Human Rights Watch International Condemns Greece for Oppressing
Denying Ethnic Identity - Macedonians of Greece, New York, 1994
The 80-page human rights violation report on Greece entitled "Denying Ethnic Identity - Macedonians of Greece" was published in May 1994. After visiting Aegean Macedonia, the Human Rights Watch/Helsinki concluded:
"Although ethnic Macedonians in northern Greece make up large minority with their own language and culture, their internationally recognized human rights and even their existence are vigorously denied by the Greek government. Free expression is restricted; several Macedonians have been persecuted and convicted for their peaceful expression of their views. Moreover, ethnic Macedonians are discriminated against by the government's failure to permit the teaching of the Macedonian language. And ethnic Macedonians, particularly rights activists, are harassed by the government - followed and threatened by the security forces - and subjected to economic and social pressure resulting from this harassment. All of these actions have led to a marked climate of fear in which a large number of ethnic Macedonians are reluctant to assert their Macedonian identity or to express their views openly. Ultimately, the government is pursuing every avenue to deny the Macedonians of Greece their ethnic identity."
The Helsinki Watch has confirmed that the Macedonians indeed exist in Greece as a large minority. Helsinki Watch found the Greek government guilty for oppressing the Macedonian minority and demanded they be given their basic human rights to which they are entitled. Another human rights organization, Amnesty International, also urged the Greek government to respect the human rights of the ethnic Macedonians. The European Union has furthermore recognized the Macedonian language as one of the languages spoken within the EU borders. The Republic of Macedonia is not a member of the European Union, but Aegean Macedonia in Greece, is within those borders.
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