Communities

Communities are defined as national, ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious groups traditionally present in the Republic of Kosovo that are not in the majority. These groups are Serb, Turkish, Bosnian, Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian, Gorani and other communities.
The persons belonging to communities in the Republic of Kosovo are entitled to enjoy individually or jointly with others the fundamental human rights and freedoms established in international legal obligations building upon the Republic of Kosovo. These rights and freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution, other laws, regulations and other state policies.
Kosovo regards its national, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity as a source of strength and richness in the further development of a democratic society based on the rule of law. In the development of the Republic of Kosovo, the active contributions of all persons belonging to communities is encouraged and appreciated. The Republic of Kosovo guarantees full and effective equality for all people of Kosovo. The Republic of Kosovo promotes a spirit of peace, tolerance, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, and supports conciliation between communities. For the protection and promotion of the rights of communities and their members in the Republic of Kosovo, the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo ratified the Law on Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Communities and their Members in the Republic of Kosovo.
 
Members of the community in the majority in the Republic of Kosovo, who as a whole are not in the majority in a given municipality, are also entitled to enjoy the rights listed in this law. The authorities in the republic of Kosovo, including the courts, interpret this law in accordance with the guarantees of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rights of communities and their members established in the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo with applicable international human rights obligations including the provision of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. 
Communities and their members have the right to freely maintain, express, develop their culture and identity, and to preserve and enhance the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage. In addition to the specific rights enumerated in this law, fundamental human rights shall be exercised freely and equally, including freedom of thought, of expression, of the media, of association and assembly, of religious belief and practice, and the right to manifest in private or in public, individually or in community with the others, the cultural attributes of the respective community. 
The Republic of Kosovo shall create appropriate conditions that enable communities and their members to freely maintain, express and develop their identities.
 
According to this law, Albanian and Serbian languages and their alphabets are official languages of the Republic of Kosovo and have equal states in its institutions. The Turkish, Bosnian and Roma languages have the status of official languages at the municipal level or will be in official use in accordance with the Law on the Use of Languages. Persons belonging to communities have the right to use freely and without interference the language of their community in private and in public, orally and in writing. All persons belonging to communities have the right to receive public education at all levels, in one of the official languages of Kosovo of their choice. 
The Government of the Republic of Kosovo takes all necessary measures to ensure that persons belonging to communities shall have equal access to health care without discrimination. Communities and their members have the right to effective participation in political decision-making at all levels of government, including the decisions of special importance for them or for the areas in which they live.
 
This law provides the establishment of a Community Consultative Council under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Kosovo. This council will assist in the organization and the articulation of the views f communities and their members in relation to legislation, public policies and programs of special importance to them. In addition, this council shall provide a form for consultation and coordination amongst communities and shall ensure the effective functioning of the community representative organizations according to a code of conduct to be adopted by the Community Consultative Council; and shall provide a mechanism for regular exchange between communities and state institutions.
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