Manual for Sustainable Return
Part III - Selected Policy Framework Documents - Government Programme for Communities
Government Programme, section on Communities
Section 8. INTEGRATION OF ALL ETHNIC COMMUNITIES INTO KOSOVAR SOCIETY
The people of Kosovo should have equal access to, and be full participants in, all levels of the Government of Kosovo. The Government of Kosovo should be the Government of all Kosovars and should serve as a model in reweaving the multi-ethnic fabric of Kosovo. To do this, the Government should ensure that the hiring targets for ministries mandated by the Constitutional Framework are met for all ethnic communities. The Government should ensure that communities are active participants in the Government at all levels and in every sector. The Government should set an example by openly supporting initiatives to improve inter-ethnic cooperation - from publicly supporting the activities of non-Governmental organisations, to patronising businesses that intentionally hire from all communities. The Government should reach out to displaced Kosovars, initiating a dialogue at a working level on the issue of returns, and should openly support projects that facilitate minority returns. The Government should assure minorities that displaced people will not return to enclaves but to their homes. The Ministry should ensure that minorities have a voice in defining the priorities of the Government.
The Rights of Minorities, Reintegration and Returns
The Government will ensure that its principles, laws and implementing measures will protect and promote the rights and interests of all communities as guaranteed in Chapters 3 and 4 of the Constitutional Framework. Support for the coexistence of all communities and the promotion of their full economic, social and political participation are all equal imperative objectives of the Government.
The ministries will ensure and promote the proportional participation of all communities in all levels of the executive branch of the Government. The civil service should conduct the hiring of civil service staff in a manner that reflects real professional standards; affirmative action based on well-known international and European standards will ensure that the process increases the participation of all communities and women in all levels mandated by the Constitutional Framework.
As an integral part of these efforts, ministries should actively work to find and implement solutions for many practical problems - including security and transportation - that are currently preventing the full participation of minority members in the civil service.
The Government, in collaboration with local and international organisations, will develop and implement programmes promoting cooperation with, and the tolerance and reintegration of, the minority communities. In this context, the office of the Prime Minister will work to ensure the fair functioning of the municipalities and mediation councils.
The Government, and especially the office of the Prime Minister, will collaborate and coordinate with municipalities to ensure that all Government regulations are being implemented at the municipal level. To be more specific, the Government will consult with the mayors to help achieve their agreement with and implementation of such regulations within municipal structures. The Advisory Office for Communities and the Inter-Ministerial Coordinator for Returns and Communities will ensure the interdepartmental coordination of all efforts to achieve the above-mentioned objectives. Both offices will also collaborate with the international and regional levels (including the Stability Pact) to reach a better understanding of the situation of communities in Kosovo, exchange views and experience, and learn best practices from regional counterparts.
While the issue of returns remains a reserved power of the SRSG, the Government recognises that its resolution will depend on the full support and agreement of Government structures. This requires that the existing communities and the returning communities have full and equal access to services provided by the ministries. In addition, the return process should involve the active participation of the majority communities; however, their permission cannot be a condition for returns.
The Government recognises that, in accordance with the coalition agreement of 28 February 2002, regaining confidence of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP's) is of high priority and is a key factor in achieving the social and political consolidation in the society of Kosovo. In addition, the acceptance of Kosovo in the region and the political and financial support of the international community will depend greatly on the progress made on these issues.
The Government remains ready to help UNMIK, UNHCR, KFOR and all other relevant agencies promoting and enabling the return of the minority communities. In order for the resettlement process to be peaceful, the Government believes that all returns should be voluntary and not subject to any political manipulation or any other motive. The returnees should be resettled in locations where they previously resided. This will promote coexistence, tolerance and reintegration between the existing and returning communities. For this to be implemented, the locations were the returns are occurring should be prepared so as to facilitate the ability of the returnees to rebuild a good life and to participate in Kosovar society.
The returns should be continuous for all of those that possess assets with the purpose of preventing future migration or any other problems. The Government, together with the IDP's and the refugees, will actively demonstrate its commitment to the resettlement process and the reintegration of the returnees, and its will to address their concerns and wishes. The Government will organise activities, including information campaigns promoting tolerance and cooperation, and will call on all Kosovars to respect democracy and the rule of law. In consultation with UNMIK, the Government will contact donors to co-sponsor projects with the Government to improve the conditions of displaced persons and the return of refugees. The office of the Prime Minister will lead the process using the coordination function and the office of the Coordinator for Returns and Communities.