Amendments of Law on Higher Education should be the subject of extensive social dialogue

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) estimates that a number of proposals by the Ministry of Education in the case of current amendments of Law on Higher Education introduce radical and potentially dangerous applications which could be of further detriment to the already poor quality of higher education in Montenegro.

First of all, Ministry of Education suggested the abolition of existing Council for Higher Education and the establishment of the new body – Agency for the provision of quality of higher education, which would essentially be completely dependent on the Ministry of Education. They deliberately omitted the provisions on the structure of Agency, election of its members, and the manner of its operation, so that they could ultimately create an Agency with enourmously wide range of authorisations in the area of regulation of higher education, but with no legal defining of the composition of that Agency and who would make these key decisions. This is an unexpected and dangerous move backwards and CCE hopes that final version will still be in line with the needs of public interest. CCE believes that these authorisations of newly formed Agency must be followed by adequate legally defined responsibilities and transparency of its work, as well as the inclusiveness of all stakeholders, which will ensure the competitiveness and legitimacy of key bodies of the Agency, thereby its independence and effective ability to respond to volume and complexity of planned responsibilities. Specifically, CCE proposes the establishment of Council for this Agency which would be elected by the Parliament, based on the public competition, for specific professional profiles and social sectors, which include the representatives of NGOs from the area of education according to the proclaimed policy of Montenegro on the cooperation with NGO sector, as is already the practice for a number of similar bodies which contribute to independence of such bodies with different dynamics. Government should not appoint the members of Agency exclusively, since the Government itself is the founder of state university, while the Agency should be perceived as an independent and autonomous body by all stakeholders in higher education, as a body which presents the pluralism of social efforts with the aim of improvement of quality of higher education and work of every higher education institution in Montenegro. »

Report from the press conference on the publication of Joint Language Declaration

Starting at 12h00 in Media centre (Kolodvorska 3) in Sarajevo, press conference was held on the occasion of publication of text of Joint Language Declaration.

Text of Joint Language Declaration and its objectives was presented by Professor Enver Kazaz, writer Ivana Bodrožić, Vladimir Arsenijević from the Association Krokodil, writer and journalist Balša Brković and Borka Pavićević, director of Centre for Cultural Decontamination.

Vladimir Arsenijević welcomed participants on behalf of organisers, Association KROKODIL and NGO Forum ZFD. “After the series of regional conferences from the framework of the project LANGUAGES AND NATIONALISMS, held last year in Podgorica, Split, Belgrade and Sarajevo, more than thirty linguists and ‘men of quill’ have created the Joint Language Declaration in an attempt to raise the awareness and actively influence the existing nationalist linguistic practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Our objective is to deconstruct the unnatural state which is result of close ties of identity policies and linguistic science. Initiative came from young people from Sarajevo in order to spark a positive change in society”, said Arsenijević. In the end, he noted that more than two thousand people signed the Declaration in only 20 hours from its publication on site

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FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival continues its cooperation with the prestigious Movies that Matter

Miloš Knežević, director of FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival, is participating in a six-day training programme “Cinema without Borders”, organised within the Festival Movies that Matter from 24 to 29 March 2017 in Hague, Netherlands. This is the continuation of previous cooperation and support between the prestigious Movies that Matter and FAST FORWARD Festival, organised by Centre for Civic Education (CCE).

Goal of this programme is to provide practical information to participants, who already have experience in human rights activism, organisation of cultural events or film production, as well as to those who are about to enter the adventure of promotion of human rights through cinematic expression, in order to improve their work. In addition, this programme offers a platform for the exchange of experience from the area of cinematography, creation of festival content which target various audiences and manner of their financing. Based on such initiatives, Movies that Matter seeks to inspire and help participants develop festivals in their countries as best as they can. Knežević is the only participant from Western Balkans on this competitive and intense programme, and apart from him, there are numerous other actors on the programme from the world of film industry from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

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Sixtieth anniversary of EU – crossroads for the EU, but also for Montenegro

On the occasion of 60 years after the signing of Treaty of Rome, 25 March 1957, when the foundations for the establishment of EU were laid symbolically, and which is nowadays marked in various manners throughout the EU, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) assesses that it is a good opportunity to reflect on the performances as well as on the future of EU, and within that framework, on the position of Western Balkans and Montenegro which aspires to membership in the EU.

Objectives that have gathered the founding states of EU – peace, prosperity and democracy – are equally important today as they were 60 years ago, which renders the EU as an equally important factor on the international scene today. Reason for celebration should be sought in the fact that EU has done an unparalled job in the protection of fundamental values and support throughout the world to those who needed its support, whether in case of humanitarian assistance or responses to needs of countless other groups which fight for the establishment of system of values, which guarantee dignified life to citizens.

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There can be no respect of right to truth without the information on every casualty and adequate punishment for the ones who were responsible for their suffering

On the occasion of March 24 – International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) urges the representatives of judicial and executive authorities to take everything what is in their power to shed the light on the fate of missing persons and supress the impunity by processing the ones who are responsible for severe violations of human rights and suffering of innocent population during the post-Yugoslav wars of nineties, and thus ensure their families the right to truth.

According to the latest information, after more than 20 years from war events in region, more than 9,000 persons are still missing, out of which even 62 persons are from Montenegro. Hence, the priority of countries of region, including Montenegro, should be the search for the locations with bodies of victims and their exhumation. That implies close cooperation of competent institutions with various actors, including the families of victims and NGOs. We remind that the Council of Europe Commissionaire for Human Rights has recently supported the establishment of RECOM and suggested to other states to support the establishment of efficient and independent national or regional bodies in charge of the establishment of truth, and that post-Yugoslav successor states should take the ownership of Initiative for RECOM. Initiative for RECOM claims that the integral part of cooperation should be the disclosure of locations of mass graves, exhumation, identification and handing over of remains to victims’ families, in order to acknowledge the minimal level of dignity of victims.

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