In view of the massive human rights violations experienced in Kosovo, the reconstruction of society and the final status of the territory have to be based on human rights and minority rights. Besides universal human rights instruments, European regional standards are of particular importance as Kosovo wants to be fully integrated into Europe. The Article identifies the relevant European and international standards and procedures and finds shortcomings with regard to guarantees on economic, social, and cultural rights, which are an indispensable element of human security.

It then compares the role given to human and minority rights in the Constitutional Framework of Kosovo with the reality of a lack of protection as reflected in the reports of the Ombudsperson. Among the problems identified are also the lack of accountability of UNMIK in view of its immunity and the lack of access to the protection mechanism of the European Convention on Human Rights, although Serbia and Montenegro has ratified the Convention.

The Article further analyzes the role of human and minority rights in the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan ("KSIP"), which aims at a "truly multi-ethnic, stable and democratic Kosovo, which is approaching European standards." Human and minority rights are given a major role in the plan, but the budgetary consequences and the question of human resources do not seem to be properly addressed.

The creation of a "culture of human rights" based on confidence in the rule of law that is needed for the full implementation of the KSIP requires increased efforts of education and training in human rights and minority rights on a wide scale. For this purpose, local institutions that can contribute to these aims, such as human rights centers, need to be strengthened. Furthermore, the responsibilities of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo should be extended to the crucial areas of justice and law enforcement. As the protection of human and minority rights is a key function of any state vis-à-vis its citizens, their strengthening is a way of moving Kosovo closer to statehood.

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