Executive summary

AuthorMaja Kostić-Mandić
1. Introduction
Montenegro is one of the successor states of the former Socialist Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia. During the turbulent history of the Balkans, Montenegro has changed its status
several times. From being an independent state in the late 19th century, in 1918 it became
a part of what would later be called Yugoslavia. Although an equal member of the Yugoslav
Federation, Montenegro only regained full independence in a referendum in 2006 when it
became an independent state. The 2007 Constitution defined it as a civic and ecological
state based on the sovereign ty of the citizen. At present, it is a member of NATO and a
moderately prepared candidate country for membership of the Eur opean Union.
According to the most recent census in 2011, Montenegro has a population of 622 781 and
an area of 13 812 squa re kilometres. The country is comp rised of 23 municipalities with
different demographic, economic and cultural characteristics. Although there is no formal
division, three characteristic regions are the Northern, Central and Southern parts of
Montenegro. Most of the country’s inhabitants live in the central area which, together with
the capital, Podgorica, is the most important administrative and indust rial region.
Montenegro is a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state in which no nation has a
numerical majority. The 2007 Constitution of Montenegro in its Preamble refers to free and
equal citizen s, belonging to nations and national minorities living in Montenegro:
Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians, Muslims, Croats and others. The Montenegrins
are the most nu merous ethnic group, while t he Serbs are the second l argest group living
in Montenegro. One peculiarity is that Bosnians and Muslims are listed as separate groups
(although both of them adhere to the same religion, the status of the latter being a relic
of the former Yugoslav constitutional legacy). The Law on Mi nority Rights and Freedoms
implicitly recognises Roma as an ethnic group on the basis of their linguistic characteristics.
The same La w defines minority people and other minority national communities’ as any
group o f Montenegrin citizens which is less numerous than the rest of the predominant
population, with common ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics different from the
rest of the popu lation, being historically tied to Montenegro and motivated by a desire to
express and preserve their national, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity
(Article 2).
All these ethnic groups (including Roma) have institutionalised their activities by forming
national councils as special forms of expression and protection of their ethnic int erests.
2. Main legislation
The Montenegrin legal framework consists of th e Constitution, as the supreme legal act,
and the laws of Montenegro. The Constitution itself prescribes the primacy of international
agreements when a situation is regulated differently from national legislation. The basis of
the standard of equality is contained in constitutional guarantees and special laws, of which
the most important is the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination (LPD). This law was
passed in 2010 and has been amended on several occasions, the most important being the
changes in 2017 which encompassed 17 provisions. It is a systemic law in the protection
against discrimination. Its foundation is the European Convention on Human Rights and its
As the process of bringing Montenegro clo ser to the European Uni on has progressed, th e
law has increasingly adopted the principles and standards of the European directives on
equality (this report focuses on Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000
implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or
ethnic origin and Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general
framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (Directives 2000/43/EC and

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