Two Romani families who were told they could not user their ID cards to travel outside the country, were victims of race discrimination, a court in Skopje has ruled. The four Romani litigants successfully sued the Macedonian Ministry of Interior for discrimination and violation of their right to equal treatment, with legal representation from the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).
Sevdije and Senad Asan and their three children, and Ajten and Suvat Bekir, who also have three children, had their passports confiscated after they returned to Macedonia, having tried to claim asylum unsuccessfully in the EU. On arrival, their passports were confiscated, and several weeks later the Ministry of Interior imposed a restriction which denied them use of their identity cards to travel across state borders. Normally Macedonian citizens can use their ID cards to travel to neighbouring Serbia and some other countries. The passport confiscation was, at that time, in accordance with national law (which was not long after declared unconstitutional). However, the subsequent travel ban on their ID cards was, and is, illegal as the Ministry of Interior acted without any court approval to impose a travel ban. These measures, the Romani couples argued, were taken against them as part of a wider discriminatory pattern that exists within the Ministry of Interior aimed at preventing Roma from leaving Macedonia. Roma are routinely being ethnically profiled, denied exit at the border, and prosecuted for the criminal offence “abuse of visa free system” in a deliberate attempt to deny them exit from the country.
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Source: European Roma Rights Centre; 10. 10. 2017