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ΕFA-Rainbow supports the right of the Catalan people to decide on their future and joins the EFA campaign "Catalonia decides"

Catalonia decides



Radio Macedonian Culture

A selection of Macedonian blogs in Greece

Aegean Macedonian Culture

Anti-macedonian policy during the elections for the European Parliament against Rainbow by the Greek state and the Greek mass media

A scandal by the Parliamentary committee

Greek TV stations sabotage EFA-Raibow

Ultra-nationalists want "borders with Serbia"!

"Hellenic Post" sabbotages EFA-Rainbow Campaign

Typical example of censorship of Rainbow

Attack of the Greek Neo-nazi party

A Greek - Macedonian dictionary by Vasko Karatza printed with the support of EFA - Rainbow
 Greek   Macedonian

D. Lithoxoou
"Extracts of Letters"

Τι έλεγε κάποτε το ΚΚΕ για τους Μακεδόνες

Denying Ethnic Identity:
The Macedonians of Greece, by Human Rights Watch

Linguistics and politics II:
Macedonian Language

Greece's stance towards
its Macedonian minority
and the neighbouring
Republic of Macedonia.

Lawed Arguments
and Omitted Truths

R. Nikovski: Memorandum to the European Parliament
Facts behind the Greek politics towards Macedonia

English  Macedonian

"Proposed disciplinary measures to stamp out the Macedonian minority in Greece by the National Security Service"

Center Maurits Coppieters
European Free Alliance
Federal Union of European Nationalities
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Greek Anti–Nationalistic Movement
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Macedonian Human Rights of Australia
OMO Ilinden - PIRIN
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Macedonian Forum for politics and history

Greek Helsinki Monitor


28 November 2005

Greek-Turkish Entente Against Minority Rights -
Greece Attacks CoE Committee of Ministers, FCNM, and NGOs


Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and Minority Rights Group-Greece (MRG-G) welcome the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) 22 November 2005 hearing on the non-ratification of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the protection of National Minorities (FCNM) by nine member states (Andorra, Belgium, France, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco and Turkey). GHM was the NGO from Greece invited to exchange views in the meeting, while MRG-G was an observer.

The Chairperson of PACE's Legal Affairs Committee Dick Marty noted "the very good entente between Greece and Turkey on this topic which I hope would extent to other matters." The two countries' representatives (MPs and/or diplomats) had previously expressed their hostility to the FCNM and the concept of minority rights, fully supporting their countries' refusal to ratify the FCNM. Turkish MP Murat Mercan had stated indeed that "I agree as usual with my Greek colleagues on the need for a custom-made approach to minority rights for each country." After explaining that a full implementation of the FCNM would mean that France, Germany and other EU countries must recognize minority rights to the six million Turkish immigrants there, to which he was opposed, the Turkish MP concluded that "as a parliamentarian I do not think I would ever support ratification of the FCNM by Turkey."

Before him, Greek diplomat Georgios Ayfantis had stated that the FCNM implementation monitoring procedure produces "sterile polemics in the Committee of Ministers" on the basis of "papers of the Advisory Committee". Greece considers that the FCNM was "a useful tool for the disintegration of the Soviet Union" and "bringing down of the Milosevic regime" but is irrelevant today. He added that Greece considers "academic and theological" the "debate of what a minority is" while considering the new EU anti-discrimination legislation as the appropriate means to defend the rights of those who feel discriminated against. Responding to a question by Italian MP Raffaele Iannuzzi on "Slav speakers" in Northern Greece, Georgios Ayfantis answered that people are free to speak the "Slavic idiom" and teach it in private schools ("frontistiria") but "the majority of them do not wish to become members of a minority as being a minority member means being marginalized." He then added that the few who are represented by [Macedonian minority party] "Rainbow" are "people who want to get secession from Greece and join FYROM, supported by people in FYROM." GHM and MRG-G recall here that it is well-known that no Macedonian in Greece has ever advocated for secession and that this false argument is routinely used by Grek representatives abroad. The Greek representative also said that "Greek national sovereignty is undivided and that historically minorities have been used to break up states as in the case of Yugoslavia: this is why Greece does not ratify the FCNM and prefers the EU anti-discrimination legislation. If Greece were to ratify it, there would be no improvement for the man in the street, just more work for Greece in the Council of Europe."

Also answering the Italian MP, the Greek MP Miltiadis Varvitsiotis argued that difference in language spoken does not create a minority, using the example of the -according to him- unintelligibility of Italian spoken in various parts of Italy by people who are all Italians. He then stunned the audience by referring to an alleged "Muslim population in Crete that does not speak Turkish and does not want to be considered a national minority". GHM and MRG-G recall that all Greek-speaking Muslims from Crete and other parts of Greece (except Thrace) were forcibly sent to Turkey in the 1920s following the official population exchange imposed by the Treaty of Lausanne.

