In light of the recent developments with the Zaev administration in Macedonia acceptance of the ‘Agreement” with Greece to change Macedonia’s name and capitulate the Macedonian identity, the World Macedonian Congress Australia wish to advise we reject this treasonous Agreement to the Macedonian identity, which can only be described as cultural and ethnic genocide, which will have far-reaching consequences to all Macedonians, and their basic human inalienable right to self-determination and identity.
On 14 June 2018, World Macedonian Congress – Australia, sent, via Australia post and via email as a matter of urgency, the following letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, all State Premiers, ACT and NT Chief Ministers and the Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop;
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister,
We write in relation to the agreement reached between Macedonian and Greece on 12 June 2018 regarding the name to be used by the Republic of Macedonia.
As you are no doubt aware, this shameful agreement stipulates that the Republic of Macedonia will now use the name “Republic of Northern Macedonia” in both its international relations and domestically. Moreover, it contains completely unacceptable and humiliating formulations for the way in which the Macedonian language and nationality are to be described which directly contradict established international law and practice. In addition, this agreement provides for a period of eighteen months during which Macedonia is expected to make the necessary constitutional changes required by Greece in order for Greece to continue not to veto Macedonia’s entry into NATO and the opening of accession talks with the EU.
We note that there is a referendum planned on the name change and agreement in Macedonia in October 2018 and that this agreement cannot go ahead unless it is ratified by the parliaments of both Greece and Macedonia. Therefore, until that time no state can consider that this agreement has full legal standing and its terms are not binding on any state, least of all Australia.
We wish to make it known that the Macedonian community in Australia, and indeed the Macedonian Diaspora world-wide, categorically condemns this agreement, which has been negotiated by an illegitimate Macedonian government which was installed in power in May 2017 by the EU, NATO and the USA in contravention of the will expressed by Macedonian voters at the general election in December 2016. The Macedonian parties forming Macedonia’s illegitimate government did not have a mandate to change Macedonia’s name and did not campaign on a promise to do so during the general election campaign. We consider this agreement to be tantamount to ethnocide as it attacks the very essence of Macedonian identity, ethnicity and statehood, which are directly linked to and embodied in the name Republic of Macedonia. The Macedonian community in Australia is not bound by the terms of
this agreement and neither is the Federal Government. We will resolutely oppose it until it is rescinded and rendered null and void.
Accordingly, the Macedonian community in Australia whose members originate not only from the Republic of Macedonia, but also those parts of ethnographic Macedonia within Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia and other countries, will not accept any attempt by the Federal or any state government to rename the Macedonian community and language using the offensive descriptors indicated in the agreement or which may be interpreted as flowing from the name “Northern Macedonia”. We urge the Federal government, in keeping with founding principles of multiculturalism, namely self-identification and self-determination, to continue to refer to Macedonian ethnicity and the Macedonian language by the term which the Macedonian community in Australia has freely chosen and used ever since Macedonians began arriving in Australia in the early 1900s- MACEDONIAN, without any additional adjectives, prefixes, suffixes or identifiers.
We would also like to remind the Federal Government that pursuant to decision No H97/189 of 8 September 2000, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) deemed that the Kennett Government had acted unlawfully in renaming the Macedonian language as “Macedonian (Slavonic)” on 21 July 1994. In his final determination Commissioner Street of the HREOC made the following comments:
“I declare that the Respondent (Victorian Government) has engaged in conduct rendered unlawful by section 9 (1) of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) by the act of issuing the directive in the terms of the memorandum dated 21 July 1994 which involved a distinction based on ethnic origin in re-naming the language Macedonian (Slavonic) and had the effect of impairing the recognition on an equal footing of a human right in the cultural life of users of the Macedonian language and I declare that the Respondent not continue such unlawful conduct”.
The full HREOC decision can be found here: http://www.macedonianhr.org.au/images/stories/pdf/hreoc.pdf We therefore ask that in keeping with this landmark decision the Federal and State governments continue to refer to the Macedonian language as only Macedonian and those ethnic Macedonians who speak it as Macedonians.
We trust that you will seriously consider the issues we have raised in this letter and continue to treat Macedonian-Australians with the respect and dignity that they deserve as productive and law-abiding citizens of this country.
We sign this letter on behalf of all our affiliate Macedonian-Australian Organisations and their members and on behalf of the National Executive Board of the World Macedonian Congress – Australia and its State Assemblies, throughout Australia.
Signatures of National Executive Board Members
World Macedonian Congress – Australia
(Including electronic signatures of over 90 organisations registered in Australia, nationwide)
The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Foreign Minister
The Hon Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria
The Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of NSW
The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland
The Hon Mark McGowan MP, Premier of WA
The Hon Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia
The Hon Will Hodgman MP, Premier of Tasmania
The Hon Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister, ACT
The Hon Michael Gunner, Chief Minister, Northern Territory
For all Media Enquiries
Please contact National Executive Director
for WMC-A Media & Public Relations
WMC-A National Executive Vice President (Administration)