The Foundation Open Society – Macedonia strongly condemns the violence and unprofessional behavior of police officers in dealing with Roma, which is apparently becoming a police practice.
The video of the brutal actions of the police officers during an official police action in Bitola, clearly shows that the police brutality is present in our everyday life. We are especially upset and worried about what is being done to the Roma. Instead of protecting citizens from bullies and being a source of security, police officers are the perpetrators, violating fundamental human rights and participating in ethnic profiling, undermining trust in the police and institutions and jeopardizing the fundamental values of our Constitution and our aspirations as a future European Union member state.
We demand an urgent, thorough and prompt investigation by both the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecutor’s Office to establish disciplinary and criminal liability. We demand the most severe punishments for the perpetrators of this brutal expression of power. The institutions must immediately, clearly and unequivocally show that the safety and security of every citizen are guaranteed and actively work to restore trust in the police, but also in the institutions in general.
Roma are victims of daily systemic discrimination and are repeatedly exposed to police brutality. The institutions, especially the police, must not allow such unreasonable treatment of the Roma, but also of any other vulnerable community of citizens in our country, especially if the commitment of the state is to create a society in which there is a place for all. A society in which human rights, dignity and the rule of law are respected and which deals with inequalities on all grounds.