Minority Rights in the Western Balkans

09-07-2008

Executive summary Minority rights have received increasing attention in recent decades, and are the subject of various international treaties and frameworks. Given the demographic complexity of the region and its recent turbulent history of ethnic relations, minority protection is of particular importance in the Western Balkans, a region which comprises Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, FYRoMacedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. There is no consensus on the definition and characteristics of a ‘minority’, and this issue is often politically contested. Most commonly, a minority is considered a non-dominant group with an identity distinct from that of the majority population in a country. ‘Minority rights’ refer to group-specific rights, in addition to general human rights and civil and political liberties, that any individual member of the minority can choose to enjoy. ‘Minority protection’ refers to the overall institutional and policy framework in which these minority rights are embedded. Importantly, minority protection will only be effective when both majority and minority groups have incentives to adhere to the established institutions and rights. [...]

Executive summary Minority rights have received increasing attention in recent decades, and are the subject of various international treaties and frameworks. Given the demographic complexity of the region and its recent turbulent history of ethnic relations, minority protection is of particular importance in the Western Balkans, a region which comprises Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, FYRoMacedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. There is no consensus on the definition and characteristics of a ‘minority’, and this issue is often politically contested. Most commonly, a minority is considered a non-dominant group with an identity distinct from that of the majority population in a country. ‘Minority rights’ refer to group-specific rights, in addition to general human rights and civil and political liberties, that any individual member of the minority can choose to enjoy. ‘Minority protection’ refers to the overall institutional and policy framework in which these minority rights are embedded. Importantly, minority protection will only be effective when both majority and minority groups have incentives to adhere to the established institutions and rights. [...]

Údar seachtarach

Stefan Wolff, Ana-Maria Anghelea and Ivana Djuric (Centre for International Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution, University of Nottingham) ; Pieter van Houten (Department of Politics, University of Cambridge)