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OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
19 September 30 September 2005, Warsaw

Working Session 16: Tolerance and Non-Discrimination

September 29, 2005

Presentation by Rainbow/Vinozhito - Organization of the Macedonian Minority in Greece

Mr. Moderator,

In the framework of today's morning session we are focusing in the topic of racism and xenophobia.

Should a person claim that there are citizens in Europe at the beginning of the 21st century who do not possess the right to visit the graves of their parents or have the right to live and die in their place of birth, this would sound bizarre.

Unbelievably, this happens to be the case in Greece. A European country, member of the European Union, the Council of Europe the OSCE and the UN.

The Greek State prohibits the repatriation of Macedonian political refugees who left Greece during the Greek Civil War (1946 - 1949). Until 1982 ethnic Greek and ethnic Macedonian political refugees were denied return to Greece. However, according to the Greek government's so-called policy of "national reconciliation" in 1982, refugees who left Greece during the Greek Civil War are now permitted to return Greece.

Particularly in the Greek legislation there is the L. 1266/1982 and the common decision (106841 / 29.12.1982 of the Greek ministries of Internal Affairs and Public. Let me stress the language of the following paragraph of law:

"... can return to Greece all Greeks by genus* who left Greece during the Civil War 1946 - 1949 and because of which went abroad as political refugees even if they lost their Greek citizenship..."

* The word genus here is synonymous with "race" and was deliberately used to discriminate against the Macedonian political refugees based on their ethnicity. It is shocking that such terminology is in use by the Greek government. It clearly discriminates against former Greek citizens based on their race.

May I ask under which commitment, declaration or OSCE's criteria a member State can divide its citizens on a racist basis?

May I ask the Greek representative in the OSCE how the Greek government determines the genus or the race its citizens?

Thank you all for your attention.

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