65 Years Later, Macedonians Still Face Human Rights Challenges

As we mark the 65th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), or International Human Rights Day, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) asks all to reflect on the challenges and the successes in the global human rights struggle for Macedonia and Macedonians.

UMD uses this opportunity to express its profound sadness over the recent death of global human rights leader Nelson Mandela, and sends its condolences to his entire family, the people of South Africa, and all human rights advocates following in his footsteps.

Nelson Mandela once said, “When people are determined they can overcome anything.”

“Macedonians were determined 110 years ago in our liberation from the Ottoman Empire, 69 years ago during the anti-fascist movement, and 22 years ago when we achieved a free, independent, and sovereign Macedonia,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov.

Today’s challenges are:

  • Macedonia is still known as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” at the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union, among other international institutions. 
  • Australia, France, Germany have yet to recognize Macedonia’s legitimate name.
  • Google Maps labels the country as “Macedonia (FYROM).” 
  • Macedonia’s leaders face internal and foreign pressure to not withdraw from the UN-led negotiations. 
  • NATO and EU membership is not in close sight for Macedonia, due to Greece’s blocking.
  • 65 years after the UDHR, Macedonians living in Bulgaria, and Greece, are denied the basic human rights of self-determination, assembly, speech, religious freedom, and the press. 
  • Macedonians in Albania, Kosovo, and Serbia are not better off.

Nikolov added “The determination set forth by our parents, grandparents, and ancestors must be carried on by our generation and future generations of younger Macedonians if we are going to overcome the challenges we as a Macedonian Diaspora-at-large face daily.”

10 years ago, UMD was founded with a clear commitment to safeguarding the human rights for Macedonians globally as a core principle of its mission. In 2005, UMD initiated a petition signed by over 100,000 individuals to bring an end to racial, ethnic and religious discrimination against ethnic Macedonians. Since then, UMD has worked tirelessly on this issue year after year.

On this historic day, UMD invites all Macedonians to continue to work together and to spread the truth about Macedonia and Macedonians. UMD will continue to work to ensure that human rights are upheld and respected, and encourages all Macedonians to get involved in our important work. It is crucial that Macedonians have a diplomatic, persistent, professional, strong, and united voice before global policymakers.