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TITLE:  FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA HUMAN RIGHTS 
PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









             FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA


The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which became 
independent following the breakup of Yugoslavia, is a 
parliamentary democracy.  President Kiro Gligorov, elected by 
Parliament in 1990, was directly reelected in October.  In 
multiparty parliamentary elections, which international 
monitors judged generally free and fair despite numerous 
procedural irregularities, the Social Democratic Alliance of 
Macedonia, the former Communist party, emerged with a clear 
majority.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs oversees the security 
apparatus, including uniformed police, border police, and the 
state intelligence service.  A civilian minister directs the 
Ministry, and a parliamentary commission oversees operations.

Historically, FYROM was the poorest of the Yugoslav republics, 
and its economy was closely tied to the other republics, 
especially Serbia.  Conflict in the region and international 
sanctions imposed on Serbia-Montenegro have led to severe 
economic difficulties.  In February Greece imposed a trade 
embargo on FYROM in a dispute over the country's name, flag, 
and constitution, which contributed to a sharp drop in gross 
domestic product.  Official unemployment is about a third of 
the work force.  Major exports are manufactured goods and 
machinery and transport equipment.

The human rights situation in the FYROM is impaired by delay in 
the enactment of legislation to provide mechanisms for 
implementing the rule of law and protection of human rights 
provided for in the Constitution.  Police occasionally abuse 
detainees and reportedly harass the political opposition.  They 
also do not abide strictly by constitutional provisions 
regarding arraignment of the accused, the maximum period of 
pretrial detention, and the accused's right to counsel at the 
time of arrest.

Minorities, including ethnic Albanians, Turks, and Serbs, have 
raised various allegations of human rights violations and 
discrimination.  Ethnic Macedonians occupy preeminent positions 
in state institutions, including state-owned companies.  Ethnic 
Albanians continue to demand increased Albanian-language 
education, greater representation in public sector jobs, and 
improved access to the media.  The Government has agreed in 
principle to many of these demands but has done little, citing 
resource constraints as the reason.

Ethnic Albanians dispute unofficial 1994 census figures that 
credit them with 22.9 percent of the population, and claim to 
constitute up to 40 percent of the population.  Nevertheless, 
the 1994 census, carried out with the assistance of the Council 
of Europe, was generally pronounced to have been satisfactory 
by European experts who monitored it.

Underlying ethnic tension did not produce any major clashes 
during 1994.  Tensions flared temporarily when a fight between 
groups of Macedonians and ethnic Albanians resulted in the 
death of a Macedonian youth.  It appeared, however, that the 
fight was not ethnically motivated but rather a clash between 
two gangs known to the police.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial 
killings.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reported disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits such treatment and punishment.  
However, police occasionally used excessive force against 
criminal suspects following their arrest.  In April Jove 
Bojkovski was reportedly fired at and severely wounded while in 
police custody.  He also alleges that he was severely 
mistreated during his 4 days of detention.  Police state that 
he was in custody during the alleged period but that the 
gunshot wound was self-inflicted.

Of 10 ethnic Albanians charged with conspiracy in the so-called 
Albanian Paramilitary affair, 9 alleged mistreatment by the 
police over a period of 3 days.  Their complaints were 
consistent and credible (see Section 1.e.).  The Government 
rejected the allegations and took no action against the police 
in this case.

Government sources stated that allegations of excessive force 
during the first 9 months of 1994 resulted in the conviction of 
four policemen on criminal charges and the punishment of two by 
administrative means.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

There were no confirmed reports of arbitrary arrest or 
detention, although opposition political parties have alleged 
police harassment of their members.  There is no systematic use 
of detention as a form of nonjudicial punishment.  
Incommunicado detention is not practiced.

The Constitution states that a person must be arraigned in 
court within 24 hours of arrest, but police do not always meet 
this deadline for filing charges.  The Constitution also sets 
the maximum duration of detention pending trial at 90 days. 
However, prisoners in the Albanian Paramilitary case, accused 
of fomenting an armed uprising against the Government, were 
held for almost 7 months before their trial began in May.

