ponedeljek, november 15, 2004

Serbs to become official minority?

According to a report in the daily Večer, the Serbian Ministry of the Diaspora has formally requested that Slovenia name its Serbian community as an official national minority [Večer / 25.09.04 / Srbi v Sloveniji bi bili manjšina]. Serbs represent one of the most numerous minority groups in the country but currently are accorded no special rights; the same goes for Croats and Bosniaks.

Italians and Hungarians – whose numbers are far below those of the Serbs – currently enjoy the widest minority rights in Slovenia, followed by the Roma. All three are named official national minorities in the Constitution. A German minority is also recognized, on the basis of a cultural agreement with Austria.

Just about a month later, the Coordinating Union of Cultural Societies of the Constituative Nations and Nationalities of the Former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia in the Republic of Slovenia issued a press release published in the weekly news magazine Mladina drawing attention to their program entitled "The Public Initiative of Albanians, Bosniacs, Croats, Macedonians and Serbs Living in the Republic of Slovenia."

The program, in English and Slovene, was presented to the Council of Europe’s European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance in Ljubljana on 14 October 2003. The document calls for former Yugoslav nations and nationalities represented by the Union to be declared national minorities in the Slovene constitution and for this status to be legally regulated to ensure its enforcement.

Though it was also presented to various Slovene officials including the Ombudsman for Human Rights, the Union claims they have received no response.

According to the press release, the Union has been operating for about one year, and is led by Dr. Ilija Dimitrievski. It represents nearly 60 cultural associations serving the Albanian, Bosniac, Croatian, Macedonian and Serbian communities in Slovenia [Mladina / 18.10.04 / Široki javnosti naše države – Republike Slovenije].