A Threat to "Stability"

Human Rights Violations in Macedonia

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Macedonia has taken some important steps toward democratization since declaring its independence from the Yugoslav federation in 1991. Substantive reform has opened the door to the European institutions and laid the foundation for a multi-party system based on the rule of law. Nevertheless, some serious problems remain. Although human rights principles are encoded in Macedonian law, their application remains selective and incomplete. This is partially a result of political and economic pressures in the southern Balkans, as well as of the country’s communist traditions. But at times, the current Macedonian government has been responsible for violating the rights of its citizens. The main human rights problem is the status of Macedonia’s many national minorities, especially regarding non-discriminatory treatment in state employment and minority language education for the sizable Albanian population. But minority groups are not the only victims. Limitations on the free press, violations of legal rights and harassment of the political opposition affect all Macedonian citizens regardless of their ethnicity. On the positive side, Macedonia has avoided the war in former Yugoslavia, but peace will only be secured when a democratic system is in place.

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