Human Rights Issues:
Even though the Republic of Macedonia has
undergone changes in the last two decades, fundamental questions still
remain to be resolved in regards to the to inter-ethnic relationship among
its ethnic mosaic. One would expect that after the demise of the
Yugoslavian Communism, the Republic of Macedonia, after declaring its
independence, would tend towards establishing democratic society with full
human, civil and cultural rights for its citizens, without discrimination
against religious, racial and ethnic background.
Instead, the post communist era Macedonian state has engaged in human
rights violation against Albanians, Turks and other nationalities.
In these sections
you will find factual material that unveils a systematic pattern of
discrimination, oppression and aggression by the Macedonian state against
everything Albanian in Macedonia.
[Employment] [Arts &
Culture] [Law] [History]
[Economy] [Media & Journalism]
[The Constitution] [Religion]
The Macedonian Constitution:
The preamble of the Macedonian
Constitution starts with the following:
... the historical fact that Macedonia is established as a
national state of the Macedonian people, in which full equality as
citizens and permanent co-existence with the Macedonian people is
provided for Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Romanics and other nationalities
living in the Republic of Macedonia...
"Despite government promises to reform
Macedonia's overly exclusive 1992 citizenship law in line with Council
of Europe standards, the law remained unchanged. Drafted at the time of
its independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
Macedonia's citizenship law never adequately resolved the status of the
significant number of Yugoslav citizens who were long-term residents in
Macedonia but who were neither born in Macedonia nor ethnic Macedonian.
Large numbers of ethnic Albanians, Turks, and Roma who knew no other
home than Macedonia remained effectively stateless as a result of the
Discriminatory provisions in the
constitution translate into second class treatment of all Albanians by
the Macedonian government. Albanians, whether they are long-term
residents or fully acknowledged citizens of Macedonia, are
systematically excluded from full participation in public life.
If there is to be an equal
treatment among the various ethnic groups, shouldn't the Macedonian
Constitution state that Macedonia is established as a state of/for the
"Ethnic Albanians allege that the
constitution reduces them to second-class citizens and must be amended.
They argue that the Albanian language should be a second official
language in the country.
Albanians say the authorities consistently deny them the right to "feel
Albanian" and to display national symbols."
"The key to Macedonian stability rests
with the Albanians and the Macedonians. Albanians have their
representatives in the Macedonian government and the are supporting
Macedonias integrity. In the long run, though, Macedonia has to become a
state based on citizenship and not on nationality. The Macedonian state
must cease to identify exclusively with the Macedonians as an ethnic
group, it must cease to be the state of the Macedonians. Otherwise,
there is not going to be any kind of peace in Macedonia no matter how
much support is given to Macedonians and Gligorov by the international
community. In the past, the Albanians in Macedonia have shown that they
could live in peace with the Macedonians. It is the Macedonian state
which should do more to convince the Albanians to support Macedonia. If
the Macedonian state is able to solve its internal matters in the proper
way, that is by becoming the state of all citizens of Macedonia, there
should be no reason for the international community to continue to live
in fear that Macedonia will dissolve at any regional whirlwind.
Albanians in Macedonia will support the integrity of the Macedonian
"In July, the government adopted
legislation to resolve the long-standing question of Tetovo University,
a private Albanian-language institution that Macedonian authorities
refused to accredit as an educational institution. The passage of the
law on education on July 25 established a new multi-lingual tertiary
institute offering training in business, education, and public
management. The internationally funded institution, intended as a
replacement to Tetovo University, would allow Albanians to study in
their own language, although a proficiency test in Macedonian would be
required before their diplomas were officially recognized. Despite
receiving the backing of the Albanian party in the ruling government
coalition, the new institute did not receive unequivocal support from
the country's ethnic Albanian population, many of whom wanted nothing
less than the recognition of Tetovo University itself."
Even thought Albanians are tax paying
citizens, the Law for Higher Education forbids establishing highe level
educational institution (Colleges and Universities) in other languages
besides Macedonian. Until recently, the establishment of even private
University in Albanians language was against the law.
The beginning of the privately funded
Tetova University (still considered unofficial by Macedonian Government)
was smeared by killing of a local Albanian man who was protesting
against the attempt by the Macedonian police to stop the operation of
Recently, with the help of the OSCE, the
Macedonian Government agreed to the establishment of the privately
funded with foreign investment of the Southern-Eastern University, also
in Tetova. This is definitely a step in the right direction. However,
why is the Macedonian Government still against the establishment of a
University whose language of instruction will be the Albanian language?
