Representatives of Macedonian national minority organizations from Greece, Bulgaria and Albania are concluding their first joint visit to the US and Canada, aiming to inform government officials, diplomats and members of the Congress about the violations of human rights against Macedonians in all three countries.
Greece and Bulgaria, who continue to refuse to recognize the existence of their Macedonian national minority, were heavily criticized during the meetings.
“We still cannot believe how two member states of the European Union are allowed to behave like this towards a significant part of their citizens”, said Stojko Stojkov, co-president of the Macedonian political party in Bulgaria OMO Ilinden Pirin. “US officials showed great interest in our situation and promised support and inquiries towards the governments of our countries”, Mr Stojkov added.
The political party established to represent Macedonians in Bulgaria, OMO Ilinden Pirin, remains unregistered by the Bulgarian authorities and has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on the issue.
Meanwhile, ?FA-Rainbow, the political party of the Macedonians in Greece, was also in the spotlight last week with a motion for a resolution at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Members of the Assembly, covering almost all of the political spectrum, expressed their deep concern about the “high number of sustained human rights violations against the Macedonian ethnic and linguistic minority of northern Greece” and urged the Legal Committee to make a relevant report, highlighting the legally binding obligations Greece has undertaken on the matter towards all major international organizations.
These recent developments have provoked a reaction from the Greek state. Socialist Greek MP and member of PACE, Theodoros Pangalos, claimed that any attempt to legitimize any kind of dialogue with the Macedonian community in Greece could be considered as “national treason”, while the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs informally expressed its “discontent” to the US authorities for not informing the Greek embassy in Washington DC about the official meetings that the Macedonian delegation had there. (Eurolang 2007)