The statement of the Deputy Prime Minister Osmani on the 22nd of January in the show “Top Theme” on your part officially confirmed our doubts and fears that the blockade for adoption of the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination in the Parliament is precisely because of the negligence for the promotion of human rights of all citizens, including LGBTI people. The statement confirms the perception that despite the change in government in June 2017, the policies and attitudes of the institutions towards LGBTI people are not changing.
The Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination, which has been in procedure in Parliament since May 2018, has not yet been transferred to the Commission for Labor and Social Policy – as the main committee for this law. The adoption of the law in the Commission for Labor and Social Policy is permanently postponed by the chairman, President Vlatko Gjorcev, while other laws, prepared later by the commission have passed the commission. Opposition MPs, as well as DUI lawmakers in the committee, voted against the bill to be the first item on the agenda.
While blocking the adoption of the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination, MPs did not have a problem to vote on adopting the amendments to the Criminal Code, thus providing explicit protection against chronic acts with explicit mention of sexual orientation and gender identity. MPs from the opposition VMRO-DPMNE also proposed amendments to the Law on Audio and Audio-Visual Media Services for introducing sexual orientation and gender identity in the basics of protection against hate speech in the media, and DUI supported this. We, therefore, feel that the electorate is not ready to accept sexual orientation and gender identity in the law, and it remains unclear why DUI and VMRO DPMNE consider these bases in some laws, but not in others.
The Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination is not a law for the LGBTI community but is a completely legal solution that aims to create an effective system for preventing and protecting against discrimination for all citizens, including effective protection against discrimination based on ethnicity for the Albanian population.
We are especially concerned that this statement comes from Deputy Prime Minister Osmani, in whose mandate is European integration, and not as a promoter of democratization, rule of law and protection of basic human rights, has sadly become a promoter of negative stereotypes and prejudices against LGBTI people. Macedonia has an obligation to introduce sexual orientation and gender identity in the law, and this is highlighted in every European Commission report on Macedonia. With this, we can only conclude that what is only disputable is DUI to Europeanize Macedonia.
Statement by Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani:
“There are certain differences between political parties regarding certain categories that need to be included in the law, they are talking to political parties because there are still likely prejudices in the political parties or they think that they have prejudices with the electorate they represent, so whether it can be reflected on them, but I think that with dialogue we will be able to include all categories because these are the values of the European Union…” Тo the question of which citizens belong to those categories the answer is: “I’m talking about the LGBTI community, but I’m talking about other disputable categories that I cannot remember at the moment.”
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Jovana Jovanovska Kanurkova
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