This statement was the result of discussions at the workshop organized on 14 September 2002 by the Forum for Ethnic Relations (FER) and the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM), at the Media Center in Belgrade, as well as a working meeting organized by FER on 30 September, 2003, at the Center for Cultural Decontamination (CZKD) in Belgrade, based on the conclusions reached at the workshop.
The main purpose of the assembled non-governmental organizations (Center for Training and Analytics, Return Promotion Center, FER, CESID, CZKD, Voice of Kosovo and Metohija, YUKOM, Youth Democratic Association of Kosovo and Metohija, Otpor, Serbian National Congress of Metohija, Association of Families of Missing and Abducted Persons…) is to encourage cooperation between non-governmental organizations in the resolving problems of Kosovo and Metohija citizens, and particularly to improve the activities and cooperation between non-governmental organizations in the support of the dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija.
- The NGOs particularly welcome the announced intent of the government to establish a fund for supporting civil initiatives for a dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija, as presented in the statement given by dr Nebojša Čović, president of Coordination center for Kosovo and Metohija.
Main objectives of the Fund should be:
- encourage and support projects and non-governmental organizations dealing with KiM issues, giving priority to issues and problems identified by the Declaration of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
- support to civic initiatives, civic diplomacy and campaigns aimed at establishing and conducting dialogue both within the Serbian community and between Belgrade and Pristina, Serbs and Albanians
- close cooperation, exchange of opinions, knowledge and experience between non-governmental organizations and the Coordination Center, and government organizations
- cooperation and coordination with foreign donors to secure necessary funds for operations of NGOs.
Funds should come from the budget of the Coordination Center as well as donations from foreign and domestic funds and foundations, funds provided by OSCE, UNDP, European Commission, etc. This would increase the coordination of activities of non-governmental organizations and donor activities.
The Fund would operate openly, based on public competitions, and decision-making should include representatives of non-governmental organizations, in addition to representatives of donors.
- NGOs point to the need to create a comprehensive catalog of needs, topics and projects of non-governmental organizations concerning Kosovo and Metohija. This catalog would be of assistance both to NGOs and government organizations, and would represent a thematic framework of the Fund’s activities.
The Catalog should include the following issues:
- The issue of missing, killed and kidnapped persons
- The issue of return of displaced persons to Kosovo and Metohija as well as the issue of their status in Serbia and SCG
- The issue of free communication of people and goods between Kosovo and Metohija and Serbia
- Property management issue in Kosovo and Metohija, issues related to privatization and negotiations on guaranteeing the property rights to property owners in Kosovo and Metohija
- Media and providing information to the Serbian public on the prevailing problems in Kosovo and Metohija
- Informing the public about Kosovo-Metohija negotiation talks
- Improving the human rights situation in Kosovo and Metohija
- Problems related to the status and actual position of national communities in Kosovo and Metohija
- The position of Roma in Kosovo Metohija and exercising their right to return
- Cooperation between non-governmental organizations from Serbia and organizations from Kosovo and Metohija, with a view to resolving common problems, especially cooperation with non-governmental organizations working in enclaves.
- The Catalog should be filled out through cooperation between all interested parties, and afterwards the public, the media and government representatives should be informed about the agreement between non-governmental organizations to cooperate and contribute through their work to the resolution of the crisis in Kosovo and Metohija.