10 December, 2019

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Macedonians In October 2019 the Bulgarian government and Parliament officially threatened EU candidate Republic of Macedonia that if it continues to support the Macedonian minority's demands for recognition and granting of internationally guaranteed rights, with blockade of Macedonian EU membership aspiration. After that Bulgarian anti-minority policy has escalated and turned against the only two Macedonian NGOs registered in Bulgaria under the pressure of the Council of Europe so far: the Association for the Protection of Fundamental Individual Human Rights (registered on 29 August 2019) and the Antique Macedonians (registered in early October).

Police visited and questioned members of the Association for the Protection of Fundamental Individual Human Rights, and the District Prosecutor's Office on November 21 asked the Court to ban the organization, and on November 25 the court initiated the case.

The main accusation is that "the goals of the Association and the means to achieve them clearly indicate that the founders accept not only the existence of a Macedonian ethnic minority in Bulgaria, but also that the rights and freedoms of that minority are violated, which is why their protection is required. Bearing in mind that there is no Macedonian ethnic minority in Bulgaria (in this sense, Decision No. 1 of 29.02.2000 of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria under Const. No. 3/1999), establishing a non-profit association with a primary task …. protection of the rights of the Macedonians…. it is reasonable to assume that the activity of this Association is directed against the unity of the nation, which is why it exists in violation of Art. 44, para. 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria."

These are the same arguments that in October this year the Society of Repressed Macedonians Victims of Communist Terror received their 12 refusal to register, after 10 years of vain attempts to register. These arguments have been repeatedly condemned by the Council of Ministers in Strasbourg and its institutions as discriminatory and violation of human rights.

The members of the second registered Macedonian NGO, the Ancient Macedonians, also received calls to report to the police before 4 of December to answer 10 questions, including what are the organisation’s "real goals" and which foreign governments will fund its operations. Taking the issues as an offensive provocation, members refused to testify, stating that the goals were clearly stated in the Statute of the NGO. The prosecution is expected to request their ban at any time.

These actions of the authorities were, as always, accompanied by a staged media campaign and a hatefull speech against the Macedonians in Bulgaria.

These events coincided with the visit of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in Bulgaria. They held three meetings with representatives of the Macedonian minority, including representatives of OMO Ilinden-PIRIN, who received detailed information on the discrimination and assimilation to which the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria was subjected.


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