MACEDONIA: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Macedonia's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National laws on children's rights

Status of the CRC in national law

Under Article 118 of the Constitution of Macedonia, “international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution are part of the internal legal order and cannot be changed by law”. In its1997 report to the Committee on the Right of the Child, the government explained this provision as making the rights and obligations of the Convention “directly applicable”, but it is not entirely clear what weight would be given to the Convention in a legal setting were it to come into conflict with national law.

Constitution: The Constitution of Macedonia contains a number of rights provisions that provide protection to citizens regardless of age, but two articles in particular contain provisions specifically directed at children:

  • Art. 40 provides that “[p]arents have the right and duty to provide for the nurturing and education of their children. Children are responsible for the care of their old and infirm parents” It also obligates the government to “provide[ ] particular protection for parent-less children and children without parental care”

  • Art. 42 prescribes particular protections for mothers and children, as well as prohibiting the employment of any person under 15 years of age, and the employment of any person under 18 years of age in work that is detrimental to their health or morality.

Legislation: There is no comprehensive children's act in Macedonian law. Rather, law pertaining to children is found in a variety of sources. Relevant legislation includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • Criminal Code

  • Law on Juvenile Justice (2009)

  • Law on Protection of Children (2000) amended 2005

  • Law on Family (2004)

  • Law on Labour Relations (2007)

  • Law on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination (2010)

  • Law on Social Protection (2005)

  • Law on Healthcare (1991) amended 1997

  • Law on Primary Education (2002) amended 2004

  • Law on Secondary Education (2002) amended 2004

Legal Research:
The Macedonian Assembly (Sobranje) maintains an official website in English (, Macedonian (, Albanian French. The text of adopted laws is available in Macedonian from the Assembly's website (; English translations of some of these laws are available via the Macedonian Legal Resource Center (, and an online copy of the Constitution is also available in English ( ). An instructive guide on legal research in Macedonia has been published by the GlobaLex initative at New York Univesity (, and the U.S. Library of Congress ( and World Legal Information Institute ( have assembled a selection of relevant links.

Case law
CRC Jurisprudence
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research  
The Supreme Court of Macedonia maintains an official website in English (, Macedonian ( and Albanian, which offers the full text of judicial decisions in Macedonian.

Compliance with the CRC
The Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern in 2010 that Macedonia's “national legislation does not fully comply with the principles and provisions of the Convention and that there is weak enforcement of legislation.” The Committee recommended that Macedonia “continue and complete the harmonisation of its legislation with the provisions of the Convention and take all necessary regulatory measures for [its] full enforcement and effective implementation.”

In depth analysis:
With regards to discrimination, the Committee on the the Rights of the Child has welcomed legislative reforms, particularly the Law on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination, but has also been critical of the limited grounds for discrimination that are covered by the Act, and the extensive list of exceptions. The Committee has persistently raised the vulnerability of children belonging to ethnic minorities, specifically Roma children, children in institutions, children living on the streets and those in conflict with the law. In its 2010 Concluding Observations, the Committee suggested that legislation be revised to cover a greater number of grounds of discrimination, to limit the number of exceptions and to address de facto discrimination against vulnerable children.

Violence and abuse have also been issues raised prominently in Committee reports. In 2010, the Committee expressed concern at the increase in reported cases of exploitation and sexual abuse of children. That children over 14 years of age are not given the same legal protection as those above that age, and that it is common for sentences for such sexual offences to be short and suspended was also criticised. While corporal punishment is prohibited in schools and the penal system, the Committee has expressed concern that the relevant laws do not prohibit such punishment in the home, and that there is “a high prevalence of physical punishment and aggression in the family”.

Current legal reform projects
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any current legal reform projects.  

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.