Helsinki Committee of Macedonia: Relationship between the Security and Human Rights Situations


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Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 05:52:13 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: Helsinki Committee of Macedonia: Relationship between the Security and Human Rights Situations

From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: Joachim Frank <frank@ihf-hr.org>

Helsinki Committee of Macedonia: Relationship between the
Security and Human Rights Situations


What is the Relationship between the Security and Human Rights
Situations in Macedonia?
 
Answers by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of
Macedonia
 
Skopje and Vienna, 20 March 2001
 
In what ways does this violence reflect on political rights issues or
problems in Macedonia?
 
The terrorist groups' violence both negatively influences the
political dialogue (there are, already, visible changes in the
wordings of the statements of the representatives of the ethnic
Albanian and Macedonian political parties) and makes possible more
room for manipulation of the citizens along ethnic lines.
 
What is your analysis of the reported demands of the fighters,
regarding rights issues?
 
The so called "demands" are, in fact, platform orientations of all the
ethnic Albanian political parties and statements of their leaders.
Wrongly or rightly, especially in the last period, they were discussed
by the political parties of the coalition in power, but in a rather
non-transparent way. It would have been much better if these issues
had been discussed publicly, involving the competent NGOs in a
democratic and open way. These discussions should start from the
point, that the "interests and needs" are taken into focus, as a
result of which a lot of disinformation used to support those
"demands" could be clarified. For instance, the statements of Mrs.
Mukereme Rusi and Mr. Milaim Fejziu include factual errors (for
example in relation with and comparing the "better" position of the
ethnic Albanians in the ex-SFR of Yugoslavia to the worsening of their
position in Macedonia after the Yugoslav dissolution).
 
How would you characterize the behavior of authorities regarding
non-Macedonian citizens of the country in recent years?
 
On the highest political level there were some "deals" that created an
illusion of resolving interethnic tensions. The vast number of these
deals were, actually, of personal benefit for the representatives of
the DPA (Mr. Arben Dzaferi's party). Yet, some believe that it created
a sort of positive reflection on the overall state structure.
The least progress was achieved in the area of police behaviour and
police treatment of suspects and persons belonging to the Albanian and
Roma minorities accused for crimes. Cases of torture, maltreatment and
other inappropriate police behaviour are frequent, drastic and they
are not sanctioned.
There are no real movements toward creating a more "minority friendly"
administration and there is no strategy concerning adequate training
of the personnel that is in immediate contact with or have any sort of
influence in this area (police, courts, social workers, teachers,
medical staff, desk-administration).
 
What does any available opinion research say about how Albanians see
their rights and possibilities as citizens? Do they consider that they
suffer from discrimination?
 
According to the research of the Institute for Sociological, Political
and Juridical Research, more than 60% of the interviewed ethnic
Albanians state that they feel they are discriminated against. They
cannot locate exactly the areas of discrimination, but the existence
of those feelings is beyond doubt. Research has also shown that the
ethnic Albanians identify themselves only to a very low extent with
Macedonia, while the percentage identifying themselves with Kosovo is
much higher. Sixteen percent were found to feel insecure in Macedonia.
 
How do you evaluate the efforts of the current government with regard
to eradicating discrimination, ensuring equal treatment under the law,
and generally promoting equality and punishing discrimination?
 
There is no single segment of the public life where a strategy is
implemented in order to enable complex, meaningful and continuing
activities be undertaken to this end. Everything is a matter of daily,
political bargain.
 
What is the record of the judiciary with regard to protecting equally
all members of the society?

The general weaknesses of the judiciary (problematic independence, in
fact acting in accordance with the procedures established by the
previous, socialist system, lack of significant elements like court
police etc.) reflect themselves negatively especially on the persons
belonging to the Albanian and Roma minorities.
 
Why is this problem happening now? It seems that some years ago, there
was open dissatisfaction on the part of Albanians.
 
Outside reasons:
- armed groups (of terrorists) pushed out from Kosovo or the Preshevo
Valley
- discrete but very probable activities of the "Serbian Factor" in
order to force an alliance between Macedonia and FRY
- globalisation of the "Albanian question" in order to create better
negotiation position concerning (independence of) Kosovo.
Inside reasons:
- lack of real dialogue and genuine efforts to solving step-by-step
and steadily the interethnic problems
- fights for power (between the ethnic Albanian political parties and
between the inside fractions of theirs)
- strong presence of the "Kosovo factor" (professors and other
intellectuals from Kosovo involved both in education and governmental
structures).
 
For more information:
 
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia, 
Mirjana Najcevska, Tel. +389-2-119 073
 
__________________________________________
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
Wickenburggasse 14/7
A-1080 Vienna
Tel. +43-1-408 88 22
Fax: +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 50
Web: http://www.ihf-hr.org
______________________________________

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