Police abuse against Albanians continue in FYROM


Police Abuse Against Albanians Continues in Macedonia

“Persistent police abuse in Macedonia is simply shocking. Macedonia must urgently address the violence in its police stations. Ethnic Albanians are being severely abused, and in some cases beaten to death, without the slightest prospect of accountability. ”


Macedonian Troops Commit Grave Abuses

“The Macedonian government must answer to the people of Ljuboten. It is deeply disturbing that the Minister of Interior appears to have been so intimately involved in one of the worst abuses of the war. We demand an immediate and impartial investigation.”


Macedonian Police Abuses Documented
Ethnic Albanian Men Separated, Tortured at Police Stations

“Ethnic Albanian men fleeing the fighting in Macedonia face severe ill-treatment by the police. We have documented serious beatings and torture of ethnic Albanians at the Kumanovo and Skopje police stations in the last week. The victims we interviewed have the bruises and injuries to back up their claims of abuse”

Macedonia: Rioters Burn Albanian Homes in Bitola

“The anti-Albanian riots in Bitola present a dangerous escalation of the crisis in Macedonia. The local police must fulfill their responsibility to stop the violence, not exacerbate it”


“Ethnic Albanians allege that the constitution reduces them to second-class citizens and must be amended. They argue that the Albanian language should be a second official language in the country.
Albanians say the authorities consistently deny them the right to “feel Albanian” and to display national symbols.”


“Despite government promises to reform Macedonia’s overly exclusive 1992 citizenship law in line with Council of Europe standards, the law remained unchanged. Drafted at the time of its independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia’s citizenship law never adequately resolved the status of the significant number of Yugoslav citizens who were long-term residents in Macedonia but who were neither born in Macedonia nor ethnic Macedonian. Large numbers of ethnic Albanians, Turks, and Roma who knew no other home than Macedonia remained effectively stateless as a result of the law.”


Human Rights Watch (New York, June 25, 2001):

We order all Shiptars [derogatory term for ethnic Albanians-tr.] who have objects for sale-shopkeepers here and around the Kwantaskhi bazaar-to leave within three days, and for those Shiptars from Aracinovo, the deadline is 24 hours. After this deadline, all the shops will be burned, and if someone tries to protect [them], the same will be killed without warning.”
“We inform Shiptars of the Macedonian republic that for every killed police officer or soldier 100 Shiptars who do not have citizenship or who took citizenship after 1994 will be killed. For every police officer or soldier disabled, 50 Shiptars will be killed. For every wounded police officer or soldier wounded, 10 Shiptars will be killed, no matter what gender or age.”
“We inform Shiptars who do not have citizenship or got it after 1994 to leave Macedonia before June 25 this year, at midnight. After this deadline, we will start with the cleansing–
“The Longest Night” courtesy of Macedonia Paramilitary 2000.

“This pamphlet is exactly the kind of thing that could lead to widespread ethnic violence. The government and international community have to stop it now.”
[Holly Cartner, HRW Executive director Europe and Central Asia division]


AP (Jun 16h, 2001): “It was not the cracked bones or the painful back injuries that made Nazim Bushi’s teeth clutch with anger.”“It was disappointment that the people who caused those injuries were fellow men in uniform, who he says turned against him solely because he belonged to the wrong ethnic group.”
“Supporters of Bushi, an ethnic Albanian officer serving with the Macedonian police at the military airport in Skopje, say he is a victim of police brutality that has proliferated since ethnic Albanian militants took up arms in February, demanding broader rights and claiming discrimination by majority Macedonian Slavs.”
“The incidents not only undermine government promises to improve the situation of ethnic Albanians, once the insurgency is dealt with. They could also draw ethnic Albanians to the militants and away from political parties willing to negotiate with the government.”
“Already, the rebels claim police harassment of ethnic Albanian civilians is feeding them with new recruits.”
`Young men who are beaten up by police are joining us every day,” a rebel commander known as “Commander Hoxha” told The Associated Press from the rebel-controlled village of Aracinovo, barely four miles from the capital. “They’re more than we can supply with weapons.”


Rioters Burn Albanian Homes in Bitola
Police Fail to Stop Violence, Some Actively Participate

Human Rights Watch (New York, June 8, 2001): “Police in the Macedonian city of Bitola did not attempt to stop rioting crowds on Wednesday night, and some police officers actively participated in the violence, Human Rights Watch said today. As a result, dozens of ethnic Albanian homes and as many as 100 shops were burned by the mob.”
“The available evidence strongly suggests that the Bitola police did not take any actions to stop the anti-Albanian attacks and that a significant number of Bitola police officers, in and out of uniform, took part in the rioting. The police took no apparent action to enforce the 10 p.m. curfew it had announced for the town, and the rioting continued until after 1 a.m., according to official police statements. The rioting crowds claimed to be revenging the deaths of Bitola police officers that were ambushed near Tetovo.”
“A village mosque was also vandalized by the rioters. Grave markers were broken, and several graves had been broken open. The windows of the mosque were broken, and rioters had set the carpets inside the mosque on fire but did not succeed in burning it down. On the exterior wall of the mosque, rioters had painted several swastikas and written “Death to the Shiptars.” The term “Shiptar” is an ethnic slur when used by non-Albanians”
“Anti-Albanian sentiment in Bitola is rapidly growing into a campaign by extremists to rid Bitola of its ethnic Albanian population. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch stated that the rioters had yelled slogans including “Death to Albanians,” “Pure Bitola,” “Albanians Out of Bitola,” “Get Out Albanians,” and other such statements. The rioters told some of the ethnic Albanians that they had a week to get out of town before being targeted again. Many ethnic Albanians have fled their homes in Bitola in the aftermath of Wednesday’s riot because they are afraid of further attacks.”