“Elezovski said he is no supporter of Roma going abroad to seek asylum on false grounds, but he asserts that few are doing so. He does acknowledge that some use their three months abroad “to earn some decent money, so that they can live throughout the year.” The average monthly wage in Macedonia is 330 euros ($412).
“The majority of Roma are living on the edge of poverty, or even below that,” Elezovski said. “Why can Roma people from other countries enjoy the liberty of free movement and the Roma from Macedonia are suddenly a threat?”
The Skopje office of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights also says it has received dozens of complaints from Roma about hassles on the border. In some cases, police confiscated passports without explanation.
“This is a violation of human rights, especially the right of free movement,” said Kiril Efremovski, a spokesman for the office. “I think the law on border surveillance should be revised, and there must be a campaign to raise awareness and respect basic human rights in situations like these.”
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