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Macedonian group cry foul over ‘Slav’ tag July 27, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Australia, Macedonia.
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AN ethnic group has accused the state and federal governments of racism for changing its identity.

A Macedonian community organisation has told a state parliamentary inquiry moves to rename the group and its language as Slav Macedonian had resulted “in immeasurable damage to the community”.

There is a bitter dispute over ownership of the name Macedonia.

Greece argues that Macedonia is Greek and objects to the name being used by the Republic of Macedonia.

Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations in 1993, but is known as The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee has told the inquiry into Victoria’s human rights charter Macedonians had suffered from state and federal orders to change the community’s name.

The “Slav” prefix was seen as racist by the community, it said.

“Everyone is treated equally, my number one priority is peace and harmony,” he said.

MHRMI and AMHRC Call on Macedonia to Immediately Cease Name Negotiations May 12, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Human rights abuses, Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia (April 29, 2010) – In light of US Ambassador Philip Reeker’s recent comments that “The [name] issue must be solved, because if not, a question mark is put on Macedonia’s future”, Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights committee (AMHRC) reiterate their call for Macedonia to cease all negotiations with Greece over its name.

Mr. Reeker added, “The clock is ticking, it needs to be done right now, and we encourage both Macedonia and Greece to do this.”

How can you ask a country to negotiate its own name?

The nonsensical name dispute was initiated by Greece in order to continue its policy of non-recognition and persecution of its large Macedonian minority. Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis admitted in 1995,

“My main aim was to convince the Republic (of Macedonia) to declare that there is no Slavomacedonian minority in Greece. This was the real key of our difference with Skopje”.

Ironically, Greece claims exclusivity to the name Macedonia, but it was not until 1988 when Greece realized that independence for the Republic of Macedonia was imminent, that it renamed “Northern Greece” to the “Province of Macedonia.”

Consequently, Greece imposed an economic embargo that crippled Macedonia’s economy in 1992, it vetoed Macedonia’s entry into NATO in 2008, and it has continued its decades-old policy of eradication and forcible assimilation of its Macedonian minority.

However, NATO and the European Union allow its member-states to be handcuffed by Greece’s xenophobic policies. Despite overwhelming support for Macedonia’s NATO membership, Greece was permitted to compromise regional stability and use its veto power against Macedonia for one reason – the name dispute.

Instead of reprimanding Greece, the Western world insists on a “solution” to the name dispute. Would any other country negotiate its own name?

The name dispute is akin to the US state of Georgia demanding that the Republic of Georgia change its name or the Belgian province of Luxembourg demanding that Luxembourg change its name.

Furthermore, any proposals to change Macedonia’s international, bilateral, or constitutional name, or to add “qualifiers” such as “Democratic” or “Northern”, would change Macedonia’s identity everywhere and are completely unacceptable.

How can the European Union justify the violation of its own principles by asking Macedonia to change its name?

Greece is the only country that objects to Macedonia’s name. There is no need to find an international or bilateral “solution” based on one country’s irrational and nationalistic fears. Unfortunately, by continuing the negotiations, Macedonia is telling the world that it is willing to compromise. Because of this, even countries that have recognized Macedonia would use any new name that is reached in a bilateral agreement. Macedonia can end the name dispute now and the calls for compromise by ending negotiations over its own name.

MHRMI and AMHRC call on:

1. Macedonia to stop the negotiations immediately and tell the international community that it is not willing to compromise its name and identity.

2. The rest of the international community, and EU in particular, to join the 127 countries that have recognized Macedonia, including 4/5 UN Security Council members, and to finally put an end to the irrational name dispute and immediately recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name.

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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit http://www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that informs and advocates to 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 http://www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at macedonian_rights@hotmail.com or via +61 3 93298960.

AMHRC/MHRMI STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO MISINFORMATION REGARDING THE SO-CALLED “DECISION” TO RETURN GREEK CITIZENSHIP TO MACEDONIANS FROM GREECE May 9, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Human rights, Human rights abuses, Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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Melbourne, Australia and Toronto, Canada (30/4/2010) – The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) and Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) are issuing this statement in order to answer some questions that have arisen as a result of what appears to be a misinformation campaign orchestrated by Greek sources. It has been alleged that the Greek government has made a decision to return citizenship to Macedonian exiles who originate from Greece.

These false reports stemmed from an exchange of letters between the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Thomas Hammarberg and Greece’s Deputy Minister of Interior, Decentralization and e-Governance, Ms Theodora Tzakri.
Following his 2009 visit to Greece, Mr Hammarberg wrote to Greek authorities asking:

“Moreover, I would welcome further information on the restoration of Greek nationality for those persons who lost it on the basis of former Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Code. As mentioned in our meeting, these include stateless persons living in Greece and abroad. I would be grateful for any updated information you could provide on the number of former Greek citizens presently living as stateless persons in Greece and abroad, the extent to which they have been able to have their citizenship restored and any measures envisaged to facilitate the process of restoration of their Greek nationality.”

In a response dated 13 April 2010, Ms Tzakri replied to Mr Hammarberg and wrote:

“Finally, in regards to Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Code it has ceased to exist. Based upon the new legislation of the Greek Nationality Code persons who lost their citizenship are entitled to reapply in order to restore their Greek citizenship. Currently the Greek Government is in the process of evaluating a number of applicants who based on former Article 19 lost their Greek Nationality. Therefore to this extent the Greek Government has also been working to the direction of facilitating the process of persons wishing to reapply for citizenship based on the former Article 19.”

