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Press Release

MHRMI and AMHRC denounce Albania's denial of Macedonian identity during its Census

October 6, 2011

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Albanian census 2011 Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia (October 6, 2011) - Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) denounce Albania's state-sponsored persecution of its Macedonian minority during the implementation of its census.

In the region of Golo Brdo, census taker instructors openly stated that the Macedonian language will be excluded as an answer to the question of what language is spoken at home. This was later confirmed in the field and other reports assert that census takers have been skipping questions 38 and 39 which pertain to language spoken and to ethnicity. "We feel like a threatened species, we are simply erased" declared Edmond Osmani, Vice President of MAEI.

Although it is officially denied, the Albanian state applies a rigid minority zones policy. "If you leave a minority zone, like the Prespa region, you automatically lose your status as a Macedonian and become Albanian" said Vasil Sterjo, from the Macedonian Alliance for European Integration (MAEI).

In Macedonia, on the other hand, the Albanian minority have illegally increased their numbers, evidently to show that ethnic Albanians amount to 20% of the total population of the Republic of Macedonia, so that Albanians can maintain a privileged status among Macedonia's ethnic minorities. Field reports indicate that two censuses are taking place: one in parts of Western Macedonia where ethnic Albanians live and another one in the rest of the country. In Western Macedonia, identification methods contrary to international regulations have been implemented.

MHRMI and AMHRC condemn the Albanian government for its refusal to amend its minority policy practices and its refusal to heed a joint declaration signed by Albania's minority representatives earlier this year.

We call on the EU, OSCE and other relevant institutions to recognise the invalidity of the census in Albania and the severe irregularities in Macedonia and to take steps that will ensure proper census implementation.

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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:
www.mhrmi.org, twitter.com/mhrmi, facebook, info@mhrmi.org, 1-416-850-7125.

Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that advocates before governments, international institutions and broader communities about combating discrimination and promoting basic human rights. Our aspiration is to ensure that Macedonian communities and other excluded groups throughout the world are recognised, respected and afforded equitable treatment. For more information please visit www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC by email info@macedonianhr.org.au or via +61 3 93298960.

 
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