Montenegrins show the highest degree of ethnic distancing towards Roma, somewhat less towards Albanians, even lower towards Croats, and almost no distance towards Serbs, according to a study by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM). The findings and results of the research are available in the Analytical Report, which you can download by clicking on the following link https://www.cedem.me/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Prilog-10_Etnicka-distanca-na-tri-jezika_FINAL-copy.pdf.
Director of CEDEM, Milena Bešić, pointed out that, having in mind the process of society transition and the process of Montenegro’s accession to the European Union, as well as the fact that respect for basic human rights and freedoms and protection of national minorities is one of the most important security factors. democratic development of each state, “necessary commitment of competent institutions, non-governmental organizations, media and all citizens to achieve stable interethnic coexistence and ethnic peace, as well as the promotion of values such as human dignity, equality, human rights and minority rights.”
“Therefore, CEDEM recognized the great importance of analyzing ethnic distance, which is extremely important in a multinational society for measuring social cohesion and the possibility of turmoil and potential conflicts on a national basis,” Besic said.
She said that the research “Interethnic Relations and Ethnic Distance in Montenegro” was conducted in May this year on a sample of 909 respondents from 17 municipalities in Montenegro.
“There are three main goals of the research, namely: first, to assess the degree of respect for the key rights of minority peoples and other minority national communities; second, to assess the impact of the work of the Council of Minority Peoples and other minority national communities; and third, to measure ethnic distance. The complexity of the goals also imposes special sampling strategies, “Besic said.
According to her, the research defined a set of rights that minority peoples and other minority national communities should exercise.
“Based on the valid Government documents, primarily the Minority Policy Strategy, we generated ten key rights that were the subject of research. In the research, for each of the mentioned rights, the respondents answered to what extent these rights are respected using the four-level Likert assessment scale “, explained Bešić.
“Comparatively, according to the citizens, the rights have been realized to the greatest extent when it comes to the general use of the mother tongue, and to the least extent when it comes to the right to equality in employment,” Besic stated.
She said that the assessment of the citizens of Montenegro that today the rights of minority peoples and other minority national communities have been achieved to a somewhat lesser extent than was the case in 2018.
“It is interesting that Bosniaks and Muslims evaluate the realization of all rights most positively, even more in relation to Montenegrins. “Values for Serbs are significantly lower than those measured by Montenegrins, and when it comes to Roma, members of this ethnic community assessed the right to political organization and the right to fight against ethnic discrimination especially negatively,” Besic said.
According to her, the data indicate that those who declare themselves as Serbs and Albanians mostly believe that the rights of minority peoples and other minority national communities have not been realized. “Members of the Roma community follow with a small difference, and it is interesting, as we noted, that Bosniaks and especially Muslims estimate that minority rights have been exercised to a greater extent than Montenegrins estimate,” Besic said.
Speaking about measuring ethnic distance, Besic reminded that the first measurement of ethnic distance made by CEDEM was conducted in 2007, then in 2013, and then two more were realized – in 2018 and 2019.
CEDEM methodologist Miloš Bešić, presenting the results of the latest research, stated: “The data indicate that Montenegrins distance themselves to a very small extent in relation to Serbs, more precisely, Montenegrins almost do not show distance towards Serbs. “It can be seen that the most sensitive item is” to have a leading position in my country “, which means that for the most part, this minimum distance shown by Montenegrins towards Serbs, in essence, is not ethnic but political,” Besic said.
He stated that Montenegrins show the greatest degree of distancing towards Roma, significantly lower towards Albanians, and even lower towards Croats.
“Members of this ethnic group show the lowest level of distancing (except when it comes to Serbs) in relation to Bosniaks and Muslims,” Besic added.
He said that just as they measured that there is almost no distance shown by Montenegrins towards Serbs, the opposite is true, ie Serbs have almost no distance towards Montenegrins.
“Again, as in the previous case, the most sensitive item is” to have a leading position in my country. ” In other words, the distance shown by Serbs towards Montenegrins is mostly political, not ethnic. However, Serbs show, comparatively, a significantly higher level of distancing in relation to members of other ethnic groups compared to Montenegrins, “Besic said.
He said that the greatest degree of distancing are those who declare themselves ethnically as Serbs towards Albanians, and then towards Roma.
“However, we also measure high values when it comes to distancing ourselves from Croats, and somewhat lower, although still comparatively high, when it comes to distancing ourselves from Bosniaks and Muslims,” Besic said.
He said that the data indicate that there is almost no distance between Bosniaks and Muslims, explaining that this is understandable given that ethnically this is the same group.
“Bosniaks show the greatest degree of distancing in relation to Roma, and then in relation to Albanians, and in relation to Croats. “The distance expressed by Bosniaks in relation to Serbs is significantly lower, and the distance in relation to Montenegrins is even lower,” Besic said.
“Again, the reason is that this is an ethnically identical group. Therefore, the highest degree of distancing is in relation to the Roma, followed by Croats and Albanians, while the distance is significantly lower towards Serbs, and the lowest towards Montenegrins. “Just as almost no Bosniaks show distance from Muslims, the opposite is true, we almost do not have a distance of Muslims from Bosniaks,” Besic said.
“The distance is significantly lower compared to members of all other groups. “Comparatively, after the distance towards the Roma, the highest degree of distancing is shown by Albanians towards Serbs, and towards Bosniaks and Muslims, and the lowest degree of distancing is expressed by members of this ethnic group towards Montenegrins,” Besic said.
He said that for the first time in the research, they had a sufficient number of Roma, which makes it possible to measure the degree of distancing of members of that ethnic community from all other ethnic groups.
“The data are indicative and they indicate that the Roma distance themselves to the greatest extent towards Croats and Albanians. Then, there is a distance towards Serbs, while the distance towards Montenegrins and Bosniaks is very low, while there is almost no distance towards Muslims. The data indicate that the highest degree of overall ethnic distancing is towards the Roma, then towards Croats and Albanians, and towards Bosniaks and Muslims, and finally towards Serbs and Montenegrins, “Besic stated.
“The data indicate that, in general, the degree of distancing in 2007 was very high, and that it decreased over time. However, we can see that, with the exception of 2018, in general, the degree of distancing that Serbs show in relation to all other groups is the highest. Finally, in 2018, the highest degree of distancing was expressed by Albanians, so that the degree of distancing expressed by members of this ethnic group dropped significantly in the latest research, “said Besic.
Speaking about the trend of interethnic distance at the level of the entire sample for all periods towards all groups, Besic said that the data indicate that the distance in 2007 was at the highest level.
“Then there was a significant decline in 2013, followed by growth in 2018, so that, finally, the distance we measure with the latest research (2019) will be at approximately the same level as in previous years,” said Besic.
Director General of the Directorate for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Minority Peoples and Other Minority National Communities, Leon Djokaj, said that such and similar research is important for measuring achievements in the process of democratization of society, as well as for institutions in policy making and strategy aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of minority peoples ”
According to the Public Competition for Improving the Position of Members of the Roma and Egyptian Communities, 131 thousand euros were allocated, and the competition that is underway this year by sector analysis for these two areas is intended for over half a million euros, ie increased by over 200 thousand euros “, said Djokaj.