Teacher attacks Roma in Macedonia

11 July 2000

According to reports in the Macedonian media, on May 24, 2000, Ms Dobrinka Ristevska, a non-Romani chemistry teacher at the "26 July" primary school in the predominantly Romani settlement of Šuto Orizari in Skopje, reportedly physically abused three seventh-grade students: Romani students Husnija Djemaili and Fatima Serbezovska and their ethnic Serb classmate, Maja Jovik. The Skopje daily Dnevnik reported on June 2 that the teacher slapped all three girls and grabbed Maja by her hair and hit her head against the blackboard. The teacher denied the latter charge. Ms Ristevska's reason for punishing the girls was that during a break in classes, the girls had allegedly used the staff bathroom, and then did not greet her in the hall. The punishment took place in front of the girls' classmates and their class master. Ms Ristevska apologised to Ms Jelena Jovik, Maja's mother, saying that she had thought that Maja was a "Gypsy", according to a May 30 report by the private national television station Sitel TV. On June 8, Dnevnik reported that, after interviewing the parents and investigating the case, the Macedonian ombudsman's office concluded that Ms Ristevska had abused her position of authority by physically punishing the students and had violated their dignity of person. The article claimed that the ombudsman would ask the prosecutors of the Skopje municipal court to initiate a criminal procedure against the teacher. As of July 28, no procedure had been initiated.

(Dnevnik, ERRC, Sitel TV)


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