The Office on Good Governance, Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Gender
The Office on Good Governance, Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Gender (OGG) has been operational within the Office of the Prime Minister since 2002. It is tasked with overseeing and advising ministries in the areas within its remit, and with developing relevant policies and issuing guidelines. It assesses legislation, policies, procedures and practices for compliance with applicable standards of human rights and good governance.
Although the OGG is not an institution explicitly dedicated to community rights and interests, it is mandated to engage with communities in the context of its obligations to protect human rights, encourage equal opportunity, address gender issues and uphold good governance.
Office for Community Affairs
The OCA, located within the Office of the Prime Minister, is a government body dedicated to coordinating and supporting government policy on communities. Its responsibilities include advising the Prime Minister on community affairs, coordinating government bodies, donors and international institutions, and developing and monitoring the implementation of government strategy on communities.
Ministry of Communities and Returns
The Ministry of Communities and Returns (MRC) was established in 2005, and is the key ministry charged with the protection and promotion of the rights of communities and their members. It was accorded a broad and powerful mandate to develop policies, and promote and implement legislation, on community rights. It was also tasked with building confidence among communities, and developing and overseeing a government outreach strategy.
Ministerial Human Rights Units
In March 2007, individual Ministerial Human Rights Units (HRUs) were set up in each of the government ministries, to monitor compliance with policies, legislation and activities with applicable human right standards. Although not explicitly mandated to cover community rights, these were covered implicitly within their human rights agenda.
Human Rights Coordinator
In May 2007, the Prime Minister created the position of Human Rights Coordinator (HRC), with the task of coordinating both the work of the HRUs and human rights reporting to the government.
Again, consistent with the tendency to treat community rights as part of human rights, there is no express mention in the HRC mandate of community rights, although these are considered to be implicit.
Committee on Communities
The Committee on Communities, firstly established by UNMIK Regulation 2007/30 and reaffirmed by the Law on Local Self Government, is one of the permanent committees of the municipal Assembly (article 51).
The Committee on Communities is responsible for reviewing municipal policies, practices and activities (...) with the aim to ensure that rights and interests of the Communities are fully respected and recommending additional measures to enhance the implementation of community rights within the municipality (Law on Local Self Government, article 53.2).
The Committee on Communities should be composed of members of the Municipal Assembly and of at least one representative for every community living in the municipality. Community representatives should form the majority of the Committees members(Law on Local Self Government, article 53.1).
Deputy Chairperson for Communities
The position of Deputy Chairperson for Communities (DCC) has been introduced within the municipality institutional framework by the Consitution of the Republic of Kosovo (article 62).
In municipalities where at least 10% of municipal citizens belong to communities not in the majority in that municipality, a post of DCC will be reserved in the Municipal Assembly for a representative of those communities (Constitution, article 62.1, Law on Local Self Government, Article 54.1). The post will be held by the non-majority community candidate who receives the most votes on the open list of candidates for the Municipal Assembly (Law on Local Self Government, Article 54.2).
The DCC is charged with promoting inter-community dialogue, and will serve as the formal focal point for addressing the concerns and interests of non-majority communities in the work and meetings of the Municipal Assembly (Law on Local Self Government, Article 55.1). In case a decision of the DCC is not considered by the Municipal Assembly, the DCC can refer the mater directly to the Constitutional Court (Consitution, article 62.4).
Deputy Mayor for Communities
This municipal level mechnisms for community representation as been introduced with the adoption of the Law on Local Self Government (article 61).
In those municipalities where at least 10% of municipal citizens belong to communities not in the majority in that municipality, there must be a Deputy Mayor for Communities (Law on Local Self Government, Article 61.1), elected for the same term of office as the Mayor (Law on Local Self Government, Article 61.2).
The DMC is charged with assisting the Mayor and providing him/her with advice and guidance on issues related to non-majority communities (Law on Local Self Government, Article 61.4). The Mayor must consult the DMC on matters related to non-majority communities (Law on Local Self Government, Article 58.1).
Committee on the Rights and Interests of Communities
The Committee on the Rights and Interests of Communities (CRIC) is a permanent committee of the Assembly of Kosovo, with guaranteed representation of non-majority communities. In addition to its general role within the Assembly, it is charged with assessing the compatibility of proposed legislation against the rights and interests of communities, and of ensuring that those rights are adequately addressed. It can also develop legislative initiatives and monitor the implementation of adopted laws.
The Consultative Council for Communities (CCC), located within the Office of the President, was established by Presidential Decree on the 15 September 2008. It includes representatives from all the communities in Kosovo, organised through umbrella Community Representative Organisations, as well as government representatives. It is designed to facilitate the political participation of communities at the central level by acting as a mechanism for regular exchange between the communities and the government, and affording communities an opportunity to comment at an early stage on legislative and policy initiatives.
Established in June 2000, the Ombudsperson is an independent body mandated to address alleged human rights violations or abuses of authority by public institutions in Kosovo. The Ombudsperson can investigate complaints from anyone in Kosovo.
Within the office of the Ombudsperson, three teams have been formed to deal with areas of particular concern: childrens rights, gender equality and discrimination. Community issues are contained within the remit of the Non-Discrimination Team (NDT). The NDT has been conducting awareness-raising campaigns throughout the country on discrimination and complaints procedures, and has sought to reach out physically to members of communities with limited access to the Ombudsperson.