Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Press Release
MHRMI and AMHRC Applaud the Mayor of Ovcharani's Demand that Macedonian be an Official Language in Greece

Pando Ashlakov Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) applaud the Mayor of Ovcharani's demand that Macedonian be an official language in Greece, taught at all levels of elementary and secondary school, and that the original Macedonian toponyms be reinstated.

The Mayor of Ovcharani, Pando Anastasiadis (Ashlakov) is also a board member of Vinozhito, which is a partner of MHRMI and AMHRC in the struggle for Macedonian human rights.

Please see the news stories below about this very important development.

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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, email or via +61 3 93298960.

Mayor demands Macedonian be official language in Greece

Instruction of Macedonian language in all elementary and secondary schools in Meliti (Ovcarani) municipality, all topographic names at the municipality's territory to be bilingual, whereas all official titles at public facilities to be written in Greek and Macedonian languages, asks mayor Panagiotis Anastasiadis in the letter addressed to Florina (Lerin) mayor and the Minister of Education, newspaper of Macedonians in Greece "Nova Zora" says on its website.

In the letter, Anastasiadis says Greece is a signatory of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which stipulates that member-states are obliged to protect lingual diversity and prevent any discrimination.
Moreover, he says EU member-states are obliged to protect and urge the use of minority languages when spoken at their territory, even when they are not officially recognized.
"Let me also remind you that our country is a signatory, but unfortunately still not ratifying it, of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for Regional and Minority Languages, which stipulates the recognition of these languages as an expression of the cultural richness, respect to the geographic area where such a language is spoken, as well as facilitating and stimulating the language's use in written and oral form, both in public and private life", says Anastasiadis.

The Ovcarani mayor stresses the population in this part of Greece has not been protected by the state regarding the language it speaks. "Citizens here are cut off, unemployment is on the rise, accompanied by the emergence of certain groups, such as Golden Dawn, which put Greece back in the past that was full of refugees, bans and fears", he adds.

According to Anastasiadis, it is time for Greece to demonstrate that it is rightly considered a modern European state that respects the rights of all citizens, regardless of their ethnic or lingual origin.
"By accepting this request, Greece will demonstrate it does not succumb to the nostalgic memories of fascism, looking forward to the future. This will make all those speaking the Macedonian language feel they are an integral part of this country as equal citizens", underlines Anastasiadis.