The Decision of the Constitutional court is a major blow to our protracted efforts in safeguarding the rights of the LGBTI people

Skopje, 15 May 2020

“The Decision of the Constitutional Court of North Macedonia to repeal the Law on Prevention of and Protection against Discrimination from yesterday is a major blow to our efforts of many years in safeguarding the human rights of LGBTI people in the country” – said Antonio Mihajlov, the Executive Director of the Sexual and Gender Minorities Association SUBVERSIVE FRONT Skopje.

“It came on the same day when ILGA-Europe ranked North Macedonia the highest so far in its annual ranking of European countries in terms of adopted laws and policies protecting the LGBTI persons – the Rainbow Europe 2020 Map and Index. It also hurts to receive this disappointing news when we are celebrating IDAHOBIT – the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on May 17, marking 30 years since the elimination of homosexuality from the list of diseases and disorders by the World Health Organisation. The latest FRA LGBTI Survey results published also yesterday, show that North Macedonia is ranked among the bottom 3 countries in Europe in terms of satisfaction of life of the LGBTI citizens. We have no reason to celebrate 17 May, but to further press the new, soon-to-be-elected composition of the Parliament of North Macedonia to immediately come up with a plan to adopt an efficient and effective legal framework for protection against discrimination” – adds Mihajlov.

The Law on Prevention of and Protection against Discrimination was adopted last year on May 16, after an unnecessarily long procedure in the Parliament and with a great pressure from the civil society organisations from the country and abroad. It provided professionalization of the work of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination through increasing its independence and mandate, it explicitly recognized the protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and it fulfilled the obligations that the Republic of North Macedonia has undertaken in front of international and regional human rights bodies, including the European Union, the Council of Europe and the committees of the United Nations. Despite coming into effect right away, the Law implementation faced significant challenges, in particular in the election of the members of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, as to date, the Commission has not been formed, and has, practically left the citizens of the country without an official body to protect them against discrimination on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity.