February 28, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) expressed its strong support for Macedonia’s full membership on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)* for the 2013-2016 periods.
“Macedonia would make an ideal candidate for membership in the UNHRC given its leadership on human rights in Southeast Europe,” said UMD Vice President and expert on civil and human rights issues Aleksandar Mitreski. “The Council is one of the world’s best forums to advance human rights for all people, including the Macedonians who are continuously denied the most basic human rights in all of Macedonia’s neighboring countries.”
Since 1991, Macedonia has worked hard to advance democracy and human rights in Southeast Europe and the world. Macedonian citizens played a great role during the Kosovo Crisis by admitting 400,000 Kosovar refugees, one fourth of Macedonia’s population. Since 1999, Macedonia has hosted the NATO logistical support center for Kosovo Forces. Since then, Macedonia has been engaged in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Darfur, and Lebanon, and has actively participation in toppling authoritarian regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Macedonia is the fourth largest contributor per capita to the ISAF Mission in Afghanistan.
In 1993, Macedonia was admitted into the United Nations unprecedentedly under a provisional name “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” due to objections by one UN member-state, thus directly violating the most basic human right of self-determination. In 2008, Macedonia held the Presidency of the UN General Assembly and in 2010, the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, one of Europe’s most respected institutions for human rights.
“The UN policy towards Macedonia, and other countries, cripples the functioning of the UN, and undermines its credibility and integrity as the champion of human rights. UMD has worked to change this policy and will advocate for Macedonia’s re-admission under its rightful, historical and constitutional name, Macedonia,” concluded Mitreski.
In 2009, the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues Gay McDougall released a report calling on Greece to recognize the existence of its Macedonian minority. UMD will work with the UN and UNHRC authorities to ensure that the findings of this report are implemented by Greece.
*The UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System established in 2006. The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly.