Violent attack on human rights activists
During the marking of the “International Tolerance Day” on 17.11.2012 around 12:30 pm at the central square in Skopje, near the Stone Bridge, two activists – from the organizers of the “March for Tolerance” were physically assaulted. While the stands were being prepared with publication and brochures by the NGOs – participants in the march, the activists were approached by a masked person who made life threats.
The masked person then physically attacked K.A. (organizer of the “March for Tolerance” from the Helsinki Committee) and then with fists attacked M.K.(activist form the “Coalition for Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” – Skopje) who attempted to help him. Then the masked attacker ran towards the Stone Bridge and while he was running he attacked another person who was visiting the stand where the publications were placed. Only a few meters away from the event, the perpetrator was caught by policemen and was taken into police custody.
The attacked human rights activists first sought medical help and then gave a statement in the police station about the event. According to the inspectors, MIA plans to initiate proceedings ex officio for a criminal act “ Violence”.
The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and the Coalition for “Sexual and Health rights of Marginalized Communities” –Skopje strongly condemn the attack on activists for human rights – organizers of the “March for Tolerance” and demand that the Minister for Internal Affairs Gordana Jankulovska, the Minister for Labor and Social Policy Spiro Ristovski and the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski:
1)Publicly to condemn the violence on activists for human rights and LGBT persons and to dissociate themselves from it;
2)To take all measures for protection of activists for human rights and LGBT persons from violence, hate speech and discrimination, to find and punish a) the attackers of the LGBT center in the Old Turkish Bazaar b) All persons who have made public violent threats towards LGBT persons, including in the media and the social media;
1)Stop the negative campaign led along with the pro-government media, which is directed against LGBT persons and activists for human rights and which encourages violence, hate speech and discrimination.
The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and the Coalition for “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” – Skopje demand from the Government to commence changes to the Criminal Code in the section of:
а) sanctioning hate motivated acts including hatred based on sexual orientation and gender identity
b) sanctioning hate speech including hate speech based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia
Coalition for “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” – Skopje