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MHRMC Urges Canada to Immediately Recognize Macedonia

December 17, 2004

The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

We would like to commend your great enthusiasm in recently re-confirming Canada’s long-standing foreign policy for the worldwide promotion and protection of human rights.

We read with great interest your December 10th news release commemorating “International Human Rights Day” and we are very happy to hear the Canadian government’s explicit commitment to improve the lives of individuals who are denied their most basic human rights.

As you know, ethnic Macedonians in Greece are still subject to human rights abuses as a matter of Greek government policy, frequently being harassed and imprisoned for speaking their language and proclaiming their separate identity. It has been a long-standing Greek position to eradicate the existence of Macedonians through a policy of expulsion and forced assimilation. Greece’s unprecedented objection to the constitutional name of a sovereign state, the Republic of Macedonia, and its manipulation of international institutions such as the United Nations to thwart international recognition of Macedonia under its constitutional name is part of this racist and xenophobic policy.

By adhering to the Greek government’s policy of calling the Republic of Macedonia the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” or, worse, “FYROM”, Canada lends its considerable international credibility to Greece and its policy of intolerance and prejudice in respect of its Macedonian minority.

For this reason, we ask the Government of Canada to follow the example already set by over sixty countries around the world including, most recently, the United States, and to recognize the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name immediately.

We also urge the Government of Canada to continue Canada’s proud tradition of advocating human rights throughout the world by calling on the Government of Greece to recognize its ethnic Macedonian minority officially and respect their human rights.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada

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