FOR: MACEDONIAN HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL
TORONTO, April 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Macedonian Human Rights Movement International President, Bill Nicholov, continued his ongoing meetings with senior officials from Global Affairs Canada and called for Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, to immediately retract her contradictory statement on Macedonia, and show support for Macedonia’s struggle against foreign interference.
In a statement issued about Ukraine, Minister Freeland said, “Canada is unwavering in its support to Ukraine, both in helping to preserve and protect Ukraine’s sovereignty, and in providing assistance to Ukraine to implement key reforms.” An identical statement could have been issued about Macedonia, but Minister Freeland chose to undermine Macedonia’s sovereignty by calling for a mandate to be given to a coalition whose public goal is to change Macedonia’s name, identity, flag, anthem and coat of arms, and which threatens Macedonia’s territorial integrity. In addition to campaigning on this platform, the anti-Macedonia coalition recently formally presented it in parliament. Macedonians have been protesting, en masse, against this platform and in defence of their country.
To indulge Minister Freeland’s apparent reason for this statement, to be “…in compliance with the constitution”, the Macedonian constitution clearly states that a mandate cannot be given to a coalition that threatens the “unitary character of Macedonia”. Understandably so. To ignore the foreign interference, turmoil and mass protests in Macedonia shows a complete lack of judgement on Minister Freeland’s part and, at best, shows that she is out of touch with the current situation and, at worst, is complicit in supporting foreign interventionism in Macedonia.
The United States, some European Union countries, and sadly, Canada, have turned the Macedonian people’s defence of their country and ethnic origin into a “left vs. right” issue. This is not a matter of political ideology, but a non-partisan defence against a US-backed platform, drafted in Albania under Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s “guidance”, aimed at redefining Macedonians’ ethnicity and sovereignty. Canada used to stand up against such attacks, now it participates in them. Minister Freeland’s remarks go against Canada’s long-standing policy against foreign interventionism, and is an affront to Canadian values of self-determination and human rights.
MHRMI called for Minister Freeland to explain her reasons for issuing this statement, and to announce when a retraction can be expected. Staying silent on this issue is not an option, especially when her statement is fueling ethnic tensions in Macedonia. This is not the Canada that we know.
— Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information: 1-416-850-7125, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mhrmi.org, twitter.com/mhrmi, facebook.com/mhrmi, mhrmi.org/OurNameIsMacedonia
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