DIRECTLY Deralla: CIVIL’s participation is crucial

Deralla, CIVIL: CIVIL – Center for Freedom, currently is cooperating on the ground with several dozen people, throughout the entire country. They are people who are scanning the situation for quite some time now, in the context of the referendum. They have been monitoring the situation at the political, social and media level practically from the first day of the signing of the agreement between Macedonia and Greece. They are people who have also previously worked and cooperated with CIVIL as citizen journalists, or have been carrying out monitoring of the situation of human rights and freedoms. In the following period of four weeks, they will be working even more intensely, more focused and more structured on monitoring the implementation of the referendum process itself.

Our focus is, of course, the right to vote of citizens, as a fundamental human right. Whether their right is enabled, or ensured, and how much.

Primarily, we are trying to see all the consequences of the bad Voters Register, which we concluded is not in a good condition, despite the optimistic announcements by the institutions. The consequences of such poor quality of the voters Register will be seen, but unfortunately, too late, on the day of the referendum.

We also pay attention to whether the citizens are under pressure of certain structures in the country. More specifically, whether they are intimidated or in any way obstructed in using their right to vote on the day of the referendum. And, we already have remarks on that plan.

Furthermore, our long-term observers will also be observing the implementation of the referendum process by the institutions. In addition to the State Election Commission and the municipal election commissions, the local authorities will also be observed. The procedures will also be observed, that is, the implementation of the legal competencies of the Ministry of Interior. However, a very serious focus is also hate speech and the calls for violence. We can see that it has intensified terribly recently. I think that CIVIL was one of the first and loudest organizations pointing out that hate speech can negatively impact the implementation of the referendum process. We are constantly urging for those structures that deal with distribution of hate and calls for violence to be sanctioned according to the law.

We learn from the Ministry of Interior that so far there have been about a hundred reports submitted in the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office, but, unfortunately, at this moment we do not see and resolution. That, according to us, is unacceptable behavior of an important, serious and responsible institution in the country.

Also, we notice that hate speech and violence, calls for violence, division among people…, are carried out also by institutions that should be up to their task. Unfortunately, in addition to political parties and other initiatives that are obviously connected with the oppositional political parties, and which are also the target of action and activities of foreign intelligence services, for which we have written, we can see that even the Church is getting close to such a negative campaign that sows fear among people. Which is contrary to all codes of this big and important institution.

In any case, CIVIL will also have monitoring in regards to the behavior of NGOs, other institutions and all stakeholders in the entire referendum process. Hence, our media platform will have a serious activity, but an even greater progressive and dynamic campaign – on the ground, which will differ from the campaign that is being carried out by the boycotters, and the Government, and the European Union. That is, we will try to give our own contribution in calling the citizens to use their right to vote. The turnout is very important! The chance to use this democratic tool, to decide on a very important question, is very big and important, and I believe that CIVIL’s participation in this process will be of crucial importance.

Text editing: Маја Ivanovska
Camera: Аtanas Petrovski
Editing: Аrian Mehmeti
Photo: Dehran Muratov


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