Why are the Albanians in Macedonia as
tax paying citizens not allowed to pursue University education in their
mother tong in an institution supported by their tax money?
"In May 2000, the Macedonian
Parliamentary Commission on International Relations released a report on
the breakdown of ethnic workforces in the country.
The figures showed that the country's workforce is 84.5% ethnic
Macedonian and 9.4% ethnic Albanian - the potential ethnic Albanian work
force is 18.5% of the total population.
In the police force and the military, for instance, ethnic Albanians
contributed 3.1% of the employees while the ethnic Macedonians made up
A similar situation exists in other sectors of public life, including
the judiciary and the health system.
Ethnic Albanians are therefore frustrated that when they have to deal
with the authorities, even in cities like Tetovo with an overwhelming
Albanian majority, they have to face ethnic Macedonians and communicate
in what they consider a foreign language."
Against Albanians Continues in Macedonia
(Human Rights Watch - 08/22/2001)
"Persistent police abuse
in Macedonia is simply shocking. Macedonia must urgently address the
violence in its police stations. Ethnic Albanians are being severely
abused, and in some cases beaten to death, without the slightest
prospect of accountability."
Pamphlet Raises Ethnic Tensions
[Ethnic cleansing in making?]
Human Rights Watch (New York, June 25, 2001):
Excerpt from the "MACEDONIA PARAMILITARY 2000
"We order all Shiptars [derogatory
term for ethnic Albanians-tr.] who have objects for sale-shopkeepers
here and around the Kwantaskhi bazaar-to leave within three days,
and for those Shiptars from Aracinovo, the deadline is 24 hours.
After this deadline, all the shops will be burned, and if someone
tries to protect [them], the same will be killed without
"We inform Shiptars of the Macedonian republic that for every
killed police officer or soldier 100 Shiptars who do not have
citizenship or who took citizenship after 1994 will be killed.
For every police officer or soldier disabled, 50 Shiptars will be
killed. For every wounded police officer or soldier wounded, 10
Shiptars will be killed, no matter what gender or age."
"We inform Shiptars who do not have citizenship or got it after
1994 to leave Macedonia before June 25 this year, at midnight. After
this deadline, we will start with the cleansing-- "The Longest Night"
courtesy of Macedonia Paramilitary 2000.
"This pamphlet is exactly the kind of thing that could lead to
widespread ethnic violence. The government and international community
have to stop it now."
[Holly Cartner, HRW Executive director Europe and Central Asia division]
Macedonia Brutality Fuels Rebels
AP (Jun 16h, 2001): "It was not the
cracked bones or the painful back injuries that made Nazim Bushi's
teeth clutch with anger."
"It was disappointment that the people who caused those injuries were
fellow men in uniform, who he says turned against him solely because
he belonged to the wrong ethnic group."
"Supporters of Bushi, an ethnic Albanian officer serving with the
Macedonian police at the military airport in Skopje, say he is a
victim of police brutality that has proliferated since ethnic
Albanian militants took up arms in February, demanding broader rights
and claiming discrimination by majority Macedonian Slavs."
"The incidents not only undermine government promises to improve the
situation of ethnic Albanians, once the insurgency is dealt with. They
could also draw ethnic Albanians to the militants and away from
political parties willing to negotiate with the government."
"Already, the rebels claim police harassment of ethnic Albanian
civilians is feeding them with new recruits."
`Young men who are beaten up by police are joining us every
day,'' a rebel commander known as ``Commander Hoxha'' told The
Associated Press from the rebel-controlled village of Aracinovo, barely
four miles from the capital. ``They're more than we can supply with
Rioters Burn Albanian Homes in Bitola
Police Fail to Stop Violence, Some Actively Participate
Human Rights Watch (New York, June 8, 2001):
"Police in the Macedonian city of Bitola did not
attempt to stop rioting crowds on Wednesday night, and some police
officers actively participated in the violence, Human Rights Watch
said today. As a result, dozens of ethnic Albanian homes and as many as
100 shops were burned by the mob."
"The available evidence strongly suggests that the Bitola police
did not take any actions to stop the anti-Albanian attacks and that a
significant number of Bitola police officers, in and out of uniform,
took part in the rioting. The police took no apparent action to enforce
the 10 p.m. curfew it had announced for the town, and the rioting
continued until after 1 a.m., according to official police statements.
