OMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN, OMO "Ilinden", the Association of discriminated against Macedonians in Bulgaria - victims of Communist terror, the Civic association for the protection of basic individual human rights, the "Ancient Macedonians" association, the Macedonian club for discussions about ethnic tolerance, the "People's Will" newspaper and the "Macedonian Voice" bulletin issue the following
In light of the conditions placed by the Republic of Bulgaria before the European integration of the Republic of Macedonia and the denial of the Macedonian minority we, the undersigned organizations that represent the Macedonian minority in the Republic of Bulgaria strongly condemn the latest provocation perpetrated by the Bulgarian Government, that conditions and works against the opening of the European integration negotiations of the Republic of Macedonia.
Instead of blackmailing other Governments to lie and obscure the truth that there is a Macedonian minority in Bularia, it is high time that the Bulgarian authorities stop operating under the position of Todor Zhivkov, who claimed that "there is no and there could be no Macedonian minority in Bulgaria" and to cease their anti-Macedonian policies, which is the last totalitarian policy in the European Union. Under this policy, hundreds of people were sent to camps in the past, and thousands were imprisoned and had their lives destroyed. Even in the era of democracy this policy led to 14 verdicts in the court in Strasbourg that were decided against the state of Bulgaria.
The Macedonian minority is reality, and as are the Macedonian nation and the Macedonian language. Policies must be built on the reality and not on national-Communist dogmas.
The rights of the Macedonian minority are not something that can be suspended with a treaty with another country, or to be considered just an internal matter of Bulgaria. As an issue from the real of human rights, it is an international issue. The existence of a minority is a matter of acknowledging the reality, and not a decision that can be made by this or that Government. Bulgaria does not have the right to determine, and even less, to deny the existence of its minorities - it is a matter for the citizens and is part of their right to self-determination.
The Republic of Bulgaria has a duty to respect this and to implement the treaties for minority rights, the obligations it has undertaken as a member of the international community. Bulgaria must find strength to free itself from its first and last sin of forced Bulgarization (the "възродителния" process) - which includes the denial, the discrimination and assimilation of the Macedonian minority and it must begin to respect the rights of all its citizens.
The demands Bulgaria has placed before Macedonia are contrary to international law, the human rights and the values of the European Union. These demands will further reduce the already low reputation of this country and will certain greatly undermine its relations with Macedonia, and between the two nations who should be friends and good neighbors.
Good-neighborly relations and trust are not built with intimidation and blackmail. "National unity" is not built with treating differently your citizens and with discrimination of the minorities.
Signed - OMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN, OMO "Ilinden", the Assocaition of discriminated against Macedonians in Bulgaria - victims of Communist terror, the Civic association for the protection of basic individual human rights, the "Ancient Macedonians" association, the Macedonian club for discussions about ethnic tolerance, the "People's Will" newspaper and the "Macedonian Voice" bulletin