KRANEV: NO BULGARIAN POLITICIAN WILL ACKNOWLEDGE MACEDONIAN MINORITY
There is no politician in Bulgaria that will acknowledge existence of Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, whose rights have to be respected, said Krasimir Tanev, the President of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC).
"No human rights activist can be satisfied with the treatment of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. This minority is unrecognized in Bulgaria and the government is systematically denying the identity of the Macedonians living in Bulgaria and even of those living in their native country Macedonia. This stance results in discrimination of all those who declare themselves as Macedonians, by denying them the right of gathering , association, education in mother tongue, etc," Kanev said in an interview with Deutsche Welle.
He added that it is impossible to say how many rulings of the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg are needed to make Sofia government to register OMO Ilinden-Pirin, the party of Macedonians living in Bulgaria.
According to Kanev, this hostile attitude toward Macedonians has historic roots, as official Sofia considers the citizens of Macedonia as having Bulgarian origin.
The head of BHC specified that the latest census showed that 5,000 Macedonians are living in Bulgaria. These people are subject of constant pressures not to declare themselves as such, which is why the real number of Macedonians remains unknown.
"The government restored to repressive methods in the course of the last census, sending a clear signal that it would better not to declare oneself as Macedonian," Kanev said.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Kanev noted that at the time of pre-accession preparations, even the Union did not pay any special attention on the minority rights protection in Bulgaria.