State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Serbia
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Publication Date||4 March 2007|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Serbia, 4 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48a9713585.html [accessed 25 April 2014]|
The UN proposals on Kosovo's future were badly received in Belgrade. Serbia's president stated flatly that his country would never accept the independence of Kosovo – many Serbs see the province as the cradle of their culture, with many important religious and cultural sites. Overall, the rise of virulent Serbian nationalism continued, with the January 2007 elections, seeing the nationalist Serbian Radical Party taking almost thirty per cent of the vote. The Radicals – which ran a campaign opposing EU membership and for a Greater Serbia – now form the biggest bloc in the Serbian parliament.
In the Vojvodina, which has a Serbian majority but which is an ethnic mosaic including a substantial Hungarian minority, reports of intimidation of Hungarian, Slovak and other minority communities continued in 2006, although there was a decrease in the number of incidents. The situation in Sandzak also remained tense between the majority Serb and the minority Bosniac communities. In April 2006, the Serbian government dissolved the municipal administration in Novi Pazar, heightening political tensions, which came to a head in September 2006 when a Bosniac candidate was killed during local elections. In October 2006 a referendum (criticized as being neither free nor fair) approved a new Constitution for Serbia, which curtailed human and minority rights, specifically in Articles 10, 20 and 114. Article 10 stipulated that the Serbian language and the Cyrillic script be used for official communications, while the use of 'other languages and scripts shall be regulated by law based on the Constitution', effectively banning them for official use until such laws are passed. The wording of Article 20 allows the government to curtail human and minority rights for unspecified reasons, while Article 114 requires the President 'to preserve the sovereignty and integrity of the territory of the Republic of Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohija as its constituent part', thus making any recognition of independence for Kosovo constitutionally impossible.