A group of organizations representing Macedonians in Bulgaria has published a report on the violation of the rights of Macedonians covering last year’s events. The report, published by the Macedonian International Human Rights Movement, cites numerous examples of violations of political rights by Bulgarian institutions, hate speech by senior officials and the media against Macedonians, and examples of how courts are creating legal mazes to prevent the registration of Macedonian organizations.

The report estimates that the situation of Macedonians in Bulgaria is unlikely to improve without serious external intervention, primarily by European institutions.

Denial and discrimination of the Macedonian minority is the last remnant of totalitarian policies in the European Union, say Macedonian organizations, which ask Bulgaria to urgently recognize the existence of ethnic minorities in the country, amend the law on registration of NGOs, annul the 2000 decision of the Constitutional Court and the 1990 Declaration of the Parliament which deny the existence of the Macedonian minority, and to implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights by allowing the registration of Macedonian organizations, reads the report.

Their 30-page report describes how the registration of Macedonian organizations such as the Ilinden organization is banned, despite the fact that in some of these cases, there are rulings of the European Court of Human Rights that are 20 years old. It also points out that Bulgaria has been condemned this year by the Committee for the respect of the obligations of member states in the Council of Europe, which called on Bulgaria to “take decisive action to implement the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the recognition of the right to freedom of association of persons wishing to promote the recognition of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and to promote Macedonian culture… and to allow persons identifying themselves as ethnic Macedonians to register their associations and to refrain from the practice of refusing registration due to the non-recognition of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria”.