Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Press Release
MHRMC Condemns Greece's Blacklisting of Ethnic Macedonians as Yet Another Canadian-Macedonian is Denied Entry into Greece

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC) condemns Greece's continued blacklisting of ethnic Macedonian human rights activists and political refugees. Yet another Canadian citizen of ethnic Macedonian descent was denied entry into Greece, as the Greek government continues to backtrack on their recent pledge that Macedonian political refugees would finally be allowed to enter the country, after 55 years in exile and in time for their Third World Reunion. See the following for background information and recent border incidents:

www.florina.org/html/2003/2003_begalci_pr.html
www.mhrmi.org/news/2003/july26_e.asp
www.mhrmi.org/news/2003/june09_e.asp

Vana Niczowski and her husband Chris, both Canadian citizens of Macedonian ethnicity, attempted to enter Greece on July 21, 2003. Mrs. Niczowski was born in Statitsa (Melas in Greek), Kostur (Kastoria) region and her birthplace was spelled "Kosturia” on her passport. The Greek border official insisted that this was "not the Greek name of the city and sounded too Slavic” and therefore, denied her entry.

Greece has consistently refused entry to people who use the original Macedonian village/city name on their passports, instead of the new Greek toponyms applied after 1926. In its press release of August 1, 2003, the Rainbow Party, political party of the Macedonian minority in Greece, stated:

"Greece should establish a record of toponyms (both old and new), a practice and a policy carried out in many democratic countries, especially since there is such a provision in international texts related to the protection of the heritage of linguistic, religious or ethnic minorities.”

Furthermore, the Rainbow Party:

"…calls upon the Greek government to abolish this inhuman and racist decision that exempts the repatriation of Macedonian political refugees, to give them back their citizenship and to apply the same procedures for them as were used in the case of the political refugees who declared themselves 'Greeks by genus' and returned to Greece after 1982.”

The Committee for the Reception of Refugees in Greece, consisting of members of Rainbow, has organized a symbolic reception to be held at the Negochani (Niki) border crossing between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece on Sunday, August 10, 2003 at 11:00am.

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada calls on international media, human rights organizations, and concerned individuals to attend this historic event and to apply pressure on Greece to end its racial profiling of individuals of Macedonian ethnic background and to immediately solve the issue of the Macedonian political refugees. The MHRMC specifically asks that the European Union end its hypocrisy in demanding that new member states respect human rights standards while ignoring human rights violations within the EU.

Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Address: 157 Adelaide St. West, Suite 434, Toronto, Canada M5H 4E7
Tel: 416-850-7125 Fax: 416-850-7127
E-mail: info@mhrmi.org Website: www.mhrmi.org