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UN Official Urges Macedonia To Stop Migrants' Rights Violations

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra'ad Al Hussein (file photo)
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra'ad Al Hussein (file photo)

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra'ad Al Hussein has urged Macedonia to stop a "systematic policy of expulsion and detention of migrants."

Zeid expressed concerns on September 23 about the situation of some 180 migrants, including around 80 children, who have been living in limbo in two transit centers in Macedonia's north and southeast since the March closure of the country's border.

Zeid said he was also deeply concerned at reports of pushbacks into neighboring countries and collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants. He called these a breach of Macedonia’s international human rights obligations.

The UN human rights chief also criticized Skopje's recently amended Asylum Law that make it almost impossible for the majority of migrants to legalize their stay, even when they have requested asylum.

According to Zeid, only five applications for refugee status out of 600 requests filed in 2015 were granted at first instance. He deplored the fact that possibilities for family reunification have also become extremely restrictive.

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