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Albanians in Montenegro

  • Profile

    Albanians speak Albanian and are mainly Muslim; they numbered 31,163 in the 2003 census. They are concentrated in southern Montenegro, near the border with Albania, particularly in Ulcinj, Tuzi and Plav, where they are the majority,.

    Historical context

    Ethnic Albanians have traditionally lived in Montenegro.  Even as the Serbian-controlled federal government launched its crackdown on Kosovo Albanians in 1998, the anti-Milosevic Montenegrin government was able to avoid a break-down of relations with the Republic’s Albanian community.  Montenegro took in a large share of the Albanian refugees expelled by Serb forces from Kosovo in 1998-1999, but most of these refugees promptly returned after NATO forces expelled the Yugoslav army from Kosovo.  By law, five seats in the National Assembly are set aside for ethnic Albanians, a provision that does not exist for other minorities in Montenegro.

    Current issues

    Albanians remain under-represented in public-sector employment, face some exclusion from economic life, and everyday indirect discrimination. Whilst there is education in the Albanian language is available at the primary and secondary level, and in some courses at the University of Podgorica, there are too few qualified teachers.  Albanian community representatives also complain that even where classes are taught in Albanian, Albanian history and culture are not included in curricula.

    Updated June 2015

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