Finally, the head of the Greek delegation to PACE MP Elsa Papadimitriou, speaking as she noted in that capacity (she is not a member of the Legal Affairs Committee), supported "this and the previous government's careful movements and slow pace in matters of recognition of minorities." She then wondered why the Committee invited GHM's Spokesperson Panayote Dimitras as the NGO interlocutor of the Greek state, mentioning that other bodies like ECRI have also done so, and wondered "why not Mr. Sicilianos?" [Greek member of the EU Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights and of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination]. Elsa Papadimitriou added: "I do not know what is the basis of the NGO Mr. Dimitras is representing and some people say that he himself belongs to a minority." GHM recalls that the ethnic Greek origins of Panayote Dimitras are well-known in Greece, in addition to the fact that they are irrelevant. GHM has been often told by journalists and INGOs that, since 1994 (after the publication of the first report on the Macedonian minority), Greek diplomats have been arguing that Panayote Dimitras has a Macedonian ethnic identity. Moreover, GHM recalls that, in June 2000, during the preparation of the European Conference against Racism, the Greek state delegate was the only one in the Council of Europe to oppose the selection of the NGO participant from his country (by an INGO selection committee), namely Panayote Dimitras. He even sent a letter (copy on file with GHM) announcing that some (non-existent) "General Assembly of Greek NGOs" was going to select another Greek NGO representative, which some Greek NGOs subsequently did, but their choice was ignored by the Council of Europe. Likewise, during Greece's review by the UN Human Rights Committee, in March 2005, the Greek delegation characterized GHM as "the one and only NGO that deals with minorities, [which] is overzealous and exaggerates things." A Committee expert stated that he is "very much disturbed that such a comment came from the head of the delegation of a country which definitely belongs to the most advanced in the protection of human rights, because it may set a very bad example to other countries who are only ready to do everything to ban NGOs from participation in this reality." One year earlier, in July 2004, Greece, after correctly noting that "in many a case, the UN CESCR based its Observations solely on information provided mainly by one NGO," that is GHM, challenged the work of the Committee stating that "endorsement by the Committee of one-sided or unfounded information, especially that made available by certain NGOs, does not promote a constructive dialogue with the States Parties nor does it encourage a steady implementation of ICESCR." (UN document E/C.12/2004/8, 19 August 2004).

The PACE press release on, agenda of, and list of participants to the meeting is attached below.

Parliamentary hearing on ratification of the National Minorities Framework Convention

Strasbourg, 21.11.2005 - Representatives of member states which have not ratified the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (Andorra, Belgium, France, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco and Turkey) have been invited to a hearing, organised by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in Paris on Tuesday 22 November.

The purpose of the hearing is to examine, together with government representatives, experts, NGOs and the Chairperson of the Council of Europe expert committee which drafted the text, how to overcome possible obstacles to the signature or ratification of the Convention.

Draft programme:
Provisional list of participants:

The hearing is open to the press (subject to available space).

Parliamentary Assembly
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by the Council of Europe member states

Programme for the Hearing to take place in Paris
on Tuesday 22 November 2005

(Council of Europe Office, 55 avenue Kleber, Paris 16e
(Metro: Boissiere), tel: 01 44 05 33 60; fax: 01 47 27 36 47)

11 h 00 Opening of the Hearing by Mr Dick Marty, Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

11 h 05 Introduction by the Rapporteur, Mr Boriss Cilevics, Chairperson of the Sub-
Committee on Rights of Minorities

11 h 15 Statements by:

Mr Detlev Rein, Chairperson of the Committee of Experts on Issues relating to the
Protection of National Minorities (DH-MIN)

Mr Alan Phillips, invited expert


12 h 00 [Exchange of views with]

Representatives of the governments concerned (Andorra, Belgium, France, Georgia,
Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Turkey)

Representatives of NGOs:
Mrs Annelies Verstichel, representative of the "Ligue des droits de l'homme" and of the "Liga voor Mensenrechten" (Belgium)
Mr Yves Plasseraud, President of the Minority Rights Group (France)
Mr Panayote Dimitras, Spokesperson, Greek Helsinki Monitor (Greece)
Mr Arnold Stepanian, Chairperson of the Public Movement Multinational Georgia (Georgia)

[13 h 00 Break]

14 h 30 [Continuation of the exchange of views]

17 h 00 Closing of the hearing by the Rapporteur, Mr Boriss Cilevics

Participants list on the Hearing
on the ratification of the Framework Convention

Members of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights:

