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Interview on 10 Minutes – MA Dragi Zmijanac, Founder and President of the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi

TV 21, 1 January, 2016, Interview on 10 Minutes – MA Dragi Zmijanac, founder and president of the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi In the show “10 Minutes” you can follow the interview with Dragi Zmijanac, founder and president of the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi speaking about: protection of the children from abuse for political goals, protection of the children’s rights, children refugees, initiative for equal parenthood after divorce, responsible parenthood, pedophilia and incest.

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Interview on 10 Minutes – MA Dragi Zmijanac, Founder and President of the First Children’s Embassy
in the World Megjashi
Journalist Iskra Opatceska TV 21
Presenter: Good evening, dear viewers, you are watching "10 Minutes" show on the television 21.
Our guest tonight is the president and founder of the First Children Embassy in the World Megjashi,
Mr. Dragi Zmijanac. Mr. Zmijanac, thank you for accepting our invitation.
Zmijanac: Thank you for the invitation.
Presenter: We have much to discuss, so to start let me talk about the initiative, the Citizens'
Initiative, in fact, that you as a Children’s Embassy support it, and it is a common parenting after
divorce. What is it that the children receive with this initiative?
Zmijanac: The number of callers to our SOS helpline, when children and their families call about the
same quantity of seeing with their children after divorce. So, we have a problem in the country that
spouses should realize that when they divorce as partners, but not as parents, and that the best
interests of the child is they equally and jointly to take care for the proper development of their
child. This includes financial, but also education, care and nurturing. Always the Center for Social
Work does not act in the best interest of the children and concerned parents who cannot realize the
right to an equal quantity time with their children, complain to us that if they fail to agree voluntarily
then they have difficulty exercising this right of parenting after divorce with equal access to taking
care and nurturing of the child. So ....
Presenter: What will the initiative do, what does it propose?
Zmijanac: The initiative proposes to have the same starting position of both parents, but that does
not mean automatically equal parenting, but the quality exercise of parental right. If a quality
parenting is exercised, equal time of seeing, looking after and care, then the child will have the
opportunity to be both with the father and the mother, in order to enable both parents to influence
his/her proper growth and development.
Presenter: How to do that, Mr. Zmijanac, given the fact that these things you talk about are already
regulated by law?
Zmijanac: They are regulated with the partners who have mutually agreed. But there are difficulties
with the partners who cannot agree. Then the Center for social welfare gives an opinion to the court
and the court decides in most of percentage, the child to be handed to the mother, as the child is
younger, and fathers have the right to see their child twice a month and thus they feel concerned
and somewhat even discriminated. For this initiative a round table will be held on 28 January, we
have already contacted with the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, the letter or initiative has been
submitted to the government, the government sent it to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the
Ministry should make inspection and audit to see if the arguments of a group of parents is true that
the child in most cases is given to the mother and the fathers despite being eligible to be quality and
responsible parents fail to have a starting position. So, the framework to be expanded and this
already goes as initiative in the Council of Europe and Macedonia should follow this process.
Presenter: Megjashi is part of another major project that will be implemented during the elections,
you will be partner with the civic association MOST and the Ombudsman to protect children from
abuse in a political campaign. What is it about, how will you protect the children?
Zmijanac: Namely, we, at every election, whether they are local, presidential and parliamentary,
note that not all political parties respect the code of not abusing the children for partisan and
political purposes despite the fact that Macedonia is a signatory to many conventions, we must
constantly put pressure not to abuse children, so we urge them to advocate ....
Presenter: Who do you encourage, what have to be done?
Zmijanac: All political parties in their platforms, let them have for the wellbeing of children, then let
them even have a competition among themselves, but the children not to be part of their decor, to
put them in their political videos, to include them in the election campaign by sticking posters and
making them to wear uniforms of the political party with their party landmarks. So we together with
the coalition, the first platform which includes: CEA, ADI, ITC, Megjashi who has SOS helpline, the
Ombudsman who has SOS helpline and Most (Bridge) will intervene if the Ombudsman notice that
on the field there is child abuse for political purposes and in that case we will demand responsibility.
Presenter: And how can citizens do the same?
Zmijanac: They can call the number 0800 1 2222 of the Embassy to report. We will consult the
monitors whether there are grounds for the report to react and we will submit a written complaint
to the Ombudsman and to write down in our report which will be forwarded to the platform to the
Ombudsman and to prepare a report on the rights of children to Geneva.
