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United Nations

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child considered Macedonia's initial report on its compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child in January. Among the committee's recommendations to the Macedonian authorities was a call to focus on improving school enrollment rates for minority children, particularly Roma. The difficulties faced by Roma in Macedonia were also noted at a special three-day session in August of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

The OSCE continued to pay close attention to events in Macedonia during 2000. In addition to the long-standing Spillover Monitor Mission to Skopje, set up in 1992 to monitor the Macedonian-Yugoslav border, the OSCE was also active in monitoring the presidential elections in October and November 1999 and local elections in September 2000 through its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Although the first round of presidential elections was deemed acceptable, ODIHR's election observation mission found irregularities in the second round, and in both rounds of the local elections. The resolution of the status of Tetovo University in July owed much to efforts by the OSCE high commissioner on minorities, who also issued a comprehensive report in March on the difficulties faced by Roma and Sinti in OSCE member states, including in Macedonia.

Council of Europe

On May 5, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly decided to end its monitoring procedure for Macedonia. The decision followed a March report from its monitoring committee commending Macedonia's progress in meeting its membership obligations and commitments. The report encouraged Macedonia to bring its citizenship law into line with the European Convention on Nationality.

European Union

In March, the way was opened for negotiations between the European Union and Macedonia on an Agreement on Stabilization and Association, offering the promise of closer economic and political ties. The upgrading in relations was symbolized by the change of the E.U.'s office in Macedonia to a Permanent Delegation. During a June visit, E.U. External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten noted Macedonia's progress and indicated that the agreement was likely to be concluded before the end of 2000. E.U. financial assistance to Macedonia included 25 million euro (approximately U.S. $30.8 million) through the PHARE program and infrastructure support through the OBNOVA program.

United States

U.S. policy continued to support Macedonia's role in the NATO partnership for peace program and to emphasize its role in regional stability. The focus on security cooperation was underscored by a visit from Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Shelton in July and visits by two teams of U.S. military experts in June. That the U.S. remained reluctant to criticize human rights abuses in Macedonia was reflected in the overly positive State Department report on Macedonia in its annual review of human rights practices and its silence over irregularities in the September municipal elections.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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