EC: Macedonia is not sufficiently combatting against discrimination and LGBTI rights

macedIn the recent report of Macedonian progress on the way to EU integration, it is stated that Macedonia doesn’t put enough efforts in combating against discrimination. Also, the Commission criticized the country for excluding sexual orientation as one of the basis for discrimination; there is no legal framework that forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as a separate form of discrimination.

“National strategy for equality and non-discrimination” 2016-2020 was adopted in June. The new members of the Commission for protection against discrimination, have been assigned in a non-transparent manner. Certain number of members have given public statements that are questioning their new assignment, capacity and ability to act objectively and professionally. There is a serious concern for the objectiveness and autonomy of the Commission, lacking sufficient financial and human resources. The number of complaints received by the Commission is reduced, however the number of cases of discrimination that are verified and resolved in 2015 is insignificant (33 out of 66). There is lack of systematic approach to data collection for reporting, research conducting and detecting hate speech and hatred-based violence. The findings derived from civil organizations stress that the governmental institutions do not register such cases and they do not prosecute the relevant perpetrators of such criminal acts.” – the report states.

The Commission stated that there are prejudices and stereotypes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) both in the internet and media in the Macedonian society.

“There should be put significant efforts in combatting against LGBTI intolerance. The attacks on LGBTI Support Centre from 2012 are not examined yet. In December 2015, the 7-month sentence for the person that attacked LGBTI-activists in 2012, was voided by the Appellate court.” – it’s stated in the report.

Furthermore, there was a reaction from Brussels where it was noticed that there is no adequate treatment for changing the biological sex.

“Transgender persons have access to a very few health services. National governmental institutions should build their capacities in order to increase the awareness and respect of diversity in the society. For instance, one positive example is the collaboration for celebrating human rights of the LGBTI persons between the civil society and the police from one municipality. It is essential to conduct training courses and education for the police officers, judges, prosecutors, health workers, teachers and professors. ” – the report says.