August 8, 2019

Your human rights do not end up behind bars

Starting from its mission and vision, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, highlights the role and the responsibility of the country in terms of protection and promotion of human rights of persons deprived of liberty.

On 22.07.2019, at the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, the Standing Inquiry Committee for Protection of Civil Rights and Freedoms organized a public hearing on the following topic: “The condition of human rights in detention and rehabilitation facilities in the Republic of North Macedonia”. At the public discussion a report was presented of the visits of representatives of the Standing Inquiry Committee in three penitentiary facilities.

The representative of the Helsinki Committee, Sibel Amet, also addressed the public at the public hearing  and expressed satisfaction that this topic is finally being discussed within the Parliamentary chamber and pinned her hope that this positive step forward will not end with this public discussion, but on the contrary, it will foster concrete efforts by the competent authorities in order to improve the conditions in prisons, especially in the part where there is no need of infrastructure investment, such as health care, education, rehabilitation, probation or generally to witness the system start functioning as stipulated by the law.

Given these conditions within the prisons, which have been emphasized by the NGOs for years back, but still did not generate interest among the competent institutions-the representative of the Helsinki Committee voiced that she was “glad” that the present MPs were shocked and distressed by the situation in the prisons so once again expressed her hope that the shock will encourage suitable reaction which will result in improved conditions in penitentiary facilities.

During the period from February 2019 to June 2019, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights within the framework of the project “Life Behind Bars” supported by the US Embassy in North Macedonia[1], carried out visits to 10 penitentiary institutions[2] in the country. As a result of the prison visits, reports were prepared with recommendations and conclusions, which will be sent to relevant institutions.


The project “Living behind bars!” of The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights is supported by the Embassy of the United States in North Macedonia. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementer (s) / author (s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Government.

[1]This project is partially supported by the US Embassy. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are given by the Implementer (s) / Author (s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the US government.

[2]There are 11 penitentiary facilities within territory of the Republic of North Macedonia. During the visits, the penitentiary facility in Bitola was closed down for reconstruction, because of which it was not possible to visit it.