Bulgaria has an obligation to respect the rights of minorities and to ensure no person is discriminated based on their freely chosen identity, the United Nations Human Rights Office told VOA when asked to comment on Bulgaria’s requirement to include the Bulgarians in the Macedonian Constitution, while there have been 14 decisions against it by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg for violating the rights of the Macedonian minority on its territory.

The UN Human Rights Office referred to the report that an independent UN expert on minority issues presented to the Human Rights Council in July 2011, according to which the Government of Bulgaria is urged to protect the freedom of expression and association of members of the Macedonian minority.

The report calls on the Bulgarian Government to ensure and protect the rights guaranteed in the country’s constitutional provisions to respect the right to ethnic self-determination, including the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association of members of the Macedonian minority. The report in terms of the state’s obligations under international human rights law, the UN Human Rights Office says.

The UN Human Rights Office says that minority rights are protected by various human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and as a signatory to both treaties, Bulgaria has obligation to respect the obligations arising from them.