Sunday, 18 February 2018, Canberra –
Over 6,000 Macedonians from NSW and the ACT united on Sunday, 18 February 2018 for a peaceful protest and march at the gates of the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia in Canberra.
The protest aimed to highlight the current political situation concerning the Republic of Macedonia on the world stage. Specifically, the protest was in support of the basic human rights of the Macedonian people and the sovereign right of the Republic of Macedonia to self-determination and self-identification, and to freedom from interference from foreign intermediaries.
These fundamental human rights are protected by international instruments, such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, of which Australia is a signatory to. At present, Greece is waging a campaign of aggression and irredentism against the Macedonian people, the Macedonian identity and Macedonian language on a global scale. This aggression has already carried over on to the streets of Melbourne and has manifested through anti-Macedonian hate rallies organised by Greek-Australian organisations.
These rallies encourage racial vilification, discrimination and division, and are intended to offend Macedonian-Australians. The Macedonian community of Australia absolutely rejects the negation of Macedonia’s historical and cultural heritage, which encompasses the identity of the Macedonians as a distinct people with their own Macedonian national consciousness, the Macedonian language and unique Macedonian culture and traditions. The Macedonian people are also calling for an end to the so-called “name dispute” – a bilateral issue whereby Greece does not recognise the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name, and as such, is blocking Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO.
This absurd issue is exacerbating Macedonia’s political and economic exclusion from the international community. It is important to note that over 140 sovereign nations – including the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of India – have recognised the Republic of Macedonia under its historical and constitutional name. These countries recognise that self-identification and self-determination are universal rights, enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and constitute the foundation for good bilateral and international relations.
These latest provocations have prompted the Macedonian community to mobilise, and a series of simultaneous peaceful protest events will be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, the United States of America, Europe and New Zealand on Sunday 4 March 2018. Large crowds are expected to attend all rallies under the Banners of “We Are Macedonia” and “March4Macedonia” respectively.
The rallies are expected to attract thousands of attendees, both Macedonians and non-Macedonians alike.
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WMC-A Branch Executive Director of State Affairs – NSW & ACT