Macedonian Human Rights Movement International President, Bill Nicholov, met with the Director General of European and Eurasian Affairs for Global Affairs Canada, Andrew Turner, and Deputy Directors of European and Eurasian Affairs, Louise Corbin and Robert Coleman, and called for Canada to seek the immediate release of Macedonian political prisoners, imprisoned for dissenting against the regime and opposing the forced name change into the highly derogatory "North Macedonia".
Nicholov pointed out Canada's long-standing history in condemning regimes worldwide and defending human rights activists and political prisoners. Nicholov called for equal treatment for Macedonians.
Further, Nicholov condemned the United States' involvement and interference in the vast majority of international conflicts and the enabling of US policies by other Western countries, including Canada. In Macedonia's case, the US forced through the name change to appease Greece in exchange for the lifting of its veto for Macedonia's Western-imposed NATO and EU membership bids. Bulgaria followed suit with its own demands in order to lift its EU-membership veto. Both countries publicly pursue the eradication of Macedonians' name, identity, culture, language, and history and use these demands as pretexts to continue their persecution of the large indigenous Macedonian populations within their borders.
Moreover, Nicholov highlighted the brutal irony that Western countries continue to prop up the regime in Macedonia and its gross violations of human rights and crackdown on dissent, while proclaiming their adherence to human rights conventions and democratic principles.
Macedonians who stand up for these very ideals face severe repercussions, including, but not limited to, beatings by riot police, arrests, incarceration, threats against themselves and their families, dismissal from public and private sector jobs, investigation and intimidation by secret police, physical attacks and arson, and the continued unlawful detention of Macedonian political prisoners who are subject to abhorrent prison conditions, including denial of urgent medical treatment.
Nicholov highlighted the several lawsuits, aimed at aiding and freeing the political prisoners, launched by Macedonian Human Rights Movement International, including those in the European Court of Human Rights, and the garnering of support from the international community, human rights organizations, and political parties, including the European Free Alliance in European Parliament.
Nicholov called on Global Affairs Canada to follow suit, and reiterated MHRMI's call for Canada to apply pressure on the regime in Macedonia, to seek the immediate release of political prisoners, and to defend the rights of all Macedonians to their own name, identity, culture, language, and history.
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