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The problem with the Macedonian minority in Greece obtained international dimension

06 March 2009 / 12:03:38  GRReporter
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In her report the UN expert on minority issues Gay McDougall calls for Greece to give up on the fight about whether there is a Turkish or Macedonian minority in the country and to guarantee people’s right to define themselves. She visited Greece in September of 2008 and talked to representatives of different minorities in Northern Greece and to local and central authorities.

Her report stresses the fact that Greece accepts only the Muslim minority in Western Thrace, which is anyway protected and recognized by the Conference of Lausanne in 1923. The Greek government is convinced that all other claims for minorities are unjustified. “Greece will have to fully accept the European court’s decisions regarding human rights and that the minorities have the right to use definitions as “Macedonian” or “Turkish” in their organization’s names and to freely express their national self-consciousness,” is also said in the report.

Gay McDougall also speaks of the Romani rights in Greece, whose children either study in segregated schools or do not have access to any schooling at all.

On a pre-election rally in Štip the Macedonian Prime Minister Nicola Gruevski expressed his satisfaction from McDougall’s report. “We were expecting this, so we are not surprised. We are happy that the Macedonian problem in Greece attained international dimension. We are very satisfied by this, because the opposite side of the argument denies the existence of this minority,” says Gruevski.

Greece will present its official position on Gay McDougall’s report during its discussion on March 10th in Geneva.

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