IHF Statement about Intimidation Against the Macedonian Helsinki

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Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 18:56:35 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: IHF Statement about Intimidation Against the Macedonian Helsinki 

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

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

IHF Statement about Intimidation Against the Macedonian
Helsinki Committee

Helsinki Committee in Macedonia Under Pressure from Interior Ministry,
Media, Church

"Human Rights Are Vanishing In the Air."

Vienna, 16 January 2002.  The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of
the Republic of Macedonia is being demonized by government bodies, by
the state-controlled media, and by the Orthodox church. The president
of the Helsinki Committee, Mirjana Najcevska, has been threatened with
arrest as punishment for the Committee's efforts to hold the
government accountable for fulfilling its human rights obligations.

Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski has referred to her as "state enemy
number 1," "anti-Macedonian" and an "attorney for the Albanians", when
he spoke in front of the daily newspaper Vecer, and on A1 and Sitel
television immediately after the New Year. After that other media
referred to these statements. These reactions are evidently based on
the Minister having received a leaked draft of the Helsinki
Committee's Annual Report, and the IHF has received information that a
campaign against the Helsinki Committee has been discussed in the
National Security Council of the government. The government's attacks
have been amplified in the state-controlled media.

Some days later the Macedonian Orthodox Church publicly criticized the
Helsinki Committee for its condemnation of the mono-ethnic composition
and mono-religious services among the newly formed special forces of
army and police ('Lions' and 'Tigers').

The husband of Ms. Najcevska, Sasko Todorovski, has been removed from
his position as Macedonia's Acting Permanent Representative of
Macedonia to the Council of Europe. Mr. Todorovski is also a member of
the board of the Helsinki Committee.

According to Ms. Najcevska, the campaign against the Committee "proves
that democracy in Macedonia is falling apart and human rights and
freedoms are vanishing in the air."

The IHF is appealing to delegations of the OSCE (Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe) for assistance in stopping this
effort to intimidate civil society groups seeking human rights and
justice in Macedonia.

"We are deeply concerned. We can not and will not tolerate efforts to
silence our colleagues who are fulfilling their obligations to uphold
the Helsinki human rights standards, and their obligation to report to
the International Helsinki Federation on violations of those
standards," stated Aaron Rhodes, IHF Executive Director.

For further information: International Helsinki Federation for Human
Aaron Rhodes, Executive Director, Tel- +43-1-408 88 22 or +43-676-635
66 12,
or Henriette SchrĂder, Press Officer, +43-676-725 48 29

Joachim Frank, Project Coordinator
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
Wickenburggasse 14/7
A-1080 Vienna
Tel. +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 22
Fax: +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 50
Web: http://www.ihf-hr.org

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