Summary: The government of Macedonia recently submitted a mid-term UPR report, which documented their implementation progress on recommendations they accepted during their review. CRIN has highlighted the government's response to children's rights recommendations accepted.
What is a mid-term report? States are encouraged to voluntarily submit update reports on the steps they are taking to implement the recommendations made to them during their reviews.
What is a mid-term report?
States are encouraged to voluntarily submit update reports on the steps they are taking to implement the recommendations made to them during their reviews.
In addition to posting the full mid-term report (see above), CRIN has extracted the children's rights recommendations accepted by Macedonia, together with the government's response on how they are implementing the recommendations.
Implementation progress on accepted recommendations
Recommendation 4: To carry out a comprehensive review over the harmonization of the national legislation with the provisions in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Poland); to continue the harmonization of the national legislation with the international standards in the field of human rights (Ukraine)
Implementation Status: The National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC) adopted the Report (February 2011) on the Operations of the National Commission on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of Macedonia and the Implementation of the National Action Plan on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of Macedonia for the period 2006 – 2015.Provisions in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are fully taken into consideration when relevant laws are being adopted. This refers, in particular, to the amendments to the Law on Family, the Law on Juvenile Justice, the Law on Social Protection, etc.UNICEF Office in the Republic of Macedonia is consulted on a regular basis, and is involved in the process of adopting the respective laws.In addition, in 2011, NCRC confirmed the need to revise the National Action Plan (2006 – 2015), which is on-going.Its realization is agreed with the financial assistance by UNICEF.
In 2010, the Ministry of Justice, supported by UNICEF, prepared a comparative analysis of the legislation in the Republic of Macedonia and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Recommendation 7: To take into account the possibility to carry out medium-term evaluation of the Action Plan for the Rights of the Child (Morocco)
Implementation Status: The Commission on the Rights of the Child carries out annual evaluations of the implementation of the Action Plan. Revision of the Plan, supported by UNICEF, is is ongoing. The revised Plan should be submitted to the Government for approval.
Recommendation 8: To adopt comprehensive national plan on registering civil status and right to identity, which includes campaigns to raise awareness at the parents, the guardians and other responsible persons, to help accelerate the birth registration (Argentina)
Implementation Status: On 26th September 2011, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office for Keeping Record Books, started carrying out action for identifying persons not registered in the record books. Mixed teams, comprising of representatives from the regional offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Office for Keeping Record Books, Social Work Centers, Roma Information Centers and Roma NGOs, located and identified, on site, the Roma population not registered in the birth record books. A Working body was established, comprising of representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office for Keeping Record Books, which continuously reviews anddiscusses the on-site findings. During the first stage in resolving this issue, focus will be placed on the persons not at all entered in the records, while the second stage will cover the persons having no personal documents, regulated citizenship or a status of an alien.
Action is ongoing at the moment, carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office for Keeping Record Books, within the Ministry of Justice, for the purpose of which mobile teams were established. These mobile teams visit the families with children not registered in the birth record books, to the end of informing them for the need to do so. The Office prepared a questionnaire used during the interviews with the families being visited, to the end of collecting all the information the Office needs for the registration procedures. It is agreed with the NGOs, involved in this action, to create dossiers, to submit such dossiers to the Office for Keeping Record Books and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for consideration, and after receiving instructions for their resolving by the Office, to determine how many of such dossiers can be resolved immediately, and how many of them need additional evidence. After instructions for all dossiers are given, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will prepare an Information to be sent to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, so as for the Government to make its position as regards their registering in the birth record books in line with the existing legal regulations.
Recommendation 9: To ensure urgent implementation of the recommendation produced by the Committee Against Torture in 2008 with respect to overall conditions in the prison system (Italy)
Implementation Status: Since 2008 onwards, the Office for Execution of Sanctions within the Ministry of Justice continues with huge reform attempts aimed at improving the accommodation capacities for the convicted persons and minors, improving and strengthening personnel capacities, as well as improving the working premises for the personnel in the institutions, for the purpose of meeting the requirements and approximation to the standards necessary for ensuring better quality sentence serving according to the recommendation provided by the Committee Against Torture. One of the most important activities is the realization of the Project for Reconstruction of Penitentiary Institutions, which is on-going. The Project is realized with loan funds from the Council of Europe Development Bank and budget funds, envisaging the construction and reconstruction of 4 penitentiary institutions, as follows: Idrizovo Penitentiary Institution, Skopje Prison and construction of new educational-correctional institution in Tetovo.
In order to improve the conditions for accommodation of minors, as a temporary solution, until the construction of the new educational-correctional institution, in 2010,Tetovo educational-correctional institution was moved to Skopje Prison in the Open Unitof Idrizovo Penitentiary Institution located in Veles, thus making it fully available for accommodating the minors serving the pronounced measure referral to an educational-correctional institution.
