Greek Foreign Ministry challenges both, their country and the UN Human Rights Council

PRESS RELEASE

Rainbow / Ouranio Toxo / Vinozhito – http://www.florina.org

Florina / Lerin – 24 March 2009

THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHALLENGES BOTH OUR COUNTRY AND THE U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Mrs. Mc Dougall, U.N. Independent Expert on Minority Issues, addressed recently her report on human rights in Greece to the Council of Human Rights, institutional instrument of the U.N.. The same practice also takes place with all the member states of the U.N.

The report notes the lack of democracy in Greece in terms of respect towards the rights of national minorities, communities, and people. It also describes the situation and the position of Greece , member state of the U.N., in terms of human rights.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an offensive and defensive statement * for a group of Greek citizens, who are members of national minorities. The statement accepts indirectly the refusal to recognize the Macedonian and the Turkish minorities in Greece and it condemns the U.N. using unacceptable terms.

Specifically, Mr. Koumoutsakos, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claims -among others: „our positions are crystal clear and are based on full respect of human rights. This also exists for the minorities and it is an achievement of modern Greek Republic „.

However, the „full respect“ of human rights presupposes for Greece the recognition and the respect of the Macedonian and the Turkish minority in Greece . Indeed, the preservation and the development of the identity of national minorities is an integral part of the functioning of modern democratic countries. This however, does not happen in our country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also notes that „in our country, every Greek citizen has the indisputable right to self-identification“ and that „the care of the State to strengthen and protect human rights is continuing and effective“.

The Turkish state recognizes the more or less 2.000 Greeks, Turkish citizens, in İstanbul,Imvro and Tenedo. These people are respected and recognized as a national greek minority. A few thousands of Greeks, Albanian citizens, in South Albania , also enjoy their national minority rights. How does the Greek state „care“ and in which ways does it enhance the protection of human rights for those people who are self-identified as national Macedonians? How many individual „self identifications“ should we add to recognize a national minority? Do the 2.000 Greeks in Turkey and the few thousands in Albania , constitute a minority? Is it good to recognize national minority rights to those few Greeks or should they be satisfied with the right of „self-identification“, as the political status in Greece proposes to national Macedonias?

Based on the logic of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, should there be a policy of respect towards the „linguistic collectivities“? Is it possible to deny the linguistic minority rights within the Greek territory and at the same time to seek the recognition, the respect and the development of the Greek language in other countries?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains that the policy of Greece „is based in our firmly grounded belief that the mechanisms of protection and empowerment of human rights must ultimately strengthen the harmonious coexistence of the citizens of a state“.

However, which dialogue takes place between the „mechanisms“ of the greek state and the members of the national Macedonian minority for the elimination of the discriminations which exist? The only „grounded belief“ which exists, is our belief for the absolute hypocrisy of the greek politicians when they speak about a policy of „strengthening of human rights“. This belief on the policy of discriminations against national Macedonians is also shared by the decisions of international organizations.

Finally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares about the international instruments, such as the U.N. Council of Human Rights:

«These mechanisms should not be converted, either directly or indirectly, into an opportunity or excuse for some people who seek to exploit them in order to promote their own goals on the level of transnational relations. Moreover, these mechanisms should not become a tool in the hands of those who for selfish purposes seek the development of a climate of tension and discord within a society“.

Based on the above logic, the Ιnternational Organisations, such as the European Court of Human Rights (with 2 decisions in 1998 and 2003 in favor of members of the national Macedonian minority and against Greece), the Council of Europe (ECRI’s report in 2003, which highlights the discriminations and seek the change of the policy on minority rights in Greece and the recent report written by Tommas Hammarmerg, Commissioner of Human Rights, which includes similar findings), the UN (Gay Mc Dougall’s report -Independent Expert of the Council of Human Rights- which founds discriminations on the ground), should be either naïve or irrelevant or suspicious. Based on the logic of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, how should these Organizations, which provide excuse and promote anti-Hellenic goals in transnational relations and compose a tool in the hands of those who seek discord and tension in our country, be defined otherwise?

We, the national Macedonians who live in Greece, as Greek citizens, regret and oppose this policy, a policy which is unfortunately above all political parties, and keeps many decades. Having a high awareness of belonging to a collectivity of citizens, we feel that such a behavior (regardless of national, linguistic or other identities) is a discard to the European civilization. Furthermore, we believe that such declarations offend directly our common sense and make a mockery of the country.

The Political Secretariat of E.F.A. – Rainbow

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