UMD’s next-gen leaders defend minority rights in the Balkans

Young leaders in the United Macedonian Diaspora have made a formal submission to the United Nations. The team is calling for radical action to tackle oppression of Macedonian ethnic minorities, notably in Greece and Bulgaria. 


The U.N. report, Eliminating Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) made a call for evidence in June 2020. 


Leaders in Generation M, the UMD’s young representatives, prepared a report highlighting the systemic, historic and ongoing causes and effects of oppression in Greece and Bulgaria. Social media is a critical factor to ‘troll’ while and propagate hate speech backed by official government racism. 


In November, senior officials such as the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Krasimir Karakachanov publicly claimed there is no Macedonian minority in their country. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva stated that Macedonians are nothing but Western Bulgarians.


The UMD report calls for a greater international effort to tackle and condemn casual cultural hate speech reinforced by state-sanctioned discrimination. 


The team solidified their research and submissions with a formal letter to U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on religious freedom issues through the International Religious Freedom Roundtable. Twenty religious leaders signed the letter sent this month. 


This year, UMD became a member of the Voices of Internet Freedom Coalition, which recognizes that internet freedom is the next frontier of human rights work.


Meto Koloski, UMD President, said: 


“Advocating the rights of all Macedonians, wherever they are in the world, is the reason UMD exists. The reality is we have not always had the resources to achieve global support to tackle the plight of ethnic Macedonians, particularly in Greece and Bulgaria. 


“We’re proud of our younger leaders taking the lead on this; taking advantage of a new awakening to stamp out intolerance. Just because despicable hatreds are old, doesn’t mean they need to be tolerated any more. By working with the United Nations and other global organizations, we’re ramping up the effort to say no to hate. 


“Over the coming year, we’ll be working with global partners, including the United Nations, to tackle discrimination and racism at a time when anonymous online trolling and bots is making it far too easy to vent hatred. Even more worrying is the systematic censorship and discrimination of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and Greece by their respective governments.” 


Stefani Taskova MitevaGeneration M’s Chairwoman of Australian Operations, said: 


“It is time that these states are held accountable, and it is time that a voice is finally given to Macedonians who have been silenced for far too long.” 


“UMD, and especially our Generation M young Macedonian leaders, continue to remain dedicated and persistent in advocating for the Macedonian cause. 


“Government and non-governmental institutions, civil society, and social media platforms have a duty to create a safe space for human rights activists, particularly in countries with discriminatory policies towards minorities. 


“But we must have the support of our community, as the youth stand up for our community. We need to double our fundraising effort and tackle this head-on.”




About UMD


The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is a leading international non-governmental organization promoting the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities worldwide. 


Read the full report:


Eliminating Intolerance and Discrimination of the Macedonian Orthodox Christian Minority in Greece and Bulgaria to Ensure the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16


Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo: here


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