December 10th – Human Rights Day 10 December 2013
Today marks 65 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights adopted in 1948 and 20 years since the post High Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN was established. Today’s statement of the UN calls for putting joint effort in fulfilling the collective responsibility for promotion and protection of the rights and dignity of all people around the world. In the Republic of Macedonia, despite the established norms and bodies for providing full enjoyment of human rights, the problem of their incomplete realization i.e. ineffective protection still lingers. Today we would like to emphasize three areas in which there are aggravating problems with human rights.
1. Right to expression and freedom of the press
Instead of promotion and protection of the right to expression and freedom of the press, the state through means of political and financial pressure continues to interfere in the editorial policy of a large number of media. Besides the editorial censorship, the journalists are faced with self-censorship due to the increased fear from slander and defamation lawsuits by the political officials. This situation inevitably leads to lowering of professional standards and biased reporting to the citizens. In 2013 a major concern has been the arrest of journalists tried for journalistic texts.
2. Judicial Protection
Although in the last few years extensive judiciary reforms were implemented, that still did not lead to gaining the trust of the citizens. The independence and impartiality of the judges is not secured and the suspicions of political influence stem from the manner in which the judges were appointed and promoted, the large number of trials behind closed doors and the failure to protect the presumption of innocence which is often violated by the executive power.
Discrimination based on race, political affiliation and sexual orientation is widespread and there are no effective mechanisms for its prevention. The Roma are discriminated in almost all aspect of social life and in the last few years they are denied their basic human right to movement and leaving the country. Employment and promotion in state and public administration depend on the political affiliation of the candidates, and the LGBT community is faced with administrative and judicial barriers in the realization of their basic rights, but also with physical violence that is not investigated and therefore the perpetrators remain unknown and unpunished.