“I have very clearly expressed my dissatisfaction with the work of the Constitutional Court, for which I think that quite unjustifiably and with very wrong reading of the Constitution and laws caused the cancellation of the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination, and why that was done and who gained from it would only be a speculation, but the fact is that they have led the country into a situation for there to be blankness in which there was no law regulation with which the citizens would be protected from discrimination and that is unacceptable after so many years of fighting for the adoption of this law and after so many years of the existence of this legal regulation” highlighted professor Mirjana Najcevska at the panel discussion on the topic “Discrimination and employment in the public and private sector” organized by CIVIL.
Najcevska said that there should not be a different treatment of people because of a certain characteristic such as ethnic affiliation, especially when it regards employment in the private sector.
“The employer, if there is doubt for having given someone advantage because they belong to a certain ethnic community, should prove that person was employed not because of that reason, but because they possess the adequate qualities, skills, knowledge, and experience needed for the job”, pointed out Najcevska.
Najcevska stated that she avoids the word positive discrimination because in it, the word contains a certain type of absurd, and that she prefers the word affirmative, that is, affirmative action when an advantage is given consciously to a certain category of people when it comes to discrimination.
“I believe there is an attempt for disorder of the system of free economy and discouragement of the quality competition. Firstly, our system is based on the rights and freedoms of the individual. In this way we put in the collectiveness as a structure above the individual, that is, we negate the civil principle and we enter a system which was characteristic of another former political order. In this way we force people to declare themselves as part of a certain collectiveness, because if they do not belong to a certain collectiveness they cannot reap the benefits that are connected exactly and only to the affiliation of that collectiveness. Secondly, this goes against the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities that was ratified by our country. There is a very interesting provision in this convention – Any member of a certain ethnic community may at any time denounce affiliation of that community and suffer no negative consequences because for this, whether from the community which they are denouncing or the community they wish or have the intention of joining. In this case, if someone does not want to be recognized as a member of a certain ethnic community, they will suffer negative consequences and I think that Republic of North Macedonia will find itself as a mark because of the disregard of this convention” added Najcevska.
According to Najcevska, in our country a discussion on this issue is always lacking and that again we have something being imposed upon us.
“There have been no debates and discussions, there have been no clear guidelines that would follow as a need from the very citizens for the enactment of such a measure, but someone up in the government has decided that something like that should be done, from various reasons, and in my opinion that is the most basic party clientelism that parties are trying to create, suddenly forces one such measure and on the basis of lumpsum claims. Namely, there are no analyses, no statistical data, numbers from which there are no factual data that would indicate that there is a problem with employment of different ethnic communities in the private sector. That there are less private enterprises that employ or in which the manager is a member of a certain ethnic community, and even those where only the employees are of a certain ethnic community, meaning we do not have such data and on the basis of which we would take action if we do not have a factual situation or analysis from which would result in that we do have a problem and now the country should find a way to address that problem.” added Najcevska
She adds that there is affirmative action in the developed Western countries when it comes to the private sector.
“Discrimination based on gender, that is, between women and men, is done in a very interesting way. They insist now, there is even a special European directive that is directed towards increasing the number of women in boards of directors, because a conclusion has been made that regardless of the level to which women rise in their career, there is a so-called glass ceiling they cannot cross because of the existence of stereotypes and prejudices that disable access to higher positions, regardless of their qualifications. In France, an affirmative measure has been enacted that states that when the state is making an agreement with a certain private firm that advantage will be given, besides the firms meeting the criteria, to the firm that has more women in the Board of Directors and automatically in that way it directly also forces the private sector at the level of leadership positions to increase the number of women” stated Najcevska.
According to Najcevska, it is necessary to find the root of the problem with discrimination and to solve that problem.
“What is very important, when it comes to discrimination, is to determine where the root of the problem is and to solve it, and not try to treat only the symptoms, and to give people only aspirin when they should be treated for cancer” adds Najcevska.
camera: Atanas Petrovski
editing: Arian Mehmeti
photography: Biljana Jordanovska
Translation: N. Cvetkovska