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Helsinki Committee Press Release

Filed under: General — September 5, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

Power-wielders do not need the law - the law is the most powerful weapon of citizens.

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia reminds citizens of the Republic of Macedonia that they can exercise and protect freedoms and rights guaranteed under international documents and national laws only in a democratic state governed by the rule of law. Individual rights and freedoms can be realized only in a society which:

* Takes due care for the exercise of rights and freedoms by all; and in which
* Each and every member of the community respects the democratic rules, demands their application equally to all and opposes violations and limitations of rights and freedoms in their own environment and at the national level.

Silence and indifference to the suffering of others or to the violations of rights of others ultimately leads to a society in which no one can demand exercise of guaranteed rights and freedoms and in which citizens become totally dependent on the will of few oppressors that hold power.

Dictatorships do not come by chance in history. Dictatorships occur because people have chosen to be silent about violations of rights when they are not directly involved and to accept the rule of unlawfulness when it suits them. At that moment, making such a choice, they have consented that instead of the law their lives are governed by the will of the ruler.

If we agree with the A. Einstein’s statement that the world becomes dangerous place for living not because of the evil people, but because of the people sitting aside and letting the evil be done, than:

* Why all professors working in the Prilep secondary school are not held responsible as accomplices since they knew (or at least suspected) for a longer period about the violations of rights of children that they took on the responsibility to care for, or why are not the pedagogue /psychologist held responsible since their task is exactly to detect these types of problems, or why is not the School Principal held responsible who is under the duty of finding out and preventing such violations?
* Why a procedure is not undertaken for abuse of official duties against all police officers in the Republic of Macedonia as accomplices who, by not performing their duties and not punishing ALL that violate the law, are directly involved in the deaths and injuries of victims in the increasing number of traffic violations;
* Why all the employees at the Ministry of the Interior that accept the statement “firing arms at family gatherings” as a satisfactory explanation for use of fire arms in breach of legally prescribed rules are not held responsible as accomplices in murders?
* Why women, under the disguise “traditional relations in our ethnic community” accept a situation in which a huge percentage of the female population in the country does not exercise basic human rights (to choice, equal treatment in the family, freedom of movement, right to education, participation in governing) and even actively hide the problem by presenting alleged progress in the gender equality promotion on the territory of the entire country?
* Why it has not occurred to anyone to institute a procedure against priests and individuals who in the name of their own religious conviction and respect for a religious hierarchy (the Macedonian Orthodox Church) call to intolerance and hatred, threaten the lives and security of others that hold different views, convictions and respect another religious hierarchy?
* And why…

The method of keeping the silence, not opposing and not demonstrating solidarity in all situations in which in an unlawful manner were dismissed school principles, directors of public enterprises, and heads of Culture centers, as well as entire school management boards, and administration at all levels were dismissed from their positions, have lead to a situation in which anyone who grabs onto even the slightest shred of power immediately abuses it and violates the law.

The Helsinki Committee reminds that human rights can be implemented only in a society in which the law applies equally to all and in which people are aware that threatening the rights of others opens the door to limitations of their own rights. Citizens too have the right to come together in solidarity against the state that does not create conditions necessary for the proper exercise of rights and freedoms.

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