BHHRG

About BHHRG

The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions

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Conclusion: Sigh of Relief or Democracys Last Gasp?
HITS: 1973 | 7-01-2005, 21:21 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Macedonia , Political leaders

The New World Order’s loyal chorus let out a sigh of relief.[1] On the day after the vote, Reuters declared, "Macedonia was a rung higher on the ladder to EU and NATO… Nudged by Washington and cajoled by Brussels, most Macedonians stayed away from the polls on a rainy Sunday, dooming what the West had viewed as a retrograde step.,"[2] The result of the referendum confirmed the tribal totalitarianism of the Albanian community in Macedonia. Whereas the ethnic Macedonian population was divided roughly in to two halves, one voting the other boycotting, the Albanians of Macedonia acted as one conformist bloc. Civil society with its pluralism and inherent splits across ethnic and religious lines seems as far away from Macedonia’s Albanians as ever.

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European Values versus Euro-Atlantic power structures
HITS: 2437 | 7-01-2005, 20:56 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Macedonia , PR and human rights

The intervention of the Euro-Atlantic power structures on the side of the SDSM and DUI was hardly surprising since NATO and the EU had acted as godfathers to the political alliance between the two parties eighteen months earlier. However, critics of the re-districting plan could call European values in support of their stance. After all, had not the constitutional expert, Robert Badinter, who had endorsed Macedonia’s constitutional order as worthy of EU recognition thereby ratified the legitimacy of the referendum provisions contained in it. Why had the power-brokers in Brussels reneged on the constitutional order which had been worthy of independence from Yugoslavia then. Another problem was that as far back as 1985, the EU’s then member states had adopted a Charter on Local Government which explicitly endorsed referendums as one way in which ordinary people could express their views on proposed changes to administration in their regions. For instance, the Charter states,
“Local self-government… shall be exercised by councils or assemblies composed of members freely elected by secret ballot on the basis of direct, equal, universal suffrage, and which may possess executive organs responsible to them. This provision shall in no way affect recourse to assemblies of citizens, referendums or any other form of direct citizen participation where it is permitted by statute.” [emphasis added][1]

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Macedonia: Re-districting or partition?
HITS: 1992 | 7-01-2005, 20:48 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Macedonia , PR and human rights

Macedonia’s current local government legislation dates back to 1996 when the current president Branko Crvenkovski was prime minister of an SDSM-led government. Then the current main opposition party, VMRO-DPME, opposed the changes. Each big Macedonian party has reversed its position on local government and this, no doubt, contributes to cynicism among ordinary Macedonian citizens of all ethnicities.
The Ohrid Agreement and Euro-Atlantic integration are invariably cited as the main reason for changing the 1996 arrangements with subsidiary emphasis on the changes alleged benefits to local people and local government finances and services.
Although re-districting had been an issue hovering in the background of post-Ohrid Macedonian politics it only really took off as an issue from early 2004. By mid-summer widespread protests and referendums in 41 localities (not all ethnically mixed) had expressed opposition to proposed changes.

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Macedonia Referendum: Block the Vote
HITS: 3240 | 7-01-2005, 03:14 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Macedonia , Politics

Referendum on the proposed re-districting of local government units 7th November 2004

Macedonia, the missing jigsaw piece of the European superstate. A poster on display in the weeks leading up to the referendum

On 7th November 2004, fewer than 30% of eligible voters turned out in Macedonia’s referendum on local government re-organisation which required a minimum 50% participation. Hardly a subject to disturb the headline-writers, one might have thought. Yet Washington and Brussels worked overtime to achieve that level of apathy. The low turnout was hailed as a triumph for Euro-Atlantic values. Perhaps an invalid Balkan referendum on an obscure local issue tells us more about the New World Order than anyone might have expected.

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