Letter of the Serbian association” Jedinstvo” to the Ministry of Education


We publish the letter of the Association Jedinstvo to the Ministry of Education regarding the banning of Serbian language courses in Fier.

To: Mr. Lindita NIKOLA
Minister of Education and Sports of the Republic of Albania
In acknowledge of: Mr. Edi Rama
Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania
Mrs.. Constantina BEZHANI
Chairwoman of the State Committee for Minorities
Mr. Igli Totozani
People’s Ombudsman
Mrs. Irma Baraku
Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination
Mr. Ditmir BUSHATI
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania
Mr. Ettore SEQUI
Head of European Union Delegation in Tirana
Mr. Marco Leidekker
Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tirana
Mr. Florian Raunig
Ambassador and Head of the OSCE Presence in Tirana
Mr. Alexander Arvizu
Ambassador of the United States of America in Tirana
Mr. Miroljub Zaric
Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in Tirana

Dear Mrs. Nikolla
The association of Serbian minority in Albania “Jedinstvo” is created by decision no. 3302, date. 16.04.2012 of the Tirana District Court to protect ethnic, cultural and religious identity of the Serb minority in Albania. Among the activities of the Association included in section 1 of this decision is to “preserve through language education in the Serbian language and the use of this language in Albania”. Also in paragraph 5 of the Statute of the Association, which foresees activities of the Association is noted that “organization organizes courses in the native language of the Serb minority in Albania”.
The Association considers that your letter nr.370 / 2 dt. 02/18/2014 aiming the banning of the Serbian language learning courses organized by the Association, is arbitrary and contrary to the above decision and constitutional provisions, laws and bylaws in force regulating this field.
1. More specifically, your letter is in complete contradiction with Article 20, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, which stipulates that “Persons of national minorities have the right to freely express, without prohibition or compulsion, their ethnic cultural, religious and linguistic identity. They have the right to preserve and develop them, to learn and be taught in their mother tongue, as well as to gather in organizations and associations to protect their interests and their identity. ”
2. Moreover, this letter is in contradiction with the principle enshrined in Article 14, paragraph 1 of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe “On the Protection of National Minorities” which emphasizes the right of every person belonging to a national minority to learn the language of his minority.
3. At the resolution of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE CM / Res (2014) 1 from 12. February. 2014 is noted among other things that “opportunities for minority language teaching and education in these languages remain insufficient. A number of request for the organizations for teaching in minority languages are not recieved positively by the authorities. There are no open classes offering learning of Serbian, Montenegrin, Vlach / Aromanian and Roma languages …). On the other hand, this committee recommends “developing a constructive dialogue with representatives of persons belonging to national minorities on the teaching conditions of minority languages and education in these languages throughout the country, at the early school age, and take appropriate steps to address deficiencies, in accordance with Article 14 of the Framework Convention “and” identify measures that will enable the undertaking of initiatives aimed at the protection, preservation and development of cultural and linguistic identity of minorities ”
4. The form of the learning courses in the Serbian language does not comply with any of the forms of non-public and complementary educational institutions defined in Article 2, paragraph 5 and 6 of Law no. 69/2012, from 21.06.2012 “On Secondary Education in the Republic of Albania”, therefore cannot be applicable to the present case neither the implementing provisions of this law.
5. Law no. 8788, from 07.05.2001 “On nonprofit organizations”, amended, Article 34, paragraph 3 sets out the need “the expression of the judge for the obligation of nonprofit organization to request or obtain permission or license from the relevant activities which is subject to permit or licensing. ” In the decision of the Tirana district court for registration of Association “Jedinstvo” and its statute, is not implied any obligation to obtain a license to organize courses, according to section 5 of the Statute of the Association.
6. Serb Association of Albania “Jedinstvo” has made constant demands for the introduction of the Serbian language learning in school “Kozma Ndreçko” in Libofshë as elective school subject. Despite granted approval for the introduction of Serbian classes by the Ministry of Education, through it’s letter no 1858 dated. 04/18/2013, learning of the Serbian language as an alternative subject is not made possible by the Regional Educational Directorate of Fier .
7. The letter above, shows that the institution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the initiator of verification of the legal conformity of the Serbian language courses in villages in Ret Libofshë and Hamil, in violation of territorial and subject-matter competency of the institution concerned.
Learning of Serbian language (and not in the Serbian language as stated in your letter) is organized by members of the minority, free and without financial prodit, with donations and volunteering in the absence of the will of the state to enable the preservation and teaching of language Serbian minority children. We conclude that the right of minority children to learn our native language,is not being exercised due to legal gaps (the implementation of the existing legislation on university education relies on outdated bylaws), lack of political will to introduce language Serbian as subject in schools, but even when administrative acts require that the spontaneous functioning of learning forms of minority languages basics such as Serbian language courses in villages Ret Libofshë and Hamil, stumble under the pretext of licensing or registration.
Our association believes that attempts toformally condition the courses is inconsistent with existing ambitions of Albania towards European integration, especially at this moment when the imperative for obtaining candidate status is the respect of human and minority rights. In this context, we note that although with our own recourses we have guaranteed a minimum base of Serbian language teaching for our children, a vigorous state intervention is required to ensure the introduction of language learning and other elements of national identity in our village schools without being conditioned by bureaucratic or formal elements associated with the number of pupils, which would make possible to obtain a positive assessment for a standard in the chain of successfully completed standards for obtaining the candidate status in June this year.
Until then, we hope that the progress of the Serbian language courses will not be hindered, but will find institutional support of the state structures in the process of teaching, equipping with appropriate programs and teaching tools as well as providing professional and financial assistance for their realization!
Thank you for understanding


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