A scanned copy of the letter sent by Ms Tzakri to Mr Hammarberg can be found here:
https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1610 … ged=FFC679

In relation to the above mentioned letter, it needs to be emphasised that Macedonians did not lose their citizenship on the basis of the former Article 19. The majority of victims of this former Article were ethnic Turks from Western Thrace. In any case, Tzakri’s letter to the Human Rights Commissioner made a general point about facilitation and has no commitment by the Greek government to actually restore citizenship. The letter also fails to mention that the new Greek citizenship law has a “public security” clause, which could further complicate matters for this category of people. Finally, the new law specifies that refugees may have an application for citizenship considered if they lawfully reside in Greece and of course Macedonian exiles (especially those who are prevented from returning to their place of birth because of Greece’s discriminatory 1982 laws which only permit the return of individuals that are ethnic Greeks) do not fulfill this requirement.

The AMHRC and MHRMI believe that the spreading of the misinformation is a deliberate attempt to dissuade Macedonians from taking action to restore their citizenship and property rights by giving them a false hope that the matter will soon be resolved by the Greek state. It is regrettable that these reports were naively ‘applauded’ by certain individuals and reported by some media outlets which failed to check their accuracy.

As was announced on 23 April 2010, AMHRC/MHRMI, in cooperation with the Association of the Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia of Melbourne and Victoria, the Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia (ARCAM) in Canada and Macedonian refugee associations in the Republic of Macedonia have decided to launch a campaign for legal action against the Greek state to restore citizenship and property rights to Macedonians from Greece. All these organisations appeal once more to Macedonians from Greece who lost their citizenship to join this important action.

For more information, please click the following links to
AMHRC: http://www.macedonianhr.org.au/04news/8 … suite.html
MHRMI: http://mhrmi.org/news/2010/april23_e.asp

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Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that informs and advocates to 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 http://www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at macedonian_rights@hotmail.com or via +61 3 93298960.

Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit http://www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

MHRMI and AMHRC Call on Macedonians Abroad to Report Discrimination by Greece June 15, 2009

Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses.
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MHRMI

Macedonians Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) – Press Release

Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia – Following the publicity of Canadian-Macedonians’ discrimination at the hands of the Greek Consulate in Toronto (see http://www.mhrmi.org/news/2009/may05_e.asp), Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) call on Macedonians in the diaspora to contact our organizations to report on similar difficulties they have faced.

We ask for specific cases of discrimination by Greek Consulates and Embassies worldwide and border officials when trying to enter Greece.

Various governments, including Canada and the Czech Republic, have already confronted Greece about its blacklisting of ethnic Macedonians. Our organizations will continue to press this issue to government officials, international courts of human rights, media and other NGO’s so it gains worldwide attention.

Greece consistently proves that it acts only in its xenophobic self-interest and will persecute ethnic Macedonians, and other minorities, regardless of where they live. MHRMI and AMHRC call on the international community to force Greece to immediately end this persecution and to finally recognize its large Macedonian minority.

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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit http://www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

Founded in 1984, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) has been working towards achieving human rights for Macedonians and other oppressed minorities. For more information, please visit http://www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at +61 3 9460 2910, or mail@macedonianhr.org.au.

Action Alert: MHRMI and AMHRC Protest “Macedonian Slav” Reference by the Associated Press June 12, 2009

Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses.
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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) call on Macedonians worldwide to voice their displeasure to the Associated Press. Please send your letters to info@ap.org with copies to info@mhrmi.org and mail@macedonianhr.org.au.

MHRMI/AMHRC response to the Associated Press

Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia – June 12, 2009 – The best defence is a good offence. Biased AP writers Konstantin Testorides and Elena Becatoros employed this strategy in their June 8 article “Alexander the Great’s statue stirs Balkan passions”.

Testorides and Becatoros evoke Greece’s racist stereotypes of Macedonians while accusing the Republic of Macedonia of the very same tactics employed by Greece.

Ironically, the article begins by stating “As an exercise in nation-building, Macedonia’s latest effort is pretty audacious…”. By building a statue of Alexander the Great?

Since its inception as a state in 1830, Greece has been “masterful” at building its “nation” from a mix of ethnic groups by violently and forcibly assimilating them, and by clinging to a non-existent link to ancient Hellenism. It then has the audacity of claiming that its nation is ethnically pure. A dangerous notion to say the least. Especially for the oppressed minorities within its borders.

Testorides and Becatoros seem to think that building a statue of Alexander the Great is akin to declaring war on Greece. The tensions between the two nations are a result of Greece’s refusal to accept the existence of ethnic Macedonians and the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.

Because of the name dispute, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s entry into NATO in 2008, its economic embargo crippled Macedonia’s economy in 1992, and Greece persecutes its Macedonian minority while receiving condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights, the United Nations, and the international community as a whole. Comparable to the European Union “weighing in” and referring to the statue project as “not helpful”?

A slue of irrelevant arguments follow in the hope of convincing readers that the erection of this statue will have catastrophic repercussions.

Last, but certainly not least, Testorides and Becatoros refer to “Macedonian Slavs”. A strategy employed by Greece to negate the ethnicity of Macedonians. There is no ethnic group in Macedonia that refers to itself as “Slav”. The Macedonian population in the Republic of Macedonia, throughout the Balkans and the world, is simply that, Macedonian. Any other term is insulting and follows the official Greek policy of denying the legitimacy of the Macedonian nation, and denying the existence of its large Macedonian minority.

We trust that the Associated Press will not make such an error again.

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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit http://www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

Founded in 1984, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) has been working towards achieving human rights for Macedonians and other oppressed minorities. For more information, please visit http://www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at +61 3 9460 2910, or mail@macedonianhr.org.au.

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