The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) held a two-day seminar “Multiculturalism in Montenegro: Status Quo and Future Perspectives” aimed at promoting full equality and raising awareness of the Montenegrin public about the rights of minorities and other minority national communities and the importance of multiculturalism. .
The seminar was held at the Bianca Hotel in Kolasin, and was attended by representatives of minority peoples and other minority national communities, as well as representatives of the civil sector, with the aim of including actors working in this field. The lecturers at the training were the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms in Montenegro, Siniša Bjeković, MA, and a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, doc. Dr. Danijela Vuković Ćalasan.
In her introductory speech, CEDEM Director Milena Bešič stated that although Montenegro has developed a model of coexistence based on general interethnic tolerance and constitutional guarantees for the protection of minority rights, there is ethnic heterogeneity that carries some risk of conflict and discriminatory attitudes and practices. . Besic also pointed out that the relevant indicators show that the position of minority peoples and communities has improved (both in terms of quantitative indicators and in relation to the implementation of measures of competent institutions), but that there are still normative and legal shortcomings related to realization of the policy of multiethnicity and multiculturalism, as well as problems in exercising the rights guaranteed by the constitution.
During the first lecture, on behalf of the Ombudsman Siniša Bjeković, his Advisor Milena Krsmanović spoke on the topic of protection against discrimination and the rights of members of minorities, with an emphasis on practice. Considering that discrimination is treated as a difficult social phenomenon that is difficult to prove and which especially affects certain social groups, she emphasized that the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination introduced numerous procedural reliefs when it comes to the protection procedure. She also spoke about the Montenegrin legal order and the specifics of protection against discrimination, referring to the rights provided by the Montenegrin legislator to national minorities.
During the second day, Dr. Danijela Vuković Ćalasan introduced the participants to the concept of identity and emphasized the importance of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, with special reference to Articles 1 and 2 which prescribe the value of ethnocultural pluralism. Vuković Ćalasan emphasized the importance of achieving social cohesion, and approached this concept by referring to the strategies within the Council of Europe, but also the UN. In this regard, she especially emphasized how much this concept depends on the social context and pointed out the most important causes of the fluidity of social cohesion.