The accused must be informed of his or her legal rights and the 
reasons for arrest or detention.  The accused is entitled to 
contact a lawyer at the time of arrest and to have a lawyer 
present during police and court proceedings.  The police 
ignored this provision in their initial interrogations of those 
accused in the Albanian Paramilitary case.  The prisoners 
claimed they were held incommunicado and mistreated for 3 days 
before being formally charged and sent to a pretrial detention 
facility.  According to human rights observers and criminal 
defense attorneys, police often violate the 24-hour requirement 
and deny immediate access to an attorney.

Although the law requires judicial warrants for arrests, police 
sometimes ignore this provision, and judges issue the warrant 
only some time after the arrest has taken place.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Constitutionally, the courts are autonomous and independent.  
Municipal and district courts and the Supreme Court form a 
three-tier court system.  A Constitutional Court deals with 
matters of constitutional interpretation.  Political 
considerations do not appear to influence most trials, but 
there was one major exception during the year.

The Albanian Paramilitary case, which was tried in Skopje in 
May and June, was at least in part politically motivated.  The 
prosecution presented substantial evidence that most, if not 
all, of the 10 defendants had committed firearms and hard 
currency trading offenses.  However, there was some indication 
that the arrests and prosecution of a Deputy Minister of 
Defense and a former secretary general of the National 
Democratic Party (PDP), a party representing ethnic Albanians, 
may have taken place as a result of political intrigue 
involving the Government and the PDP, apparently maneuvering 
over jobs.

The prisoners were held for almost 7 months before the trial.  
During the trial, defense attorneys were not permitted to call 
several witnesses for the defense or to have independent 
experts examine the evidence.  The court allowed confessions 
alleged by the defendants to have been coerced to be admitted 
into evidence.  The defendants claimed that they were acting 
purely in self-defense against the Yugoslav army, and that they 
had ceased their activities when FYROM's own army was formed 
over 2 years ago.  The defendants were convicted on all counts 
and sentenced to terms ranging from 5 to 8 years.  The case is 
now on appeal.

There is a widespread credible perception that bribery is not 
uncommon in the courts in FYROM.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The Constitution provides for the right to privacy of person, 
home, and correspondence.  Although no instances of abuses were 
substantiated, officials of the rightwing opposition Internal 
Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) charged that the 
state security service tapped their telephones

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and public 
information, as well as freedom to establish private media 
outlets, and forbids censorship.  The Government generally 
respected these freedoms.

There are daily newspapers in Skopje, the capital, and in other 
cities, as well as numerous political and other publications.  
An Albanian and a Turkish newspaper, which the Government 
subsidizes, have nationwide distribution.  The bulk of 
newspapers and magazines published in the country are 
government owned and government oriented.

Opposition parties made alleged government control and 
manipulation of the media a major theme of their October 
election campaigns.  The state-owned media reported such 
charges and in general did a creditable job of covering the 
rallies, statements, and press conferences of all the major 
parties running in the elections.  The overall balance of 
coverage, however, was in favor of the Government.

The Government owns the only modern, high-speed printing plant 
in the country, as well as most newspaper kiosks.  Opposition 
groups complain that the company charges high prices for the 
services of the printing plant.

Newspapers may be imported from Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, and 
Greece only with the permission of the Ministry of Internal 
Affairs.

Ethnic Albanians complain that there are not enough Albanian-
language media outlets.  The Government provided funds to make 
the state-owned Albanian-language newspaper, Flaka, a daily 
rather than a thrice weekly publication.  The Government has 
also agreed in principle to increase the minimum amount of 
broadcast time in the Albanian language on state television
(5 hours weekly).

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for these rights, and the Government 
respects them.  Organizers of large assemblies must notify 
police in advance, but permits are usually granted.  Dozens of 
opposition rallies occurred during the election campaign with 
no major incidents, as did a large antigovernment demonstration 
to protest alleged election fraud in October.  The opposition 
held mock protest balloting to mark their boycott of the second 
round of elections October 30; these rallies were also peaceful.

