Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Macedonian Political Refugees Will Be Able to Visit Greece This Summer

MILS NEWS (Macedonian Information and Liaison Service)

The spokesperson of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Panajotis Beglitis, yesterday confirmed that official Athens is prepared to resolve the issue of the Macedonian political refugees and expelled persons from the period of the Civil war in Greece, a half century ago. Most of these persons live in the Republic of Macedonia and as a first measure in their favour will be the possibility this summer to visit Greece freely, announced Beglitis.

As "Utrinski Vesnik" writes, Beglitis announced that the Chief of Greek diplomacy, Jorgos Papandreu, gave the order for the complete resolution of the issue of the refugees after reaching an agreement with the opposition parties and the local authorities in northern Greece. Beglitis was asked by the journalists whether the political refugees will be given the right to live in Greece and to reclaim their properties. According to Beglitis, "that is an issue that will be reviewed and solved." Beglitis stated that he does not believe that interethnic conflict could happen again in Macedonia, but that the Framework Agreement offers real chances for the stabilization of Macedonia.


Macedonians - victims of the Greek civil war as of this summer will be able to travel to Greece freely, signalling the beginning of the recently established visa policy allowing Macedonian political refugees to return to Greece. Such announcements came directly from the Greek deputy minister of foreign affairs, Andreas Loverdos, through an interview in the newspaper "Elefterotipia". But, according to certain information, this will be only the first step after 55 years of pursuit of the Macedonians from the Aegean part of Macedonia to be able to visit their homes. Unofficially the next step is the return of their citizenship. These announcements came directly from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorgos Papandreu! But, when it comes to the existing experiences with our southern neighbour, despite our optimism, this must be approaced with caution, as another possibility for some bargaining, most probably related to the name dispute.

Loverdos in the interview says that possessing citizenship of the Republic of Macedonia is not treated as a bilateral problem. "There are some historic processes, there are some thorns which are from the past and which refer to people which were uprooted from their home land. Our political will is to uproot that last thorn remaining from the past. And that is to solve the problem with the political emigrants. Our will is to find a solution. Not in some undetermined future period, but right now". According to Lovredos, there were only some technical problems, but they will be resolved.

"We expect positive response from the Greek authorities for our requests for the third meeting of the children-refugees and return of our rights. We are really happy because of the decision of the Greek Government. We are all prepared, even our successors to go and visit our birthplaces. This only confirms that democracy has entered Greece, that our issue has been viewed and we hope that all of our problems will be solved positively", stated Gjorgi Donevski, president of the Association of the Child Refugees, in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.

As result of the Civil war in Greece from 1946-1949, around 80,000 Macedonians were forced to leave their birthplaces in Aegean Macedonia. Running from the monarchy, fascist and Great Greek terror they fled to Eastern-European countries, USA, Canada, and Australia. Greece used the war for ethnic cleansing and a mass exodus of the Macedonians.

In 1996, Dr Risto Kirjazovski, with the assistance of the "Soros" foundation published the book "Legal discrimination of 'Great Greece's' policy in the Aegean part of Macedonia after the Second World War". In it Kirjazovski sublimated all discrimination laws of the Greek state, but what draws attention was that the state, with its Constitution and laws, already solved the issues for citizenship, properties and repatriation of the Macedonian political refugees from Greece. As the only obstacle which remained until today was not a legal provision, but a mutual decision of the Greek ministries of interior and public order for free repatriation of the political refugees, participants in the Civil war in Greece. It anticipates that "all Greeks by birth, which during the Civil war and as consequence of the same escaped to foreign countries as political refugees, can return to Greece, regardless of whether their Greek citizenship was taken from them or not. The return and date of the same will depend upon their wish and will be realized after they receive passports issued by the Greek consular authorities in countries where they are staying now." In his book Kirjazovski quoted all legal regulations and other acts with which the Macedonians from the Aegean part of Macedonia lost their properties and Greek citizenship. Above all, special importance here is the Decree L-3/47 about "depriving Greek citizenship of persons which act against the country", Decree 3370/50 "About codex for verification of the Greek citizenship", Law 4234/62 "About measures for security of the country". But in 1974, with the fall of the monarchy, a new constitution was implemented and Law 519/74 with which all decisions, decrees and other acts for taking away of the Greek citizenship are annulled and it is returned to the political refugees, regardless of their nationality, religion or place of living or staying. With the same Constitution, right to ownership is guaranteed in Greece, what according to Kirjazovski means also right to ownership of properties of the Macedonian refugees. Referring to the famous sentence "Greeks by birth", it is not found in any of the laws for return of the Greek citizenship, nor in ones for de-confiscation of the confiscated properties. It is used only in the provisions for repatriation, with what, at least until now, seal was placed on the discriminatory policy of the Greek authorities over the Macedonians.

The recent statements from Athens will more than certainly cause positive reactions and will contribute to the correction of a huge historic injustice. Of course, in the spirit of a new Europe, of a Europe without borders.