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Reaction by several civic organizations, daily newspapers and institutions to the Council of Europe's regulation


March 19, 2004 - "Say MACEDONIA" – a campaign initiated by the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC), Euro Balkan Institute, Economics Institute, Institute for Macedonian Language, Institute for National History, Institute for Sociological-Legal Research, OXO, Transparency Macedonia, Association of Historians, Foundation Open Society Institute – Macedonia (FOSIM), daily papers and institutions. The initiators of the campaing held a press conference in the Holliday Inn hotel in Skopje today, announcing the steps they will commence as a reaction to the Council of Europe Note, issued March 2, 2004, concerning "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," and persons belonging to a minority or speaking a minority language outside the country.

According to the organizers, these references directly attack the identity, the tradition and the culture of the Macedonian nation, and are in colision with the international standards and principles.

In the following days, the organizers plan to initiate public activities, aiming to send a message from the citizens of Macedonia to the Council of Europe and its representatives that the Note remains inappropriate and unacceptable. They also sent an open protest letter to Mr. Jan Kleijssen, the Director of the Secretary General's Private Office, requesting withdrawal of the regulation and urging that the respect of the basic principle of the Council of Europe—the respect for human rights—to continue to be the basic direction of the work of this organization.

"Neither the international law nor the ethics allow the right to an organization or another subject of the international community to decide on one nation's identity and origin," states the protest letter.

The Council of Europe 'strongly encourages' its members, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and its independent monitoring mechanisms to use the following:

Republic of Macedonia to be called "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", with the inverted commas as an integral part of the name;

The  adjective or nationality to be added to the name "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", for example: the government of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", the police of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", citizen of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia";

Adjective referring to culture to be "Macedonian (Slav)". For example: Macedonian (Slav) tradition, Macedonian (Slav) culture, Macedonian (Slav) organization, Macedonian (Slav) school;

The language – Macedonian (Slav);

Persons/groups belonging to a minority or speaking minority language outside the country: Macedonian(s) accompanied by a footnote reading "Terminology of self-identification used by the person(s) concerned".

Organizers call upon all citizens of Republic of Macedonia, the governmental and nongovernmental organizations and institutions in the country to support this initiative and the open protest letter.

Daniel Medaroski
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