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Press Release

The United Nations - Spreading Hypocrisy Throughout the World

November 18, 2013

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UN Hypocrisy The United Nations General Assembly must realize the irony in recently electing, as it refers to it, the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2014-2016. In Macedonia, the UNHRC is getting a member-state that is incapable of defending its own most basic human right, that of self-identification, by continuing to participate in the ludicrous UN-sponsored name negotiations.

As a member of the UNHRC, Macedonia will be expected to aid in “…strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe…” while, of course, simultaneously giving in to immense pressure by many UN member-states who demand that Macedonia end the so-called “name dispute” with Greece by changing its name. The hypocrisy abounds.

The UN has made a mess of this situation since Macedonia declared independence in 1991. Because it succumbed to pressure from Greece, the UN would only allow Macedonia entry if it changed its flag and accepted the so-called “temporary reference” of “FYROM” or “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. While this measure was supposedly to be used only within the UN, it cascaded to almost every other organization and international body imaginable. The excuse being that any agreement in the United Nations takes precedence.

The International Olympic Committee, for example, has Macedonian athletes marching between Finland and France, behind the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” sign and waving bastardized versions of the Macedonian flag as to not offend Greece, the country that is trying to wipe it off the map. It must be every Macedonian athlete’s dream to, one day, walk in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies under “F” and represent the great country of “FYROM”.

Now who is more to blame? The UN and its member-states for pressuring Macedonia to change its name, even though the vast majority of them, including four of the five permanent UN Security Council members, have recognized Macedonia using its proper name? Or Macedonia, for agreeing to negotiate its own name? Common sense dictates that a major reason that the West is calling for Macedonia to "compromise" and change its name is because it continues to negotiate it. The mere participation of Macedonia in the negotiations indicates that it is willing to compromise.

Macedonia would have been well-advised to take the offensive with the name dispute, but instead, chose to continuously defend itself against Greece’s ridiculous claims. The prevalent argument is that Macedonia wants to appear diplomatic and “fit in” with the West. Well, name another country that is willing to negotiate its name based on xenophobic stupidity.

Greece claims that it objects to Macedonia’s name because of “confusion” between the Republic of Macedonia and the Province of Macedonia (which Greece annexed after the partition of Macedonia in 1913). If this were true, the Belgian province of Luxembourg would demand that Luxembourg change its name, and the US state of Georgia would declare war on the Republic of Georgia.

As former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis admitted in 1995, Greece initiated the “name dispute” as an excuse to keep denying the existence, and persecution, of its large Macedonian minority and the Macedonian people as a whole. It has been stringing the world along in the claim that Macedonia is trying to usurp an “historically Greek” name. Ironic that Greece now claims that “Macedonia is Greek”, but it was not until 1988, when Greece realized that independence for the Republic of Macedonia was imminent, that it renamed “Northern Greece” to “Macedonia.” Prior to this, Greece’s policy was that Macedonia did not exist.

Instead of investing more time in trying to mediate a solution to an unsolvable problem, the UN, and current UN mediator for the name dispute Matthew Nimetz, should take the lead of the first UN mediator, Robin O’Neil, and denounce the name negotiations. According to Mr. O’Neil, "Macedonia must not and will not change its name in order to appease Greece. If Macedonia succumbs to pressures and changes its name, such events will only give more firepower to Greece until it reaches its final goal - Macedonia to vanish from the map."

Of course, Macedonia should not hold its breath waiting for the UN to act. It must live up to the UN’s self-proclaimed ideals, and immediately withdraw from the senseless name negotiations.

Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International


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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:
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