Rights of Communities and Their Members

Article 57 [General Principles]

1. Inhabitants belonging to the same national or ethnic, linguistic, or religious group traditionally present on the territory of the Republic of Kosovo (Communities) shall have specific rights as set forth in this Constitution in addition to the human rights and fundamental freedoms provided in chapter II of this Constitution.

2. Every member of a community shall have the right to freely choose to be treated or not to be treated as such and no discrimination shall result from this choice or from the exercise of the rights that are connected to that choice.

3. Members of Communities shall have the right to freely express, foster and develop their identity and community attributes.

4. The exercise of these rights shall carry with it duties and responsibilities to act in accordance with the law of the Republic of Kosovo and shall not violate the rights of others.

Article 58 [Responsibilities of the State]
1. The Republic of Kosovo ensures appropriate conditions enabling communities, and their members to preserve, protect and develop their identities. The Government shall particularly support cultural initiatives from communities and their members, including through financial assistance.

2. The Republic of Kosovo shall promote a spirit of tolerance, dialogue and support reconciliation among communities and respect the standards set forth in the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

3. The Republic of Kosovo shall take all necessary measures to protect persons who may be subject to threats or acts of discrimination, hostility or violence as a result of their national, ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity.

4. The Republic of Kosovo shall adopt adequate measures as may be necessary to promote, in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life, full and effective equality among members of communities.  Such measures shall not be considered to be an act of discrimination.

5. The Republic of Kosovo shall promote the preservation of the cultural and religious heritage of all communities as an integral part of the heritage of Kosovo. The Republic of Kosovo shall have a special duty to ensure an effective protection of the entirety of sites and monuments of cultural and religious significance to the communities.

6. The Republic of Kosovo shall take effective actions against all those undermining the enjoyment of the rights of members of Communities.  The Republic of Kosovo shall refrain from policies or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to Communities against their will, and shall protect these persons from any action aimed at such assimilation.

7. The Republic of Kosovo ensures, on a non-discriminatory basis, that all communities and their members may exercise their rights specified in this Constitution.

Article 59 [Rights of Communities and their Members]

Members of communities shall have the right, individually or in community, to:

(1) express, maintain and develop their culture and preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and culture;

(2) receive public education in one of the official languages of the Republic of Kosovo of their choice at all levels;

(3) receive pre-school, primary and secondary public education, in their own language to the extent prescribed by law, with the thresholds for establishing specific classes or schools for this purpose being lower than normally stipulated for educational institutions;

(4) establish and manage their own private educational and training establishments for which public financial assistance may be granted, in accordance with the law and international standards;

(5) use their language and alphabet freely in private and in public;

(6) Use their language and alphabet in their relations with the municipal authorities or local offices of central authorities in areas where they represent a sufficient share of the population in accordance with the law. The costs incurred by the use of an interpreter or a translator shall be borne by the competent authorities;

(7) use and display community symbols, in accordance with the law and international standards;

(8) have personal names registered in their original form and in the script of their language as well as revert to original names that have been changed by force;

(9) have local names, street names and other topographical indications which reflect and are sensitive to the multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic character of the area at issue;

(10) have guaranteed access to, and special representation in, public broadcast media as well as programming in their language, in accordance with the law and international standards;

(11) to create and use their own media, including to provide information in their language through, among others, daily newspapers and wire services and the use of a reserved number of frequencies for electronic media in accordance with the law and international standards. The Republic of Kosovo shall take all measures necessary to secure an international frequency plan to allow the Kosovo Serb Community access to a licensed Kosovo-wide independent Serbian language television channel; 

(12) enjoy unhindered contacts among themselves within the Republic of Kosovo and establish and maintain free and peaceful contacts with persons in any State, in particular those with whom they share an ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, or a common cultural heritage, in accordance with the law and international standards;

(13) enjoy unhindered contacts with, and participate without discrimination in the activities of local, regional and international non-governmental organizations;

(14) establish associations for culture, art, science and education as well as scholarly and other associations for the expression, fostering and development of their identity.

Article 60 [Consultative Council for Communities]

1. A Consultative Council for Communities acts under the authority of the President of the Republic of Kosovo in which all Communities shall be represented.

2. The Consultative Council for Communities shall be composed, among others, of representatives of associations of Communities.

3. The mandate of the Consultative Council for Communities shall:

(1) provide a mechanism for regular exchange between the Communities and the Government of Kosovo.

(2) afford to the Communities the opportunity to comment at an early stage on legislative or policy initiatives that may be prepared by the Government, to suggest such initiatives, and to seek to have their views incorporated in the relevant projects and programs.

(3) have any other responsibilities and functions as provided in accordance with law.

Article 61 [Representation in Public Institutions Employment]

Communities and their members shall be entitled to equitable representation in employment in public bodies and publicly owned enterprises at all levels, including in particular in the police service in areas inhabited by the respective Community, while respecting the rules concerning competence and integrity that govern public administration.

Article 62 [Representation in the Institutions of Local Government]

1. In municipalities where at least ten per cent (10%) of the residents belong to Communities not in the majority in those municipalities, a post of Vice President of the Municipal Assembly for Communities shall be reserved for a representative of these communities.

2. The position of Vice President shall be held by the non-majority candidate who received the most votes on the open list of candidates for election to the Municipal Assembly.

3. The Vice President for Communities shall promote inter-Community dialogue and serve as formal focal point for addressing non-majority Communities' concerns and interests in meetings of the Assembly and its work. The Vice President shall also be responsible for reviewing claims by Communities or their members that the acts or decisions of the Municipal Assembly violate their constitutionally guaranteed rights. The Vice President shall refer such matters to the Municipal Assembly for its reconsideration of the act or decision.

4. In the event the Municipal Assembly chooses not to reconsider its act or decision, or the Vice President deems the result, upon reconsideration, to still present a violation of a constitutionally guaranteed right, the Vice President may submit the matter directly to the Constitutional Court, which may decide whether or not to accept the matter for review.

5. In these municipalities, representation for non-majority Communities in the Republic of Kosovo in the municipal executive body is guaranteed.

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Photos from public debates