Serbia’s Passivization Policy Towards the Albanian Minority: How Southern Serbia is Being Turned Ethnically Serbian

by Flora Ferati-Sachsenmaier

Working Papers WP 23-01
September 2023

ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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In this paper, I investigate Serbia’s application of the Law on Permanent Residence and Temporary Residence, which provides the legal basis to regulate the status of residence for the citizens of Serbia. Drawing on extensive field work in southern Serbia, I show that Serbian authorities have misused the Law of Residence to target predominantly Albanian-populated areas for a selective and mass suspension of permanent addresses. Known also as the policy of “passivization of addresses”, this administrative measure has had major repercussions for the basic civic and political rights of thousands of members of the Albanian minority in Serbia. Based on rich primary data that I gathered in three municipalities, I show how passivization has lowered the number of the Albanian voters over the years, thereby greatly undermining their political representation at the local levels, and effectively jeopardized their access to social, economic, and healthcare services in the country. Furthermore, I argue that while passivization of permanent addresses has been taking place elsewhere in Serbia, the pattern of passivization leading to statelessness can be found only among the Albanian minority in southern Serbia.


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