After Slovenia’s independence, the national communities’ members of former Yugoslavia became “new” minorities and found themselves in an unregulated status. Due to their unrecognised status of minority ethnic group, which would guarantee them proper collective (minority) rights, they face factors that limit their proactive participation in decision-making processes in Slovenian society and general participation in public life. Therefore, the activities of this project focused on the empowerment of former Yugoslavia national communities including their members in the region, raising public awareness on the issue of unrecognised minorities and their rights, as well as achieving changes of the institutional framework of the treated target group on a local level.
“The added value of this project is the shift of the open issues from a political-theoretical level into a level of everyday life through a mutual tackling of real life issues related to nationality. This allows us to initiate political awareness among the majority and minority population that leads toward a consensus, necessary to solve open questions regarding the position of minorities which are not included in the constitution”, said project leader Mirna BUIĆ.
The basis for further steps within the project was the training for coaches and workshops for the users of an interactive theatre from Brazil, a so-called theatre of the oppressed/theatre of social changes, which led some countries to adopt certain laws or to change them (Canada, Brazil and Great Britain). A group of twelve trained individuals then performed nine theatre shows ENA.KOST that included real-life depictions of oppression, discrimination and other issues, which members of minorities have to face every day. The audience (more than 300 persons attended the shows) proposed innovative solutions to the above mentioned problems.
Within the context of free legal assistance aimed at solving various legal issues, discrimination cases and violation of rights based on ethnical or religious affiliation, we dealt with 202 cases of legal assistance conducted by the Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, Koper. An important element of awareness was represented by the free newspaper ŽAR, which in its 8 issues dealt with minority problems and reported on the target group performance in the local environment. An NGO hub of members of former Yugoslavia national communities was also established within the project, which performed over 50 counseling and tutoring sessions in the field of call for tenders, organizational support, promotion, etc.
However, the most important and sustainably-oriented activity was the establishment of a working group for the advocacy of former Yugoslavia national minorities, formed by representatives of minority NGOs, which directly responds to the specific issues of the target group, points to the violation of its rights and presents initiatives for the improvement of its position in the region. The group collected reform proposals in the field of culture, finance, education and social services and is working on a report about the violation of rights and on a programming document. The working group for advocacy will carry on with its activities within the framework of a new NGO hub of Istria and Karst – ISKRA, operated by PiNA – Association for Culture and Education.
More about the ENA.KOST project: CLICK