IBNA interview/ Cross ethnic tensions can be fatal

IBNA interview/ Cross ethnic tensions can be fatal

IBNA’s interview with the head of International Society for Human Rights organization, Idriz  Sinani

In an interview for IBNA, the head of International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) organization-Skopje branch, Idriz Sinani, expresses his concerns about the cross ethnic tensions in FYR Macedonia, following the murder of a young Macedonian last week by a fellow Albanian teenager in a Skopje’s quarter. He demands the intervention of institutions and international actors to reduce tensions and encourage cross ethnic dialogue. International organization for human rights and liberties ISHR based in Frankfurt, Germany, is also known by its original name Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte, IGFM.

Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti

IBNA: How do you assess the current developments in the country, following tensions in Skopje, which reflected the atmosphere of cross ethnic hatred after the killing of a young Macedonian man by an Albanian fellow teenager?

Sinani: The situation is alarming. There must be urgent interventions with radical steps and decisions, if we want normalization and cultivation of relations between the two largest communities. A tragic act has taken place, which is an individual one.

Thus, the killing of a young Macedonian by suspected Albanian fellow teenager. And the inquest on this case has not ended yet. But, what’s more tragic is to see crowds of Macedonian protesters swarm with accusations and acts of vandalism against the properties of Albanians, by accusing them in a collective way. It’s terrifying to accuse an entire people for the individual act of one person.

IBNA: Do you think that cross ethnic relations can be further deteriorated with these incidents?

Sinani: We have raised the alarm about the situation. Recently, we held a peaceful protest against violence and discrimination against Albanians. This protest came after the violence exerted against the Zekiri Albanian family, in the quarter of ‘Radishan’ in Skopje, inhabited by Macedonians. We appealed for institutions to intervene and catch the authors of the attacks against this family, but the authors were freely roaming the streets, because they were protected by their party in power, VMRO-DPMNE. This family has lived terror, especially after two bombs were thrown in their home. Meanwhile, the authors of these acts have not been yet caught. This worrying situation and the violent Macedonian protests which saw the burning of properties and bars belonging to Albanians in the Gorce Petrov quarter after the killing of a Macedonian young man, can take the country to a crisis. In case the institutions of the country and international ones do not take urgent measures, Macedonia may soon escalate toward a new conflict. If it’s not prevented, this conflict can be more tragic than the 2001 one.

IBNA: Even in the recent case, political factors and government reiterated the usual calls for calm in order not to aggravate the situation any further in terms of cross ethnic relations. How do you consider the calls addressed by the government and political parties?

Sinani: I believe that such crisis is convenient for the government and political factor, because politics in Macedonia often evolve around nationalism and cross ethnic tensions. This way, attention is veered from government failures, corruption and criminal acts in the institutional aspect. As far as opposition is concerned, it’s more focused in its battles and agendas. It also supports nationalism and tension. With this, I’d like to quote a saying which is often practiced by our political class, “the worse, the better”. The government and political parties must be more serious and act with concrete plans and measures. Why can’t we have a coordinating body which would shed light upon all these incidents? This way, it would bring the authors that encourage cross ethnic tensions to justice. We must also have concrete action for the cultivation of cross ethnic relations.

IBNA: Will you continue your activities to denounce all cases that relate to cross ethnic discrimination and will you react against cases of cross ethnic hatred and tensions?

Sinani: As an organization, we’ve also been encouraged by our head office in Berlin to follow the situation in Macedonia at any moment and to criticize or positively evaluate. It’s clear to us that the current government has also suffocated the civil sector or organizations of human rights, which out of fear or other circumstances, are reluctant when it comes to criticize.

Our scope is human and solidary. We will continue our mission. Following the latest developments, my final message is for international community to turn its attention to Macedonia. Meanwhile, domestic institutions must act in a serious way to say “stop” to violence, because violence only produces more violence. /ibna/