UN Harshly Criticizes Greece for Treatment of Macedonian Minority

Greek authorities were harshly criticized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the treatment of the Macedonian minority, Telegraf.mk reports.

Deputy Labor Minister Ourania Antonopoulou, while presenting the report on Greece in front of the Committee for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, pointed out that her country is trying to ensure the rights of minority groups, but said that it is clear that there is no Macedonian minority.

"Greece firmly believes that the so-called 'Macedonian' minority has no relation to reality. There is a small group in northern Greece that speaks a Slavic dialect in addition to speaking Greek. The political group which represents this minority group won only 0,1 percent of the votes on the last elections. The use of the term 'Macedonian' has had a counter effect and the rights of over 2,5 million Greek Macedonians have been violated. Still, the group has freedom of expression and members can partake in the cultural life in the region", said the minister before the UN Committee.

This sort of reaction from Athens is baffling because the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg recently made a decision in favor of the Macedonian minority, who requested the registration of the Home of the Macedonian Culture in Florina from Greece. It is clear to Macedonians that what bothers Greek authorities is the adjective 'Macedonian', that despise its use in cultural life.

Pavle (Pavlos) Voskopoulos from the 'Rainbow' party says that he is not surprised by the attitude of Greek authorities that managed to count the number of so many Greek Macedonians, but failed to 'notice' the Macedonian minority.

"Since the Greeks say that Greece holds 2,5 million Greek Macedonians, we say we have no problem with that. Call yourselves whatever you like. But you will call us 'ethnic Macedonians', not 'Greek Macedonians', and there you have the prefix 'ethnic' which will make all the difference", stated Voskopoulos.     


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