The Political Party Registration Law requires political parties 
and nongovernmental organizations to register with the Internal 
Affairs Ministry.  About 70 political parties are registered, 
including ethnically based parties of Albanians, Turks, Serbs, 
and Roma.  After a split in the largest Albanian party in 
February, the Ministry denied registration to the "radical" 
faction of the party under the party's original name, ruling 
that the name belonged to the original faction of the party.  
Candidates of the "radical" faction ran as independents in the 
October elections.  Later in the year, many political parties 
experienced technical difficulties in reregistering, but there 
was no indication that this was politically motivated.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Government does not generally interfere with the practice 
of religion.  However, the refusal of the Serbian Orthodox 
Church in Serbia-Montenegro to recognize the independence of 
the Macedonian Orthodox Church has led to difficulties for 
Serbs in FYROM to worship in their own church.  On a number of 
occasions, the Government has refused Serbian Orthodox priests 
permission to enter the country, and one priest was arrested 
for "fomenting ethnic hatred" and forbidden to practice as a 
priest for 1 year.

While only the Macedonian Orthodox Church is mentioned by name 
in the Constitution referring to the freedom of religion, it 
does not enjoy a special status.  However, members of other 
religious communities credibly charge that the Government 
actions on its behalf reflect its favored position in the 
country.

All churches and religious communities may establish religious 
schools and social and philanthropic organizations, but no 
religious schooling is provided for in the law.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Citizens are permitted free movement within the country as well 
as the right to leave and return.  The Government may restrict 
these rights for security, public health, and safety reasons 
but fully respects them in practice.  The law on citizenship is 
highly restrictive.  It requires 15 years of residence, thus 
denying citizenship to some citizens of the former Yugoslavia 
who lived legally in FYROM at the time of independence.  Ethnic 
Albanians are especially affected by this law.  When the last 
old Yugoslav passports expired in 1994, those without 
citizenship were left without travel documents.

Ethnic Albanian political leaders also charge that Ministry of 
Internal Affairs officials responsible for making decisions 
about citizenship discriminate against ethnic Albanian 
applicants.  These officials appear to be more exacting in 
their documentary requirements, fail to act on applications 
expeditiously, and reportedly demand bribes in return for a 
favorable decision.

While FYROM accepted a number of refugees from Croatia and 
Bosnia at the start of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, 
it restricted entry of additional refugees in 1992 and now 
accepts only citizens and other former residents of FYROM for 
repatriation.  The Government is concerned about the 
possibility of a flood of refugees from neighboring Kosovo in 
the event of violence there, a possibility that many fear would 
upset the ethnic balance in FYROM and be a disastrous blow to 
its economy.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens directly elected a President for the first time in 
October, and at the same time chose a new Parliament in the 
second multiparty elections in the country's postwar history, 
the first since independence.  Opposition groups charged the 
Government with massive fraud and announced a boycott of the 
second round.  International monitors, under the auspices of 
the Council of Europe and the Conference on Security and 
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), judged the elections generally 
free and fair despite widespread irregularities attributed to 
careless organization.

Ethnic minorities, including Albanians, Turks, Serbs, and Roma, 
have political parties to represent their interests.  
Minorities complained that the political structures were biased 
against them:  Albanians credibly claimed that Albanian-
majority districts had far more voters than Macedonian ones, 
thus violating the "one-person, one-vote" principle.  The 
ethnic Turkish and Serbian communities were disappointed 
because the previous Parliament had failed to pass a new 
election law providing for 20 seats to be elected by 
proportional representation, thus depriving their dispersed 
members from electing a candidate on an ethnic basis.  Ethnic 
Albanians complained that discrimination against them in 
citizenship decisions effectively disfranchised a large portion 
of their community (see Section 2.d.).

