Skopje, 8 July 2020 (MIA) – Although there has been improvement in human rights performance in North Macedonia in recent years, much remains to be done in order to achieve the ultimate goal – a society of well-functioning institutions to serve the citizens, a society of equal opportunities, without discrimination on any grounds, a rule of law-based society in which the fight against impunity remains a top priority, said FM Nikola Dimitrov on Wednesday.
He addressed the roundtable “Presentation of the Report on Fundamental Rights 2020”, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Policy Institute and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.
“Human rights and the rule of law attract us all to be part of the European family. To be equal in a rule of law-based state, where the system is functional in a free and just society. As we believe and expect to start accession negotiations with the support of the German EU Presidency in the coming months, the first intergovernmental conference and the first cluster will also contain as a basis this chapter of fundamental rights,” Dimitrov said.
Dimitrov noted that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report refers to 2019 and is based on the quantitative and qualitative results of the Agency’s research, national analyzes prepared by its local partners, consultations and comments from relevant national institutions, primarily from the Ministry of Justice. The country is mentioned in several chapters in a positive context in the area of non-discrimination, activities in the area of combating hate speech and the position of the Roma. The data on children’s poverty and violence against women are a concern. I am glad that the ratification of North Macedonia to the Istanbul Convention is highlighted, as an important instrument to combat violence against women and prevent domestic violence,” Dimitrov said.
In the context of the issue of non-discrimination and the new anti-discrimination law with modern and European standards for protection and prevention of discrimination, which was adopted last year and especially positively highlighted as an achievement in this report, he stressed his commitment to its re-adoption immediately after the parliamentary elections and formation of new Parliament.
“This issue must be a top priority on the legislative agenda of the new Parliament. Meanwhile, given the vacuum created by the Constitutional Court’s decision, last week, together with the Minister of Justice, we asked the Council of Europe to assist us through the horizontal facility programme to encourage the judiciary, until the adoption of new law, to directly apply the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and to take into account the case law of the Strasbourg Court when considering cases related to discrimination.
He also noted that according to survey findings from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, about 88% of people in the EU believe that human rights help create fairer societies.