Fear is widespread

Human Rights Day 2013, Republic of Macedonia 

The human rights situation in the Republic of Macedonia is deteriorating. Dozens of political prisoners, including two journalists, are detained, standing trial or serving prison sentences.

Discrimination upon political affiliation, ethnic and religious background, gender, social status, and sexual orientation are a daily routine and are deeply rooted in institutions of the state and local authorities, their policies and practices.

Freedom of speech and media are close to nonexistent, provided that various forms of state censorship or self-censorship by journalists are ongoing for a number of years now.

Reports on human rights violations mount. Citizens of the Republic of Macedonia face discrimination and violation of their fundamental rights and freedoms practically everywhere – at work and within employment policies and regulations, judiciary and police, education, health, and distribution of social assistance.

Political party affiliation determines most of people’s lives, and ethnic or religious background only adds to this situation.

The gap between the poor and the rich is widening, and mechanisms to stop that are replaced by those that only secure the rich to become richer.

Fear is widespread. People do not dare to speak out, being afraid for losing their jobs or not getting one, being threatened to lose rights to social or communal services, being intimidated in many other ways, including the threat of imprisonment. Meanwhile, the government continues with building divisive monuments and baroque buildings, and cutting deals with investors in entirely nontransparent and controversial manners.

Political culture is underdeveloped and civic awareness is still at a very low level, therefore the voice of freedom is almost nonexistent. Still a long way to go.

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