Macedonia: Fear and hope

Republic of Macedonia is a country of political prisoners, a country in which widespread fear dominates as a result of continuous structural violence, discrimination and violation of human rights and freedoms, suffocation of the freedom of expression and captivated media and institutions.  The right to vote has been severely manipulated in a series of eight election processes for nine years, elections which were not free, fair nor democratic.

The Republic of Macedonia welcomes December 10, International Human Rights Day, with this type of diagnosis.

Discriminations on the grounds of political affiliation, ethnic or religious affiliation, gender, social status and sexual orientation are a daily practice, and are deeply rooted in the institutions of the state and of the local authorities, in their policies and practices.

The freedom of speech and the media are almost non-existent, having in consideration the various forms of political pressure, corruption, censorship or self-censorship for years.

The reports on human rights violations are piling.  The citizens of Republic of Macedonia face discrimination and violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms practically everywhere – at work or from employment policies, in the judiciary and police, education, health and in the distribution of social welfare.

The political affiliation determines the majority of people’s lives, whereas, the ethnic or religious background only adds to this situation.

The gap between the rich and poor is widening, while the mechanisms for fighting poverty have been replaced with mechanisms that allow the rich to become even richer.

Fear is widespread. People do not dare to speak, afraid they might lose their job or not get the job, they are under the threat that they will lose their rights to social and public services, and they have been intimidated in many other ways as well, subtle or ruthless, open and direct or covert and insidious. In the meanwhile, the government has been building monuments of the divisions and has been driving up the debts of the country.

Exactly one year ago, CIVIL – Center for Freedom marked this day with the support of the student protests against the disastrous education reforms and bad policies of the government. Then came the “bombs” of the opposition, which were a bitter confirmation of all the findings, and even more than that, they were a grim testimony of the abuses and insane exercise of power. Then followed more protests, a security crisis, negotiations….

It was the spring of democratic changes in Republic of Macedonia, the beginning of a difficult process in which all were concerned, without exception.

From the previous 10-th of December until today, a hope for better times was born in Macedonia, when the citizens will return their sovereignty, their rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, laws and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris on December 10, 1948. The Declaration emerged from the dark experience of World War II and the need to protect fundamental human rights. The first article of the Declaration, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, guarantees the rights and freedoms of every person on this planet. Everyone acquires all the rights described in the Declaration from birth.

CIVIL – Center for Freedom marks Human Rights Day each year with events that clearly describe the situation of human rights and freedoms in Republic of Macedonia and the world, and calls for action and involvement of all citizens in the defense of human rights and freedoms, in the spirit of solidarity and respect.

On that occasion, tomorrow CIVIL will be organizing a public event under the motto “Free elections for free citizens” within the framework of the Voting rights days.

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