On October 1, 2012, MHRMI President Bill Nicholov, MHRMI member Chris Balkos (Balkovski), and Vinozhito member Dimitri Ioannou (Jovanov) met with senior members of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Among the topics discussed were human rights abuses against Macedonians in Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and throughout the Balkans, the denial of entry into Greece to Canadian-Macedonians, Greece’s embassy and consulates denying assistance to Canadian-Macedonians, and Canada’s position regarding the Republic of Macedonia and the name negotiations.
MHRMI called on Canada to condemn Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and other countries’ persecution of Macedonians, and to take concrete steps in ensuring that it ends or force these countries to face repercussions.
Specifically, they called for Canada to publicly denounce the name negotiations and support immediate international, not just bilateral, recognition of Macedonia.
“We expressed our expectation that countries which have recognized Macedonia must fully support its name and we denounced the United States and Western Europe’s hypocrisy in calling for a “compromise” or “solution” to the so-called name dispute,” said MHRMI in a press statement.
“MHRMI pointed out that there is no human right more basic than that of self-identification, and, ironically, that it is Greece’s position on the very use of the word Macedonia that has changed in the past 25 years and that Macedonia and Macedonians have always been known as such. Greece initiated the “name dispute” in order to deny the existence and persecution of its large Macedonian minority,” the statement continued.
The statement ended: “We highlighted Canada’s international reputation of leadership in the field of human rights, and called for it to be showcased in Canada’s denouncement of the name negotiations and condemnation of those countries that persecute Macedonians.”