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The authorities do not have the knowledge and desire to deal with violations of children's rights Helsinki Committee evaluates that Macedonia must make a transformation of the social model

Goran Adamovski

Centers for Social Work in Macedonia do not have enough capacity, desire, will and knowledge to timely detect violations of children’s rights, which obviously exist. This is the evaluation of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights provided yesterday on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Children’s Rights. Last year, Helsinki Committee registered 30 cases of violation of children's rights. This year the figure is considerably higher, but the final data will be awaiting the end of the calendar year.

"Macedonia must make a transformation of the social model, despite the lack of commitment and political will to improve the situation" said Keti Andrievska-Jovanova from the Helsinki Committee.

The Committee says that they oversee the work of social centers, during which they recorded series of shortcomings.

Appropriate professional staff, additional staffing, training, mobility on the field, as well as availability of the centers 24 hours a day, are only part of the challenges that need to be addressed – they say from the Helsinki Committee. They say that they suspect that the Centers for social work failed and did not respond promptly in the last case in which seven years old child died after a brutal beating by his mother.

Over 70 percent of children of school age are not familiar with their rights, is the conclusion of the survey conducted among students in 41 primary schools in 7 cities in Macedonia, by the First Children's Embassy in the World Megjashi, in the period from 1st until 8th of June 2009.

The survey was conducted on a sample of 2.234 students, children from 10 to 18 years, by using an opinion poll questionnaire. Children do not know where to turn to protect their rights. They get most information in the schools, but even 65 percent of them would not approach that institution for help. In most cases, children require assistance in the family. Their rights are mostly respected by the grandparents, and the least by their brothers and sisters, the survey revealed.

More than half of the respondents have heard about the Convention on Children’s Rights. On the question "Is violence happening in your school?", even 56 percent of the respondents answered wit YES, while 14 percent said that it is happening on daily bases. In total, 57 percent of the children know of a case when teacher hits student, but 35 percent positively responded to the question "Are you informed about cases of violence from a student to a professor?".

 Almost 40 percent of the children think that in some situation they have been discriminated, mostly because of their age, social background, ethnic group to which they belong ...