Doc. 10715

11 October 2005

Precarious situation of national minorities in the Voivodina province of Serbia and Montenegro

Motion for a resolution

presented by Mr Van den Brande and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       The undersigned are deeply concerned about the high number of alarming and sustained human rights violations against ethnic and national minorities in the province of Voivodina which are reoccurring since 1992.

2.       Harassment and physical assaults even involve school children, women and clergymen. Vandalism is practised against private property and diverse establishments associated with minorities. The list of these, apparently systematic, actions includes damage done to churches and cemeteries. There is also a long list of incidents involving racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti.

3.       According to this practice, persons belonging to certain national minorities, are subjected to swords and they are forced to leave their homeland. Firstly, various forms of harassment generate fears. The aim is to cut the roots binding the national minorities to their native countries. At present the main target group are leading intellectuals and politicians like, e.g., the President of the largest Hungarian organisation, VMSZ, Mr József Kasza, whose home was damaged by an explosive device thrown into his yard.

4.       It must be pointed out that if the present tendencies continue there will be an increasing refugee flow from Voivodina to Hungary – an European Union member state-, and possibly farther West into other parts of Europe, as was the case during the previous war. The demographic proportion of the remaining Hungarian and Croat communities would further decrease, making their future viability even more doubtful.

5.       Therefore the undersigned are asking the Assembly to carefully examine the long list of alarming cases of human rights violations in Voivodina and to provide an opportunity for a number of representatives of the affected ethnic and national minorities to bear witness in a hearing to be held by it.

6.       The undersigned are furthermore requesting that the Assembly invite the appropriate committee, in accordance with the commitments and obligations laid down in Opinion No. 239 (2002), to intensify the Assembly's monitoring activity, including an urgent visit to Vojvodina in accordance with Resolution 1115 (1997).

7.       The undersigned note the obligations of Serbia and Montenegro concerning Human Rights and Minorities are not only those listed in Opinion No. 239, but also include various Conventions and Covenants of the United Nations and a number of legally binding texts of the OSCE.

Signed (see overleaf)

Signed 1:

Van den BRANDE, Luc, Belgium, EPP/CD

ALBERT, Sándor, Slovakia, EPP/CD

ANTUNOVIĆ, Željka, Croatia, SOC

BEMELMANS-VIDEC, Marie-Louise, Netherlands, EPP/CD

BINDIG, Rudolf, Germany, SOC

BRESTENSKÁ, Beáta, Slovakia, ALDE

CUBREACOV, Vlad, Moldova, EPP/CD

de MELO, Maria Manuela, Portugal, SOC

de PUIG, Lluís Maria, Spain, SOC

DEES, Dirk, Netherlands, ALDE

DEVÍNSKY, Ferdinand, Slovakia, EPP/CD

DORIĆ, Miljenko, Croatia, ALDE

ELO, Mikko, Finland, SOC

EÖRSI, Mátyás, Hungary, ALDE

ERTSBORN, Jan, Sweden, ALDE

FARKAS, Iván, Slovakia, EPP/CD

FLYNN, Paul, United Kingdom, SOC

FRUNDA, György, Romania, EPP/CD

GEDEI, József, Hungary, SOC

GUBERT, Renzo, Italy, EPP/CD

HŘIE, Bent, Norway, EPP/CD

LELIĆ, Ruža, Croatia, EPP/CD

LINDBLAD, Göran, Sweden, EPP/CD

MAJSKA-MARTINČEVIĆ, Jagoda, Croatia, EPP/CD

MERCAN, Murat, Turkey, EPP/CD

NÉMETH, Zsolt, Hungary, EPP/CD

PŘIDAL, Alojz, Slovakia, EPP/CD

SAKS, Katrin, Estonia, SOC

SEVERINSEN, Hanne, Denmark, ALDE

van WINSEN, Bart, Netherlands, EPP/CD

ZAPFL-HELBLING, Rosmarie, Switzerland, EPP/CD

ZINGERIS, Emanuelis, Lithuania, EDG


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group