The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), the leading voice for Macedonians abroad, welcomes Macedonia taking over the rotating Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Macedonia’s focus will be the “needs of the people” and “supporting sustainable economic growth and environmental cooperation, which are essential for human security and vital in the pursuit of peace and prosperity for people in the OSCE region,” according to the press statement announcing the takeover on January 1, 2023.
UMD believes this is an opportunity to strengthen the human rights of Macedonians in Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece – all members of the OSCE. Macedonia’s foreign minister, Bujar Osmani, should and can play a critical role in advancing these rights.
While Albania recognizes a Macedonian minority, it does so only in the Prespa Lake region. It has more to do with granting full and equal Macedonian minority status in Albania’s Gora and Golo Brdo areas.
Bulgaria and Greece do not recognize an ethnic Macedonian identity and have institutionally discriminated against Macedonian minorities in these two countries for over a century. Macedonians have no access to education in their language, cannot freely practice their Macedonian Orthodox religion, and are constantly under attack by neo-Nazi groups operating in these two countries.
The security of Southeast Europe is of utmost priority for UMD. Without Macedonian equality and human rights, there is no security. This is even more important now than ever, given Russia’s war against Ukraine.
UMD is pleased that sustainable economic growth and environmental cooperation are priorities. Macedonia has some of the lowest foreign direct investments in Southeast Europe. Its capital, Skopje, and other cities, like Tetovo, regularly find themselves on the top 10 most polluted cities list in the world.
As an OSCE civil society organization partner, UMD and its network stand ready to assist in tackling these challenges for the betterment of all Macedonian citizens and people.