Presenter: Unfortunately, Mr. Zmijanac children are not spared from what befell the world I can say,
and it is the refugee crisis. Do you have data, how many children are migrants, how many are with
parental accompaniment and how many without such care ... Let’s specifically talk about
Macedonia, for these children.
Zmijanac: Do not forget that the Balkans had an exodus, genocide and refugee crisis. First it was in
Bosnia when refugees came from Bosnia, when we extended a helping hand and hosted 60
thousand refugees, then from Kosovo to about 300 thousand refugees, then our conflict in 2001
when we opened a shelter for children of internally displaced persons. We were on the field from
the beginning in Demir Kapija and Tabanovce and helped the institutions of the system to practice
the law for asylum seekers and demand fast transport and safe and reliable transportation of the
asylum seekers transiting through Macedonia, to be guaranteed personal safety, be escorted to their
final destination, to give full and absolute support, and if we need to prioritize, then mothers and
children have obligatory to be released first in the list and the children not to be alone
unaccompanied, to be a legal guardian or parent or appointed guardian by the country.
Presenter: How do you rate the care of the state to these children? Can we be proud?
Zmijanac: I think it is mobile and can do even more. When I initially gave interviews I emphasized
that the International community must be more open to this problem, not only with financial help,
but also to share this burden, however, Macedonia is a small country and I think the key factors are
Turkey and Greece, which are the first places where they enter, particularly Greece, and Germany
together with their partners in the mutual sharing of this crisis, I think they should open their
borders for all refugees, especially those affected by war.
Presenter: Right. Let’s talk about the increasing number of crimes of domestic violence or pedophilia
and incest. 150 million girls, 73 million boys worldwide are sexually abused. What is the situation in
Macedonia, what need to be done to protect them?
Zmijanac: You know, when we say that every fifth boy or third girl was sexually harass, or raped or
abused when he/she was a child, we cannot believe it, but when it happens to some of loved ones,
then we raising the alarm. So we have been talking for years about the problem of incest and thanks
to our strong pressure for advocacy and lobbying, last year the parliament members under
emergency procedure did amend to the Criminal Code, the so-called chemical castration has already
been implemented because recevidist cannot control the urge and libido and we believe this is a
humane measure because it helps recidivist not to repeat the same sentence, that is not to be
sentenced with a life impressment and not to have another child victim.
Presenter: Mr. Zmijanac, thank you for being our guest in the show.

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Interview on 10 Minutes – MA Dragi Zmijanac, Founder and President of the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi

  • 1. Interview on 10 Minutes – MA Dragi Zmijanac, Founder and President of the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi Journalist Iskra Opatceska TV 21 Presenter: Good evening, dear viewers, you are watching "10 Minutes" show on the television 21. Our guest tonight is the president and founder of the First Children Embassy in the World Megjashi, Mr. Dragi Zmijanac. Mr. Zmijanac, thank you for accepting our invitation. Zmijanac: Thank you for the invitation. Presenter: We have much to discuss, so to start let me talk about the initiative, the Citizens' Initiative, in fact, that you as a Children’s Embassy support it, and it is a common parenting after divorce. What is it that the children receive with this initiative? Zmijanac: The number of callers to our SOS helpline, when children and their families call about the same quantity of seeing with their children after divorce. So, we have a problem in the country that spouses should realize that when they divorce as partners, but not as parents, and that the best interests of the child is they equally and jointly to take care for the proper development of their child. This includes financial, but also education, care and nurturing. Always the Center for Social Work does not act in the best interest of the children and concerned parents who cannot realize the right to an equal quantity time with their children, complain to us that if they fail to agree voluntarily then they have difficulty exercising this right of parenting after divorce with equal access to taking care and nurturing of the child. So .... Presenter: What will the initiative do, what does it propose? Zmijanac: The initiative proposes to have the same starting position of both parents, but that does not mean automatically equal parenting, but the quality exercise of parental right. If a quality parenting is exercised, equal time of seeing, looking after and care, then the child will have the opportunity to be both with the father and the mother, in order to enable both parents to influence his/her proper growth and development.
