The Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality held a sitting outside of the National Assembly seat on 15 November in Pancevo where it considered the exercise of the right to official use of national minority languages and scripts.
In addition to the Committee members the sitting was attended by the Mayor of Pancevo Sasa Pavlov, Head of the OSCE Mission Democratization Department John Clayton, Director of the Serbian Government’s Office for Human and Minority Rights Dr Suzana Paunovic, Assistant Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ivana Antic, Ombudsman’s Advisor Dragana Vujkov, Provincial Ombudsman Prof. Dr Zoran Pavlovic, representatives of national minority councils, representatives of the Assembly of AP Vojvodina and (the Provincial Government), relevant local self-government bodies, Inter-Ethnic Relations Council of the City of Pancevo, Ombudsman of the City of Pancevo and civil society organizations.
Committee Chairperson Jasmina Karanac said that the National Assembly had passed new legislation that contributes to the advancement of minority rights, most notably the Law on the Official Use of Languages and Scripts, Law on the Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities and the Law on National Councils of National Minorities.
The objective of the sitting is to review the implementation of the adopted laws, through the Parliament’s control role, in the presence of the bodies that prepare and implement them and those whose rights they intended to contribute to.
In view of its legislative and control role, it is essential for the National Assembly to provide a good legislative framework and applicable laws conducive to the establishment of an efficient integrative minority policy and maintenance of cultural and linguistic differences of all the national minorities living in the country. We have set ourselves this goal when we embarked on the path to the European Union, as evidenced by the ambitious Action Plan for the realization of national minority rights and our commitment to integrate international standards, primarily those stipulated by the Council of Europe, into the system.
The participants were addressed by the Mayor of Pancevo Sasa Pavlov who spoke about the exercise of national minority rights on the territory of the city, Head of the OSCE Mission Democratization Department John Clayton who spoke about the OSCE Mission’s minority rights-related activities and the Director of the Serbian Government’s Office for Human and Minority Rights Dr Suzana Paunovic who spoke about the international framework and recommendations Serbia had received.
Assistant Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ivana Antic spoke about the legislative framework concerning the exercise of the right to official use of national minority languages and scripts on the territory of certain local self-governments, while Ombudsman’s Advisor Dragana Vujkov presented the Ombudsman’s Special Report on the official use of Hungarian language and the Ombudsman’s Special Report script and on the official use of Albanian language and script.
The representatives of national minority councils shared their experiences regarding the exercise of the right to official use of national minority languages.
The Committee held the sitting outside of the National Assembly seat with the support of the OSCE Mission to Serbia.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairperson Jasmina Karanac and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Milanka Jevtovic Vukojicic, Olena Papuga, Vesna Ivkovic, Ljupka Mihajlovska, Olivera Ognjanovic and Violeta Lutovac Djurdjevic.