State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Macedonia
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Publication Date||4 March 2007|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Macedonia, 4 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48a97137c.html [accessed 21 August 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
In Macedonia, ethnic Albanian political parties have been members of the governing coalitions since independence, and, in the run-up to the July 2006 elections, there were clashes between the two main Albanian political parties, the Democratic Union for Integration, which was in government, and the Democratic Party of Albanians (PDA). The elections saw the PDA joining the government coalition led by the previous opposition ethnic Macedonian party. The Commission of the European Communites, in November 2006, reported on Macedonia's accession to the EU and noted that '[i]n general, inter-ethnic relations have continued to improve. The commitment of the government to make progress in the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement remained essential for the country's stability. Inter-ethnic issues were not conflicting issues during the electoral campaign.' The Ohrid Framework Agreement, which ended the armed conflict in 2001, provides for a range of legislative and policy measures to ensure equality and minority protection. As a result, constitutional changes have been made and legislation introduced or amended, including a decentralization law, giving official status to a minority language where at least 20 per cent of the population speak it, proportional representation, measures in education, as well as measures aimed at improved participation and employment of minorities in public life and state institutions. At the municipal level, Committees for Inter-ethnic Relations are being established in areas with more than 20 per cent minority population; if given a proper role, these could be an important mechanism for participation. The Ohrid Framework Agreement focuses on the ethnic Albanian and Macedonian communities, marginalizing smaller minority communities. While comprehensive legislative changes have been made, implementation of the laws, policies and programmes has varied, with progress in some but not in other areas.