Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Open Letter to the Greek Prime Minister on the Matter of Greece's Racial Profiling Against Macedonians

Open Letter
by Dr. George Nakratzas

To the Right Honourable
Konstantinos Simitis
Prime Minister of Greece

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

It was reported by the Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada that last year three Canadian nationals of Macedonian descent had been denied entry to Greece.

This latest incident took place on 30th May 2002: entry to Greece was refused to Mr. Mendo Petrevski, a Canadian national of Macedonian descent.

When representations were made by the Canadian Embassy in Athens, the Greek authorities responded that nothing could be done because Mr. Petrevski had no relevant documents from the Niki border post, and did not know the name of the border official concerned in the decision.

If this accusation is true, then the official response of our government to the Canadian Embassy in Athens does little credit to our country - the country currently holding the Presidency of the European Union.

The Greek authorities must be perfectly well aware of the identity of the official on duty at the Niki border post on 30th May 2002.

The fact that this Canadian national had no document explaining why he was regarded as persona non grata in Greece, is entirely due to the failings of our own authorities. In all such cases, as in the case in question, the necessary stamp should have been placed in the Canadian passport.

Sir, no country with any self-respect can insult a tourist on the grounds that he has a suspect record without offering evidence to this effect, or at the very least communicating these grounds to the individual in question.

The truth is, however, that the facts of the matter are somewhat different.

It is well known that the border posts of the EU countries keep a list of individuals whose entry is deemed undesirable. However, this list contains the names of persons known for their criminal activities.

It is claimed - although I admit I have no certain knowledge of this - that our border posts also keep a second, unofficial list of names of individuals whose entry to our country is forbidden for purely political reasons. More specifically, this list contains the names only of those individuals who declare that they are ethnic Macedonians.

A similar incident in the relatively recent past involved a Mr. Karatzas, a 78-year-old resident of the Republic of Macedonia, who was refused entry to Greece. After international protests, and only following your own wise intervention, this old man, a veteran of the Democratic Army, was allowed to visit for the last time his village near Kastoria, the village where he spent his childhood. I learned of this visit - with great relief - from the man himself.

Do you not think that it is now time for this alleged second, unofficial list to be abolished - the list which names ethnic Macedonians as personae non gratae.

I ask you to imagine how we ourselves would react if we were to be refused entry at the borders of neighbouring countries, simply because we described ourselves as ethnic Greeks?

Yours faithfully,
Dr. George Nakratzas

P.S. I beg to inform you that copies of this letter, translated into English, will be forwarded to the 600 Members of the European Parliament, as well as other interested individuals.