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The Network for Protection against Discrimination requests from the Parliament to immediately start the procedures for the election of members of the Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination and election of a new Ombudsman.

The Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination entered into force with the publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia no. 258/2020 on 30 October 2020. Pursuant to Article 45, paragraph 1 of this Law, the public announcement for the election of members of the Commission, will be published by the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia within 15 days from the entry into force of this Law. According to the date of entry into force of the Law, the legal deadline thus expired on 14 November 2020, and the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia has not yet published a public announcement for the election of members of the Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination.

The second term of the current Ombudsman, Ixhet Memeti, expires on 24 December 2020. Pursuant to Article 5, paragraph 4 of the Law on the Ombudsman, the Assembly has a legal obligation to initiate the procedure for the election of the Ombudsman and his deputies three months before the expiration of their mandate. According to the expiration date of the mandate of the current Ombudsman, the Assembly was supposed to start the procedure for the election of a new Ombudsman and his deputies no later than 24 September 2020, and the Assembly has not yet published a public announcement for the election of a new Ombudsman.

The Network for Protection against Discrimination requests from the Parliament to conduct the election of the members of the Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination in a transparent manner as soon as possible and taking into account the quality of the selected candidates. The obligation of the composition of this body to reflect the composition of the society as a whole must not remain only a declarative, but a real goal of the Assembly because otherwise the purpose of this body as a guarantor of equality of all citizens will be compromised. It is necessary to select professional and independent candidates who are in no way affiliated with political parties. Thereby, ethnicity must not be the only criterion, especially its narrow understanding as a distribution of positions between Macedonians and Albanians. It is necessary to take into account gender equality and to include representatives of marginalized communities (Roma, people with disabilities, LGBTI and others).

Additionally, the Network for Protection against Discrimination requests from the Parliament to conduct the procedure for the election of a new Ombudsman as soon as possible. During the election, the Assembly should take into account the future Ombudsman to be a person who will overcome the long-standing identified problems of the institution, which relate to the lack of equitable distribution of financial and human resources, degree of expertise and competence of a significant part of the institution, the publicly announced interpersonal conflicts and mobbing in the institution and filling the vacancies in accordance with the Rulebook for systematization in the professional service, in the team of the National Preventive Mechanism, in the special departments and in the offices of the Ombudsman.

Finally, the new Ombudsman must be a person who will restore the citizens’ trust in the institution and make the Ombudsman institution meet the internationally prescribed criteria for national human rights institutions, such as the Paris Principles for a National Human Rights Institution of The UN and the Principles for the Protection and Promotion of the Ombudsman of the Venice Commission.