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Macedonia: Extent of domestic violence; availability of recourse and state protection (January 2005 - December 2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 13 January 2006
Citation / Document Symbol MKD100791.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Macedonia: Extent of domestic violence; availability of recourse and state protection (January 2005 - December 2005), 13 January 2006, MKD100791.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45f1477e20.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

General Situation

Reports on Macedonia highlighted the "persistent and common" nature of domestic violence in the country, with up to one of four women claiming to have been a victim and a relative lack of criminal charges (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5) or prosecutions (AI 2005). Freedom House corroborated the serious nature of the problem in Macedonia, and noted that it was particularly acute within ethnic Albanian and Romani communities (2005). Country Reports 2004 indicated that women in Macedonia rarely report cases of domestic violence for fear of family shame or because it was socially discouraged (28 Feb. 2005).

Government

Macedonia is a signatory to the United Nations Women's Convention and its optional protocol (AI 2005). Citing official figures, AI stated that between January and November 2004, there were 98 criminal charges and 623 misdemeanour charges filed against perpetrators of domestic violence (2005).

Legislation

In 2004, Macedonia amended two criminal laws to specifically address domestic violence (EU 9 Nov. 2005; Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5) and sanction perpetrators with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (ibid.). Changes were also brought to the Family Code to increase the level of protection available to victims (ibid.; EU 9 Nov. 2005) by allowing civil restraining orders (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5). According to the European Union (EU) Enlargement Report for 2005, while it was too early to ascertain the effectiveness of the 2004 amendments, further legislative change was necessary to increase protection of victims, including the redefinition of rape in criminal law (EU 9 Nov. 2005).

Law Enforcement

Country Reports 2004 noted inconsistencies between the police mandate on fighting domestic violence and its resources (28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5). For instance, while some officers received training on new family violence laws, there was no clear program for police for dealing with domestic violence (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5).

Romani Women

The Website of the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) posted the findings of a joint study undertaken by the ERRC, the Roma Centre in Skopje (RCS) (a local non-governmental organization (NGO) that assists members of the Roma community), and the Network Women's Program (NWP) (a New York based initiative of the Open Society Institute that promotes women's human rights in 25 countries), with the assistance of the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM Oct.-Nov. 2005). The study found that Macedonian Romani women were particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, with 166, or 70 per cent, of the 237 Romani women interviewed reporting having been victims of domestic violence, most often at the hands of their husbands (ERRC Oct.-Nov. 2005). The study also found that 34 of the victims had reported the crimes to law enforcement officers (ibid.). According to the report, "[i]n 20 of these [34 cases], law enforcement officials subjected the women to further degrading treatment on racist grounds, usually in the form of insults about the 'Gypsy' origin of the victim" (ibid.). The ERRC claims that any efforts by the Macedonian government to deal with the violence perpetrated against Romani women have so far been unsuccessful (ERRC 25 July 2005).

Organizations

There were governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that operated shelters for victims of domestic violence and in 2004, three new government shelters were founded in Bitola, Kocani, and Strumica (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5). Country Reports 2004 noted that there was a telephone hotline with "limited hours" but did not specify the locations where this service was available (ibid.). The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (PeaceWomen.org) lists the following organizations in Macedonia that offer assistance to women:

– AMARC Women's Network [Skopje];

– The Humanitarian Association for Equality, Solidarity and Emancipation

(HAESE) [Skopje], which seeks to empower women and deals in the areas of domestic violence, legal advice, health, and women in politics;

– Organization of the Turkish Women;

– Organization of Women's Organizations of Macedonia;

– SOS Telefon [Skopje];

– Union of Women's Organizations of the Republic of Macedonia [Skopje] (PeaceWomen.org n.d.).

Further Information

For earlier information on the situation of domestic violence in Macedonia as well as state protection available, please consult the Criminal Code Report: Macedonia prepared by Penelopa Gjurcilova of the South Eastern European Women's Legal Initiative (SEELINE) in November/December 2002 and updated in February 2005 at the following Website: (SEELINE Nov.-Dec. 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International (AI). 2005. "Macedonia." Amnesty International Report 2005. [Accessed 18 Dec. 2005]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. 28 February 2005. "Macedonia." United States Department of State. [Accessed 18 Dec. 2005]

European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) [Budapest]. October-November 2005. Shadow Report on the Situation of Romani Women in the Republic of Macedonia. [Accessed 18 Dec. 2005]
_____. 25 July 2005. "Action on Romani Women's Rights in Macedonia." [Accessed 25 July 2005]

European Union (EU). 9 November 2005. Commission of the European Communities. Analytical Report for the Opinion on the Application from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for EU Membership. [COM (2005) 562final] [Accessed 18 Dec. 2005]

Freedom House. 11 August 2005. "Macedonia." Freedom in the World 2005. [Accessed 18 Dec. 2005].

South Eastern European Women's Legal Initiative (SEELINE). November-December 2002. Penelopa Gjurcilova. Criminal Code Report: Macedonia. [Accessed 18 Dec. 2005]

Women's International League for Peace and Freeom (PeaceWomen.org). N.d. "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Accessed 17 Dec. 2005]

Reference

The AMARC Women's Network [Skopje], the Humanitarian Association for Equality, Solidarity and Emancipation [Skopje], the Organization of Women's Organizations of Macedonia [Skopje], and the Union of Women's Organizations of the Republic of Macedonia [Skopje] did not respond to requests for information within time constraints.

Internet Sites, including: Courrier des Balkans [Arcueil, France], European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), European Union (EU) Enlargement Report, The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of Macedonia, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), International Crisis Group (ICG), International Helsinki Federation (IHF), Open Society Institute (OSI), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), United States Department of State.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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