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[ALBSA-Info] Fwd: MHRMC Condemns Greece's Continued Blacklisting of Ethnic Macedonians

AAlibali aalibali at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 31 12:22:35 EDT 2003


--- In balkanhr at yahoogroups.com, "Bill Nicholov" <office at g...> (by way 
of Greek Helsinki Monitor <office at g...>) wrote:
MHRMC Condemns Greece's Continued Blacklisting of Ethnic Macedonians

Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada

Press Release

July 26, 2003

Sources: Deutsche Welle, Dnevnik, Vest

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC) condemns 
Greece's 
continued blacklisting of ethnic Macedonian human rights activists and 
political refugees. Despite Greece's recent pledge that Macedonian 
political refugees will finally be allowed to enter Greece this 
summer, 
after 55 years in exile and in time for their Third World Reunion, 
(see 
<http://www.mhrmc.ca/press/03/detsa_begaltsi.html>www.mhrmc.ca/press/0
3/detsa_begaltsi.html 
for background information) several instances of Macedonians being 
denied 
entry into Greece have occurred during the past week.

On July 20, 2003, Australian citizen Janko Kalinchev, born in the 
village 
of Ovcharani (Meliti in Greek), and Canadian citizen Georgi Kizovski, 
born 
in Gabresh (Gavros), attempted to enter Greece from the Republic of 
Macedonia in order to visit their birthplaces. However, Greek border 
officials denied them entry and refused to give them an explanation, 
instead saying that they were denied entry for "other reasons". (See 
the 
<http://www.mhrmc.ca/images/rakovsky.jpg>border document given to 
Canadian 
citizen Done Rakovsky when he was refused entry on July 6, 2002)

According to Mr. Kizovski, "The Greek government keeps a blacklist of 
people who are active in Macedonian organizations abroad and who 
openly 
declare themselves as Macedonian. We were obviously returned at the 
border 
because of our membership in the Association of Refugee Children from 
the 
Aegean Part of Macedonia (Detsa Begaltsi) in Australia and Canada."

Another Australian-Macedonian activist, Sotir Mitrev, was returned at 
the 
border on July 24, 2003. This was the third time that he has been 
denied 
entry into Greece.

"Makedonka", a Macedonian dance group from Canada, comprised solely of 
members who were born in Canada, were also denied entry into Greece 
last 
week. This reportedly occurred because the dance group had the word 
"Macedonia" on their jackets and the border officials did not 
"approve" of it.

Despite repeated requests by the MHRMC over the past 15 years, the 
Canadian 
government has refused to confront Greece over its systematic 
persecution 
of Canadian citizens. However, Canada has made similar requests of 
other 
countries, including the United States, when border incidents 
involving 
Canadian citizens occur. (See 
<http://www.mhrmc.ca/press/02/letter.html>www.mhrmc.ca/press/02/letter
.html 
for the MHRMC's letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, 
imploring 
Canada to investigate the several cases of Canadian-Macedonians being 
denied entry into Greece in 2002).

After Greece's "historic" announcement of June 8, 2003, in which 
exiled 
Macedonian political refugees were to be allowed entry into Greece for 
the 
first time since the Greek Civil War, nationalistic elements of Greek 
society immediately pressured the Greek government in order to reverse 
their decision. They were worried that the political refugees would 
"incite" the local Macedonian population into a heigtened sense of 
nationalism. The majority of Greek society supports its government's 
non-recognition and discrimination of its large Macedonian minority.

The Greek government has succumbed to this pressure as it announced on 
July 
3, 2003 that the political refugees will be allowed to enter the 
country 
from August 10 to October 30, and would only be allowed to stay for 20 
days. The date of the Detsa Begaltsi's Third World Reunion was 
well-publicized and was originally going to take place from July 
15-20. The 
Greek government's announcement forced the organizers to reschedule 
the 
event to August 10-15, which will cause a large number of political 
refugees, particularly from Canada, the United States, and Australia, 
to 
miss the event as they originally planned to enter Greece before July 
10. 
Furthermore, Greece has backed down from its promise to seek an 
immediate 
solution to the political refugee issue. Answering a question on the 
free 
visit of "non-ethnic Greek" political refugees on June 8, 2003, Deputy 
Foreign Minister, Andreas Loverdos, stated that "since we have 
overcome all 
these problems of the past and of the civil war... we want to overcome 
this 
vestige too sooner rather than later...during this summer." Evidently, 
Greece has chosen its previous path of denying entry to Macedonians 
simply 
because of their ethnicity and is seeking to impede the reunion in any 
way 
possible.

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada calls on the 
international 
community to apply pressure on Greece to end its racial profiling of 
individuals of Macedonian ethnic background and to immediately solve 
the 
issue of the Macedonian political refugees. The MHRMC specifically 
asks 
that the EU end its hypocrisy in demanding that new member states 
respect 
human rights standards while ignoring human rights violations within 
the EU.

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
E-mail: <mailto:mail at m...>mail at m... Website: 
<http://www.mhrmc.ca/>www.mhrmc.ca
--- End forwarded message ---





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