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INFO::: Transitional Justice > Confidence Building > Vojvodinas Multiethic Character, a Resource of Integrative and...


Vojvodina's Multiethic Character, a Resource of Integrative and developmental potential

Novi Sad, June 5, 2007

06/19/2007 , HCHRS


The first out of four brainstorming sessions planned under the project "Fostering Vojvodina's Multiethnic Identity" the Helsinki Committee realizes with the assistance of the European Union - the EuropeAid program - was held on June 5, 2007, in Novi Sad.

The session assembled twenty members of Vojvodina's intelligentsia from Novi Sad, Sombor, Subotica, Kikinda, Backi Petrovac and Simanovci, who placed on their agenda for discussion the issues of transition, the society's radicalization, European integration processes, and the civil sector's role in regional cooperation, as well as tried to provide an answer to the question "What's truly European in Vojvodina's identity?"

To start with, the participants in the session agreed on the following common denominators:

- Throughout history Vojvodina has been and still is the region of confrontation of different state strategies; any ethnically motivated "appropriation" of Vojvodina is an attempt to deprive the province of its political subjectivity and identity;

- Vojvodina's identity must be maintained and advanced;

- The cancellation of the stabilization and association negotiations with the EU affected the interests of Vojvodina citizens the most;

- The Kosovo question strongly influences multiethnic relations in Vojvodina;

- Inter-ethnic communication in the province is poor, and its ethnic communities mostly behave indifferently;

- Regional cooperation is most important the same as the role non-governmental organization can play in its advancement; and

- There is a tendency to manage Vojvodina through consociation of ethnic elites.

The participants in the brainstorming session concluded that Vojvodina, as Serbia's most pluralist part, needs institutions capable of "managing" all tendencies of ethno-cultural seclusion. Having underscored that Vojvodina's identity figures as a major resource of integrative and developmental potential, as well as a warrant of the safeguard of the province's multiethnic character, the participants in the first session in the series put forth to relevant institutions the following recommendations:

- The safeguard and advancement of Vojvodina's identity should be present in all segments of their /authorized institutions'/ work;

- All preconditions to the resumption of the negotiations with the EU should be fulfilled so as to enable Vojvodina to actively partake in European integration processes and productively use its geographic position, resources, civilizational legacy, tradition and culture;

- State bodies should do their utmost to counteract adverse consequences of Kosovo's impending independence, and decisively react at all manifestations leading to ethnically motivated violence, violation of minority rights and insecurity of Vojvodina's citizens regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, language and other specific traits;

- Vojvodina's autonomy should be arranged in keeping with European experience, which necessitates constitutional reform; in this context the Constitution should guarantee Vojvodina's right to its own legislation in the sphere of its autochthonous competence;

- Bearing in mind the significance of the civil sector, its functioning should be regulated under the law following in the footsteps of European experience and standards;

- Educational, information, cultural and other subsystems should foster inter-cultural and other contents that hinder ethnic distance and contribute to mutual understanding of members of different ethnic communities; and

- All ideas, initiatives and actions designed to secure better life for Vojvodina's citizens on the principles of democracy, the rule of law, tolerance and multiculturalism should be lent a helping hand.





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