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122 CSOs sought support from the citizens, institutions and the government

In today’s press conference, 122 CSOs led by the motto “We must protect the civil society in Macedonia” sought support from the citizens, institutions as well as the current and future government because of the recent attacks on the civil society.

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

We, the below signed civil society organization from throughout Macedonia, address the public in these difficult times when freedom of the citizen and civil society are under threat, in order to protect the public and the citizens’ interest. With this address, we want to remind to the need of protection, preservation and advancement of the civil society as opposed to the threats it faces, as well as to reject the ungrounded attacks and lies that the civil society is exposed to.

The attack on the civil society organizations is not just propaganda news published only in the media. It is an attack on the civil society, honor, dignity and reputation of citizens who were born, who live, work, pay taxes here, and have dedicated their work and engagements, professionally or voluntarily, to the betterment of the lives of all citizens in this country equally.

In these moments, we should understand that the attack on the civil society is an attack on the most powerful tool of the citizens with which they, in the period between two election processes, have the opportunity to control and correct the government. Nobody should be afraid of correcting the government, quite the contrary, it benefits the citizens, political parties, authorities. Citizens receive more quality life and more helpful institutions, whereas political parties and authorities receive greater confidence from the citizens.

The civil society sector, as an important factor in the society, has been a constant corrective of all governments since the independence of Macedonia until today, and the direction this country might take if this pillar of hers is jeopardized or weakened is horrifying.

The civil society sector in Macedonia was created by the citizens, as a result of the decision adopted in 1991 on independent, plural, secular and democratic state. The civil society (nongovernmental) organizations were being created and were growing together with all successes and failures of this, ours mutual society, and during their acting they were being led by the defense of rights and interests of different individuals, groups or communities. As a result of this sincere civil engagement, plenty of things in favor of the citizens have been changed, and plenty pernicious policies have been prevented or reduced.

By firmly believing in the true values of democracy, in the power of the individual’s voice and in the value of different opinions, we reject and consider as incorrect and tendentious the accusations against the organizations from the broader civil society sector in Macedonia, which are labeled as “destructive installations, mercenaries and gangs”. The news stating that the civil society sector is controlled by some sort of “center of power” are completely incorrect, false and fake. Civil society organizations do not recognize “center of power”, because in the concept and idea of civil society, the only power is in the hands of the citizens. Additionally, the facts from the research on the funding of the civil society sector in Macedonia say that the civil society sector is supported by multiple various domestic and international institutions, organizations and donors, thus, there isn’t any dominant donor or supporter. Of course, the strongest supporters are the strategic partners of the Republic of Macedonia, the European Union and the USA.

The annual financial and narrative reports, organizational and project revisions that have always been publicly available as well as the regular in-depth communication with the public and the citizens, vouch for the accountability and transparency of the organizations from the civil society sector. Civil society organizations regularly and promptly fulfil their obligations toward the state and pledge for good and transparent management in all spheres of the society.

Therefore, the orchestrated state controls over the financial work or dozens of organizations simultaneously, leaves the impression of tendentious and intentional pressure, fear, and damage to the free civil society sector.

Distinguished representatives of political parties in the Republic of Macedonia, distinguished representatives of the government of the Republic of Macedonia, distinguished representatives of the future government of the Republic of Macedonia, distinguished representatives of institutions of the Republic of Macedonia, distinguished citizens,

In the name of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, In the name of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of citizens to associate in order to exercise their rights and beliefs and In the name of the irrefrangible right of every citizen to express his/hers voice whilst not being marked and accused about it,

we call you to support the organizations, groups, communities and individuals that actively pledge for the democratic values in the Republic of Macedonia, protect and defend the civil society sector that for 25 years has been acting as overseer and supporter of the work of institutions and to defend the civil society that pledges for respect of human rights and freedoms.

The support of the civil society sectors means support of the citizens – bearers of the sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia.

The support is indispensable because the civil society sector is one of the three pillars of society, alongside with the public (state, institutional) and private (business) sector. Civil society is a compound of individuals – such as all of us, groups – such as the agriculturalists, communities – such as the ethnic or guild groups, movements – such as the student movement and organizations – that have various types of citizens as their members. All of us combined compose the civil society and we all have a role different from the one of the state and the businesses. Our role is to represent and to be the voice and stimulus of the citizens’ interests, especially when they are jeopardized. Our task is to seek improvement of quality of life of citizens, pressure toward responsible and accountable governance of the state. Also, our task is to defend this civil society sector of ours in these moments of evident jeopardy.

The defense of the civil society sector means defense of the citizens’ coexistence with different ethnicities, defense of the pledges for higher life standard, defense of the fight against corruption, defense of fair trials, defense of the freedom to publicly express what we think, defense of equal treatment in hospitals, defense of education in which nobody will be discriminated, defense of solidarity and assistance we offer or receive from our compatriots.

We must protect the civil society in Macedonia now!

