Physical abuse of Roma in Macedonia interferes with voting

05 December 2000

According to the Štip-based non-governmental organisation Association for Human Rights Protection of Roma, on September 24, 2000, the day of the second round of the local elections in Macedonia, a group of non-Roma assaulted and beat a group of Roma in the town of Strumica, in southeast Macedonia. Members of the N.N. family told the Association for Human Rights Protection of Roma that on September 24, 30 to 40 cars without licence plates appeared in their neighbourhood, carrying men in black suits, with guns. The men reportedly set about beating the Roma in the street with their fists and rubber truncheons. Four members of the N.N. family had visible injuries caused by the truncheons, and one required surgery on his head. The Association for Human Rights Protection of Roma offered the family legal assistance to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators or the instigators of the attack, but the family was frightened, and asked the president of the association not to mention their names in the reports. During the time that the Association was in the neighborhood, carrying out investigations, the elections closed; most of the Roma in Strumica did not vote due to fear.

(Association for Human Rights Protection of Roma)

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