Recommendation 15: To continue the efforts for improving the rights of vulnerable groups (Kazakhstan)
Implementation Status: To the end of achieving equal opportunities for all, in 2010, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted a National Strategy on Fight against Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 -To the end of achieving equal opportunities for all, in 2010, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted a National Strategy on Fight against Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 - 2020, paying special attention to 5 priority areas, as follows: employment, social and health protection, long-term care and housing, as well as inclusion of gender concept and introduction of rights of children.
To the end of achieving better social protection of street children, activities are undertaken aimed at development of relevant social services.So far, three daily centers for street children were opened (two in Skopje and one in Bitola) and one 24-hour transit center was opened in Skopje.For the purpose of better responding by the institutions competent in the field of the phenomenon of street children, a Multidisciplinary Protocol on Treatment of Street Children in the Republic of Macedonia was adopted, and methodological instructions on acting by expert workers in Social Work Centers have been revised (focus is placed on preventive work). Continuous training is carried out for employees in the Social Work Centers, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Justice, as regards treatment of street children, and operational working teams have been established, making efforts to identify and register these children in the birth record books.
Joint actions of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are being realized, and on-site activities for reducing the phenomenon of street children are being implemented. During these actions, expert teams from the Social Work Centers provide expert advice to the parents as regards taking care and upbringing the children, ensuring personal documentation for the street children, providing health care, education, etc. In addition, consequences are also pointed out arising from not taking care and neglecting own children, as well as sanctions arising as a result of such behavior.
To the end of strengthening the local capacities for protection of street children, 20 meetings of local council for prevention wereheld in 20 municipalities, at which problems and their possible solutions were discussed, which would lead to better protection of street children, as well as better horizontal communication of institutions at local level.
Recommendation 17: To double the efforts in the field of promoting women and effective gender equality in the labour force, as well as in the social sphere (Switzerland); to adopt all measures necessary to ensure equality between men and women in all areas relevant to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (France)
Implementation Status: Issues related to improving and harmonizing work and personal life are aimed at increasing the scope of children in the rural areas and the municipalities where there are no kindergartens.
Recommendation 20: To encourage respective institutions to undertake further activities for tackling violence over women (Croatia); to implement measures for protection and punishment of violence over Roma women, so that they can enjoy their rights without any prejudice (Japan); to lessen rigorous requirements for proof of domestic violence, so that the existing law that criminalizes domestic violence can be easily applied.
Implementation Status: A National Strategy for Protection Against Domestic Violence 2008 – 2011 is being continuously implemented. A National Coordinating Body was established therefore, which monitors and estimates the realization of the envisaged measures and activities in line with the time frame and dynamics envisaged in the above-mentioned Strategy. Both representatives from the relevant Ministries and the civil associations, treating the issue of domestic violence in the Republic of Macedonia, actively participate in the Coordinating Body. A Multi-sectoral coordinated approach was established as regards protection of victims of domestic violence by preparing a Joint Protocol on Acting upon Cases of Domestic Violence. At local level, 30 municipalities established 30 local coordinating bodies, working on prevention and practical implementation of the Joint Protocol as regards the acting by the professional structures. A Programme for Economic Strengthening of Victims of Domestic Violence is being continuously implemented though the three sub-programmes in the form of active employment measures, as regards the following: self-employment, subsidized employment and qualifications/additional qualifications. Capacities of professional workers in the following areas were strengthened: police, health sector, social work centers, judges/public prosecutors, civil associations, through training in prevention and treatment of victims of domestic violence. For the needs of victims of domestic violence, a Counseling Office for Parents and Children was opened, and a Counseling Office for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence was opened as well.
Recommendation 23: To adopt and implement legislation to prohibit corporal punishment under any conditions and to support this with a campaign for raising awareness (Austria); to adopt respective measures, consistent with the international standards, to avoid corporal punishment of children in all settings and to educate and carry out campaigns for raising awareness in schools and the society as a whole (Argentina)
Implementation Status: The Law Amendingthe Law on Protection of Children, adopted on 30th June 2009, also incorporated provisions (Article 9, paragraph 2) prohibiting all forms of forceful recruitment, sale or trafficking in children, psychological or physical violence and mistreatment, punishment or other inhuman treatment, exploitation, commercial exploitation and abuse of children, that violate fundamental human freedoms and rights and the rights of the child. The Law also envisages fines (Article 130, paragraph 1, indent 1) for failure to implement the provisions of the Law. A child institution will be pronounced a fine in the amount of EUR 500 to EUR 1,500 in Denar equivalent for an offence, if it:organizes political or religious gathering and acting and it abuses children for the same motives, as well as carries out an act of psychical and physical abuse, punishment or other inhuman treatment or abuse of children (Article 9). Responsible person, as well as an employee, with the child institution is also pronounced a fine in the amount of EUR 500 to EUR 1,000 in Denar equivalent for the same offence, if he/she: inflicts corporal punishment upon a child, i.e. psychically abuses a child (Article 9).
