4/04/2001 - Trepça.net

   Council of Europe Denounces Police Violence in Macedonia

STRASBOURG, Apr 3, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) The Council of Europe on Tuesday expressed concern about police abuse and violence in Macedonia, particularly against the former Yugoslav republic's ethnic Albanian and Roma minorities.

"Although the situation is improving due to efforts of the ministry of the interior, unlawful arrest and detention, excessive use of force and physical ill-treatment of detainees remains a problem," a report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) said.

The ECRI report, which was adopted in June last year after a fact-finding mission to Macedonia in March, also called on the government to intensify its efforts to improve integration for ethnic minorities, in particular Albanians.

While the report admitted the government was aware of the need to encourage further integration, it said: "The organizations and associations of civil society ... are in large part divided along ethnic lines, as are the political parties."

It also noted that Albanians and other minority groups were greatly under-represented in state-institutions at the national and local level, police and judiciary.