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MHRMC Letter to Canadian Government
Regarding Racial Profiling of Macedonians at Greek Border

November 13, 2002

Hon. Bill Graham
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister,

Our government’s present protests in respect of US treatment of Canadian citizens of certain ethnic backgrounds is admirable. However, we cannot understand why the Canadian government is acting in such a manner at this time when we have documented and brought to the attention of the Canadian government similar instances of ethnic profiling of Canadian citizens by other governments, namely, Greece. Repeatedly, the government has chosen to ignore these terrible injustices citing the sovereign right of every state to control its borders. As a result Greek customs officers continue to implement their policies of ethnic profiling and persist on treating selected Canadians, i.e. those of Macedonian ethnic background, as second class human beings, as recently as this past summer when several Canadian citizens of Macedonian ethnicity were told they were on the “inadmissible list” by Greek border officials and refused entry to the place of their births.

We remain supportive of the our government’s recent pledge to oppose the maltreatment of Canadians at US border crossings, however we believe it is vital that the Canadian government remain committed to defending the honour of Canadians and the value of Canadian citizenship at all border crossing throughout the world, irrespective of the other state involved. Surely, if our government is willing to stand up to the United States to protect the equality of Canadian citizenship, it can stand up to Greece, a country with which Canada does a fraction of the trade than with the United States, is an ocean away and has no particular strategic or political significance for Canada. To fail to do so is to create two classes of Canadian citizens – those for whom our government will fight the capricious actions of other states and those for whom it won’t.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Opashinov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
Address: P.O. Box 44532, 2376 Eglinton Ave. East, Toronto, Canada M1K 5K3
Tel: 416-493-9555 Fax: 416-412-3385
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