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Press Release

AMHRC, MHRMI and Vinozhito Condemn the US State Department’s Negation of the Macedonian Minority in Greece

April 26, 2013

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STate Department Melbourne, Toronto and Lerin/Florina (April 26, 2013) - This week the US State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. In its report on Greece, under the sub-heading ”National/Racial/ Ethnic Minorities”, the following was stated about the situation and treatment of the Macedonian minority:
“The government did not recognize the existence of a Slavic dialect, called “Macedonian” by its speakers; nevertheless, a small number of its speakers identified themselves as “Macedonian,” a designation that generated strong opposition from other citizens. These individuals claimed that the government pursued a policy designed to discourage the use of their language. Government officials and the courts denied requests by Slavic groups to identify themselves using the term “Macedonian,” stating that approximately 2.2 million ethnically (and linguistically) Greek citizens also use the term “Macedonian” to identify themselves. The government has long refused to recognize an association with the name “Home of Macedonian Culture,” objecting to the use of the term “Macedonian.” The association took the case to the ECHR in 2009. In August the ECHR informed the government that it had accepted the case for judgment and requested the government to submit its position by January 15, 2013.”

The terminology used in this passage; namely “Slavic dialect”, “Slavic groups” and the use of quotation marks for the term Macedonian, represent nothing other than a negation of Macedonian ethnicity and language in Greece and a perpetuation of Greek racist stereotypes which have resulted in Macedonians in Greece being denied their basic human rights since 1913. It is important to point out that the US State Department has consistently used such insulting terminology when describing Macedonians in Greece in its Human Rights Reports for several years.

The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee, Macedonian Human Rights Movement International and the European Free Alliance - Rainbow/Vinozhito condemn the US State Department for its use of such terminology and calls on it to respect the inalienable rights of the Macedonians in Greece to use the term Macedonian in describing their ethnicity and language.

We also call on Macedonians throughout the world to contact the US State Department at
http://contact-us.state.gov/app/ask in order to express their opposition to the use of such degrading terminology.

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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, email info@macedonianhr.org.au or via +61 3 93298960.

The European Free Alliance – Rainbow/Vinozhito is a political party struggling for the rights and recognition of the Macedonian minority in Greece. The party has offices in Florina/Lerin and Edessa/Voden. For more information please visit
www.vinozito.gr, or by email: vinozito@otenet.gr or on +30 23850 46548.

 
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