On Friday, December 4, 2020, on the occasion of December 10 – Human Rights Day, the Executive Director of the National Roma Centrum (NRC), Asmet Elezovski met with the Minister of Justice Bojan Maricic to discuss access to the rights of Roma citizens. ethnic community, progress in Macedonia’s EU accession negotiations in terms of human rights and freedoms, as well as current policies and practices regarding discrimination and ways to reduce it.

The Minister of Justice noted that the Republic of Northern Macedonia (RSM) has laws and regulations that provide equal access to rights to all citizens. In 2010, Macedonia adopted a special law on prevention and protection against discrimination. It is also a signatory to several international agreements, conventions and regulations, which confirms the desire and commitment of the country to the EU.

“In the past years we have been highly ranked in terms of access to and realization of the rights of all citizens of all ethnic communities, but unfortunately recently barriers have emerged which we hope that with reasoned facts we will be able to overcome and thus preserve our pride and identity of a multiethnic state “said Minister Maricic”

Ashmet Elezovski said that until a few years ago, the Roma from RSM in terms of access to human rights ranked high in relation to neighboring countries and in Europe in general. Roma activists, politicians and ambassadors who promoted policies of unity, integration and inclusion were responsible for this situation.

Unfortunately, today Roma face a high degree of widespread discrimination and inequality towards them. There is a feeling of exclusion and isolation in the Roma community, even from processes that are fundamental for coexistence, coexistence and the future of RSM. That should be changed immediately and the inclusion of Roma in important political processes should become a practice. At the end of the day, RSM is also our homeland.

Elezovski informed the Minister that the NRC Association since 2011 is a member of the network of authorized associations for free legal aid. The NRC office also strives to provide legal, social, educational and economic assistance in order to achieve equality and reduce discrimination against the community. The Open Society Macedonia Foundation financially supports this activity together with other donors.

At the end of the meeting, Asmet Elezovski asked the Minister that the Roma issue should be treated equally with other ethnic communities and that Roma should be included in all political processes important for the Macedonian society. It also called on the Ministry to improve and intensify its monitoring of access to rights and discrimination in order to reduce unequal access to all citizens and especially to poor citizens, most of whom are Roma, and to restore trust in institutions by of the citizens.

Minister Maricic said that the Roma have first and foremost equality in all areas of life, and that they are historically the first who were and should be involved in all political processes important for the development of the society where they live and work.

“Let us all show readiness to change the situation with the Roma with tolerance and inclusion,” the Minister said at the end.

The meeting with the Minister of Justice was organized within the national campaign “Roma Pride – ENOUGH” and the 15th anniversary of the NRC. The “Roma Pride – ENOUGH” campaign is financially supported by the Roma sector at the Council of Europe.