Policy area

Human and minority rights

Sustainable development goals and international commitments

Key international documents in the area of human and minority rights

UN human rights framework:

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – This is a human rights instrument with a clear dimension of social development for persons with disabilities, with the primary focus on the protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

UN Declaration on Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities which stipulates that national strategic documents are to be planned and implemented in line with the interests of persons belonging to any of the above categories .

Council of Europe:

European Convention for the Protection on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms the fundamental legal instrument at the Council of Europe level that protects fundamental rights and freedoms.

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities – the first legally binding multilateral instrument devoted to the protection of national minorities in the Council of Europe area

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – legal instrument that protects and promotes historic and regional languages in Europe.

Council of Minister Recommendations on Roma 5 (2008), 4 (2009), 10 (2006), 17 (2001), 2153 (2017), 1927 (2013).

Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2017-2023 – achieving equality, dignity, and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Other international commitments:

Declaration of Western Balkans Partners on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process – The Governments have committed to continue with and step-up efforts to achieve full equality and social integration for the Roma.

Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area – the need to reinforce the efforts of member states to ensure equal position in society for the Roma.

Human rights in SGD by 2030

SDG 4 – Quality Education – 4.5: By 2030 provide equal access to all levels of education and professional training to persons with disabilities; 4.a: Build and upgrade education facilities adapted to persons with disabilities;

SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth – 8.5: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for persons with disabilities;

SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities – 10.2By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of persons with disabilities;

SDG 11– Sustainable cities and communities – 11.2 & 11.7: By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, as well as green and public spaces to persons with disabilities;

SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions – 16.2. End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children; 16.7. Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels; 16.10. Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements 16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development;

Human rights in the National Sustainable Development Strategy by 2030

The National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) by 2030, as the national implementing instrument for the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030, highlights the problems faced by the persons with disabilities in access to employment, with current legal instrument not being quite effective in addressing the issue, as most relevant concerning the area of human rights. In addition, Roma communities are also affected by inadequate integration in Montenegrin society (primarily in the area of education, employment, health and housing). It also stresses the issues faced by the LGBTIQ community in Montenegro, particularly discrimination, safety, social life and the need to improve both the legislation and the penal policy with a view to their better protection. As regards minority rights, the issues arise at the level of social exclusion for members of minorities and the need for their greater participation in public and political life.

Strategic goal 1.3 Ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Measure 1.3.1– Ensure comprehensive, inclusive and quality pre-primary education SDG 4 (4.2 and 4.a) targets:

  • Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all, SDG 4 (4.a).

Strategic goal 2.1 Promote active approach of key actors to development sustainability

Measure 2.1.3 – Eliminate national and religious discrimination – targets by 2030:

  • Equal opportunities ensured and inequalities of outcomes reduced through elimination of discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promotion of appropriate laws, policies and measures.
  • Increased number of Roma and Egyptian children completing primary education
  • Reduced ethnical distance levels in Montenegro

Measure 2.1.4 – Eliminate the discrimination of LGBT population

  • End all forms of discrimination of the LGBT community
  • Integrate the LGBT community in all areas of social, political, economic and cultural life in Montenegro

Measure 2.1.5 –End discrimination of persons with disabilities

  • Full, active and equitable participation of persons with disabilities in all areas of social life
Political Copenhagen criteria Political criteria are a part of the "Fundamentals first" approach as one of the3 main pillars of the 2015 EU Enlargement Strategy.
EU acquis chapters

Obligations in the EU accession process

An overview of obligations from negotiation chapters

Human and minority rights policy is reflected in the so-called Copenhagen criteria set by the European Council in 1993. The political criteria imply that candidate countries are to demonstrate stable institutions to guarantee democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.

Human and minority rights are covered by the EU Acquis Chapter 23 Judiciary and fundamental rights, as one of the most essential chapters in Montenegro’s negotiation talks with the European Union. Montenegro is focused on achieving European standards in protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, primarily by following through the requirements stemming from interim benchmarks, recommendations of EU expert missions and the actions envisaged by the Action Plan for Chapter 23.

Interim benchmarks for fundamental rights: Going forward, much emphasis will be placed on strengthening judicial and human capacities of state authorities for human rights protection. In addition, full application of the policy framework for improving the situation of LGBTI community, i.e. curbing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, needs to be ensured.

Recommendations stemming from the Action Plan for Chapter 23: the Action Plan focuses on full implementation and observance of the European human rights framework. The primary focus is to build institutional capacities to fight any form of discrimination, where the emphasis is on ending discrimination of LGBTI people. In addition, better protection of persons with disabilities is needed, including relevant advice and continued deinstitutionalisation where possible.  As regards minorities, the recommendations refer to the need to ensure registration for the members of the RAE population, as well as their equal access to economic and social rights and their proportional representation in state bodies. Special attention needs to be devoted to improving the living conditions of the most disadvantaged RAE people.

