Sunday, 28 September 2008

Greece, don’t forget us: Hellenes in Fyromia



The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) describes itself as ‘a grassroots, not-for-profit movement created to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of Cyprus’. It is an admirable organisation. I am on their mailing list, and CANA recently sent me an email with the following information regarding the campaign it is initiating to protect the human rights of Greeks in Fyromia:

URGENT: HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS! STOP SKOPJE!

NEW YORK: The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) has launched the Hellenic Human Rights coalition to Stop Skopje. Please act on the action alert to the US State Department below and send on to family, friends and colleagues.

Hellenic Human Rights is a coalition of grassroots activists in New York City, joining together in the struggle to save Hellenic people living under the Skopje government. Join our Rally To Stop Skopje on Monday, October 27th at the United States Mission to the United Nations.
Visit our campaign blog: http://www.hellenichumanrights.wordpress.com

URGENT: CALL ON THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO PROTEST THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND CULTURAL GENOCIDE OF HELLENIC PEOPLE LIVING IN SKOPJE BY THE SKOPJE GOVERNMENT.

Numerous reports in recent months indicate a rising atmosphere of anti-Hellenic human rights violations and an atmosphere of racist oppression directed toward the Hellenic minority living in the areas controlled by the Skopje government. The Skopje government is guilty of human rights violations, cultural genocide and ethnocide of Hellenic people.

Current status
The historic Hellenic communities living in the Monastiri area, many of whom are now dispersed throughout Skopje, have reportedly been denied the right to declare themselves Hellenic nationals, the Hellenic people in Skopje have also been denied freedom of assembly, and freedom of association by the Skopje government. These are grave human rights violations as outlined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, mainly the right to a nationality.

According to Article 15 of the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A of 10 December 1948.
1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

The country which the US State Department chooses to recognise as ‘Macedonia’ and known throughout the region as Skopje, with the capital of its government in the Balkan city named Skopje is denying the basic human right to nationality to the 250,000 Hellenic people living within its borders.

The continuing campaign by the Skopje government to deny the Hellenic identity and Hellenic nationality to indigenous people is an act of cultural genocide and should be publicly investigated and condemned by the US State Department

What You Can Do
Contact the State Department's human rights division.

By Mail:
David J. Kramer
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
U.S. Department of State Harry S. Truman Building, 2201 C Street, NW, Room 7802, Washington, DC, 20520

By Tel: (202) 647-1780
By Fax: (202) 647-5283
By Email: kramerdj@state.gov

(Send a note to cana@cyprusactionnetwork.org to tell us what actions you took).

Phone Script for Assistant Secretary Office - (202) 647-1780
(The phone will be answered by a receptionist. As always, be firm, but polite. Hostile comments will only undermine the message you are trying to deliver. Ask to speak to a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary. If a senior advisor is not available to speak with you, ask to leave a message on their voice mail).

Hello, my name is…
I am calling to ask the State Department to publicly protest the Skopje government's denial of Hellenic nationality for Hellenic people living in Skopje.

Please look into this matter personally and publicly protest any violations of human rights, directly with the Skopje government and in your annual human rights country reports, and please include all findings in the ‘MACEDONIA’ country report due to be released in February 2009.

Thank you for your time. I would appreciate learning of any action your office takes on this matter, and would appreciate an investigation and proper report. I can be contacted at the following address:

Sample Letter to Assistant Secretary (mail, fax or email)

The Honorable David J. Kramer
Assistant Secretary of State for
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Harry S. Truman Building, 2201 C Street, NW, Room 7802, Washington, DC, 20520

Dear Assistant Secretary Kramer
I am writing to ask the State Department to publicly protest the Skopje government's human rights violations and cultural genocide of the Hellenic people in ‘Macedonia’.

According to the US State Dept ‘Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy. The values captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other global and regional commitments are consistent with the values upon which the United States was founded centuries ago.’ (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).

The Skopje government has a long legacy of anti-Hellenic cultural genocide, the previous Communist regime forcibly transferred Hellenic nationals, and prior to this the pro-Nazi Skopje government forcibly occupied Hellenic land, forcibly transferred Hellenic people, and targeted Hellenic people for massacres and torture. All governments in Skopje, by use of force together with racist propaganda and official racist discrimination, to this day have deprived the Hellenic people of their integrity as a distinct people, by use of forcible assimilation or integration by the majority Slavophone cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures including terror.

Article 7 of the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (26 August 1994) [4] uses the phrase ‘cultural genocide’. The complete article reads as follows:

Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
(d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;
(e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.

The Skopje government is guilty of all of the above itemized sub-articles in ‘MACEDONIA’.

Please help save the Hellenic people from cultural genocide by 1) immediately investigating the Skopje government practice of denying Hellenic nationality to Hellenic people; 2) publicly protesting any violations of human rights, and; 3) prominently addressing this matter in the annual ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,’ on ‘MACEDONIA’ due to be released in February 2009.

Thank you for your attention to my concerns.

I look forward to hearing from you or your office in this regard.


Sincerely

(Signature)

(Name)

(Address)

(City, State, Zip)


Background
For more information visit: NorthMacedonians.com/The Greek Community in FYROM.

There are two cases which illustrate the regime's virulent anti-Greek stance – denying even the existence of Greeks in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Makedonija (FYROM).

Case 1: Papouli Family. The Papouli family are Greek-Vlachs in FYROM (SKOPJE) who had their surname forcibly changed to Kostov. They petitioned the Skopjan regime to change their name back to the original Greek, Papouli, which means little-Grandfather in Greek. The regime refused their application on the basis that it would ‘change their personal identity’ and ‘obstruct legal procedures’.

Case 2: Nikos Kostantinidis: An eyewitness video account of a Hellenic person from Monastiri describing the official Skopje government policies of forcible assimilation and denial of the right to Hellenic national identity. See video above.


To be added to CANA's Action Alert e-mail distribution list, or to introduce CANA to a friend or colleague, please forward the pertinent name and e-mail address,with the subject heading ‘Add e-mail to CANA distribution list’, to cana@cyprusactionnetwork.org

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