Conference: Access to Rights and Protection of Vulnerable Categories of People Recognized as Refugees and Migrants

On 4 December 2017, as part of the project entitled as “Access to Rights and Protection of Vulnerable Categories of People Recognized as Refugees and Migrantsˮ, funded by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Legis organised a conference of the same title in order to mark the final stage of its implementation. For that purpose, Legis’ team of researchers and field workers conducted research by collecting on-field information in three key locations: the Tabanovce and Vinojug transit centres and Lojane, as part of the irregular route. The results of the research have been compiled in a so-called Public Policy Document named “Improvement of Access to Rights and Protection of Refugees and Migrants with Focus on Vulnerable Groups”.

Thus, the purpose of the conference was to present the draft of the Public Policy Document to the relevant state institutions, international and local civil society organisations and all other relevant stakeholders and their respective representatives.

The conference was opened with a keynote address from Mersiha Smailovikj, Legis’ General Secretary, followed by a speech from Idjet Memeti, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Macedonia who praised the document and stressed, “Hopefully, it would serve as an example of what it meant to implement the recommendations of the Ombudsman’s Office”. In addition, both state institution and CSO representatives agreed that Macedonia did its best to address the humanitarian and refugee crises of 2015/16.  However, several CSO representatives highlighted that it still had a long way to go regarding access to rights and protection of refugees and migrants.

In conclusion, we hope that the state institutions will take into consideration the recommendations of the Document when amending the existing legislation and introducing new legal instruments so that Macedonia can comply with the international conventions of which it is a signatory.

Last but not least, we would like to thank all the representatives for attending the conference and giving their contribution.