EC 2019 Montenegro Report Montenegro: The Report takes note of the progress made in developing the institutional human rights framework (Ombudsman and the National Preventive Mechanism), and the overall awareness of international human rights standards.  The European Commission gave a number of recommendations concerning the need to align legislation with the EU human rights standards, particularly in the area of prevention of discrimination against persons with disabilities. Further work on strengthening the implementation of the legislation and institutional capacity for protection of vulnerable groups from discrimination is still needed. The situation of RAE people and the gender-based violence and violence against children remain issues of serious concern in Montenegrin society.

An outline of the EU strategic framework

At the EU level, the greatest legal weight concerning the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms rests with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which concerns the protection of individual, civil, political, economic and social rights at the level of the European Union.

EU Strategic framework

EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 emphasises human rights protection and improvements, building an inclusive and democratic society, as well as the global promotion of human rights and democracy.

European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 aims primarily at increasing accessibility of goods and services, social inclusion, increasing the level of employment and education, social protection and healthcare protection for persons with disabilities.

Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 – some of the key goals of the strategy include: elimination of gender-based violence, ending gender-based differences in the labour market, achieving equal participation in all economic sectors, and in political decision-making, and closing the gender pay and pension gap.

International indicators

Universal Human Rights Index OHCHR

Based on three pillars: UPR, SDGs, HRVGs

Global Freedom Status - Freedom House

Political and civil rights

World Report 2020 - Human Rights Watch

Freedom of assembly, speech, religion, women’s rights, migrants


Index concerning the rights of the LGBTI people in European countries

Disability Inclusion - The World Bank

Analyses different approaches of countries regarding the level of social inclusion for persons with disabilities

European Roma Rights Centre

Discrimination and violence against the Roma

Human and minority rights policy in Montenegro’s strategic framework

In the area of human and minority rights, primary focus is on combating all forms of discrimination, and better inclusion of minority nations, persons with disabilities and the LGBTI population in the public and political life. Particularly important in that respect is the Medium-term Government Work Programme 2018-2020 in the section concerning the need to put in place an appropriate strategic framework to prevent the discrimination of LGBTI individuals, as well as to improve equal opportunities policy and respect for diversity. The emphasis is also on reducing the overall level of discrimination and increasing the number proceedings instigated on the grounds of discrimination against persons with disabilities. The aim is to reduce discrimination against persons with disabilities by 2%, and the number of proceedings by 10% by 2020. The need to ensure greater inclusion of minority nations (Roma and Egyptians) into public and political life is also stressed. It is central to raise awareness among RAE themselves of the importance of being included in the public and political life (+20% compared to 2017), the harmful consequences and prevention of child marriages and of pertinent provisions (+20% compared to 2017), and the need to step up prevention and curb begging (+15% compared to 2017)

In Montenegro’s legal framework, apart from strategy papers, fundamental rights and freedoms are also governed by the Antidiscrimination Law, the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, the Law on Minority Rights and Freedoms, the Criminal Code, and in particular the Law on Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms creating an additional mechanism for protection against all forms of discrimination. Pertinent strategies primarily focus on fight against all forms of discrimination based on national or religious background, sex or gender, disability, sexual orientation, social or marital status. Particular significance is attached to increased participation of all minority groups in the public and political life, representation in state institutions, increased employment and equal opportunities in education, particularly for Roma and Egyptians. The need to further build the legislative framework was also identified, particularly concerning the adoption of the Law on Life Partnership, as well as the need to amend legislative framework concerning the alignment with the Law Prohibiting Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities. Healthcare and social protection are critical for overall public policy, given that minority groups are the most disadvantaged groups in society. To that effect, measures to reinforce social protection and healthcare are applied in continuity, primarily through provision of social assistance and construction of housing units, as well as by implementing preventative measures and campaigns to raise awareness of the significance of proper and timely healthcare.

The main challenges to shape future policies include: the adoption of the Law on Same-Sex Life Partnerships (primarily governing the union of two persons of the same sex, its emergence and cessation, and actions of relevant authorities in reference to commencement and cessation of life partnership); attaining the international commitments particularly in reference to equality and integration of Roma and Egyptians, amendments to the existing legal framework (particularly the amendments to the Media Law to ban hate speech against persons with disabilities, the Consumer Protection Law to extend protection against discriminatory advertising to persons with disabilities, as well as the Criminal Code to ensure protection of dignity of persons with disabilities),  to align with the Law Prohibiting Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities.

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