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US State Department Human Rights Report concerned about Bulgaria’s treatment of Macedonians

The annual report on human rights issued by the US State Department for Bulgaria has dedicated an entire subheading about the legal and structural blockades by the Bulgarian government that prevent Macedonian organizations from becoming registered as legal entities.

Under the “Freedom of Association” heading, the State Department finds that the Bulgarian government systemically violates the right of Macedonians to form cultural associations.

The following text is copied from the 2020 country report on human rights in Bulgaria.

“Authorities continued to deny registration of ethnic-Macedonian activist groups such as the United Macedonian Organization-Ilinden, the Society of Oppressed Macedonians, Victims of Communist Terror, and the Macedonian Ethnic Tolerance Club in Bulgaria, despite a May judgment and more than 10 prior decisions by the European Court of Human Rights that the denials violated the groups’ freedom of association.

On October 1, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture expressed in an interim resolution “deep concern” with regard to authorities’ “formalistic application of legal requirements” applied persistently to refuse registration to the United Macedonian Organization-Ilinden and similar associations since 2006.

In November 2019 the prosecutor general acted on Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) leader and defense minister Krasimir Karakachanov’s complaint about attempts by two associations, the Civil Association for Protection of Fundamental Individual Human Rights and Ancient Macedonians, to create a Macedonian minority.

The prosecutor general petitioned the court to dissolve the associations, accusing them of a political agenda threatening the unity and security of the nation.”

The findings above are in line with the verdicts given by the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg, which finds Bulgaria to be in violation of the right to self-determination.


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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