The rioting crowds claimed to be revenging the deaths of Bitola police
officers that were ambushed near Tetovo."
"A village mosque was also vandalized by the rioters. Grave
markers were broken, and several graves had been broken open. The
windows of the mosque were broken, and rioters had set the carpets
inside the mosque on fire but did not succeed in burning it down. On
the exterior wall of the mosque, rioters had painted several swastikas
and written "Death to the Shiptars." The term "Shiptar" is an
ethnic slur when used by non-Albanians"
"Anti-Albanian sentiment in Bitola is rapidly growing into a
campaign by extremists to rid Bitola of its ethnic Albanian population.
Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch stated that the rioters had
yelled slogans including "Death to Albanians," "Pure Bitola,"
"Albanians Out of Bitola," "Get Out Albanians," and other such
statements. The rioters told some of the ethnic Albanians that they had
a week to get out of town before being targeted again. Many ethnic
Albanians have fled their homes in Bitola in the aftermath of
Wednesday's riot because they are afraid of further attacks."
Macedonian Police Abuses Documented:
Ethnic Albanian Men Separated, Tortured at Police Stations
Human Rights Watch (HRW May 31st, 2001):
"Ethnic Albanian men fleeing the fighting in Macedonia face severe
ill-treatment by the police. We have documented serious beatings and
torture of ethnic Albanians at the Kumanovo and Skopje police
stations in the last week. The victims we interviewed have the
bruises and injuries to back up their claims of abuse."
[Holly Cartner, HRW Executive Director, Europe and Central Asia
Macedonian Government Abuses in Runica: Village
International Community Should Push for a Full Investigation
Human Rights Watch (HRW May 29th, 2001):
"Our investigations show that Macedonian forces burned civilians' homes
and beat some villagers last week in the village of Runica. These crimes
must be impartially investigated, and those responsible brought to
[Holly Cartner, HRW Executive Director, Europe and Central Asia
Albanians Say Macedonian Troops "burned our
school" and "and they burned the mosque and the cattle"
Reuters (May 22, 2001):
"Arjeta Kamberi, a 19-year-old student, told Reuters there were no armed
insurgents of the self-styled National Liberation Army (UCK) in Runica,
which was suddenly filled with troops at around 4 A.M. Monday.
``The [Macedonian] soldiers all wore black clothes and masks. They
smashed our windows when everyone was asleep and dragged us
out. Then they poured petrol on buildings and set them on fire,'' she
``They burned our school which was built for us by (Italian
charity) Caritas, and they burned the mosque and the cattle and
horses in their stalls.''
Macedonian Forces Responsible for
Killing and Destruction
HRW (March 2001): "This
concern is strengthened by our findings following the March 2001 actions
by the security forces against armed ethnic Albanian groups in the
western part of the country. Available evidence suggests that government
forces were responsible for the deliberate killing of 16-year-old
Omer Shabani on April 3 in the village of Selce. We also received
reports that families of ethnic Albanians arrested on suspicion of
membership in the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA) were unable
to obtain any information on the whereabouts of their relatives.
Finally, our documentation suggests that government forces were
responsible for the wanton destruction and looting of villages
perceived as being pro-NLA, including the villages of Selce, Gjermo,
Gajre, Drenovec, and Kolte. We urge you to make these incidents the
subject of prompt, thorough, and transparent investigations."
Macedonian Police Brutality and Abuse
NY Times (May 17th, 2001):
Macedonia Albanian recounts " how he had gone to tend his cow at
dawn and been caught by the police. With four others, he said, he was
beaten and interrogated while blindfolded and handcuffed for five
days, before being dumped in the countryside on Tuesday miles from
home." "Last week, he said, a group of 10 police officers seized him
and beat him, he said. "They beat me with all their strength, with
their fists. They said they would cut my throat with a knife. Then my
brother and a friend came looking for me and they grabbed them too."
"Last night, 05.05.2001, around 21.30
two young boys, one Albanian (N) and the other Macedonian (Ph) in their
early 20's were severely beaten and badly injured by the Macedonian
police because they were driving around their neighborhood in Skopje in
a Volkswagen old timer.
