Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
European Free Alliance Supports Protests Against Greece's Human Rights Abuses

European Free Alliance - Press Release

Brussels - Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya EFA MEP Bernat Joan is to protest to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg about ongoing human rights abuses in Greece.

The EFA party supports its MEP in his actions. The Catalan Euro-MP and Vice President of the European Free Alliance is concerned about ongoing state backed intolerance and discrimination particularly against the country's Macedonian and Turkish minorities. This follows the recent Greek Supreme Court ruling dissolving the Turkish Union of Xanthi.

This follows previous refusals to register Turkish and Macedonian associations or to force their dissolution in spite of earlier rulings against the Greek authorities by the Strasbourg based European Court of Human Rights.

Nelly Maes, President of EFA, declared:
"We've worked closely for many years with the Macedonian minority of Greece and we know very well their suffering. It is insulting and against their dignity the systematic lack of recognition from the Greek authorities. This situation must stop now and all minorities have to have their association and other human rights fully guarantied.

I fully support Bernat Joan actions and adhere to his writing to the European Court of Human Rights. I hope this time these ongoing human rights abuses by Greek authorities will find a definitely solution."

Bernat Joan MEP commented:
"I was very concerned to hear this news of ongoing intolerance by Greek authorities. It seems to me a flagrant abuse of basic human rights, not to mention treaty commitments. Greece has fallen foul of the European Court of Human Rights in the past yet this seems to have had little impact on the attitude of the Greek authorities."

In the Sidiropoulos and others v. Greece judgement of 10 July 1998, the European Court of Human Rights found that the refusal to register the association "Home of Macedonian Culture" in Florina constituted an interference with the freedom of association as guaranteed by Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Five years after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, this association has still not been registered despite the repeated applications made by its members (see recent decision 243/19/12/03 of the Florina Single-Member Court of First Instance one more time negative; the applicants have applied again to the Appeal Court in Kozani).

For more information:
Gunther Dauwen/ Eva Mendoza
EFA headquarters
Tel. 003225133476/4851