Recommendation 25: To continue and increase the efforts for fight against human trafficking and prostitution and to continue the efforts to help women victims of human trafficking (Sweden); to accelerate the measures for fight against prostitution and human trafficking of women and girls, including carrying out of more national campaigns for raising awareness and training of enforcement officers, migration unit and cross-border police (Malaysia)
Implemenation Status: The National Commission to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration in the Republic of Macedonia was established in 2001. The National Commission is responsible to follow and analyze the trafficking in human beings and illegal migration and to coordinate the activities of competent institutions, international and non-governmental organizations involved in solving the problems in this field. As of 2003, a Sub-Group to Combat Trafficking in Children operates under the National Commission.
In 2012, the outstanding activities foreseen under the 2009-2012 National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings and Children continue to be implemented, and the new National Strategy and Action Plans are to be developed. Therefore, the fight against organized crime including trafficking in human beings, and effective preventive, educational, legislative and criminal justice response to human trafficking will remain our priority areas. Our country will continue to be acknowledged and recognized outside of our borders and will keep the leadership in the region in the overall institutional response to combating trafficking in human beings.
Awareness raising and education
NGO ‘Open Gate’, NGO ‘For a Happy Childhood’, NGO ‘For Equal Opportunities – Semper’ from Bitola, the Network ‘Awakening’, the Macedonian Red Cross an the Association for Equal Opportunities ‘Ezerka’ from Struga, conducted the following activities aimed at awareness-raising and education:
- 4 focus groups with teachers and psychologists from the primary schools in Bitola were held, aimed at identifying the potential victims of trafficking in human beings among the primary school students.
- A peer education on prevention of trafficking in human beings was conducted, which included training of 15 new peer educators.
- Provision of education on prevention of trafficking in human beings to 373 students from the Faculty of Pedagogy in Stip, Tetovo and the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje (Institute for Social Work and Social Policy, Institute for Psychology, Institute for Pedagogy and Institute for Defectology).
- The peer educators conducted a total of 48 workshops in 8 cities throughout the country, which were attended by 1189 pupils.
- A total of 106 preventive lectures on human trafficking were carried out in the primary and secondary schools in Bitola, Skopje and Demir Hisar, which included 3299 pupils and 37 teachers and relevant professionals.
- Screening of educational and prevention movies: ‘You are alive’, ‘Lijlja Forever’, ‘Sisters’, and ‘Two girls’ in the primary, secondary schools and Culture Halls, aimed at awareness-raising among the young population.
- Artistic creations on the topic of trafficking in human beings were organized in 10 primary schools in Bitola, which resulted with 98 artistic creations made by seventh and eighth grade students from the primary schools in Bitola.
- Approximately 13.450 of educational and prevention leaflets were disseminated among children, pupils and students throughout Macedonia.
- A total of 14 forum theater plays and one school competition were organized in 15 secondary and primary schools in 9 cities of Macedonia.
- Surveys on awareness of human traffickin gphenomenon were conducted and included 517 students from 7 secondary schools and 620 students from 10 primary schools in the Municipalities of Bitola and Demir Hisar.
- On the occasion of 18th of October - the European Day for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and the ‘Week Against the Human Trafficking’, the National Commission held a press conference with Ms. Gordana Jankulovska, Minister of Internal Affairs, and also organized many activities targeted towards prevention of trafficking in human beings and children, in partnership with the international and non-governmental organizations.
Recommendation 27: To continue providing the police, prison and judiciary personnel with practice-oriented training and education on human rights (Czech Republic)
Implementation Status: In the period September-November 2009, specialized training of police inspectors was carried out in four sessions, covering the topic “Law on Juvenile Justice and Rights of Minors”.
Recommendation 28: To introduce mechanism for internal control of prison guards in the rules and the regulations on prisons and detention centers (the Netherlands); to establish an effective and independent mechanism for police oversight (Denmark)
Implementation Status: In 2009, the Office for Execution of Sanctions was institutionally strengthened. Four job positions in the Department for Treatment and Health Care were filled in, as follows: Head of Department for Security, Equipment and Technical Standards, Adviser-Inspector for External Security, Adviser – Inspector for Treatment of Young Adults in Penitentiary Institutions and Adviser – Inspector for Treatment of Minors.
