Global March Against Child Labour: From Exploitation to Education
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Global March Against Child Labour - From Exploitation to Education
Alternative Report of the Non-Governmental Organizations to the State Reports About the Situation With the Rights of the Child in the Republic of Macedonia

The Alternative Reports of NGOs on the occasion of the Second Periodical State Report to the Convention on the Rights of the Child[1] and the initial reports on the Optional Protocols, are prepared by the National Alliance for Children's Rights - Republic of Macedonia - NACR (non-formal Alliance established in 1997) as part of a project activity of the First Children's Embassy in the World MEGJASHI. For the needs to prepare the report in 2009, this NACR was renewed and extended with new member organizations and two coalitions. 21 civil society organizations and 2 coalitions of civil society organizations took part in the process of preparation of the Alternative Reports[2] .

On occasion of the presentation of the Alternative reports, I am sorry to have to point out again that the rights of the children in Macedonia are threatened and not respected and to express our concern about the inefficiency and the non-functioning of the mechanisms of the state, in a sense that:

  • The protection of the children and preventing their abuse
  • The violence against and among children
  • Insufficient dedication of the state for the children in the institutions, regarding their needs and problems
  • Discrimination of the Roma children in every aspect, especially in the educational system

In Macedonia, the rights of the children are being violated in all areas: the social activities, education, health care, legislation, family, media, communications...

The exploitation of children is rising every year. The drop of the living standard, neglecting of the real needs of the children and the inability to satisfy them, loose family ties, strengthening of the political tensions, and the ghettoizing of certain groups according to the ethnic, language and religious beliefs, contributed to the worsening of the general situation of the children in the last couple of years.

The state is not taking any action for preventing and fighting the discrimination of the children, nor is making an estimate of the current inequalities in enjoying of the rights of the child, especially the children whose parents are with lower social status.

In preparing the initial report in 1996, the state consulted the civil society organizations, but during the preparation of the second periodical report in 2007 this consultation was left out.
This year, the Convention for Children’s Rights (CRC) celebrated its 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, in the Republic of Macedonia, despite the numerous efforts to improve children’s rights and the numerous legal changes and amendments, still children rights are not completely protected. In certain cases that is because of legal omissions, but in some other cases, where good legal framework exists, the omission is made during the implementation of the law.

The Alternative Report consists of numerous problems that children in the Republic of Macedonia face with, as well as recommendations for overcoming these problems. Above all, the Report provides an overview of the condition and the need to work in the area of ratification of all international documents which provide protection of children’s rights, as well as completion of the overall legal framework of the country. This includes the need of ratification of the Convention of the Council of Europe on protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, ratification of the Convention for protection of the rights of people with special needs within the UN and adoption of the Law for protection from discrimination, which will design measures that will overcome all possible gaps and will leave no room for toleration of any kind of discrimination. Also, it is needed to provide amendments and changes of the current legal provisions which regulate children’s rights, such as the need for amendments and changes of the Family Law, Law for Social Protection, Law for Children’s Protection and other laws. Also, one of the most important recommendations of the Alternative Report, elaborated further in details, is creation of children’s ombudsman, as a separate institution which will be completely dedicated to protection of children’s rights.

Besides the general problems and recommendations included in the report, it also covers many specific problems, which if overcame, will directly influence the level of protection and realization of children’s rights.

Some of the reccomendations are the folowing:

  • Strengthening of the systems for data collection and data analyzing on national and local level, to promote evidence-based policy making.
  • Regular training of state institutions, local self-governments, schools, parents, media, civil servants who implement the Convention for Children’s Rights
  • Printing and distribution of the CRC in multiple languages
  • More visible campaigns for increasing the awareness on the importance of the CRC
  • Establishing a special object where children would serve their detainment, in no way together with adult detainees
  • Establish Children's Ombudsman as a special separated institution which will be fully committed to protection of children’s rights.
  • Ratification of the Convention of the Council of Europe on protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse;
  • Ratification of the Convention for protection of the rights of people with special needs within the UN;
  • Adoption of the Law on protection from discrimination, through which measures will be designed to eliminate all possible gaps which tolerate any form of discrimination;

Specific recomendations

  • Exemption from paying the fee (participation) when realizing the right of health protection for ALL children
  • Inclusion of ALL children in the compulsory primary education
  • 24 hours accessibility of all centers for social work
  • Compulsory employment of social workers and defectologists in ALL primary schools
  • The employees of the Centers for social work should be in the field on daily bases, to early detect the conditions of the families in risk and prevent possible violence and abuse of the children in dysfunctional families
  • For a better prevention of family violence, Centers for social work should practice the mechanism of enhanced supervision over the parental authority or foreclosure of parental authority
  • Urgent dislocation of the detention center in Tetovo at a more appropriate location. Urgent separation of the juvenile males in the detention center from the adult prisoners in the prison in Skopje. The same applies for the juvenile females from the women department of the prison Idrizovo

[1] The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 1989. The rights outlined in the CRC define the universal principles and norms on children’s status. The Republic of Macedonia joined the CRC in November 1993. The first report on the conditions with children’s rights should be submitted by the endorsing country no latter than two years after the ratification of the Convention. Furthermore, reports are required on each five years, with a possibility for additional interim reports, if that is needed. In 2007, the Republic of Macedonia submitted the Second Periodic Report for the CRC. All reports are reviewed by the Committee on children’s rights of the UN, which meets several times a year in Geneva. Once the Committee receives the state reports, it than requires written information by the nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations.
[2] Organizations members of the National Alliance for children’s rights are: Association for Democratic Initiative (ADI) – Gostivar, Association for Health Education and Research - HERA – Skopje, Coalition All for Fair Trials - Skopje (a coalition of 17 NGOs), Council for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency – Kavadarci, Center for Balkan Cooperation "LOJA" – Tetovo, Center for Civic Initiative – Prilep, Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution – Skopje, Center for Sustainable Development Porta – Strumica, First Children's Embassy in the World Megjashi – Skopje, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia – Skopje, HOPS Options for Healthy Life – Skopje, Humanitarian Association Mother – Kumanovo, Humanitarian and Charitable Association of Roma in Macedonia Mesechina – Gostivar, Humanitarian and Charitable Association of Roma in Macedonia Mesechina – Debar, Lifestart – Bitola, Macedonia Without Discrimination (Union of 11 NGOs), Open Gate - La Strada – Skopje, Open the Windows – Skopje, Post Polio Support Group Polio Plus – Skopje, Phurt – Delcevo, Shelter Center – Skopje, Women's Civic Initiative Antico – Kicevo, Youth Educational Forum - Skopje

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