Children disappear when care disappears Following the latest cases of missing children and the lack of accurate information from the competent organisations, citizens and parents are much more concerned about the safety of their children.
The thirteen year old Nuket Limanovska, who last Friday was reported by the media as missing, is back and safe in her home with her family.
The girl was found at the train station in Skopje, where she slept and begged for two days. She got lost when start searching for her eight-year old brother and she didn’t know how to return home. Her brother was found on Saturday in the ‘’25th May’’ - home for children without parents.
The Centre for Social Work will be notified and if parental negligence is found, an action will be filed against them.
Despite the "happy ending" of Nuket and her brother, it is still unknown what happened to the four years old Dani Mamedi, who disappeared on Saturday in Kumanovo. Unknown is the fate of Mitat Ibrahimi age 7 from the village Middle Konjare in Skopje, who disappeared two weeks ago. The public was shaken up by the fate of the little Angela Gjorgieska form village Dunje in Mariovo who was found dead more than a month ago after she has disappeared in August last year. It is still unknown how she died.
The unknown fate of these children and the more frequent information about their disappearances has opened many dilemmas. Is parental negligence one of the reasons for the unfortunate fate of the children or is it the negligence of state institutions responsible for caring for disadvantaged groups or something specific to the people of these rural areas where most of the children are disappearing? Does Macedonia have children being increasingly targeted by organized criminal groups that kidnap kids to sell them into prostitution or to sell their organs?
Following the latest cases of missing children and in the absence of precise information from the competent institutions, parents are much more concerned about the safety of their children.
Families at risks
The First Children's Embassy Megjasi says that there may be several reasons for the disappearance of the children, such as parental neglect and the external environment. They also worn the Ministry of Interior that they should not exclude the doubt that the disappearance of the children is linked to children trafficking and organs trafficking, kidnapping, abduction of children for begging’s by an organised group, child prostitution and pornography.
- During the investigation, the police should take into account all possibilities. Rapid, timely information disclosure and revealing case information will not only help to calm the panic among the parents and citizens but also to mobilize in order to protect the children, if any organized group of abductors exist - Angelina Chalakoska from Megjashi explained.
She added that in cases where accidents occur due to a parental negligence, the responsibility is not only that of a guilty parent but is also that of the relevant institutions. Larger tragedies often occur in dysfunctional families, families at risk, socially oppressed and those who are going through divorcee procedures, so the centres for social work should react on time, not wait for a call from citizens regarding violence or negligence.
Chalakoska says that it happens very often that parents report that their children have been kidnapped or are missing, but the actual problem is in the family. This category includes cases where teenage girls "disappear" but they actually left the house because they wanted to marry.
Criminologists believe that children often disappear due to a parental negligence or accidents, and for a small number of cases it’s believed that the children are victims of criminals. According to the Professor of the Police Academy, Marian Kotevski institutions are anaemic and do not take enough care for the citizens, so very often happens children to suffer.
- I do not believe that recent cases of disappearances are the result of criminal activities and that the children are kidnapped for organs or prostitution. Most often are case of accidents or cases where the children run away from home voluntarily. The police work is professional and the notes about their work are not correct. However, it would be ideal if partnership and cooperation between the citizens and police could be established so action can be taken proactively, and the results from the police work would be even better – stated Kotevski.
Ivo Kotevski, Assistant Minister for Public Relations of the MOI, claimed that police had mobilized all the facilities in the search.
- Each case is individual and MOI take every case extremely seriously and act upon each of them as such serious situations merit. Most important is to report a disappearance as soon as possible and for even more parents to take every action in their power to stop such things to happening - Kotevski said.
Sociologists explain that parental negligent and abuse of children are more frequent because of the poverty, alienation of people, environmental indifferences, but are also due to the weak response of institutions.
- These problems are common among marginalized groups such as Roma, poor people in rural areas or where people have not enough access to health care and education. Therefore the state should strengthen control over these groups, not just to record the receiving of the social assistance - says sociologist Nelko Stojanovski.
Supporting this sociologist attitude is Ashmed Elezovski from the National Roma Centre in ‘Kumanovo’. He emphasizes that the race for naked existence and money causes damage to the children, although to the Roma people, family and children are playing an important role.
- There is no joint action of all the stakeholders in this process - government institutions, NGOs, and schools. Unfortunately, our experience shows that social workers have little patience with the marginalized groups. Elezovksi said, maybe because they are understaffed, so often one social worker is responsible even for 2,000 people.
He demands Macedonia to study and follow the Western experience, where it has been shown that social services are the engine of the poor and disadvantaged families. They, added Elezovski, not only help them financial but they also try to find them a work and integrate them into the society.
Only the family searches for the Roma boy from Kumanovo
Yesterday, the special diving team from the MOI did not show up in the roman neighbourhood Sredorek to search the river Kumanovka, where presumably the four and a half years old Dani Memedi drowned. Dragan, the father, his uncle Bobi and his grandmother Fetija can never recover from the anxiety and the pain for the missing child, who on Saturday night while playing in the yard disappeared without notice. The child played with his grandmother’s wheelchair and it probably slipped into to the river.
Dragan's father says not that he is only grieving and aching for his vanished chilled, but is even more revolted by the inactive police, local government and political parties who are not trying to help.
Yesterday, upon his return from the Kumanovo’s police station, where he was attending an informative call, on the opposite side of the house two police officers were overseeing the shore.
- When I reported the disappearance to the police they told me to wait
24 hours and today they tell me that they have issued a search request. That’s not true. We checked online, there is nothing of it. Only us, the family and the friends we are looking for him. Until I am dead, I will look for the child, every second of the day it’s important for me, not only to seat and talk at the police station. No, no, not any measures were taken – Dragan is revolted. He said that day before yesterday the police was searching only for a short while.
- Today they told me that the police should talk to the mayor, who has nothing to do with all of this. They have asked me if someone hates me, if I had an argument with someone. I have nothing to do with anyone. My only hope now is that the Minister Jankulovska will take the action into her hands and help me - says Dragan.
Grandmother Fetija, who is disabled and who moves around in a wheelchair, chair with which her grandson disappeared, was seating in the yard and said that she could not regain her composure from the grief, and that she can not believe that no one from the competent wants to help and find at least something from the child.
- Nobody likes to advocate for our child because we are poor, because we are Roma. They can at least try to find a piece of his clothing or the wheelchair. This way there are still some doubts that he might have been kidnapped- says Fetija.
She adds that it is possible that he might have been killed or even taken to beg on the streets of Tetovo.
Their neighbours say that it is very sad that nobody wants to help them.
- They immediately notify the police and nobody came to help. If he was a child of a wealthy family the all state would have risen. This is heartbreaking and shameful - said Vezira Asani.
The Ministry of Interior said that police are on the ground and are looking for the child. If the search department comes to the conclusion that the divers should be deployed then they will conduct search of the river. (S.A.J.)
She is missing for ten years
MOI has informed that the last ten years in Macedonia, 50 children have disappeared under the age of 14 years. The police managed to clarify 48 cases of the disappearances. The have found 45 of the children, three among them were found dead. It is still unclear what happened to Ljunturie Iseni age 5 of the Skopje village Trubarevo, who disappeared in November 2000, and with Sunaj Shaqiri age 3 from Skopje village Krushopek.