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Urgent Interventions

FYR of Macedonia: Intimidation and smear campaign against President of Helsinki Committee


MKD 001/ 0102/OBS 003
F.Y.R of Macedonia
Intimidation/ Smear Campaign
22 January 2002

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the FIDH and the OMCT, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia .

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Greek Helsinki Monitor of the measures and smear campaign conducted by Macedonian government bodies, by the state-controlled media, and by the Orthodox church against the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of Macedonia and against its president, Mrs. Mirjana Najcevska, during the early days of January 2002. Mrs. Najcevska has been threatened with arrest as punishment for the Committee's efforts to hold the government accountable for fulfilling its human rights obligations.

According to the information received, Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski referred to her as "state enemy number 1", "anti-Macedonian" and an "attorney for the Albanians", when he spoke in front of the daily newspaper “Vecer”, and on A1 and Sitel television in early January. These reactions are allegedly based on the Minister having received a draft of the Helsinki Committee's Annual Report. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) has also received information that a campaign against the Helsinki Committee has been discussed in the National Security Council of the government.

The government's attacks have been amplified in the state-controlled media and following the declarations made by the Interior Ministry, the Macedonian Orthodox Church has publicly criticized the Helsinki Committee for its condemnation of the mono-ethnic composition and mono-religious services among the newly formed special forces of army and police ('Lions' and 'Tigers').

Moreover, the husband of Mrs. Najcevska, Sasko Todorovski, has been removed from his position as Macedonia's Acting Permanent Representative of Macedonia to the Council of Europe. Mr. Todorovski is also a member of the board of the Helsinki Committee.

The Observatory is gravely concerned with the current harassment and campaign directed against Mrs. Najcevska, Mr. Todorovski and the Helsinki Committee, and more generally against civil society groups seeking human rights and justice in Macedonia.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia urging them to:

i. put an end to the harassment and the smear campaign directed at Mrs. Najcevska, her husband, and the Helsinki Committee, and ensure that they be allowed to carry out their work without obstacles.

ii. conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1998, in particular its article 1 which states that : « everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels » and its article 6 paragraph b which provides for the right to “to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms”;

iii. conform with the disposals of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and of human rights regional and international instruments.


- Boris TRAJKOVSKI; President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 11 Octomvri bb, 1000 Skopje. Fax: (00389) 2 112 147

- Ljubco GEORGIEVSKI; Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, bul. Ilinden bb, 1000 Skopje. Fax: (00389) 2 112 561

- Idzet MEMETI; Minister of Justice of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 9 Dimitri Cupovski, 1000 Skopje, Fax: (00389) 2 226 975

Paris-Geneva, 22 January, 2002

The Observatory, a joint FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the Emergency Line:
Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 01 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 4122 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
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