Kosovo’s new constitution: Egyptians have rights too

Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images Kosovo is one step closer to full statehood. Today, its assembly officially adopted a new constitution declaring Kosovo a democratic, secular, multiethnic state. Right from the start, the constitution makes clear that Kosovo will not be partitioned nor will it be joining a Greater Albania.  From Article 1: The Republic of Kosovo ...

595552_080409_kosovo2.jpg
595552_080409_kosovo2.jpg

Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Kosovo is one step closer to full statehood. Today, its assembly officially adopted a new constitution declaring Kosovo a democratic, secular, multiethnic state. Right from the start, the constitution makes clear that Kosovo will not be partitioned nor will it be joining a Greater Albania.  From Article 1:

The Republic of Kosovo is an independent, sovereign, democratic, unique and indivisible state . . . The Republic of Kosovo shall have no territorial claims against, and shall seek no union with, any State or part of any State."

Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Kosovo is one step closer to full statehood. Today, its assembly officially adopted a new constitution declaring Kosovo a democratic, secular, multiethnic state. Right from the start, the constitution makes clear that Kosovo will not be partitioned nor will it be joining a Greater Albania.  From Article 1:

The Republic of Kosovo is an independent, sovereign, democratic, unique and indivisible state . . . The Republic of Kosovo shall have no territorial claims against, and shall seek no union with, any State or part of any State.”

Per recommendations from U.N. Special Envoy to Kosovo Marti Ahtisaari, the constitution also includes an entire chapter spelling out the rights of and provisions for Kosovo’s minority groups, including parliamentary seat allotment. Twenty of the assembly’s 120 seats shall be reserved for minorities, each of whom are guaranteed a respective minimum number of seats as follows:

the Roma community, one (1) seat; the Ashkali community, one (1) seat; the Egyptian community, one (1) seat; and one (1) additional seat will be awarded to either the Roma, the Ashkali or the Egyptian community with the highest overall votes; the Bosnian community, three (3) seats; the Turkish community, two (2) seats; and the Gorani community, one (1) seat. . .”

Bet you didn’t know that Kosovo even had an ethnic Egyptian community.

Pieter Feith, head of the EU-led supervisory office in Kosovo, has already approved of the new constitution, but Kosovo’s U.N. mission (UNMIK) has been less than eager to react. In 1999, U.N. resolution 1244 granted UNMIK the authority to administer Kosovo until the Security Council could agree on a more lasting solution. But because Russia has blocked all efforts to pass a new Kosovo resolution, UNMIK now lacks the mandate to actually hand over their authority to Kosovo’s fledgling government, new constitution or not.

Lucy Moore is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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