Worrying Threats Towards Civil Society in Macedonia Increased and Intensified

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Threats against Macedonian CSOs have intensified over the past two months ahead of the elections that took place on 11 December, 2016, peaking on 17 December, 2016. During a protest of the ruling party that took place while the State Election Committee was deciding on the opposition party complaints related to electoral fraud, VMRO-DPMNE chief Gruevski read a proclamation which, among other claims, includes a direct threat to “disobedient” CSO’s representatives and activists, namely that it will fight for de-Sorosization of Macedonia, strengthening of an independent civil sector which is not controlled by anyone, and regulation of financing of “foundations and NGOs” in line with models used in the most advanced democracies in the world. A month before the elections, the Public Revenue Office has started carrying selective financial inspections targeting CSOs upon a request by another unnamed state institution, filed in November. At least 19 CSOs have been visited by financial inspectors and several already received notices announcing such visits. On December 9th, 2016, the pro-governmental Civil Movement for Defense of Macedonia (GDOM) distributed flyers in the capital, listing names of dozens CSOs’ representatives and activists, in particular those that have worked with Open Society Foundation – Macedonia, with allegations about “mercenary” money that these have allegedly received, as well as copies of defamatory articles about some of the individuals on the blacklist. Simultaneously, state officials appointed by VMRO-DPMNE have been sending public personal threats to various Twitter users. More information is available here.

Source: Global Voices

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