At the 14th session held on 14 May 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled to repeal the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination. This decision of the Constitutional Court comes after the initiative of the previous composition of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination for assessment of the constitutionality and legality of the Law, which stated that the disputed law was passed contrary to Art. 75 of the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia, i.e. the necessary constitutional majority was not provided for the re-enactment of the Law. Namely, the Law of 11 March 2019 was adopted with a total of 51 votes out of the total number of MPs. The law adopted in this way was submitted to the then President, Gjorge Ivanov, for the signing of the decree, but since it was not signed by the President due to the name, it was returned to the Parliament. The disputed Law was put back on the agenda on 16 May 2019 and based on Article 75 of the Constitution, the Assembly reconsidered it. The law was passed on the same day with 55 votes, making the law passed without the required 61-vote constitutional majority.
The Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, by not providing the necessary constitutional majority for passing and adopting the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination, reaffirmed that the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized categories of citizens are not important or valuable for protection. We place the responsibility for the omissions in the procedure with the Assembly, especially the ruling majority whose election campaign was based on the idea of equality, the President of the Assembly, Talat Xhaferi and the President of RNM, Stevo Pendarovski, who knew or had to know that the law should be passed by 61 votes.
We reiterate that although reforming and improving legislation and the anti-discrimination system were a pre-election promise of the government and the ruling majority, the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination was stuck in parliamentary procedure for more than 10 months before being put to a vote. From the day of the second adoption of the Law by the Assembly to its repeal by the Constitutional Court, one year has passed in which the Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination was not formed, although the Assembly had a legal obligation to choose the composition of the Commission, and thus enable the implementation of the Law and the functionality of the key body for promoting the equality of citizens. The frivolous and disinterested approach of the Assembly in the whole process of passing and adopting the Law, as well as the lack of political will for its implementation and election of members of the Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination shows that the authorities do not care about human rights and equality of citizens, especially marginalized groups such as Roma, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, women, poor citizens and everyone else who survives on the margins.
The civil society sector has been advocating for the adoption of the repealed Law for 10 years, through numerous campaigns, expert reports and recommendations, advocacy and meetings with all political parties, protests and press conferences. The international community and the European Commission have repeatedly called for the adoption of the Law and the establishment of an effective system for protection against discrimination. The numerous assurances and promises again resulted in the defeat of the most vulnerable citizens for whom this Law is essential.
We demand that immediately after the announced parliamentary elections and the election of the new parliamentary composition, regardless of which coalition will form the parliamentary majority, the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination to be among the first items on the agenda of the Assembly. We demand that the necessary parliamentary majority be provided for the adoption of this Law, and immediately afterwards the procedure for selection of new members of the Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination to be conducted, in order for the citizens to finally get better, more efficient and effective protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms.