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OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
6 October – 17 October 2005, Warsaw

Topic: National Minorities – October 15, 2003


The Macedonian Minority in Albania
Report by the Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC)


Table of Contents

Introduction
Census
Macedonian Church in Pustets
Contact Information for Macedonian Activists in Albania

Introduction

The following interview with Edmond Temelko, president of the Macedonian organization “Prespa” in Albania, outlines the precarious position of the Macedonian minority in Albania. It appeared in the Macedonian weekly, “Makedonsko Sonce”, on June 15, 2001. Unfortunately, the situation of the Macedonian minority in Albania has not improved since.

"The plight of the Macedonians in Albania is already known. Macedonians in Albania are discriminated against and the government continues to unrealistically present their numbers. Albania recognizes that on its territory live only 5,000 Macedonians. But we alone, as Macedonian organizations in Albania number 120,000 Macedonians who are members of our organizations, or if we investigate there are perhaps more then 350,000 Macedonians in Albania."

"According to the Albanian Constitution, the minorities are allowed 60% education in their mother language. But this is not happening. There are Macedonians who live in other parts of Albania who do not have the right to get an education in their own mother language, the Macedonian language. They do not have schools. But even where we have schools, there is very little. For example in the village of Pustets there is elementary education from first to fourth grade in Macedonian and one course in Albanian. What happens between fifth and eight grade? Only three courses are in Macedonian, and the history in taught only in seventh grade and only for one hour. But the worst of all is that although the kids study in Macedonian, the literature is not original. The Macedonian grammar is translated from Albanian grammar. This is one of our complaints. We demand that the children by educated with original Macedonian textbooks."

"The Albanian press has branded us a potential hotspot. After a peaceful protest, they began to treat us as terrorists, although nobody raised a gun to fight in Albania. All we did is sent a call that we are fighting for our rights through the institutions of the system. For example, we publicly proclaim that we do not like the Constitution of Albania. Why? In article 20 it is written that in Albania exist minorities whose cultural identity should be guaranteed and preserved. But which minorities are these? Let it say: Greek, Macedonian, Vlach, or Roma minority. The Albanian government is afraid of this because if this is written, i.e. if a real analysis is conducted, Albania is a multiethnic state. If you enter inner Albania, there live 40-45% of the minorities. There are Greeks, Vlachs, Macedonians, Roma. This is what the Albanian government is afraid of and this is why it conducted such census. This census was regularly conducted in only one village. It is discrimination and because of it Macedonia will have to develop a clear strategy for the plight of the Macedonians in the neighbouring countries."


Census

The four Macedonian organizations in Albania, Mir (Peace), Gora, MED (Macedonian Aegean Society) and Prespa, boycotted the 2001 census in Albania because there was no option for Macedonian in the census list. The Albanian government continues to minimize the actual number of Macedonians, and other minorities, in the country and in 2003, the Association of Macedonians in Albania (consisting of the four organizations) conducted their own census of the number of Macedonians in Albania. It is estimated that this number is between 120,000 and 350,000 while the Albanian state only officially recognizes 5,000.

Macedonian Church in Pustets

The Macedonians in Pustets, Mala Prespa are building a Macedonian Orthodox Church and have requested that a Macedonian Orthodox priest bless the church. In September 2003, an Albanian priest tried to perform this ceremony but the local Macedonians refused. A few weeks later, the Albanian priest returned with approximately 40 police officers and forcibly entered the church. The Macedonian minority’s wishes must be respected and the Albanian state should cease its discrimination against the Macedonian minority.

Written by:
Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International

Address: 157 Adelaide St. West, Suite 434, Toronto, Canada M5H 4E7
Tel: 416-850-7125 Fax: 416-850-7127
E-mail: info@mhrmi.org Website: www.mhrmi.org

Presented by:
Ireneusz Slupkowski
Member, Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
Vice-President, Association of Macedonians in Poland

Address: ul. Odziezowa 15/15 71-502 Szczecin, Poland
Tel: +48-609-321-560
Email: prosper@fiber.net.pl


Contact Information for Macedonian Activists in Albania

For more information, please contact Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada, Association of Macedonians in Poland, or the following organizations of Macedonians in Albania:

MIR
President - Kimet Fetahu
Rr. “Prokor Muzeqari”
P. 31/1/1, Tirana, Albania
Tel. ++3554-341265
Fax ++3554-249945
E-mail: mirshoq@yahoo.com

Prespa
Edmond Temelko
Pustec (Korca), Albania
++355682360274
++355682054652

Association of Macedonians in Albania (consisting of MIR, Prespa, Bratstvo, MED)
E-mail: info@macedoniansinalbania.org
Website: www.macedoniansinalbania.org

     
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