The International Observatory on Statelessness


The number of stateless persons in Macedonia is unknown. At the time of Macedonia’s independence, Roma were not automatically eligible for citizenship since they were not registered, and were rendered de facto stateless. The state allowed one year for these people to apply for citizenship as long as they met the requirements. In a 2003 survey by the European Roma Rights Center, 153 out of the 2,224 Roma over the age of 18 did not have citizenship certificates, 749 did not possess passports, 148 did not possess ID cards, and 120 did not have birth certificates. More than 5,000 Roma from Kosovo are presently refugees in Macedonia.

Amendments to a citizenship law adopted in 2004 allowed long-term residents to regularize their citizenship status. The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with UNHCR and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, organized a campaign to disseminate information on the procedures for residents to regularize their citizenship status. The campaign included dissemination of brochures and TV spots in the languages of the Albanian and Roma populations considered most at risk of statelessness.