Corner Press release

International Human Rights Day 09 December 2016

Under the slogan "Stand Up For Someone’s Rights Today”, tomorrow, December 10th, United Nations member states mark the International Human Rights Day. In his address to the nations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “All of us can – and must – act in our daily lives to advance the human rights of the people around us”.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein pointed out the following: “When someone is abused and afraid, we can step forward to help safeguard her rights, when a vulnerable person is bullied, we can step in. Wherever there is discrimination and exploitation, we can speak up and let it be known we oppose this and seek to stop it”.

As a consequence of the prolonged political crisis, during 2016, a further setback for the promotion and protection of human rights has been noted in the Republic of Macedonia. The disappearance of the distinction between the state and the political party resulted in a "captured state" in which the ruling parties abused state institutions in order to achieve their own interests. In the struggle to stay in power, the political parties have used a vocabulary filled with insults, slander, hatred, discrimination, and chauvinism.

Rather than acting as protectors of civil rights and freedoms, supervisory and regulatory bodies were completely subservient to political elites. Judicial authorities continued practicing selective justice. The judiciary consciously obstructed the detection and punishment of those responsible for the unscrupulous violation of privacy of thousands of citizens through illegal wiretapping.

Most common victims of retrograde policies in the field of human rights are marginalized communities, especially Roma women, children, and youth, LGBT people, and refugees. The divisions on the basis of political party, ethnicity and religion caused further erosion of the social dialogue. The trend of (self-) censorship among journalists and the media continues. The transmission of information is biased and often contains the symbols of propaganda.

The Helsinki Committee calls for solidarity between all citizens and rejection of manipulation aimed at hatred and divisions. Every citizen, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, or political persuasion, can and should defend their own right as well as other people's rights.

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