BENELUX delegation in Macedonia
The key challenges in the area of human rights in Macedoniaand exchange of information on this very important issue in the country. This was the main topic on the evening meeting which was organised by the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Macedonia – Marriet Schuurman, attended by a delegation of the countries of BENELUX.
The mission was led by the Deputy Director General European Cooperation from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accompanied by the Director General Multilateral Affairs from the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Director General Political Affairs from the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting was attended by civic activists, journalists, judges, politicians, lawyers from the state, together with Ashmet Elezovski, executive director of the National Roma Centrum (NRC) from Kumanovo, who participated with his views and opinions.
Elezovski represented the interests of Roma in Macedonia. He pointed to the frequent visits of delegations and diplomats from European institutions, which are welcome, but he especially noted that they often forget to convey the Roma issue in a true light in their statements.
He also pointed out the violation of constitutional rights of Roma citizens (right to a freedom of speech; freedom of movement – profiling the Roma at the border; illogical court decisions and high penalties for Roma offenders; unequal and inadequate treatment regarding the right to practice social and healthcare rights; poor, substandard living conditions – inability to legalize Roma homes; and, most importantly, lack of employment opportunities).
At the same time, Ashmet Elezovski, as a prominent Roma intellectual and representative of the high representative Roma body in Europe – European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) from Strasbourg, stressed the need of an increased dedication to the Roma issue and more intensive inclusion of the Roma issue in the agendas of the European and Balkan countries as a political problem.