Recommendation 30: To continue the prison system reforms and to improve the conditions in the penitentiary institutions (Azerbaijan); to continue and to strengthen ongoing efforts to ensure well-being of the prisoners and the detainees in line with the Convention Against Torture, as well as other international standards (Sweden); to accelerate prison system reforms and to take into account the introduction of re-socialization programmes so as to ensure reintegration of the prisoners in the community, as well as to reduce the risk of they re-offending (the United Kingdom)
Implementation Status: Eight standardized programmes for specific treatment groups are prepared, as follows: psycho-social programme for treatment of convicted persons abusing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, programmes for treatment of convicted persons abusing alcohol; persons convicted of sexual offence; persons convicted of violent behavior, persons convicted of criminal acts with elements of violence, minors and young adults - convicted persons, convicted persons – women and programme for treatment of convicted persons sentenced to life imprisonment.
Recommendation 33: To check the conditions in the prisons, detention locations and other facilities covered by OP CAT, to the end of ensuring their full harmonization with the international standards, in particular the use of means of tying and with respect to minors (Czech Republic)
Implementation Status: Regarding the procedure for dealing with minors, the Law on Police determines that the police competences toward minors can be applicable by police officials who are particularly trained for suppression of juvenile delinquency, which is in compliance with the Law on juvenile justice as well.
The Code of Police Ethics, article 52 which refers to the police intervention, unambiguously stipulates that during police interventions, police officers act in compliance with specific needs of certain categories of persons, such as: children, minors, women, elders and weakened persons and persons with health issues.
In addition, the juvenile Ohrid Prison and educational-correctional institution in Tetovo use no means for tying the minors.
Recommendation 40: To adopt provisions so as to address the phenomenon of withdrawing from school as regards Roma children and children who live in rural areas, in particular girls (Algeria); to continue the efforts to guarantee free primary education for all children,paying special attention to minority groups (Vatican); to continue paying special attention to the access to education for all children, regardless of their ethnic origin and at all educational levels, pre-school, primary and secondary education (Belgium)
Implemenation Status: State primary and secondary education are free and compulsory for all children in Macedonia.
In relation to the inclusion of Roma children in pre-school education, theMinistry of Labour and Social Policy implements,fourth year in a row, the project “Inclusion of Roma Children in Pre-School Education”, in cooperation with the Roma Education Fund and 19 local government units, to the end of implementingpart of the measures and the activities arising from the Decadeof Roma Inclusion and Roma Strategy in the Republic of Macedonia.
The Main objective of the Project is to improve and support the integration of Roma children by increasing the number o fRoma children in pre-school institutions, one year prior to going to primary school.
Direct beneficiaries 2010/2011:
- 410 Roma children ranging from 4.8 to 5.7 years of age (one year prior to going to primary school)
- At least 820 Roma parents, whose children will be supported during the project implementation, as well as closer members of the family
- Project activities ar eimplemented in 19 municipalities throughou tMacedonia.
- 19 nurse maids from the Roma ethnic community and 15 Roma NGO partners were engaged in the project implementation.
The State Education Inspectorate continuously monitors dropout phenomenon and acts pursuant to the Law on Education Inspection.
Recommendation 41: To continue efforts to ensure that Roma, Albanian and other minorities have access to adequate and convenient accommodation, employment, education and health protection, and that attention will be paid to promoting the integration of this population in all areas of the social life, without discrimination (Algeria); to continue adopting measures for improvement of the conditions of women from the rural areas, belonging to the ethnic minorities, above all, Roma and Albanians (Argentina); to ensure implementation of the relevant legislation, mainly laws pertaining to the use of languages, as well as those aimed at improving the living conditions of the Roma (Switzerland); to effectively support ethnically mixed organizations with respect to general civil, professional and business interests, so as to fully support social cohesion of all ethnic groups (Austria); to ensure fast implementation of the measures for the National Roma Strategy (Austria); harmonization with the Roma Strategy and the Decade of Roma Inclusion, to end in 2015 (Brazil); to implement the Roma Strategy and the action plans, in line with the Roma Strategy and Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 – 2015 (Canada); to ensure equal and smooth access to health protection for Roma people (Austria); to support the use, by Roma population, of their economic, social and cultural rights, mainly by implementing programmes for facilitation of registration of births and issuance of identification documents for this population (Mexico); to provide the Agency for the Rights of Ethnic Groups less that 20% of the Population with the necessary resources for effective resolving of the problems (Ireland); to improve the conditions for inclusion of some ethnic groups, mainly Roma people, who often face lack of protection (Spain); to focus more resources to ethnic reconciliation in the education of school children to nurture tolerance and respect diversity in the future generations (the USA)
Implementation Status: In addition to this Project, Roma population, as well as all citizens in the Republic of Macedonia, are beneficiaries of public preventive and curative Programmes of the Ministry of Health. The Programme for Mothers and Children and the Programme for Annual Medical Check-Ups, which are of special importance for targeting health issues of Roma, pays special attention to this vulnerable group. Such practice will continue in 2012.