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Report: Macedonians in Bulgaria face hate speech, intimidation and censorship

A group of non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups based in Bulgaria recently issued their Annual Report on the Human Rights Situation of the Macedonian Minority in Bulgaria for the year 2020.

According to the report, 2020 was not a good year for the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria as no progress could be seen in the improvement of their human rights due to the aggravated relations between the two countries.

Ethnic Macedonians in Bulgaria have been subjected to harassment by the authorities and face climate of denial, including in the Bulgarian educational system, which makes no mention of a Macedonian nation.

Notable is that the Bulgarian state has created an atmosphere of intolerance which helps to keep Macedonians isolated from political and public life.

National bodies that are tasked with safeguarding the rights of minorities, like the Commission Against Discrimination, do not mention the existence of a Macedonian nation in their annual reports and analyses.

This is despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights forewarns Bulgaria each year about violating the right to self-determination of the Macedonian ethnicity and preventing its members from forming official associations.

The extensive, 30-page report provides an inventory of every mention of a Macedonian minority within the Bulgarian context or by Bulgarian politicians.

Examples include Bulgarian MPs in the EU Parliament who have pressed their colleagues to “reject and deny the topic” of a Macedonian minority.

The Bulgarian far-rights, like MP Angel Dzambazki are not the only group that speak against Macedonians, with negation occurring across the board in Bulgarian politics.

The report points out Members of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the EU Parliament joining the chorus of ethnic denial.

Liberal MP Radan Kunev has explicitly stated: “A Macedonian minority has not existed, does not exist and will not exist”

Further in the text, the authors of the report provide an insight into the type of hate speech against Macedonians that reach the public mind, which degrades in lowly terms the individuals who advocate for civil and human rights of Macedonians in Bulgaria.

The report was authored with input from OMO Ilinden, The Civil Initiative for the Recognition of the Macedonian National Minority in Bulgaria, the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights “Tolerantnost”, the newspapers Makedonski Glas and Narodna Volya, and few other groups.

Read the full Annual Report On The Human Rights Situation Of The Macedonian Minority In Bulgaria And The Rights Of Bulgarian Citizens With A Macedonian Consciousness -2020 via the Macedonian newspaper in Albania – Ilinden.

Martin Anastasovski
Martin Anastasovski
Martin Anastasovski is a writer, researcher and publicist. He writes articles for Macedonia Times in the fields of Macedonian news and politics, history, culture and travel. His opinion pieces have been published on Macedonian news portals. He has a university degree in political science.
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