The political party of Macedonians in Bulgaria, OMO Ilinden PIRIN, issued a statement (below) outlining the dramatic increase in threats and harassment they face at the hands of Bulgarian authorities, and civilians, alike.
Following the European Union’s shocking support of Greece’s campaign to change the Republic of Macedonia’s name and eradicate Macedonians’ ethnic identity and history (a key point outlined in the “Prespa Agreement”), Bulgaria ramped up its own demands on Macedonians, also garnering EU support.
The most notable, and brazen, form came with the “French Proposal”, named after Emmanuel Macron fully endorsed Bulgaria’s demands to eradicate Macedonians’ ethnic identity and history and tied Macedonian capitulation to its EU membership bid*. This policy was fully endorsed by the European Union and made official policy. (Read our press release condemning this action here)
Several months ago, statements by several European Parliamentarians condemned Bulgaria’s demands as "contrary to European values" and an affront to Macedonians' most basic of human rights. But since then, MEPs have remained silent, and possibly forcibly silenced, in order to present a “united European” approach to membership and in order to promote “European values”.
These “values” should not include the eradication of self-determination and subsequent celebration of the annihilation of an ethnic group’s name, identity, culture, language and history.
Further, MEPs are quick to condemn leaders of other countries who trample on their citizens’ rights, yet they readily praise the regime in Macedonia who commit the same – and much worse – human rights violations against Macedonians (Read one of our press releases outlining the abuses here). Incarceration of dissenters, abhorrent prison conditions, prison sentences for journalists, intimidation and threats against civilians, and mass retaliation against dissenters are among the regime's tactics, including yesterday's violent police dispersalof a protest (with beatings of protesters) against the EU/Bulgaria's demands. The anti-democratic actions of the regime also include the mere participation in name/identity/history negotiations, despite being overwhelmingly rejected by the Macedonian people, and the illegal imposition of related treaties in violation of Macedonian law, international law and human rights conventions.
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International reiterates its call for those truly interested in defending human rights to condemn the EU, NATO, in particular Greece and Bulgaria, and the regime in Macedonia for their anti-Macedonian policies,and to defend Macedonians' rights to their own name, identity, culture, language, and history.
* MHRMI is against EU and NATO membership for Macedonia as these organizations blatantly defy their "values of spreading democracy and human rights".
Harassment against Macedonian organizations in Bulgaria (statement by OMO Ilinden PIRIN)
Today, July 5, 2022, we learned from the Macedonian Society for the Protection of Basic Human Rights, that the owners of the room rented by them for the Macedonian Cultural Club, are the object of threats from unknown persons. Two civilians, who did not introduce themselves, approached the owners and threatened them and asked them to expel the Macedonian organization and repeal their rental agreement. They threatened to return unless their demands were met. The frightened owners today asked the Macedonian Society for the Protection of Basic Human Rights to terminate the contract by mutual consent. However, the organization declared that they will bring the case to the Prosecutor's Office and fight for their rights. In the past, threats were made against the life and health of the editor of the Macedonian newspaper People's Will, Georgi Hristov, and his wife, in a similar way and several times with anonymous phone calls. The perpetrators, despite several complaints to the police, were never found (or pursued), but after each complaint, they temporarily stopped the threats, only to resume them later. We strongly doubt that the perpetrators will be found or punished. Bulgarian institutions have never protected the Macedonians in Bulgaria, when they were the object of discrimination.
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. MHRMI demands respect for Macedonia's name, identity and human rights for oppressed Macedonians in the Balkans. For more information: 1-416-850-7125, firstname.lastname@example.org, mhrmi.org, twitter.com/mhrmi, facebook.com/mhrmi, instagram.com/MacedonianHumanRights #OurNameIsMacedonia