The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres calling upon him to use his authority and urge the UN to implement the right of self-determination, grant Macedonia equal membership in the UN under its rightful name, and end the injustice that it has faced for the past twenty-five years.
The contents of the letter are below:
Dear Secretary-General Guterres,
2018 marks 70 years since the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and enshrined the right to self-determination of peoples in the very fabric of the international organization you represent. As a republic within Yugoslavia at the time, Macedonia was a founding member of the United Nations and a proponent of the right to self-determination, which is severely threatened if the UN-mediated Macedonia “name talks” continue for much longer.
On April 8, 1993, following the submission of A/47/876-S/25147 and the recommendation of the Security Council, the UN General Assembly admitted the Republic of Macedonia to the UN as an independent, sovereign nation. At this time, Macedonia was admitted under the temporary reference, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” due to pending negotiations with Greece, outlined in the document, A/RES/47/225. Having in mind the extremely strenuous situation in the Balkans and the war in the region, Macedonia chose to engage in dialogue with its neighbor to find compromise, instead of resorting to weapons, destruction, terror, blockades, or embargos. In order for Greece to lift its nearly three- year economic embargo on Macedonia, Macedonia was forced, under duress, to enter into the 1995 UN Interim Accord, and changed its flag and constitution to appease Greece. There is no other instance in the world quite like this.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of Treaties, signed in Vienna in 1969, agreements signed under duress are technically null and void.
25 years later, there has been little progress in the so-called “name dispute.” The UN, despite having four permanent members of the Security Council and 133 other nations establish diplomatic relations with Macedonia under its rightful name, is still no closer to resolving the issue of the name – the Republic of Macedonia. A country’s name is a matter of self-determination; as such, no one, including the United Nations, has the right to decide upon it, in particular because Greece’s claim to the name deals with a province, not a nation. To this day, Macedonia is represented at the UN as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a reference intended to act as a temporary measure while negotiations between Macedonia and Greece occurred.
During these 25 years, Macedonia, respecting the UN charter and international law, has never been at fault in the UN for establishing negative measures or policies. In contrary, the ICJ has ruled against Greece for violating the 1995 UN Interim Accord breaking international law. In addition, the UN Special Representative for Minority Rights issued a detailed report in 2008 that highlights how Greece is infringing upon minority rights by not recognizing its Macedonian minority. Despite the fact that the UN is an organization meant to implement international legal mechanisms to protect the weak , from strong nations with more power and influence, it has done nothing to implement this goal for Macedonia. UMD, as a leading organization representing the Macedonian diaspora, views this as extremely unjust.
For years, Macedonia has been the target of Greek criticism due to the fact that it shares its name with Greece’s northernmost region. Since the onset of this name dispute, Greece has denied the existence of the Macedonian ethnicity, identity, history, and language. We believe that Greece must adhere to the UN Charter and come to terms with the fact that a total of 137 nations, which make up about two-thirds of the United Nations General Assembly, have already recognized Macedonia by its rightful and constitutional name. As such, it is time for Greece to formally convey full diplomatic recognition to Macedonia under its constitutional name. A nation such as Macedonia, needs its identity to be recognized completely or else risk losing its capacity to formulate agreements and independently conduct its relations with other actors.
Furthermore, UMD voices its unwavering support for retention of the one and only constitutional and rightful name of Macedonia, rejects all attempts to change or impose any other name upon Macedonia and the Macedonian people, and calls upon the Macedonian Government to cease the ongoing UN talks and to submit a resolution before the UN General Assembly to be readmitted to the UN under its one true name — the Republic of Macedonia.
As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, we beseech you to use your authority and urge the UN to implement the right of self-determination, grant Macedonia equal membership in the UN under its rightful name, and end the injustice that it has faced for the past twenty-five years.