Since its establishment in 2001, ECMI Kosovo has conducted activities and developed in-depth expertise on a wide range of minority rights related issues. Currently, our work is focused on four main thematic areas:
1. Governance & accountability – Kosovo has developed a comprehensive legislative and institutional framework for the promotion and protection of the rights of minority communities. However, much remains to be done to ensure and enhance the effectiveness of this framework. Presently, government institutions lack adequate capacities and knowledge to fully implement the legislative framework, while civil society remains weak, often lacking the ability to effectively advocate for their communities’ rights. To address these deficiencies, ECMI Kosovo works closely with both institutions and civil society to establish an accountable and transparent system of governance, responsive to the needs of all minority communities in Kosovo. We have provided capacity building support to central and local level institutions, provide regular training opportunities to civil society and actively support minority communities in advocating for their rights.
2. Education – ECMI Kosovo strongly believes that an inclusive education system, respectful of diversity and human rights is a key requirement for the establishment of stable inter-ethnic relations in Kosovo. Therefore, ECMI Kosovo has developed a diverse portfolio of activities aimed at promoting the education rights of minority communities and has been particularly active in supporting the inclusion of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children in Kosovo’s education system.
3. Language Issues – Language forms an important part of human identity and is a central feature of Kosovo’s community rights protection framework. ECMI Kosovo has a long history in working on language issues in Kosovo. We have supported the development of a comprehensive legislative framework on language rights, through the development of the Law on the Use of Languages (2006), co-operate closely with the
Office of the Language Commissioner and have, since 2010, offered Serbian and Albanian language courses to municipal officials in Kosovo.
4. Economic empowerment – The creation of economic opportunities for minority communities is essential to ensuring their sustainable future in Kosovo. Unfortunately, many members of minority communities continue to face economic marginalization. In response to this problem, ECMI Kosovo has developed a programme to support the economic empowerment of minority communities in Kosovo. Our work in this field has included: support to municipal administrations in improving the business environment for minority communities; the provision of training and in-kind support to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian women to improve their socio-economic opportunities; and, the delivery of technical assistance in the creation and operation of business associations in Serb-majority municipalities.