16176894_1395206133832569_850566487_nInformal group of citizens – representatives of the Roma community in Bitola, as well as the civic associations that work on advocacy of the rights of Roma express their concern towards the scrawled swastikas and written graffiti ‘Death for Gypsies’ and ‘Die Gypsies’ on the walls of P.S. Gjorgji Sugarev – Bitola.

Namely, the graffiti were noticed on 19.01.2017 and they call for violence towards the Roma community i.e. represent hate speech, which is a felony according to the Criminal code of Republic of Macedonia.

These graffiti scrawled on the walls of the primary school are especially concerning giving the fact that majority of the students in this school (about 80%) are Roma, who will start the second half of the school year on Monday (23.01.2017) and will face this massages.

Therefore, we ask the primary school to start immediately with removing the graffiti from the school walls. At the same time, in the manner of preventing such situations in the future, we seek to strengthen supervision over the school in order to guarantee protection of the safety of the children who attend this school as well as identify the perpetrators of these or similar activities.

The concerned persons and civic associations will also file criminal charges for this event. At the same time, we call on the relevant state institutions, the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecutor’s Office to take urgent measures against hate speech, because impunity of spreading and promoting hate speech in public space is tolerance and justification for hate speech which can result in acts of hatred.

By writing the text, the offender fulfilled the characteristics of the crimes of “inciting hatred, discord or intolerance on nationality, religion or other discriminatory grounds” under Article 319, “Racial and other discrimination” under Article 417, as well as “Threatening the security” under Article 144.

The offender despite causing damage to the dignity of Roma, wishing for their disappearance as a community, endangers the security of many people, and attempts to provoke violence between communities in the society. The offender with such messages caused emotional and psychological pain of the Roma community, which has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of communities in the country.

Our interest is to build coexistence and mutual respect regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation, and for any contrary behavior or conduct of any person we seek liability in accordance with legal norms.

                                 govor na omraza                   16174505_727152060781156_8555404612932556690_n

The announcement is supported by:

  1. Roma Civic Parliament” – Bitola
  2. Association ROMA S.O.S. – Prilep
  3. CDRC Bairska Svetlina – Bitola
  4. Helsinki comitee for human rights of RM
  5. European Roma Rights Centre – Budapest
  6. Association Romano Avazi – Tetovo