The Commission on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination has new members. The MPs voted for the new members of the Commission, which should be a pillar of the struggle against the growing intolerance and discrimination in our society.
If we look at the reports and recommendations of the European Committee on Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe, where Macedonia is a full member and has undertaken commitments to combat these phenomena with the signing and ratifying of the conventions, and if we look at reports and findings of other relevant national and international organizations, the Commission on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination in Macedonia and the fight against discrimination and intolerance in the country in general have not exactly been praised. Like in other fields and other bodies, which should control the government, the reports conclude partial or weak enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation, weak capacities of the Commission, its politicization and being controlled from the executive power, whereas the recommendations are directed precisely to strengthening of the capacity and independence of the Commission.
And what did we get? Precisely during the negotiations to reform and liberate the democratic institutions, when executive structures that usurped them need to demonstrate political will for change, we get Tony Naunovski as a new member of the Anti-discriminatory Commission. We get the man who has been explicitly and publicly expressing intolerant attitudes towards members of the largest non-majority community in the country.
To make the matters even more tragic and absurd, 11 MPs from the ruling Albanian party DUI also voted for his election, I’m certain – in stark contrast to the will of those who elected them. The MP from DUI, Ermira Mehmeti, posted on her FB profile that MPs of this party were “compelled to vote” for Naunovski, for which she blamed “the party eternals”. That reaffirmed the thesis which has been represented for years by the critical public, that MPs of the ruling parties are not actually elected by the people to represent their will within the Parliament, but are merely blind followers of the party, which do not vote according to their convictions, following the interests of the ones that elected them, but rather only receive orders, dictation or a tele-command.
The election of Tony Naunovski as a member of the Anti-discriminatory Commission is only a continuation of the mockery of the ruling parties with this body and this law, which never really started functioning properly. They could be a powerful tool to improve the situation in the country in the context of the growing intolerance and discrimination, which have, precisely because of this attitude, become a powerful tool of the rulers to discipline and intimidate citizens.
But this mockery, coming at a time of a slowand weak implementation of the agreed reforms from Przino, sends another message – that the government does not intend to create a democratic environment in the country, and that the compromises they are forced to make in one part of the field they will try to compensate with this type of solutions and messages on another part of the field, intended to encourage the haters and bullies, from which the government will draw its strength for the final battle.
Let’s hope that these messages will be properly and timely read by the international community, before it is too late, or before Commissioner Tony starts “handing out justice” for the discriminated, the humiliated and the suppressed – by his political patrons.