 

Organizations that supported the address of the domestic public:

- Agro – Banica, Banica,

- Agrosojuz, Vasilevo

- Agrostrumeshnica, Dabile

- Akcija Plus, Resen

- Association for Citizen’s Tolerance and Cooperation – ACTAC

- Association for Democratic Initiatives, Gostivar

- Association for Research, Communications and Development – Public, Skopje

- Balkan Security Forum – Skopje

- Food Bank Macedonia

- Vizio, Kichevo

- Vizija – Science Fiction Center of Macedonia

- Civil Association MOST

- Eco Guerilla, Tetovo

- EA Green Power – Veles

- Environmental Association Deshat, Debar

- Environmental Association LIPA, Kumanovo

- Environmental Association Planetum, Strumica

- Environmental Association Vila Zora

- Center for European Strategies – Eurothink

- Community of Eco-Activists Skopje Smog Alarm

- Community of Montenegrins of the Republic of Macedonia

- Association Bald Eagle-Haliaeetus Leucocephalus, Strumica

- Association Global – Bitola

- Association Women’s Forum Tetovo

- Association for Democracy, Debate, Dialogue and Decentralization PLAN 4D, Skopje

- Association for Economic and Political Research and Analyses KVANTUM PRIMA Kavadarci

- Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women in the Republic of Macedonia – ESE

- Association for Civil Rights Protection No Pasaran – Skopje

- Association for Protection of Cultural Identity of Egyptians IZIDA 41/21 – Resen

- Association for Protection of Animals – Anima Mundi

- Association for Culture and Art SCENE, Strumica

- Association for Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Go Green

- Association for Development and Activism Aqua, Struga

- Association for Development of Youth FACTOR, Kichevo

- Association for Promotion and Protection of Rights of Workers Dignified Worker – Prilep

- Association for Promotion of Mutual Confidence TAKT, Skopje

- Association for Advancement of Gender Equality Akcija Zdruzenska – Skopje

- Citizens’ Association BISTRA, Rostushe

- Citizens’ Association Return Smile, Veles

- Citizens’ Association World Culture Centre Esperanza Skopje

- Citizens’ Association for Support of Persons with Rare Diseases Wilson Macedonia

- Citizens’ Association Youth Can

- Citizens’ Association Novus, Strumica

- Citizens’ Association for Health, Social and Educational Support Initiative for Development and Inclusion of the Community – IDIC, Skopje

- Citizens’ Association for Promotion of Women’s Activity Tiiiit! Inc., Skopje

- Citizens’ Association Radika De – Debar

- Women’s Association SIRMA, Kumanovo

- Association of Reserve Military Obligees in Armed Actions for Defense of Sovereignty of RM (ZUVO of RM)

- Association Pro-Media, Skopje

- Association ROMA S.O.S. – Prilep

- Association Rural Coalition – Kumanovo

- Association HOPS – Healthy Life Options Skopje

- Association Center for Healing Herbs and Forest Fruits Ambrozija, Pehchevo

- Izbor Strumica

- Association of Textile and Leather Workers Silent Majority – Loud, Shtip

- Human Rights Institute

- Internet Hotline Provider

- Informative Center of Community

- Coalition for Sustainable Development – CSD, Skopje

- Coalition for Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities – Skopje

- Association for Development of Critical Theory, Socio-Cultural Activism and Contemporary Cultural Practices Kontrapunkt

- Cre8ive8 – Skopje

- Cultural Institute BLESOK

- KHAM, Delchevo

- Centre for New Initiatives in Arts and Culture “Lokomotiva”

- Macedonian Platform Against Poverty (MPAP)

- Youth Cultural Center, Bitola

- Youth Educational Forum

- Youth Alliance – Krushevo

- Multiethnic Association Florence Nightingale, Kumanovo

- National Youth Council of Macedonia (NYCM)

- National Council for Gender Equality

- NGO Info-center

- NGO UFUK

- NGO Center for Democratic Development and Initiative (CDRIM)

- NGO Article 16

- We Are Karposh 4

- Free Thought Institute Nisma, Skopje

- Organization for Local Economic Development and Multiculturalism – EQUAL

- Organization of women “Kumanovka”, Kumanovo

- Organization of women in Pehchevo – OWP

- Women’s Organization – Strumica

- Association Center for Strategies and Development PACTIS – Prilep

- Citizens’ Association “Signposts” – Gevgelija

- Freedom Square

- First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi

- Progress – Institute for Social Democracy

- PROFICIO – Multiethnic Tolerance through Economic Prosperity

- Association for Spreading Democracy and Democratic Principles in Society “PROJECT EU” – Kavadarci

- Reactor – Research in Action

- Regional Center for Sustainable Development – Kratovo

- Roma Entrepreneurial Informative Center of Macedonia, Skopje

- Roma Cultural and Educative Center Ternipe MK Delchevo

- Union of the Macedonian Diplomatic Service

- Union of Agricultural Producers – Strumica

- Transparency Macedonia

- Turkish Association YENI YILDIZ TURK DERNEĞI

- Union for Culture of Vlachs from Macedonia

- Culture and Art Association “FRU” – Faculty of Things That Can’t Be Learned

- Metamorphosis Foundation

- Foundation Open Society – Macedonia

- Foundation for Educational and Cultural Initiatives Step by Step

- Foundation for Local Development and Democracy “Focus” – Veles

- Forum – Centre for Strategic Research and Documentation

- Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia

- HERA – Health Education and Research Association

- Healthgrouper Skopje

- Humanitarian and Charitable Association of Roma Intelligence “ANGLUNIPE”

- Roma Humanitarian and Charitable Association „ Moon “– Kichevo

- Center for Education and Development – CED

- Center for Integration “Umbrella”

- Center for Culture, Communication and Education of Roma Bright Future

- Centre for Interethnic Tolerance and Refugees – Skopje

- Sustainable Community Development Center, Debar

- Community Development Center, Kichevo

- Center for Development of Roma Community Bairska Svetlina – Bitola

- Media Development Center

- Center for Change Management (CCM)

- Contemporary Arts Centre – Skopje

- Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution

- CIVIL – Centre for Freedom

- Young European Federalists (JEF) – Macedonia