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Macedonian Police discriminated against Roma at border crossing, family to be compensated

30.11.2015 16:16
The flag of Macedonia.
The flag of Macedonia.

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has been reporting on a case in which police in Macedonia refused to let a Romani couple travel out of the country two years ago. Now the Macedonian Interior Ministry must pay compensation of approximately EUR 500 to each person harmed, according to a court verdict that has taken effect.

The ministry will probably appeal. Two years ago Mr and Mrs Muhedin wanted to visit their family in Switzerland and were traveling to visit their grandchildren. At the border crossing they were the only passengers on the bus to be called upon by police to present other documents in addition to their passports.

All of the couple's documents were in order, including their return bus tickets, EUR 200 in cash, and their invitation letter. Despite this, the police officers forbade them to cross the border.

The ERRC says this is not an isolated case and the Macedonian Government is concerned that Romani people who leave the country do so to seek asylum abroad. “Most of us in Europe thought stopping people leaving their own country ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall,” said Adam Weiss, the Legal Director of the ERRC.

“Not for Roma, though, for whom this is perhaps the most visible way of making them second-class citizens. We will continue litigating these cases, to stop this from happening anymore and to show Roma that the justice system works for them,” Weiss said. 

mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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