June 30, 2019

Institutions must sanction hate speech and the spread of interethnic hatred

After the last night’s celebration of the Handball Club “Vardar”, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights received a number of complaints about registered hate speech by the supporters’ groups in the city square and on social media. Hate speech was also recorded in other cities in the country. The Committee has duly recorded all complaints and will notify the relevant institutions thereof accordingly.

The majority of the received complaints are related to hate speech on the grounds of ethnic belonging. For example, chanting like “Let the wretched Shiptars know. Pure Macedonia. Gas chamber” and other derogatory and discriminatory speech could be heard in the city square. This leads to fraction and intolerance on ethnic grounds, described in Article 319 of the Criminal Code.

The Helsinki Committee most severely condemns incitement to violence and triggering interethnic hatred. We encourage all citizens who yesterday witnessed and/or were victims of speech and/or acts of hate to report their case to the Helsinki Committee and on www.govornaomraza.mk.

We particularly call on the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate these cases and to undertake all measures in accordance with the positive legal regulations. The Helsinki Committee will continue to monitor the development of events related to yesterday’s derogatory and discriminatory chanting and will notify relevant institutions on regular bases in order for this highly negative phenomenon to be addressed and sanctioned.