Aug 24

Mapping study of Turkey and the Western Balkans

The purpose of this contract was to prepare a study on discrimination and on the anti-discrimination legislation, stakeholders and policies in Turkey and the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) in the context of the two EU anti-discrimination directives.


The overall aim of this study was to obtain a description of the situation in the countries involved in relation to their actual policy (or lack thereof) with regard to non-discrimination, to provide an inventory of the groups affected by discrimination on the national level, to identify the role and impact of key stakeholders on the promotion of equality and protection against discrimination, and to explore the cross-cutting issue of identifying and describing good practices throughout Turkey and the Western Balkans.


The project comprised desk research and interviews as well as national feedback meetings, organised in order to present the findings of the research done at the national level to the relevant stakeholders, and allowing participants the opportunity to discuss and comment on the desk research prior to its finalisation.

Our team consisted of a coordinator, two international experts and country researchers with each researcher covering one country.

Interviews were carried out by each of the national researchers in their respective countries. Based on desk reports and the results from interviews, the country researchers drafted reports on legislation, policy and major stakeholders in their respective country in the field of anti-discrimination.

The reports were then presented and discussed in national feedback meetings with the most relevant national stakeholders (such as NGOs, social partners, trade unions, international organisations, equality bodies, national, regional and local government experts and EU delegations).

The purpose of these meetings was to:

  • verify and complete the national information obtained previously through interview with the stakeholders or through research;
  • provide for additional analytical views of stakeholders; and
  • generate a sense of ownership of the findings at the national level and possible recommendations

Information from these feedback meetings was incorporated into the reports.

Based on the country reports, a synthesis report was drafted by the international experts.

Report(s) / events

Synthesis report

The synthesis report mapped out the legal, institutional and policy framework for anti-discrimination in the target countries by introducing both the European context and the relevant historic and socio-economic context in the region (including the composition of society). In addition, it presented the national legal situation and reported and analysed the perceptions and reactions to discrimination and diversity issues. It then mapped an inventory of discrimination (for each ground of discrimination), covering policies and initiatives, and identified and analysed key non-state actors and administrative and institutional structures.

Main findings

Anti-discrimination is a relatively new issue in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

Governments are still in the process of establishing the necessary mechanisms for implementation.

In contrast to EU-wide trends, the most discriminated against ground is political opinion and sexual orientation, closely followed by ethnic origin. Sex, religion, disability and age are also common grounds of discrimination. Generally speaking, there is a lack of proper awareness among the general public (potential victims) and the judiciary or administrative bodies regarding the issue of discrimination.

The lack of baseline data severely impedes the measurement of change. Given the relatively short time span of national plans and strategies, to date profound societal change could not have realistically been expected to have taken place in the region. Comprehensive strategies adopted in a few countries, initiatives aimed at ensuring cross-sectoral cooperation, as well as the generally more visible impact of strategies relating to people with disabilities, are noteworthy achievements. Good practice collected from the region is varied, depending on the protected grounds, the fields of discrimination and the stakeholders engaged. NGOs working with vulnerable groups are key stakeholders in bringing about societal change.

In the majority of the countries covered by this study, several specialised bodies work on different grounds, with diverse activities and mandates. The funds and staff allocated to these bodies remain insufficient and in some instances their independence is questioned. However, positive examples also exist of cooperation with specialised bodies and between ombudsmen, ministries, municipalities and specialised bodies. Specialised bodies play a key role in raising the awareness of state non-discrimination bodies, as well as in reaching out to and assisting victims of discrimination in seeking justice.



Mapping anti-discrimination legal, institutional and policy framework in Turkey and the Western Balkans (2010 - 2011)

In partnership with the Migration Policy Group (MPG)

Croatia, Macedonia (FYR), Serbia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro

Related publications

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