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MHRMC - Press Release

Bulgarian Authorities Hinder Upcoming Macedonian Commemoration

April 8, 2005

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC) is appalled to learn that Bulgarian authorities have revoked a permit for OMO PIRIN, political party of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, which had granted them the right to hold a Macedonian commemoration at the Rozhen Monastery on April 24, 2005.

OMO PIRIN received the permit from the Mayor of Sandanski and proceeded to advertise the event to local Macedonians and the Macedonian diaspora because of its historical significance. The mayor suddenly revoked the permit and instead gave it to the Focus News Agency, which has never before celebrated this event and is notorious for its anti-Macedonian rhetoric. The municipality of Sandanski maintains that when the mayor promised OMO PIRIN the permit he did not know that “someone else had already asked for a permit.”

OMO PIRIN has instead been forced to move its commemoration to the town of Melnik and unfortunately all the efforts that have already gone into promoting the event at Rozhen have now been lost. This is the latest effort by the Bulgarian authorities to hinder any expression of Macedonian identity in Bulgaria.

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada calls on the international community, and specifically the European Union, to apply pressure on Bulgaria to immediately recognize its large Macedonian minority and grant it the human rights that it is guaranteed by all international human rights conventions. Moreover, the MHRMC calls on the European Union to make Bulgaria's accession to the European Union explicitly conditional on its recognition of its Macedonian minority.

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
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