December 6, 2012

Stop to the pressure on the health workers

Having monitored the events connected to the doctors’ strike and at the same time acting upon their request for legal assistance, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia expresses its concerns about actions taken by the Ministry for Health, which point to abuse of competencies with “legal measures” for prevention of the constitutional right to strike.

Namely, the strike is one of the basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution and although the strike of the health workers is under a strict regime which is a result of the duty of the state to provide urgent medical help and minimal function of health institutions, no one has the right to stop the strike or to prevent it from happening.

Thereby, the Helsinki Committee also reminds that the publication of personal data of doctors with the biggest offences on the “wall of shame”, placement of cameras in unsuitable premises in the health institutions, the idea of a “red phone” and introduction of the model for payment according to achievement and other actions that took place prior to the doctors strike represented forms of pressure by the state which cannot be defined as democratic.

In conditions when the Macedonian society is more and more characterized as a society in which the freedom of expression and the freedom of media and also the right to assembly are seriously violated, the Helsinki Committee considers that that latest actions of the Ministry of Health can strengthen that perception even more and do not contribute to the strengthening of the state’s lawfulness and the respect of the human rights.

Therefore, the Helsinki Committee gives its strongest reactions against the manner and a form of coercion which are conducted through so called legal measures and thereby points out that it will continue to monitor these situations and it will also provide legal assistance to the doctors so they can exercise their rights according to the Constitution and the law.

The Helsinki Committee also informs the public that today we sent a letter to the Minister for Health in which we demand that the ministry stop with the obstruction of the strike, the pressures, threats, political labeling and to initiate urgent negotiations with the independent syndicate and all of the parties involved in order to find an acceptable solution that will result in changes to the existing collective agreements and employment contracts.