Corner Press release

The International Human Rights Day 10 December 2015

Today all United Nations Member States observe the International Human Rights Day, with the motto “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.”, with the aim to improve and raise awareness of the two fundamental treatises on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, which in 2016 mark their 50th birthday. 

The Republic of Macedonia, a United Nations Member State, has ratified these two international document, whereby they became part of our legal system. 

Although this implies that the state is obliged to warrant and respect the rights and freedoms stipulated by these documents, the Republic of Macedonia does just the opposite, and still restricts even basic rights and freedoms, at the same time failing to provide efficient mechanisms for their protection. 

In 2015 we witnessed absolute abuse of the state system, aimed at solidifying the authority of the coalition in power. This was done against the will and the needs of the citizens, who got totally lost in the partisan-political discourse, and lost whatever little trust in the institutions they had. Starting with the mass wiretapping of the citizens' communications, excessive use of force by the Police on the protest of 5th of May, then limiting the right to organize protest in front of the institutions, especially in front of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, restrictions of freedom of expression, the all-pervading discrimination infesting the entire society and especially directed toward the marginalized communities and the refugees, we may conclude that in 2015 all cornerstones upon which democratic system and democratic society are to be built were knocked down.  

The Government remains the dominant financial supporter of most of the national TV stations, which greatly influences freedom of expression and freedom of information, especially due to the state's influence on the media's editorial policies. The lack of independence of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services, as well as the wiretapping to which journalist were subjected, then the fact that some of them were arrested (the Kezarovski case), and the harassment and use of force against jounalists, represent especially fertile ground for appearance of self-censorship. 

A special mark on entertaining the right to free public gathering will be left by the protest held on the 5th of May, in front of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. At that occasion, the Police exercised excessive force against the demonstrators, arrested more than 40 person, and thus succeeded to install fear into the citizens. Furthermore, some of the arrested persons, among whom were also representatives of the Students' Plenum, were put into detention and later convicted, on the basis of their confession that they had participated in a mob and had prevented officials to perform official duties. The fact that to this day there is no information whether the Public Prosecution Office initiated any official procedure against the obvious excessive use of force by the Police, proves that the system for protection of the citizens and their rights does not function for their benefit.  

Therefore, today we commemorate the human rights day emphasizing the need for thorough departization of the institutions and their return to the citizens, for whose benefit they were constituted in the first place, in order to facilitate their legal security as well as to protect their freedoms and right.  

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