Press Release

International Human Rights Day and the "Celebrations" of the Council of Europe

December 10, 2013

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Council of Europe Lerin/Gorna Dzumaja/Pustec/Toronto/Melbourne - December 10/2013

Press Release - Vinozhito, OMO Ilinden PIRIN, MAEI, MHRMI and AMHRC

The Council of Europe held an event on November 25, 2013 to "celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Framework Convention (for the Protection of National Minorities)".

It would have been more appropriate to revisit the failures of the implementation of the Framework Convention. A perfect opportunity would have been the Advisory Committee's third visit to Bulgaria, which took place from November 11-15, 2013. Bulgaria has ratified the agreement but is free to continue denying the existence of its Macedonian minority, execute state-sponsored discrimination and ignore various European Court of Human Rights rulings in favour of the Macedonian minority. Greece, which has never ratified the agreement (was this fact really "celebrated" by the CoE?), is, of course, free to do the same.

According to the Council of Europe, the Framework Convention's goals are "to protect within their respective territories the existence of national minorities" which has been an absolute failure, yet the CoE has the impudence to include the following, albeit well-intentioned but obviously unattainable (for the CoE) goal "Considering that a pluralist and genuinely democratic society should not only respect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of each person belonging to a national minority, but also create appropriate conditions enabling them to express, preserve and develop this identity."

Considering that the CoE cannot get Greece, one of its own member-states, to even admit the existence of any ethnic minorities on its territory, how does it expect to enforce the creation of "appropriate conditions enabling them (minorities) to express, preserve and develop this identity."? One also has to wonder why a Greek representative was even permitted to attend the CoE "celebrations".

The Council of Europe would be well-advised to explain what methods they have in enforcing these principles and why, to date, they haven't been used.

Furthermore, does the CoE not see the irony in referring to the Republic of Macedonia as "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (quotes included) in its list of member-states while it claims to be defending and promoting human rights? As "the continent's leading human rights organisation", one would think that the CoE would understand the concept of self-identification.

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The European Free Alliance - Rainbow/Vinozhito is a political party of the Macedonian minority in Greece. The party has offices in Florina/Lerin and Edessa/Voden. For more information please visit, or by email: or on +30 23850 46548.

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

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:,, facebook,, 1-416-850-7125.

TheMacedonian Alliance for European Integration (MAEI) is a political party of the Macedonian minority in Albania advocating human rights for Macedonians throughout Albania. For more information please visit

Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that informs and 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, email or via +61 3 93298960.

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