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Court rules Macedonian police must pay for racial profiling at the border

24 November 2015

The Macedonian authorities racially profile their citizens who are trying to leave the country and stop Roma from leaving. According to a court judgment delivered this week, the Interior Ministry has to pay compensation to a Romani couple who were not allowed to cross the border to visit their family. They are represented by the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association, with support from the European Roma Rights Centre.

Two years ago Mr Muhedinov and Mrs Muhedinova were trying to visit their family in Switzerland, traveling with their grandchildren. They were the only passengers on their bus who were asked for anything more than their passports. The couple had all their documents, return tickets, €2000 cash and an invitation letter. Yet they were still forbidden to leave the country and the bus left the country without them.

Stories like this happen to Macedonian citizens of Roma origin all the time. It happens to them because they are Roma, a heavily discriminated community; the Macedonian government fears that they will apply for asylum in the EU if they leave. A judge found this couple were victims of racial discrimination and that their constitutional right to leave the country was breached.

The Basic Court of Bitola has now ordered the Interior Ministry of to pay damages to the plaintiffs in the amount of 30,000.00 MKD (app. €500) each. The Ministry is expected to appeal.

“Most of us in Europe thought stopping people leaving their own country ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall.” - says Adam Weiss Legal Director of ERRC. “Not for Roma, though, for whom this is perhaps the most visible way of making them second-class citizens. We will continue litigating these cases, to stop this from happening anymore and to show Roma that the justice system works for them.”

“We welcome the decision of the Basic Court of Bitola, which follows the positive practice of the Basic Court Skopje 2 and the Appellate Court Skopje. This is the second case supported by MYLA where the Court determined there is discrimination and violation of the right to equal treatment on the ground of ethnicity. The decision is of high importance having into consideration that concerns as well the right to freedom of movement of the Roma population and the systematic discrimination in Republic of Macedonia happening over the past 4 years.” - Says Jasna Arangjelovik Orovcanec, project manager in MYLA.

The ERRC has reminded Macedonian authorities more than a year ago that this practice is unconstitutional.

For further information contact:

Szelim Simándi
simandi.szelim@xkk.hu
+36202658562

Jasna Arangelovikj Orovcanec
jarangelovik@myla.org.mk
+38975348718

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Joint submission to UN CRC on Slovakia (April 2016)

18 April 2016

Written comments by the European Roma Rights Centre and Center for Civil and Human Rights concerning Slovakia for consideration by the Committee on the Rights of the Child at the 72nd Session (17 May 2016 – 03 June 2016)

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ERRC Seeks Lawyer or Legal Trainee

3 May 2016

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) seeks qualified applicants for the position of lawyer or legal trainee (depending on the selected candidate’s level of experience). This position is for a career activist with legal skills (as opposed to a career lawyer interested in activism). The lawyer or legal trainee will play a crucial role in the ERRC’s cutting-edge work of bringing innovative, strategic legal cases to further the cause of Roma emancipation. 

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Combating Hate Crime and Hate Speech in France and Italy

4 February 2016

Introduction

For years, the ERRC has been documenting hate crime and hate speech in various countries. With support from the Open Society Initiative for Europe, the ERRC is carrying out a project designed to expose the extent of anti-Roma hate crime and hate speech in France and Italy and improve the authorities' response to these problems. The purpose of this project is to introduce a new methodology for this work and apply it in these two Western European countries, where the extent of anti-Roma hate speech and hate crime is largely recognised, but poorly documented or addressed. 

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