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MHRMI - Press Release

MHRMI Demands End to Greece's Discrimination
of Macedonian Political Refugees


June 21, 2008



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Children refugees passing the border Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) - Press Release

Toronto, Canada, June 21, 2008 - MHRMI calls on the international community to demand that Greece finally end its discrimination of its large Macedonian minority, and specifically, Macedonian political refugees and allow their 4th World Reunion on July 20, 2008 to proceed unimpeded.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the evacuation by the International Red Cross of 28,000 Macedonian children (Detsa Begaltsi), aged 2-14, during the Greek Civil War. They were subsequently stripped of their Greek citizenship and have been consistently denied entry into Greece simply because they assert their Macedonian ethnic identity. They were excluded from the 1982 law that allowed the free return of political refugees who were Greek by genus.

"This will be the last chance for many Detsa Begaltsi, who are now in their 60's and 70's, to visit their birthplaces. Greek officials had promised to allow us entry for our last reunion in 2003 only to ultimately turn us back. This cannot happen again," said Risto Cackirovski, President of ARCAM (Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia).

"Greece openly blacklists Canadian, American and Australian citizens of Macedonian descent. The governments of these countries, among others, must protect the rights of their citizens and demand from Greece that this practice be ceased immediately or face repercussions," said MHRMI President Bill Nicholov.

MHRMI calls on international government officials, media, human rights organizations and other interested parties to attend the border crossing between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece at Medjitlia/Niki on July 20, 2008 to monitor Greece's compliance with its obligations under international human rights law.

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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

 
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