Toronto, Canada - Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) call on the US State Department to immediately correct its misrepresentation of the Macedonian minority in Greece in its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices”, issued on February 25, 2009.
In an obvious attempt to appease Greek sensitivities to the Macedonian issue, the US State Department places the term Macedonian in quotation marks, refers to Macedonians as “Slavic speakers” and refers to the Macedonian language as a “Slavic dialect”.
Rather than focusing on human rights abuses committed by Greece, this report perpetuates stereotypes against Macedonians.
Despite repeated requests by various human rights organizations, including MHRMI, Greek Helsinki Monitor, and EFA-Rainbow, the US State Department reports are still inadequate and mirror the official Greek position that the Macedonian minority is illegitimate. Greek Helsinki Monitor noted this long-standing problem in 2002:
“[The US State Department’s] attitude towards Macedonians in Greece, as reflected in the annual reports, cannot therefore be considered an oversight, or a result of lack of information; on the contrary it is a sustained and deliberate policy of complacency towards Greek authorities on the most sensitive human rights issue in Greece."
Furthermore, the US State Department appears to be an apologist for Greece's policy of using the Treaty of Lausanne as an excuse for not recognizing any of its ethnic minorities.
Countless examples of human rights abuses against Macedonians were not reported, including the Greek army entering an ethnic Macedonian village and arresting several inhabitants, persecution of Father Nikodim Tsarknias and the Macedonian Orthodox Church, threats by Greek neo-Nazis against Macedonians, and Macedonian political refugees and human rights activists, including American citizens, being denied entry into Greece.
MHRMI and AMHRC call on the US State Department to immediately rectify its errors and to condemn Greece's persecution of its Macedonian minority.
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 www.mhrmi.org, or
contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or firstname.lastname@example.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 www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at +61 3 9460 2910, or email@example.com.