UMD Commemorates 60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. – DECEMBER 10, 2008 – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today.  “On this day, 60 years ago human rights for all people were enshrined through this important Declaration,” noted Metodija A. Koloski, UMD President, adding also that “for Macedonians, this day is especially significant because, to this day, Macedonians living in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Albania do not enjoy basic human rights.”

This year also marks the 60th Anniversary of the Mass Exodus of Macedonian Child Refugees from Greece during the Greek Civil War.  “UMD calls upon the Hellenic Republic to acknowledge its tragic past in the arena of human rights and to allow these refugees whose only crime is that they are not ethnically Greeks to return to their homeland and reconnect with their roots,” stated Koloski.    
 
Dispersed throughout Southeast Europe over the past 60 years since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Macedonians still find themselves living in neighboring countries such as Greece and Bulgaria, without being able to exercise their most basic human rights.  Paradoxically, both of these countries are members of the European Union and NATO, yet some of their citizens are still compelled to continue their struggle for the most basic human rights simply because Greece and Bulgaria do not recognize their Macedonian ethnicity.  Although Albania and Serbia have made some progress in this regard, both have much to do before Macedonians and others, can truly be said to be free and equal citizens of those countries.
 
To this very day, both Greece and Bulgaria continue to deny the very existence of Macedonians living within their borders.  Macedonians in both countries are regularly harassed and intimidated in an effort to deny their fundamental freedoms, particularly the freedom to identify one’s national heritage.  UMD calls upon the relevant United Nations and the European Union institutions to close a significant gap by recognizing, protecting and promoting the legitimate human rights of the Macedonian people as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 
UMD encourages all Macedonians to continue their struggle for basic human rights.  UMD urges Macedonians to be active in their communities, to promote the Macedonian cause and to be outspoken in their support of the many Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria who do not enjoy the freedoms that Macedonians enjoy in the Republic of Macedonia and the rest of the world.  On behalf of UMD, Koloski fervently hopes “that the nations of the world will fully implement the spirit and the letter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and bestow upon all peoples, without regard to national origin, the blessings of the fundamental freedoms that the rest of us enjoy.”  Koloski would like to take this opportunity to underscore UMD’s dedication to “continue working to ensure that all Macedonians around the world achieve full human rights.”

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Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is an international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.

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