|Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) - Press Release
Toronto, Canada, July 18, 2008 - On Sunday, July 20, 2008, several hundred, possibly thousands, of Macedonian political refugees will attempt to enter Greece at the Medjitlia/Niki border crossing in order to attend their 4th World Reunion.
Following Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's call for Greece to finally recognize its large Macedonian minority, Greek government officials have reacted in outrage, claiming that the Macedonian minority is "non-existent", that Macedonia's membership in the EU is now in jeopardy, and that Greek Neo-Nazi's may attack Macedonians at the border crossing on July 20 and at their reunion later that day in Meliti/Ovcharani.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the evacuation by the International Red Cross of 28,000 Macedonian children (Detsa Begaltsi), aged 2-14, during the Greek Civil War. They were subsequently stripped of their Greek citizenship and have been consistently denied entry into Greece simply because they assert their Macedonian ethnic identity. They were excluded from the 1982 law that allowed the free return of political refugees who were “Greek by genus”.
"Greece's persecution of Macedonians continues to intensify, many of whom are Canadian, American and Australian citizens. The governments of these countries, among others, must protect the rights of their citizens and demand from Greece that this discrimination be ceased immediately or face repercussions," said MHRMI President Bill Nicholov.
MHRMI calls on international government officials, media, human rights organizations and other interested parties to attend the border crossing between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece at Medjitlia/Niki on July 20, 2008 to monitor Greece's compliance with its obligations under international human rights law.
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.