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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Thursday, 30 January 2014 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Represented by ten-member delegation headed by Igor DZUNEV, Director of Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia page on the UPR website.

Troika *

China, Ireland and Namibia.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia page on the UPR Extranet)

  • The State under review underwent its first UPR in 2009 resulting in 42 recommendations among which 41 were accepted by the Government;
  • In March 2012 the Government submitted a mid-term UPR report and the following month set up the Inter-Sectoral Commission for Human Rights tasked to coordinate the national human rights policy and to follow up on the UPR recommendations;
  • The Justice system of reform aimed to develop the legal framework to further strengthen the independence and efficiency of the judiciary. The amended the Law on Criminal Procedures entered into force in December 2013 the Civil Procedures Code in 2011. New provisions on elections, accountability and evaluation of judges were also introduced;
  • On 8 April 2010 the Parliament adopted the Law on the Prevention of and Protection against Discrimination which explicitly prohibited direct and indirect discrimination and through which the Commission for the Protection against Discrimination was established in January 2011;
  • The new Law on Equal Opportunities, adopted in January 2012, explicitly prohibited all forms of discrimination against women in all spheres of society. In line with this Law, the 2013-2020 Strategy and the 2013-2017 National Action Plan on Gender Equality was adopted;
  • The Government adopted the 2012-2015 National Strategy for the Prevention of an Protection against Domestic Violence and the Law on Social Protection also introduced new forms of non-institutional protection, such as the Centre for Victims of Domestic Violence;
  • The Law on Civil Liability for Defamation and Insult was adopted in late 2012 and, accordingly, acts of defamation and insult were removed from the Criminal Code. As a result of a wide consultation process the Parliament adopted the Law on Media and the Law on Audio and Audio-Visual Media services in December 2013 which aimed to ensure the freedom of expression and freedom of the media;
  • The Government continued to reform the penitentiary system in line with recommendations posed by the UN Committee against Torture and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. A Strategy on the Establishment of a Probation Service was adopted to address over-crowded prisons;
  • Major efforts have been made to remedy the situation of Roma. National Action Plans on Roma focussed on the areas of education, housing, health care and employment;
  • Municipalities with major Roma population have prepared local action plans and in 2010 the Government adopted the National Action Plan for the advancement of the social status of Roma Women;
  • In September 2012 the Government adopted a revised 2012-2015 National Action Plan on Children’s Rights to address remaining challenges and the new Law on Child Protection adopted in February 2013 prohibited all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children;
  • The Government undertook a number of activities to ensure better living conditions for persons with disabilities and there was a strong partnership with NGOs on various projects in this area.

Participants

In total 56States participated in the dialogue: 23 HRC members and 33 observers  (Statements available on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The legislative improvements undertaken with a view of ensuring the protection of citizens from all forms of discrimination, such as the adopted law on the prevention of and protection against discrimination;
  • The reforms aimed at strengthening the independence of the judiciary;
  • The strengthening of the Ombudsman’s mandate and its accreditation to the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions;
  • The Ohric Framework Agreement, as an important tool for managing and improving interethnic relations;
  • The ratifications of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol;
  • Efforts made towards addressing gender inequality and women’s increased participation in the decision making process.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Freedom of expression and the freedom of press;
  • The protection of LGBT persons from discrimination and intolerance;
  • Issues linked to Roma people and discrimination against ethnic minorities;
  • Mistreatment in prisons and overcrowding;
  • Child labour, sexual exploitation and abuse of children;
  • Gender equality.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to the State under review.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To continue to ensure the independence of the media and the press and to restart the dialogue with media representatives in order to reach an agreement on pending issues and to create an enabling environment for independent operations of various media outlets;
  • To take appropriate measures to protect LGBT persons from discrimination and to end impunity for violence and intimidation against them;
  • To take effective measures to bring conditions of detention in-line with international standards, notably with regard to the overcrowding of prisons and violence;
  • To bring the Ombudsman’s office in line with the Paris principles;
  • To adopt appropriate measures in order to improve the quality of education for children belonging to ethnic minorities and especially for those learning in lesser used languages;
  • To intensify efforts to combat trafficking in persons while ensuring appropriate remedy to victims;
  • To develop primary healthcare guaranteeing access to medical services for all children, particularly those from the Roma community;
  • To strengthen the rights of Roma people
  • To consolidate efforts towards gender equality;
  • To strengthen the commission for protection against discrimination;
  • Take necessary measures to effectively eliminate child labour;
  • To continue to improve the conditions of migrants and asylum seekers.
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to the to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communication procedure; the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances and the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 4 February 2014.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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