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Greek Authorities Prohibit Entry of Australian Citizen
Wanting to Attend His Father's Funeral


May 18, 2005


AUSTRALIAN MACEDONIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
MEDIA RELEASE

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On 7 May 2005, Mr George Mishalis, an Australian citizen travelling with an Australian passport, attempted to enter Greece in order to be present at the funeral of his father in his native village.

The Greek border police prohibited his entry on the basis of a law that was clearly discriminatorily implemented (Law 3370, Article 20, para. 1G – Greek citizenship law) mainly against ethnic Macedonian emigres, who have been known in their new homelands, to have openly expressed their Macedonian ethnic identity.

The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is appalled at the inhumane actions of Greek authorities. This is the fifth time it has occurred in the last two years. The last time this occurred was in August 2003. On that occasion, the AMHRC wrote to the Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer. In the reply the AMHRC received from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade it was stated among other things that “Australia recognises the right of a sovereign state to determine whether to grant entry to an Australian citizen and the basis on which entry is granted.” Frankly, this is not good enough. Macedonian-Australians pay their taxes the same as all other citizens of Australia. It would seem however, that Macedonian-Australian citizens have earned their passports for no useful purpose when it comes to a question of entering Greece – which has a 90-day no visa requirement for Australian citizens.

Therefore, the AMHRC strongly urges the Minister on this particular occasion, to make more rigorous attempts to gain from Greek authorities some type of explanation for cruelly denying an Australian citizen the permission to attend his father’s funeral. Such an action can only be described as inhumane. Surely the Australian government has some obligations towards its citizens and therefore should be prepared to protect the interests of its citizens, indeed as it has done in the past with regard to their denial of entry to other countries – eg: USA post September 11.

Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee

     
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