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Press Release

Bulgarian Anti-Macedonian Bigotry from an EU MP

August 15, 2012


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Andrej Kovachev Blagoevgrad/Gorna Dzumaja, Melbourne and Toronto - A statement denying the existence of minorities in Bulgaria was made last week to the Macedonian media by an MP of the European Parliament, Andrej Kovachev - a member of the ruling party in Bulgaria (GERB). Similar views have also been recently expressed by Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister, Mladenov. Such an attitude raises the question of how sincere Bulgaria was in ratifying the Framework Convention for National Minorities and aids in explaining its practical non-application in Bulgaria.

The claim that there are no minorities in Bulgaria can be considered to be an expression of fascism, a yearning for a “pure nation”, something which the European Union should condemn as scandalous and unacceptable. Moreover the specific denial by Mr. Kovachev of the existence of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria is not only a flagrant lie but also a severe act of discrimination.

We, of course, support the right of every individual to freely determine her/his identity and we condemn any sort of discrimination on that basis wherever it may occur. This also applies to Bulgarians in the Republic of Macedonia. However, the artificial conversion by Mr. Kovachev, of cases to do with criminal conduct in Macedonia, into cases of “ethnic discrimination” cannot be described as anything other than a conscious and deliberate policy of provocation - a childish attempt to vilify Macedonians and to poison relations between Bulgaria and Macedonia. It also serves as a hindrance to European stability and cooperation in general.

Before it places conditions on others, Bulgaria itself would do well to satisfy those same conditions. The recognition of and according of rights to minorities, including the Macedonian minority, as well as making serious efforts to end hate speech, are criteria which Bulgaria has still not satisfied.

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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:
www.mhrmi.org, twitter.com/mhrmi, facebook, info@mhrmi.org, 1-416-850-7125.

Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that advocates before governments, international institutions and broader communities about combating discrimination and promoting basic human rights. Our aspiration is to ensure that Macedonian communities and other excluded groups throughout the world are recognised, respected and afforded equitable treatment. For more information please visit www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC by email info@macedonianhr.org.au or via +61 3 93298960.


OMO Ilinden PIRIN is a political party supporting the rights of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. It has been banned since 2000, despite a 2005 European Court of Human Rights Judgement ruling that the decision was a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. For more information please visit www.omoilindenpirin.org.

 
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