Bulgarian Authorities Hinder Upcoming Macedonian Commemoration

April 8, 2005

Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada - http://www.mhrmi.org/

Press Release

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC) is appalled to learn that Bulgarian authorities have revoked a permit for OMO PIRIN, political party of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, which had granted them the right to hold a Macedonian commemoration at the Rozhen Monastery on April 24, 2005.

OMO PIRIN received the permit from the Mayor of Sandanski and proceeded to advertise the event to local Macedonians and the Macedonian diaspora because of its historical significance. The mayor suddenly revoked the permit and instead gave it to the Focus News Agency, which has never before celebrated this event and is notorious for its anti-Macedonian rhetoric. The municipality of Sandanski maintains that when the mayor promised OMO PIRIN the permit he did not know that "someone else had already asked for a permit."

OMO PIRIN has instead been forced to move its commemoration to the town of Melnik and unfortunately all the efforts that have already gone into promoting the event at Rozhen have now been lost. This is the latest effort by the Bulgarian authorities to hinder any expression of Macedonian identity in Bulgaria.

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada calls on the international community, and specifically the European Union, to apply pressure on Bulgaria to immediately recognize its large Macedonian minority and grant it the human rights that it is guaranteed by all international human rights conventions. Moreover, the MHRMC calls on the European Union to make Bulgaria's accession to the European Union explicitly conditional on its recognition of its Macedonian minority.

Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
Address: P.O. Box 44532, 2376 Eglinton Ave. East, Toronto, Canada M1K 5K3
Tel: 416-493-9555 Fax: 416-412-3385
Website: www.mhrmi.org

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