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Compliments and grievances


News and Events

31 March 2020



The Ombudsman, in accordance with the competences stipulated in the Law on the Ombudsman (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia” No. 60 / 03,114 / 09,118 / 16, 189/16, 35/18), following the situation with the realization and protection of the rights of the citizens, in particular children, the elderly and the infirm, persons with disabilities, socially disadvantaged persons, persons / families living in substandard conditions and the homeless, as the most vulnerable categories in society, given the state of emergency, and to protect and deal with the consequences of the Covid virus -19, counts that the competent authorities need to step up their monitoring activities, act in a professional and timely manner, with the measures and activities taken to be laid down in clear and specific Protocols that will prevent any form of human rights violation
Given the current situation, the Ombudsman indicates that these categories of citizens become even more vulnerable in these circumstances when measures and activities are aimed at preventing the further spread of coronavirus.
Social distancing undoubtedly affects the overall situation of these citizens, with stress being particularly pronounced in children, the elderly and the infirm, persons with disabilities, socially disadvantaged and homeless people as persons with poor immunity, and some with diseases, which fall into the high-risk group, which can lead to serious health problems if they become ill.

The Ombudsman welcomes the Government's activities and measures to tackle the pandemic also declared by the World Health Organization, but recalls that these prevention measures, including social distance and self-isolation, may find it difficult to implement some of the categories mentioned above. Citizens, especially children, the elderly and infirm, as well as persons with disabilities, especially when they are completely dependent on others to meet their basic needs (such as nutrition, bathing, providing urgent supplies and medicines, etc.).

In addition, some of the mentioned categories of citizens have higher daily expenses (due to diet or regular therapy that their family members have to receive), which undoubtedly indicates that they cannot afford to provide sufficient food, hygiene, etc. It is therefore of particular importance that the competent authorities, in cooperation with the local self-government units, through the established mobile teams, provide assistance and support to these persons.
In this context, the Ombudsman recommends that full and continuous care and assistance be provided to the above categories of citizens, in particular the elderly / infirm, the homeless, and persons with disabilities, given that they are largely dependent on services currently discontinued and they may not have sufficient funds to provide food and medicine, or to pay extra for delivery at home.

In order to improve the state's care for all citizens, and especially children, the elderly, the disabled, persons with disabilities, the socially endangered and the homeless, the Ombudsman recommends that the following actions be taken consistently, measures and activities:

Proper and timely information on the state of play of activities undertaken through the mass media, whereby information in the media must be provided in sign language and in accessible format, including accessible digital technologies, and / or using easily understood and simple language as well as visual support;

Competent institutions to provide and implement clear protocols for action in cases where citizens of the above mentioned categories are affected, especially in the case of a person with a disability. In this respect, it is particularly important that all of these categories, in particular persons with disabilities, have equal access to health care and services on an equal basis with others, that is, all health care measures for the protection of life and treatment must not be discriminatory on any grounds;

Strengthening care for children at risk on a variety of grounds by identifying risk factors, where possible, as well as monitoring children at risk of exploitation, violence, abuse and inadequate care;

Undertaking additional social protection measures for the above mentioned category of citizens, in order to ensure the continuity of the necessary support, especially for persons with disabilities and their families in a safe way and during the crisis.

The Ombudsman is aware of the challenges of providing financial support to overall Covid-19 virus management activities, but having in mind the position of vulnerable categories of citizens and the obligation to provide timely, full and adequate care and support, recommends taking additional measures, financial assistance to reduce the risk of additional vulnerability and poverty.

It also recommends the establishment of specialized services that will provide direct support to the elderly, disabled and their families, the homeless, the persons / families living in substandard conditions, as well as children at risk, i.e. the provision of social and health services for these people, who would also buy them medicine, groceries, food and hygiene products and more.

According to the Ombudsman, it is also of particular importance to establish specialized services (doctors, special educators and rehabilitators, psychologists, psychotherapists and specialists in other fields) that will provide psychosocial support to this category of citizens using the state-of-the-art technology, and timely delivery of needed assistance to reduce the impact of social isolation.

Submitting this Recommendation, and in accordance with Article 32 of the Law on the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman expects to be notified within a reasonable time about its implementation.

                                                                                                       Ixhet Memeti


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Whether the human rights of persons with special needs are respected in the Republic of Macedonia and in what extend?


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