The justification of this police action was that they were driving the
car whose color was matching with that of the vehicle that attacked the
Albanian Embassy in Skopje. Also, they have told their parents that
these boys, after stopping the car, have tried to attack the policemen
who were at least twice more than them in a police van.
This is another example of policies of double standard by the Macedonian
authorities and especially the police/security forces who covertly call
for the peaceful solution of the problems and coexistence between
Macedonians and Albanians, while systematically acting in the other
"Following the killing of three police
officers outside Aracinovo on January 11, police beat numerous ethnic
Albanian residents, destroyed property, and used tear gas in raids. One
of the three suspects arrested in connection with the killings died in
police custody (see Section 1.a.). Human Rights Watch reported that nine
other suspects were arrested and beaten in custody and that some were
forced to sign confessions. An investigation by the Office of the
Ombudsman found that the police had used excessive force in Aracinovo
and recommended an internal investigation. Although some families were
compensated for damage to their property, the Government did little
to address police abuse in the wake of the incident."
"Police searches of the houses of
ethnic Albanians in Aracinovo were characterized by the use of excessive
force. On 14 January men and boys were beaten in several houses. One man
had his jaw broken, reportedly with a police rifle butt. Six men and two
15-year-old boys were made to lie face down outside another house and
were kicked and beaten as they lay. A 70-year-old man was allowed to sit
up, but the others were reportedly kept on the ground for up to three
hours. The ill-treatment was allegedly accompanied by references to
their Albanian ethnicity. Old men, women and children were allegedly
guarded at gunpoint by police for three hours in another house."
"Mistreatments continue in the case of
Hara‡ina, in the beginning of the last year, when three policemen were
killed, and one resident of this village died while being in the hands
of the police. It's interesting that members of DSC used brutal force
against arrested persons, which was also confirmed in the court
procedure. Confident sources from MIA let us know that Boban Stojkovski,
known as Tyson, put a rubber bar in the anal cavity of one of the
accused, aiming to force him to confess being policemen murderer. What
conspiration is there in DSC?"
This section is under construction.
"Economically, Macedonia's Albanians
are generally self-reliant, with many being self-employed."
"But analysts point out that whenever they have a grievance to address,
they face an administration that is so disproportionately made up of
Macedonians as to feel 'alien'."
Media & Journalism:
Macedonian Television Pulls Plug
on Second Edition of Albanian News
SKOPJE (KosovaLive) - The General Director of the Macedonian Radio
Television (RTVM), Lubco Jakimovski, halted broadcast of the second
edition of the Albanian news program in this television station.
According to members of the Albanian editorial office in RTVM, after
laying off an Albanian broadcaster a few days ago, with this decision
director Jakimovski is trying to breakup the three-hour daily broadcast
in the Albanian language. Meanwhile, the government has decided that
programs in Albanian would be broadcasted for nine hours from December.
If the two orders of the RTVM director are not withdrawn, the Albanian
employees have warned that they will boycott work starting Thursday.
"The latest events in Tanushec once
again confirmed the unity of Macedonian (language) media, both
pro-government (such as Vecer) and pro-opposition (extremist Makedonija
Denes), when it comes to Albanians. Well, when it comes to Albanians,
these media always share same standings, and almost act according
to some strategy.
The last campaign of the Macedonian media, mainly by the two
aforementioned newspapers, reaffirms the fact that in the mind of the
creators of the Macedonian public opinion, Albanians are still
presented as dangerous elements, terrorists, destabilizators, people
that you only deal with by using force etc."
"Trajkovski eliminated the Albanian
factor from further measures that need to be taken to stabilize the
country, by founding an Emergency Team that should monitor the situation
and propose measures and activities that need to be taken by competent
authorities in Macedonia. The team, consisted of ARM representatives,
Agency of Counter-Intelligence, Ministry of Interior, had been
established after the killing of Muzafer Xhaferi (23), who got killed in
front of his own house in Tanushec.
The Team is based in the ARM House in Skopje. The ethnic structure of
the Team is ethnically clean all Macedonians. As Fakti learned, this
was done on the specific request of Trajkovski himself, as he assessed
irrelevant the contribution of the Albanians in this matter."
Art & Culture:
This section is under construction.
MOSQUE SET ON FIRE, [Albanian] SHOPS DEMOLISHED
(August 9, 2001) "...the crowd set fire
to a mosque in central Prilep and ransacked a number of shops
owned by Albanian and other Muslim Macedonians."