March 22, 2013

Condemnation of the discrimination against Roma in Skopje City Mall

The members of the Network for Protection against Discrimination[1] strongly condemn the event at the shopping mall Skopje City Mall, whose management through an e-mail sent to the firm Land Service, on January 9th 2013 asked the persons who are members of the Roma community not to be engaged in work tasks for maintaining hygiene in the food section.

We emphasize that the Commission for Protection against Discrimination that yesterday announced that it condemns the event, should handle the case as soon as possible and give its opinion, in accordance with the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination to establish direct discrimination on racial and ethnic basis as a result of which the moral and personal integrity, dignity and reputation of the Roma persons employed in Land Service and their privacy and right to access to every job position under equal terms was violated. The Commission for Protection against Discrimination should urgently initiate infringement proceedings with which it will establish two grounds for discrimination done by the responsible person and by the legal entity – Shopping Mall “Skopje City Mall”.

The appropriate reaction by the relevant institutions in moments such as these is of exceptional value, because the lack of protection for victims of discrimination, especially regarding publicly revealed discriminatory practices may result in discouragement of the victims to seek protection and encouragement of perpetrators.

For this reason, we encourage the Public Prosecution to get involved in this case and to investigate the possible presence of criminal responsibility for racial discrimination (Article 417 of the Criminal Code) due to violation of the basic human rights and freedoms acknowledged by the international community, based on racial differences, skin color, nationality and ethnicity.

The Network for Protection against Discrimination through the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia contacted the victims of discrimination in the aforementioned case and offered their legal and organizational help in the efforts to provide legal protection. This network aims to develop strategic representation in cases of discrimination by submitting cases to the Commission for Protection against Discrimination and to the domestic and international courts. The development of domestic practice is encouraged through providing free legal assistance in strategic cases of discrimination.

[1] The network consists of the following organizations: Foundation Open Society – Macedonia; Association for Health Education and Research (HERA); HOPS- Options for Healthy Life; Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia and Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women in the Republic of Macedonia (ECE); ROMA S.O.S. Prilep; “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” Coalition and the Republic Center for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities – PORAKA.