The unicameral Parliament of 120 members, elected for a 4-year 
term, governs the country.  The Prime Minister is selected by 
the party or coalition that can produce a majority in 
Parliament and is formally appointed by the President, who is 
Head of State and commander in chief of the armed forces. 
Government ministers may not be members of Parliament 
(M.P.'s).  Following an opposition boycott, the three-party 
ruling coalition, the Alliance for Macedonia, took 95 of the 
120 parliamentary seats.  The Alliance formed a Government that 
also includes ministers from the ethnic Albanian PDP.

There are no formal restrictions on the participation of women 
in politics and government.  There are 2 female ministers (out 
of 19) and 4 female M.P.'s (out of 120).

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Human rights groups and ethnic community representatives meet 
freely with foreign representatives without government 
interference.  Human rights groups that exist in the FYROM are 
conspicuous by the low level of their activity.  There is no 
indication that this is the result of government hindrance of 
the groups.  The Forum for Human Rights, a nongovernmental 
human rights group, operates freely.  The Government does not 
oppose visits or investigations by international human rights 
groups.  The mediator on ethnic issues of the International 
Conference on the Former Yugoslavia has visited the country 
frequently to discuss various issues with representatives of 
minority groups and with the Government.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizens 
regardless of sex, race, color of skin, national and social 
origin, political and religious beliefs, property, and social 
status.

     Women

Women have the same legal rights as men.  Although Macedonian 
society, in both the Muslim and Christian communities, remains 
traditionally patriarchal and advancement of women into 
nontraditional roles is limited, some professional women have 
achieved prominence.  Women's advocacy groups include the Union 
of Macedonian Women and the League of Albanian Women in 
Macedonia.

A crisis hot line for women was established in Skopje during 
1994.

     Children

Limited resources constrain FYROM's strong commitment to the 
rights and welfare of its children.  There is no pattern of 
societal abuse against children.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

A variety of national/ethnic groups, mainly Macedonians, 
Albanians, Turks, Roma, Serbs, and Vlachs comprise FYROM's 
population of 2.2 million.  All citizens are equal under the 
law.  The Constitution provides for the protection of the 
ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious identity of 
minorities, including state support for education in minority 
languages.  The 13-member Council on Ethnic Relations, 
representing the country's main ethnic groups, has not played 
an active role.

Ethnic tensions and prejudices are evident.  The Government is 
committed to a policy of peaceful integration of all ethnic 
groups into society but faces political resistance and the 
persistence of popular prejudices in the lower levels of 
administration.   Moreover, the Government has had difficulty 
providing the additional services sought by minorities, such as 
more education in minority languages.

Representatives of the ethnic Albanian community, by far the 
largest minority group with about 23 percent of the population, 
are the most vocal in charging discrimination.  Expressing 
concern about government manipulation of the data, the ethnic 
Albanian community boycotted a 1990 census.  Threats of a 
boycott also marred to some extent a census held during the 
summer of 1994 to correct the situation.  Experts from the 
Council of Europe, however, were generally satisfied that the 
Government carried out the census fairly and accurately and 
that almost all of the ethnic Albanian community took part.  
Final results show ethnic Albanians with 22.9 percent of the 
population, Turks with 4 percent, Roma 2.3 percent, and Serbs
2 percent.  About 8,500 citizens declared themselves as 
Vlachs.

Underrepresentation of ethnic Albanians in the military and 
police is also a problem.  Even in areas settled mostly by 
ethnic Albanians, only 4 percent of police personnel are ethnic 
Albanians.  The Ministry of Internal Affairs maintains that it 
is making efforts to recruit qualified ethnic Albanian police 
cadets, but ethnic Albanian leaders allege continued 
discrimination against those who apply.  Military service is a 
universal male obligation, and most young men, whatever their 
ethnic origin, serve.  The proportion of ethnic Albanians in 
the ranks is now estimated at 25 percent, although in the 
officer corps it is lower.