Mr MARTY Dick (Switzerland), Chairperson
Mr ALEVRAS Athanassios (Greece)
Mr ATES Abd?lkadir (Turkey)
Mr BINDING Rudolf (Germany)
Mr CEBECI Erol Aslan (Turkey)
Mr CILEVICS Boriss (Latvia), Rapporteur
Mr DALY Brendan (Ireland)
Mr EXNER Vaclav (Czech Republic)
Mr FRUNDA Gyorgy (Romania)
Mr GARDETTO Jean-Charles (Monaco)
Mr IANNUZZI Raffaele (Italy)
Mr MANZELLA Andrea (Italy)
Mr MERCAN Murat (Turkey)
Mr MONFILS Philippe (Belgium)
Mr TKAC Vojtech (Slovakia)
Mr PANGALOS Theodoros (Greece)
Mr POZZO DI BORGO Yves (France)
Mr VAN DEN BRANDE Luc (Belgium)
Mr VARVITSIOTIS Miltiadis (Greece)
Other members of the Parliamentary Assembly:

Mr HENRY Jean-Pol (Belgium)


Mr AYFANTIS Georgios, representative of the government of Greece, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr DIMITRAS Panayote, Spokesperson, Greek Helsinki Monitor, Greece (ONG)
Mrs JOLY Catherine, representative of the government of France, Legal Affairs Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr JORDI Andreu, representative of the government of Andorra, multilateral technical expert responsible for questions concerning the Council of Europe in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Cooperation
Mr KASTANAS Elias, representative of the government of Greece, Legal Expert, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr de la KETHULLE Baudouin, representative of the government of Belgium, Ambassador
Mrs LAFOREST DE MINOTTY Corinne, representative of the government of Monaco, General Director of the Department of External Relations of the Principality of Monaco
Mr PHILLIPS Alan, expert
Mr PLASSERAUD Yves, President of the Minority Rights Group (France)
Mr REIN Detlev, Chairperson of the Committee of Experts on Issues relating to the Protection of National Minorities (DH-MIN)
Mr STEPANIAN Arnold, Chairman of the Union "Public Movement Multinational Georgia", Georgia (NGO)
Mrs UBACH Maria, representative of the government of Andorra
Mrs VERSTICHEL Annelies, expert - representative of the "Ligue des droits de l'homme" and of "Liga voor Mensenrechten"


Mr DECONINCK Luc, President, ASBL "de Rand" (Belgium)
Mr FRANS Eddy, Director General, ASBL "de Rand" (Belgium)
Mr HARTIG Hanno, Head of Department for Minorities Media and Equality, Directorate General of Human Rights, Council of Europe
Mrs LANGENHAECK Sonia, Secretary of the Parliamentary Delegation of Belgium
Mrs PAPANIKOLATOS Nafsika, Minority Rights Group-Greece (Greece)
Mrs ZAGAROVSKA Ksenija, editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper "Chas", published in Latvia

Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly:

Mr DRZEMCZEWSKI Andrew, Head of the secretariat of the Committee
Mr SCHIRMER G?nter, Secretary
Mrs CLAMER Val?rie, Co-Secretary
Mrs HONEYMAN Sally-Ann, Assistant
Mrs CATALANO Micaela, Head of the Communication Unit


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Click here
to read the Abecedar!

Promotion of the
Macedonian Language
Primer at the OSCE HDIM

English Greek Macedonian

Greek irredentism and expansionism officially sanctioned by the Greek Parliament
English Greek Macedonian

Letter to Carla del Ponte,
Chief Prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

English Greek Macedonian

The Yugoslavian Crisis
English Greek Macedonian

Document of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs

Related to the article - The obvious linguistic particularity - Eletherotypia, 18/11/2006

English   Greek

The ten Greek myths
on the “Macedonian issue”

By IOS team – Eletherotypia, 23/10/2005

Who says there are no
minority languages in Greece?

The "secret" census
in north Greece, in 1920

Map showing the Cultures and Languages in the E.U.

Council of Europe
Framework convention for the Protection of national minorities




Συνέντευξη: Ευάγγελος Κωφός, Έλληνας ιστορικός
Δημοκρατία της Μακεδονίας - Σκόπια είναι όνομα που εκφράζει την ταυτότητά σας

Greek   Macedonian

Ο Παύλος Φιλίποβ Βοσκόπουλος απαντά στον Ευάγγελο Κωφό.
«Το Μακεδονικό ζήτημα είναι η αχίλλειος πτέρνα του ελληνικού μύθου».

Greek   Macedonian
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