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MHRMI / AMHRC - Press Release

MHRMI and AMHRC Call on European Union to Reprimand Greece, Recognize Macedonia

June 20, 2009



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Greece Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) / Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) - Press Release

Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia, June 20, 2009 - Greek neo-Nazis attack Macedonians. Massive voting irregularities against Macedonian minority party. Will the European Union finally take concrete steps to reprimand Greece or will it continue to turn a blind eye and allow its member-states to be handcuffed by Greece's xenophobic policies?

Sandwiched in between these two recent events was European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot's reference to the Republic of Macedonia as "Northern Macedonia". Apparently, the European Union even lends its support to Greece's extreme nationalistic agenda.

Greece refuses to accept the existence of ethnic Macedonians and the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia. Consequently, Greece vetoed Macedonia's entry into NATO in 2008, its economic embargo crippled Macedonia's economy in 1992, and its persecution of its Macedonian minority receives worldwide condemnation, including a recent United Nations report and several European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgments against it.

However, the European Union allows its member-states, notably Greece, to ignore ECHR rulings without fear of retribution.

Greek neo-Nazis have taken advantage of the Greek government's racist policies and the EU's lack of response. On June 2, 2009, neo-Nazis attacked Macedonians and other participants at the launch of a Macedonian/Greek dictionary at the Foreign Press Association in Athens. See
Eurolang report and YouTube clip of the attack.

EFA Rainbow (Vinozhito) participated in European Parliament elections on June 7, 2009 amidst a hostile environment for members of the Macedonian minority. Although required by law, media access was denied, EFA-Rainbow activists were harassed, party posters, leaflets and DVDs were confiscated, and countless ballots were destroyed.

According to the OSCE/ODIHR, it has deployed a group of experts to assess the 4-7 June elections to the European Parliament but will not observe election day proceedings.

Nase Parisis, EFA-Rainbow member and President of Greeces EBLUL (European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages) Committee stated,

It is ironic that no monitoring of election irregularities took place in Greece because, as a member of the European Union, it is supposed to be a model for developing countries and new democracies to aspire to. Potential EU members go through intense scrutiny during their elections. Current EU members must not be given a free pass.

Macedonian Human Rights Movement International and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee call on:

1. The European Union to reprimand Greece and enforce its ECHR judgments
2. Macedonia to cease all negotiations with Greece over the name dispute
3. Immediate international recognition of Macedonia's constitutional name

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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.

Founded in 1984, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) has been working towards achieving human rights for Macedonians and other oppressed minorities. For more information, please visit www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at +61 3 9460 2910, or mail@macedonianhr.org.au.
 
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