MINELRES: ERRC: UN CESCR Urges to Improve the Situation of Roma in Macedonia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Dec 20 16:58:53 2006

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

Macedonian Government Urged to Take Concrete Steps to Improve the
Situation of Roma 

Budapest, Kumanovo, 15 December 2006. The European Roma Rights Centre
(ERRC) and the National Roma Centrum (NRC) today welcomed the
Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) on Macedonia’s compliance with the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The
comments follow the Committee’s review of Macedonia at its 37th session
in November.

In its Concluding Observations, the CESCR raised many issues of concern
for Roma in Macedonia. In particular, the Committee expressed concern
about widespread discrimination against Roma in access to employment,
social assistance, health care, education, personal documents and
citizenship, as well as the substandard and insecure housing situation
of Roma.

The CESCR also issued a serious of recommendations to the Macedonian
government aimed at improving to situation of Roma in accessing
economic, social and cultural rights. Specifically, the Committee
recommended that the Macedonian government:

* “[…] consider the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination
legislation covering also indirect discrimination and without undue
citizenship requirements. 
* “ […] intensify its efforts to combat discrimination against Roma in
all fields covered by the Covenant, urgently process pending citizenship
claims from Roma, Albanian and other minority applicants, and take
immediate steps, e.g. by removing administrative obstacles, to issue all
Roma applicants with personal documents, with a view to ensuring their
equal access to social insurance, health care and other benefits.
* “ […] adopt temporary special measures to ensure that women, in
particular Roma and other minority women as well as women living in
rural areas, have the same access to the regular labour market as men,
including to senior positions, and that the principle of equal
remuneration for work of equal value is implemented in practice.
* “ […] increase its efforts to combat unemployment through specifically
targeted measures, including programmes aimed at reducing unemployment
among women and disadvantaged and marginalized groups, and to gradually
regularize the situation of persons working in the informal sector.
* “ […] take all necessary measures to combat the phenomenon of street
children and to protect their families, inter alia, by constructing
low-cost housing and providing basic infrastructure and amenities;
relocating waste disposal sites from Roma settlements; providing job
opportunities; opening additional day centres for street children, in
cooperation with non-governmental organizations, as well as outpatient
clinics; and providing medical counselling and basic medication to these
children and their families.
* “ […] ensure, by legalizing and improving the infrastructure and
amenities of existing Roma settlements or through social housing
programmes, that all Roma have access to adequate and affordable
housing, security of tenure, electricity, adequate drinking water,
sanitation and other essential services, including safe access to roads.
It also urges the State party to ensure that adequate alternative
housing is provided whenever forced evictions take place, in line with
the Committee’s general comment No. 7 (1997), and to include updated
statistical data on an annual basis on the number of forced evictions,
arrangements for alternative housing and the extent of homelessness, as
well as information on the measures taken to legalize and improve the
infrastructure and amenities of Roma settlements, in its next periodic
* “ […] intensify its efforts to educate children and adolescents on
sexual and reproductive health and to enhance the accessibility of
sexual and reproductive health services, including gynaecological and
counseling services, in particular in rural areas and in communities
where Roma and other disadvantaged and marginalized individuals or
groups live.
* “ […] ensure free primary education for all children and gradually
reduce the costs of secondary education, e.g. through subsidies for
textbooks, school kits and aids, and increased scholarships, in
particular for disadvantaged and marginalized children, in accordance
with the Committee’s general comment no. 13 (1999); promote universal
school attendance through intensified awareness raising campaigns for
parents on the importance of education and their obligation to send
their children, including girls, to school and catch-up classes and
other special programmes to address the specific needs of less
performing pupils; and conduct literacy campaigns for adults.
* “ […] end the practice of segregating Roma and other minority and
refugee children in separate schools, ensure, to the extent possible,
adequate opportunities for minority children to receive instruction in
or of their native languages by effectively monitoring the quality of
minority language instruction, providing textbooks and increasing the
number of teachers instructing in minority languages, and intensify its
efforts to promote respect for cultural values of ethnic communities and
the right of everyone to take part in cultural life in order to enhance
understanding, tolerance and mutual respect among the different ethnic
groups in the State party.”

The full report can be viewed on the Internet
at: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/E.C.12.MKD.CO.1.pdf.

In the run-up to the Committee’s review, the ERRC and the NRC jointly
submitted a parallel report, highlighting concerns in all areas noted
above. The full report is available on the ERRC’s website in English and
Macedonian at http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2138 and on the NRC’s
website at: www.nationalromacentrum.org. ERRC/NRC action in Macedonia,
including work toward the production of this submission, was supported
in 2005 and 2006 by grants from the European Commission and the Swedish
International Development Agency.

For additional information, please contact:
* Tara Bedard (ERRC Projects Manager): tara.bedard@errc.org,
* Claude Cahn (ERRC Programmes Director): ccahn@errc.org,
* Asmet Elezovski (NRC President): elezovski@nationalromacentrum.org,

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200
Fax: +36.1.413.2201


The National Roma Centrum is a professional Romani non-governmental
organization based in Kumanovo, Macedonia, which represents and
stimulates the active participation and integration of Romani people on
the principles of the modern multiethnic European society. Its
activities focus on human rights, lobbying, education and employment.

National Roma Centrum 
Dove Bozinov 11/5
1300 Kumanovo 

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