daily newspapers in Albanian and Serbian languages. The PTK website is in Albanian, English and Serbian languages. It is updated in all three languages. The communication among colleagues is conducted freely in all languages. PTK employees provide answers for service consumers in the language in which they are addressed.

The plates with the company names placed on the entrances to the Gjilan’s KEK regional centers (Kosovo’s Energy Corporation) are written in Serbian, Albanian and English languages. The employment contracts for Serb employees are written in the Serbian language. The employment contracts for Bosniaks and Turks are written in Albanian. The regional KEK center for the municipalities of Gjilan/Gnjilane, Kamenicë/Kamenica and Viti/Vitina is located in Gjilan/Gnjilane.

KEK announces job vacancies in daily newspapers in Albanian and Serbian languages. The KEK website is in Albanian, English and Serbian languages. It is updated in all three languages. The communication among colleagues is conducted freely in all languages. KEK employees provide answers for service consumers in the language in which they are addressed.

SHUKOS is an association of regional companies responsible for water supply and sewage in Kosovo. The company was founded by UNMIK Decree No. 1999/22:25. The following companies are part of SHUKOS: Prishtinë/Priština Water Supply, Mitrovicë/Mitrovica Water Supply, Hidrodrini – Peja/Peć, Hidrosistem – Radoniq/Radonić, Južni hidroregion – Prizren/Prizren, Bifurkacioni - Ferizaj/Uroševac, and Hidromorava from Gjilan/Gnjilane. SHUKOS unites its member companies, promotes their joint interests and provides member companies with advice relating to their work. The water supply and sewage company issue employment contracts to employees in Albanian and Serbian. The head office of Hidromorava water supply company is in Gjilan/Gnjilane.

The company is responsible for the water supply and sewage systems in the municipalities of Kamenicë/Kamenica, Viti/Vitina, and Gjilan/Gnjilane. Employment contracts and all other documents issued to employees from the Serb community are in Serbian. Verbal communication with them is also conducted in Serbian. Employees from the Turkish community continue to receive their employment contracts and other documents in Albanian since they have not made a request to receive them in their mother tongue.  

Recommendations

  • Municipal authorities of Gjilan should fulfill legal obligations that derive from the national and municipal legislation in the case of the nonelection of the Deputy Mayor for Communities
  • The municipality should urgently address the issue of the implementation of the usage of Turkish language in the municipal administration and civil service. The technical difficulties faced in writing Turkish names based on the rules of Turkish language should be identified and solved. Additional funds should be found for employing a number of translators required for the appropriate application of the Law on the Use of Languages.
  • The municipality should urgently increase its activities regarding public meetings  regarding the issues concerning the minorities. The minority members should be informed on all the instruments available for protection of their rights.
  • The municipality should involve minority representatives in the process of the decision-making for the well-being of all the citizens. The municipality should especially include minority representatives at the level of executive 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.
  • In cooperation with the central government, the municipality should aim additional efforts in order to improve the position of eth­nic communities in Kosovo minorities’ right to employment in publicly owned enterprises.
  • Regarding education, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Kosovo Government (MEST), should develop, for the needs of the Serbian students, curricula for edu­cation in the Serbian language, that is, for Serbian students and minorities that want to be educated in Serbian. The MEST pf Kosovo is also obliged to provide the textbooks to high-school stu­dents from minority communities which follow the Kosovo Government curricula. As an additional incentive, in cooperation with MEST, the municipality could also provide all the textbooks in elementary schools.
  • Regarding the difficulties that Roma community is facing in education, MEST should also adopt, as an additional incentive for all the children of Roma community who follow the schools of the educational system of Kosovo, the syllabi for additional courses that will be organized for them, and which will treat the issues pertaining to Roma culture and heritage: Roma language, culture, history, etc. For that matter, a similar policy should be adopted also for Ashkali and Egyptian communities. These syllabi should be prepared in cooperation with the members of the respective communities.
  • Government of Kosovo, Municipal Government of Gjilan and International Community Office should back politically  the decentralization and creation of the municipality of Partes and encouraging participation of minority communities in the next municipal elections scheduled on November 15th, 2009

[1] The district contains the municipalities of Gjilan, Kamenica, and Vitia. UNMIK introduced a change to the post 1990 districts in 2000 by renamed the Kosovo-Pomoravlje District as the District of Gnjilane (as it was before 1989), and it transferred the municipality of Novo Brdo to the District of Pristina.

[2] Administration and personnel; Finances, Economy and Development; Health and social welfare; Education; Youth, culture and sport; Urban planning and environment; Cadastre, geodesy, property and residence; Inspectoriat; Forestry and agroculture; Emergencies and relief; Public services.

[3] Raporti i funksionimit të Komunave të Republikës së Kosovës, Janar – Qershor 2009,. Ministria e Adminsitrimit të Pushtetit Lokal, Korrik 2009, f.32

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid, f.33