Human Rights Law Clinic Papers 2022:

Juxtaposing the issue of segregation against the right to education and the right to work for the youth in Mitrovica

This memorandum is a research paper prepared on a pro bono basis by students undertaking the LLM in International Human Rights Law at Sussex Law School at the University of Sussex as a pedagogical exercise to train students in the practice and application of international human rights law. The Human Rights Law Clinic operates in pursuit of the center’s objectives to feed into human rights debates and collaborate with relevant organisations, locally, nationally and internationally; and to attract and give opportunities to high-quality postgraduate students. This year, the International Communities Organisation (ICO) had the pleasure of collaborating with two law students who were asked to create a legal memorandum that focused on ‘Juxtaposing the issue of segregation against the right to education and the right to work for the youth in Mitrovica’. ICO’s research seeks to understand how division and segregation affects young people in Mitrovica. This research will aid efforts to support the cross-community development led by FCT Mitrovica, following the signed Memorandum of Understanding in February 2021 to promote cross-community activities between Serbians and Albanians, to bridge the economic, social and cultural capital of these communities.

Mitrovica, Kosovo’s largest city, is physically divided by the Ibar river into two municipalities; the North is predominantly Kosovo-Serb and the South has a Kosovo-Albanian majority. Due to a history of violent conflict, the two communities function separately, speak different languages, use different currencies and have parallel institutions. This memorandum analyses the impact of segregation across Mitrovica by juxtaposing the gaps between the legal framework surrounding socio-economic rights against the actual situation faced by the population of the city.

Firstly, the paper introduces the situation in Kosovo and the developments that influenced Mitrovica after the end of the war in 1999. The second section presents an analysis of the issues related to the right to education that will use an international legal framework of article 13, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognises that, “education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.” Using this legal framework, the memorandum discusses the issues of: Parallel Education Institutions, Monolingualism, and School Textbooks. The section will then end with cross-community recommendations regarding youth education.

The third section begins by introducing the issues of the applicable legal provisions from international human rights law frameworks surrounding the right to work. Second, the socio-legal analysis of the implementation of the right to work is conducted. The segregation of Mitrovica, alongside privatisation, is shown to have an effect on the fulfillment of this right, especially on the KosovoSerb community. The third section presents the efforts of the government of Kosovo to promote youth employment and youth entrepreneurship. Throughout this part of the memorandum, the socio-legal analysis entails the juxtaposition of the international human rights law that Kosovo is legally bound by with the actual situation in the divided community of Mitrovica. The section will then end with cross-community recommendations regarding the right to work.

By presenting a socio-legal analysis of the right to education and the right to work, the memorandum concludes that the division of Mitrovica has, to a large extent, contributed to an ineffective implementation of socio-economic rights. This is exemplified in the Community Rights Assessment Report published in 2015 which shows that the institutions of Kosovo have made limited progress in providing equal access to socio-economic rights, encompassing both employment opportunities and removing barriers to self-employment.

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