Bulgarian politicians and media are in an uproar following the congress of Macedonian political party OMO Ilinden PIRIN. The party called for the Macedonian language to be taught in schools and news to be broadcast in Macedonian on Bulgarian state television. On its website, the Focus News Agency referred to this as the “Scandal of the Day” and stated:
“Bulgarian politicians, public figures and linguists agreed on the thesis that there is no such thing as Macedonian language and that it is just a dialect of the Bulgarian language. The chairman of the Discrimination Protection Committee Kemal Eyup said that OMO Ilinden – Pirin may demand Macedonian language to be taught in schools only if they prove they are a minority.”
Furthermore, Focus reported that:
“The chairman of the parliamentary Commission on Civil Society and Media Ivo Atanasov stated that the demand aims at imposing the thesis that there is a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. On the other hand, the opinion of the historian Panteley Pantev was that OMO Ilinden-Pirin brings cultural, linguistic and ethnic corrosion to Bulgaria.”
Macedonians in Bulgaria continuously face discrimination and intimidation when asserting their ethnic Macedonian identity. As a country that is preparing to enter the European Union, Bulgaria must respect its minorities’ human rights and put an end to its state-endorsed acts of oppression.
MHRMI calls on the international community, and specifically the European Union, to apply pressure on Bulgaria to immediately recognize its large Macedonian minority and grant it the human rights that it is guaranteed by all international human rights conventions. Moreover, MHRMI calls on the European Union to make Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union explicitly conditional on its recognition of its Macedonian minority.
Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Address: 157 Adelaide St. West, Suite 434, Toronto, Canada M5H 4E7
Tel: 416-850-7125 Fax: 416-850-7127
e-mail: [email protected] website: www.mhrmi.org