Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
OSCE 1998 - Conference - Human Dimension Issues - Report by Rainbow

Written Presentation of the speech of Mr. Voskopoulos Pavlos member of the Organization RAINBOW - (VINOZITO) Organization of the National Macedonian minority of Greece on 03.11.1998

Mr. Moderator, Ladies and Gentleman,

I am not happy today because I will accuse my country, but I believe as citizen of Greece and as European citizen that this will be helpful for the further democratization of my country.

The existence of national minorities is not recognized in the Republic of Greece. The Turkish minority is recognized only as religious minority, while the Macedonian national minority is not recognized as an existing entity. Although national minorities are not recognized, their members are persecuted on national minority basis.

A policy of brutal assimilation of the Macedonian ethnic minority is under way by legislative measures and court prosecutions. The public use of the Macedonian language and alphabet is proxibited, as well as their use in the educational system.

Court prosecutions are undertaken against the members of the two national minorities, concerning activities in connection with the manifestation and protection of the national cultural identity.

The State allows, sometimes even encourages the mass media, the Church authorities and the para-state institutions to be against the members of the national minorities (the Turkish and the Macedonian) in order to terrorize and politically discredit them.

In addition to the aforementioned measures, ethnic cleansing of the Macedonian minority is done in perfidies manner, by taking away the citizenship in a way provided for by the article 20 of the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Greece.

Selective immigration is done in the regions of Western Thrace and Macedonia were the Turkish and Macedonian minority lives in order to create a new wave of hate and towards the national minorities and the majority. At the same time the repatriation of the Macedonian political refugees left Greece during the civil war in 1949 is prohibited.

We demand the indispensable recognition of the two national minorities, the abolition of all aforementioned measures by which discrimination is done, and the stopping of all court prosecutions. We demand the introduction of measures whereby the consequences of the executed policy against the national minorities be removed, in accordance with the international norms and the European Framework Convection for the Rights of National Minorities.

We are usually talking about the policy of the States against minorities but we are not talking very often about the policy of the national minorities.

Our organization believes that the policy of the national minorities in the Balkan countries should be such that it should dispose of the fear by the population in the countries they live in, from wishing or thinking of the gradual change of the existing borders, disguised under the pretext of demanding national minority rights.

National minorities in the countries where they live, should not be subjected to manipulation and interstate antagonism and to become a reason for meddling by one state into the affairs of another. They should cooperate and deepen the ties with constituent nation and with all nationalities that live in the state. In this way they will become a powerful factor of peace, cooperation and friendship in the Balkans and Europe.

National minorities in Balkan states should make use of the positive examples from the European experience for gradual union of all European countries with respect for the minority rights and overcoming the national prejudices and antagonisms.

A request from our organization is that experts from international and European institutions, as OSCE, make a scholarly research on the rights of national minorities in the Balkan countries and prepare a comparative study on the situation of the national minorities.

We appeal to the Greek gorvement for starting a dialog with the members of the Macedonian national minority of Greece according to the European Framework Convection for the Rights of the National Minorities which is unfortunately not yet ratified by Greece.

Thank you all for your attention.

Stefanou Dragoumi 11
P.O. Box 51
531 00 Florina, Greece
TEL and FAX : 386-46548-45044