Annual Report: Macedonia 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Macedonia 2013

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Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 1,087 mainly Kosovo Roma and Ashkali refugees remained in Macedonia. Without a durable solution, 30 voluntarily returned to Kosovo, and 14 to Serbia.

Under pressure from the EU, the government limited the right to leave the country. Border officials most often targeted Roma and ethnic Albanians, whose passports were marked to prevent them leaving again. Between January and October, 8,115 Macedonian citizens applied for asylum in the EU; fewer than 1% were provided with protection. Austria and Switzerland imposed an accelerated asylum process on Macedonian citizens.

Within Macedonia, 638 people applied for asylum; none was granted it.

Counter-terror and security

In December, the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that Macedonia was responsible for the violations suffered by Khaled el-Masri, a German resident who was apprehended in 2003 by the Macedonian authorities, held incommunicado in Macedonia for 23 days, and subsequently transferred to the custody of US authorities and flown to Afghanistan. The Court ruled that Macedonia was liable for Khaled el-Masri's unlawful detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, for his transfer out of Macedonia to locations where he suffered other serious human rights violations, and for the failure to carry out an effective investigation. It was the first time the Court had ruled on the case of a victim of the US-led rendition programme.