  • 2. Presenter: How to do that, Mr. Zmijanac, given the fact that these things you talk about are already regulated by law? Zmijanac: They are regulated with the partners who have mutually agreed. But there are difficulties with the partners who cannot agree. Then the Center for social welfare gives an opinion to the court and the court decides in most of percentage, the child to be handed to the mother, as the child is younger, and fathers have the right to see their child twice a month and thus they feel concerned and somewhat even discriminated. For this initiative a round table will be held on 28 January, we have already contacted with the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, the letter or initiative has been submitted to the government, the government sent it to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry should make inspection and audit to see if the arguments of a group of parents is true that the child in most cases is given to the mother and the fathers despite being eligible to be quality and responsible parents fail to have a starting position. So, the framework to be expanded and this already goes as initiative in the Council of Europe and Macedonia should follow this process. Presenter: Megjashi is part of another major project that will be implemented during the elections, you will be partner with the civic association MOST and the Ombudsman to protect children from abuse in a political campaign. What is it about, how will you protect the children? Zmijanac: Namely, we, at every election, whether they are local, presidential and parliamentary, note that not all political parties respect the code of not abusing the children for partisan and political purposes despite the fact that Macedonia is a signatory to many conventions, we must constantly put pressure not to abuse children, so we urge them to advocate .... Presenter: Who do you encourage, what have to be done? Zmijanac: All political parties in their platforms, let them have for the wellbeing of children, then let them even have a competition among themselves, but the children not to be part of their decor, to put them in their political videos, to include them in the election campaign by sticking posters and making them to wear uniforms of the political party with their party landmarks. So we together with the coalition, the first platform which includes: CEA, ADI, ITC, Megjashi who has SOS helpline, the Ombudsman who has SOS helpline and Most (Bridge) will intervene if the Ombudsman notice that on the field there is child abuse for political purposes and in that case we will demand responsibility. Presenter: And how can citizens do the same? Zmijanac: They can call the number 0800 1 2222 of the Embassy to report. We will consult the monitors whether there are grounds for the report to react and we will submit a written complaint to the Ombudsman and to write down in our report which will be forwarded to the platform to the Ombudsman and to prepare a report on the rights of children to Geneva. Presenter: Unfortunately, Mr. Zmijanac children are not spared from what befell the world I can say, and it is the refugee crisis. Do you have data, how many children are migrants, how many are with
  • 3. parental accompaniment and how many without such care ... Let’s specifically talk about Macedonia, for these children. Zmijanac: Do not forget that the Balkans had an exodus, genocide and refugee crisis. First it was in Bosnia when refugees came from Bosnia, when we extended a helping hand and hosted 60 thousand refugees, then from Kosovo to about 300 thousand refugees, then our conflict in 2001 when we opened a shelter for children of internally displaced persons. We were on the field from the beginning in Demir Kapija and Tabanovce and helped the institutions of the system to practice the law for asylum seekers and demand fast transport and safe and reliable transportation of the asylum seekers transiting through Macedonia, to be guaranteed personal safety, be escorted to their final destination, to give full and absolute support, and if we need to prioritize, then mothers and children have obligatory to be released first in the list and the children not to be alone unaccompanied, to be a legal guardian or parent or appointed guardian by the country. Presenter: How do you rate the care of the state to these children? Can we be proud? Zmijanac: I think it is mobile and can do even more. When I initially gave interviews I emphasized that the International community must be more open to this problem, not only with financial help, but also to share this burden, however, Macedonia is a small country and I think the key factors are Turkey and Greece, which are the first places where they enter, particularly Greece, and Germany together with their partners in the mutual sharing of this crisis, I think they should open their borders for all refugees, especially those affected by war. Presenter: Right. Let’s talk about the increasing number of crimes of domestic violence or pedophilia and incest. 150 million girls, 73 million boys worldwide are sexually abused. What is the situation in Macedonia, what need to be done to protect them? Zmijanac: You know, when we say that every fifth boy or third girl was sexually harass, or raped or abused when he/she was a child, we cannot believe it, but when it happens to some of loved ones, then we raising the alarm. So we have been talking for years about the problem of incest and thanks to our strong pressure for advocacy and lobbying, last year the parliament members under emergency procedure did amend to the Criminal Code, the so-called chemical castration has already been implemented because recevidist cannot control the urge and libido and we believe this is a humane measure because it helps recidivist not to repeat the same sentence, that is not to be sentenced with a life impressment and not to have another child victim. Presenter: Mr. Zmijanac, thank you for being our guest in the show.