Event Reports

International Conference on Protecting Human and Minority Rights in Europe held

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung organized an International conference “Protecting Human Rights and Minority Rights in Europe” on 10 September 2008 in Skopje. The exchange of ideas and different experiences from the point of view of the Ombudsman institutions from Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro Serbia, Croatia, Romania, as well from the representavive of the German Bundestag brought the role and challenges of these human rights „defenders“ nearer to the public. During the discussion, the participants presented the best practice models of protecting human rights and the rights of the national minorities by explaining the mandate, functions and powers of Ombudsman institutions, the status of minorities in the context of international standards and EU-integration and the experiences and challenges in the defence of human rights from the cooperation with the police and armed forces. The Vice-Prime Minister for implementation of the Framework agreement, Mr. Abdilakim Ademi and the deputy minister for Labour and Social Policy in the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Spiro Ristovski elaborated the importance of protecting the human and minority rights as one the main responsibilities for a democratic and stable society. As an outcome of the conference several problems and challenges were identified by the participants: the integration of the Roma minorities in society, the need of a stronger parliament as a natural “ally” of the Ombudsman, better effort at preventing human rights violation through comprehensive training and education programs for state officials, police, but also for children and vulnerable groups, as well as the strengthening of the Ombudsman institutions themselves in the face of state authorities. The protection of the human and minority rights is a two-sided process, since the protected people learn how to trust the institutions, respect diversity and the State guarantees the safety of every citizen.