Albanian-language education is a crucial issue for the ethnic 
Albanian community in order to preserve Albanian heritage and 
culture.  Almost all ethnic Albanian children receive 8 years 
of education in Albanian-language schools.  Only a third of 
them go on to high school, partly because of the lack of 
available classes and partly because in rural areas many ethnic 
Albanians see no need to educate their children, especially 
girls, beyond the eighth grade.  The right to instruction in a 
minority language in primary and secondary school is permitted 
by the Constitution, but, by law, university-level education 
must be in the Macedonian language.  In December police 
partially demolished a small structure that was to house an 
Albanian-language university being established by ethnic 
Albanians in Tetovo.

Ethnic Turks complain of governmental, societal, and cultural 
discrimination, specifically their dispute over the Education 
Ministry's refusal to support Turkish-language education for 
children who do not speak Turkish.  Parents have banded 
together to hire teachers of their own, although the law does 
not authorize such practice.

Serbs also complain of discrimination, alleging censorship of 
the Serbian press and inability to worship freely in the 
Serbian Orthodox Church (see Section 2.c.).  The Ministry of 
Internal Affairs acknowledges that it has temporarily banned 
some imported Serbian publications.

Roma comprise about 2.3 percent of the population.  There is 
little evident tension between the Roma and other communities, 
and they have benefited from government provision of 
supplementary Roma-language education.  However, the Government 
did not publish a promised Roma grammar in 1994.  There is some 
Roma-language broadcasting.

     People with Disabilities

Social programs to meet the needs of the disabled exist in 
FYROM to the extent that government resources allow.  
Discrimination on the basis of disability is forbidden by law.  
There are no laws or regulations mandating accessibility for 
disabled persons.  Most buildings in the FYROM are not easily 
accessible to disabled persons.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution provides that citizens, except for military 
and police personnel and civil servants, have the right to form 
and join trade unions.

The Council of Trade Unions of Macedonia (SSM) is the successor 
organization to the former Socialist Labor Confederation.  It 
maintains the assets of the old unions and is the Government's 
main negotiating partner on labor issues.  While its officers 
may tend to oppose strikes because of the legacy of the past, 
they appear to be genuinely independent of the Government.  An 
association of independent and autonomous unions was formed in 
1992, and independent unions have been able to organize without 
harassment by the Government or SSM.

The Constitution provides for the right to strike, and many 
brief strikes occurred in 1994, mainly by employees of 
state-owned companies who were receiving their pay months 
late.  Often, the companies, cut off by the Greek embargo from 
many foreign markets, simply did not have the money to pay 
their workers.  Trade unions are free to affiliate 
internationally.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Constitution implicitly recognizes employees' right to 
bargain collectively, but collective bargaining is still in its 
infancy.  Parliament has not adopted legislation in this area.  
Although no law prohibits antiunion discrimination, no 
instances were reported in 1994.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Ministries of Labor and Internal Affairs effectively 
enforce legal prohibitions against forced labor.

     d.  Minimum Age of Employment for Children

The constitutional minimum age for employment of children is 
15.  Younger children, however, are often seen peddling 
cigarettes or other small items, or working in family-owned 
shops or on family farms.  Children are permitted to work 
42-hour weeks but may not legally work at night.  Education is 
compulsory through the eighth grade.  The Ministries of Labor 
and Internal Affairs are responsible for enforcing laws 
regulating the employment of children.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The average monthly wage in October was $200 (8,287 denars).  
The minimum monthly wage is, by law, two-thirds of the average 
monthly wage, or about $133.  The economic crisis meant that 
few workers could support a family on their wages alone.

The official workweek is 42 hours, with a minimum 24-hour rest 
period and generous vacation and sick leave benefits.

The Constitution calls for safe working conditions, temporary 
disability compensation, and leave benefits.  Laws and 
regulations on worker safety exist, but credible reports 
suggest that the Ministry of Labor and Social Work, which  is 
responsible for enforcing regulations pertaining to working 
conditions, does not enforce them strictly.


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[end of document]

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