January 13, 2016

Incompetent line-up of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination

The Network for Protection against Discrimination reacts vehemently on the new composition of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, which was appointed on 11.01.2016. Despite the necessity of essential changes in the line-up of the Commission and inclusion of proven experts in the field of nondiscrimination, the Parliament decided to elect new members, most of whom have no previous experience in the area, or in working with vulnerable groups. Additionally, we hold that the very composition of the Commission eludes the spirit of respecting differences, especially on account of the fact that only one woman and no representatives of the smaller ethnic communities are included as members.

Besides the inexperience in the field of nondiscrimination prevalent among most of the newly appointed members*, also obvious are the close connections of some of them with the coalition in power. More specifically, Aleksandar Spasenovski was a MP of the VMRO-DPMNE in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia in the period from 2011 to 2014, while Irfan Deari was a MP of the DUI in the period from 2011 to 2014. The newly appointed members Toni Naunovski and Aleksandar Dashevski are outspoken supporters of the Government’s policies, and especially those policies which actually impede the equal treatment of ethnic minorities in the country.

The fact that those persons were selected makes clear the tendency towards even more comprehensive partization of this body, which, according to all international and domestic standards should be independent. The international principles relating to the status of national institutions, or the “Paris principles” set independence and efficiency as key criteria for a national institution to be regarded as credible, both on national and international level. They demand fulfilment of six basic conditions: independence warranted by the status or the Constitution; autonomy with regard to the Government; pluralism, including pluralism among the members; broad mandate for improving and protection based upon the universal standards of human rights.

The Network for Protection against Discrimination pointed out already in 2014 that the legal insufficiencies leave space for appointing as a member of the Commission a candidate unsuitable for the duty he or she is supposed to perform. Namely, with the amendments from 2014 it was determined that as a member of the Commission may be appointed person who should hold a university degree in the field of human rights or social sciences, as well as who should have five year working experience, without specifying the area where this experience had been gained. Such inadequate norms result in inadequate protection of the people from discrimination, which is guaranteed by this law.

We hold that this composition of the Commission fails to meet event the minimum standards of independence, and does not facilitate full freedom and availability for all groups of citizens who consider themselves discriminated against, and especially for those who consider themselves so on the basis of political affiliation and ethnic origin.

On account of these reasons, we demand the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia to inform the public of the number and expertize of the other applicants, and to offer explanation as to how the present members were chosen, and why more women or representatives of smaller ethnic communities were not elected.

We also hold that, due to the obvious partisanship, as well as due to the past and current inefficiency of the Commission, it cannot be expected that the discriminated persons will receive justice from this body, and that this fact will have strong impact on the citizens’ sense of legal security.

* The biographies of all elected members of the CPD are available at the web page of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia through the following link: