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

Working Session 14: National Minorities

September 28, 2005

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

Mr. Moderator,

In 2000, here at the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings in Warsaw, the Greek ambassador replied to our questions by repeating the well known but irrational claim that the Macedonian minority in Greece does not exist.

He said:

"There is no such a Macedonian minority in Greece. There are only some people speaking a Slavic idiom in the region of North Greece".

We hear similar statements today.

It is well known in the linguistic sciences that an idiom is a part of a language. In this case it is about the Macedonian language and its dialects that are spoken in Northern Greece.

Based on the statement by the honorable Greek ambassador I ask the Greek delegation:

- Why the Macedonian language, which they refer to as a "Slavic idiom," has not been recognized yet in Greece?

- Why the Macedonian language has not been included in the educational system in the regions where it is spoken as is the case in every democratic country in Europe and around the world?

Ladies and gentlemen,

May I also ask the Greek delegation why Greece has not ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Rights of National Minorities, (signed 1997), as various international organs such as the ECRI have suggested it do?

If a Macedonian minority does not exist in Greece then how is it that members of the Macedonian minority in Greece are deliberately prohibited from establishing a cultural association (The Home of Macedonian Culture), through which they endeavor to preserve and foster their culture?

There was a decision against Greece at the European Court of Human Rights in 1998, for a violation of freedom of association (Sidiropoulos and others v. Greece -- article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights). Yet to this day Greek courts refuse to allow the Macedonian association to register. Greece still refuses to implement that court decision.

We appeal to the Greek government to begin a dialogue with representatives of Macedonian organizations toward resolving the problems regarding the Macedonian minority in Greece.

Thank you all for your attention.

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