Macedonia: Institutional discrimination and police brutality against Roma

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Fatmir Memedov v the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

MRG submitted a third party intervention in a case before the European Court of Human Rights concerning a member of the Roma community who claims to have been a victim of police brutality on account of his ethnicity during a police raid in Skopje, Macedonia.  The conduct he describes is part of a broader pattern of institutional discrimination by Macedonian law enforcement against members of the Roma community.

This case raises several critical issues in relation to the scope of anti-discrimination protections and the burden of proving institutional discrimination under Article 14 in conjunction with Article 3 and Article 1 of Protocol 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Despite the Court’s extensive anti-discrimination jurisprudence, the Court has not yet explored these issues in the context of institutional racism by law enforcement.

Across Europe, Roma face a form of widespread structural discrimination that is deeply rooted in a historical and social context that reproduces and perpetuates their social disadvantage vis-à-vis the majority population.  The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has referred to this form of institutional discrimination as antigypsyism. The consequences of antigypsyism are evident in the impunity [page 7 of 13, section D] with which law enforcement officers commit acts of violence against members of the Roma community in Macedonia.

MRG is hopeful the Court will deliver a favourable judgment that will help tackle the entrenched structural discrimination Roma face across Europe, including in differential treatment by law enforcement.

Key Documents:

  • Submission on behalf of the interveners (MRG) to the European Court of Human Rights in the case Fatmir Memdov v the Former Republic of Macedonia.
  • ERRC’s Application on behalf of Mr. Memedov.
  • Additional documents and information about the case are available on ERRC’s website.


Photo: International flag of the Romani people.

Filed Under: Europe, Macedonia, Roma
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