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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"
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
"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:
Greece's stance towards
its Macedonian minority
and the neighbouring
Republic of Macedonia.
and Omitted Truths
R. Nikovski: Memorandum to the European Parliament
Facts behind the Greek politics towards Macedonia
"Proposed disciplinary measures to stamp out the Macedonian minority in Greece by the National Security Service"
Letter by the President of the European Commission – Jose Manuel Barroso
August 7, 2008
Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee - Media Release
2 August 2008
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr Nikola Gruevski, recently sent a letter to the European Commission’s president, Mr José Manuel Barroso regarding the human rights problems confronting the Macedonian minority in Greece. In the letter the Prime Minister states:
The Government of the Republic of Macedonia appeals, within your competences, to personally engage for Greece’s strict obeying of the obligations stemming from international instruments regarding human rights, with special emphasis on free expression of ethnic identity and all rights stemming from that. Our expectation is Greece, as a member of the EU and NATO, to start dialogue which will lead to meeting the recommendations of the European Commission.
In response the President of the European Commission, Mr Barroso replied with the following:
…it is important to clarify that the European Union has no general competence to deal with issues such as identities of minorities, their rights, acquisition of citizenship and restitution of properties, arising in its Member States. This is the primary responsibility of the Member States in the light of their constitutional traditions and international obligations.
This is an unfortunate and insensitive response by the President of the European Commission on an issue as fundamental as the protection of human rights within a Member State of the European Union (EU). It seems strange that the representative of the EU would use such indifferent language in addressing the concerns over human rights abuses of ethnic Macedonians in Greece. This is especially the case given that the EU likes to wrap itself around different humanist ideals and announce triumphantly their commitment to human rights. Indeed, the EU is increasingly establishing fundamental rights as part of EU law as a means of legitimizing the EU itself. Clearly there appears to be a gap between EU rhetoric and reality; at the same time that the EU affirms the importance of human rights, it actually does nothing to secure any of them.
What President Barroso could have asserted was that the EU has an unwavering respect for the protection of human rights and has a particular interest to ensure that its Member States, namely Greece, is aware of their obligations. For example, the founding treaties of the EU make references to the “fact” that the EU is “founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law” and that it “shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”. In fact, accession to the Convention is something that has been made a condition for EU membership.
President Barroso could have mentioned that the Charter of Fundamental Rights that was “solemnly proclaimed” by the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission deems it “necessary to strengthen the protection of fundamental rights”.
President Barroso could have outlined exactly what the responsibilities of the Member States, namely Greece, are in relation to their “constitutional traditions and international obligations”. In doing so, he would have revealed that whilst Greece’s constitution purports to claim that “all Greeks are equal before the law”, this ambition is immediately diminished by the fact that Greece fuses citizenship with ethnicity, a practice that ensures Greece’s alleged homogeneity, therefore only “Greeks” are equal and relevantly excluding other ethnic groups, such as the Macedonians from this “Greek equality”. What President Barroso should have mentioned was that this Greek practice, which emptied of its substance the authority on which it is supposed to be based, and which is imposed on all organs of the Greek state, cannot be described as a worthy “constitutional tradition” befitting a democratic liberal state within the meaning of the EU.
Perhaps President Barroso could also have outlined how Greece refuses to ratify various instruments concerned with the protection of human rights – something apparently that the EU values, or even how Greece continues to violate the human rights instruments it is a party to. In doing so, President Barroso may have revealed how Greece’s practice on the protection of human rights is the antithesis of an EU Member state.
It is unfortunate that President Barroso chose instead to clarify how the EU does not have competency to deal with human rights violations rather than clarify the importance in which the EU places on the respect for human rights. Unfortunate because for all the oratory and commitments made to human rights, President Barroso seems to view the protection of human rights – or at least the protection of Macedonian human rights in Greece, as a negative value instead of a positive obligation on the EU and its Member state. This would have been a worthwhile clarification.
What is clear from the attitude expressed by President Barroso, is that the protection of human rights for Macedonians in Greece is unlikely to be found in the political institutions of the EU, but through successful human rights activism within Greece and through the European (and other international) legal frameworks established for enforcing various human rights instruments. This is where the value and worth of bodies like the European Free Alliance – Rainbow (Vinozito) prevail. President Barroso has provided a timely reminder of the importance of the support given to Vinozito.
The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee encourages everybody to show their support to Vinozito and the human rights of the Macedonians in Greece by subscribing to the Macedonian Minorities Support Fund. There cannot be a more pertinent moment to do so.
Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee
PO BOX 364
Doncaster VIC 3108
Tel/Fax: +61 3 9460 2910
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Γιατί να ψηφίσω
την ΕΕΣ-Ουράνιο Τόξο
to read the Abecedar!
Promotion of the
Primer at the OSCE HDIM
Greek irredentism and expansionism officially sanctioned by the Greek Parliament
Letter to Carla del Ponte,
Chief Prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
The Yugoslavian Crisis
Document of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs
Related to the article - The obvious linguistic particularity - Eletherotypia, 18/11/2006
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
Ο Παύλος Φιλίποβ Βοσκόπουλος απαντά στον Ευάγγελο Κωφό.
«Το Μακεδονικό ζήτημα είναι η αχίλλειος πτέρνα του ελληνικού μύθου».
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