MINELRES: European Free Alliance: Press Release on Bulgaria

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Fri Dec 1 19:31:49 2006

Original sender: European Free Alliance <gdauwen@e-f-a.org>

European Free Alliance

Brussels, 29th of November 2006

Right to self-determination: "Only Macedonians can define themselves as
Brussels, 29th of November

Following the debate in the Foreign Affairs Committee on the progress
report of Bulgaria towards EU membership the European Free Alliance
(EFA) has emphasised that every community has the right and prerogative
to define themselves as a minority if they choose. The state of Bulgaria
has no role to play in defining minorities but has an important role in
recognising and respecting these minorities.

Co-President of OMO "Ilinden" Pirin, observer member of EFA, Stojko
Stojkov addressed a press conference and commented:

"I Call on the Bulgarian authorities to recognize, respect and protect
the rights of all self-identified ethnicities and minorities within its
borders, including Macedonians, Pomaks, Roma, Turks, and other
minorities, and to implement all decisions of the European Court for
Human Rights (ECHR). I am a Macedonian, I am a member of the Macedonian
community living in Bulgaria, and I exist. The state denies my existence
and that of thousands of other peaceful Macedonians."

Nelly Maes, President of EFA, declared:

"Bulgaria, as all member states, must respect the decisions of the
European Court of Human Rights, including the one regarding the
registration of OMO "Ilinden" PIRIN."

Bernat Joan i Mari added:

"It is also the right and prerogative of the organisation OMO "Ilinden"
Pirin to enjoy the freedom of association as the ECHR concluded last
year and therefore we request the Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe to oblige Bulgaria to take all necessary initiatives to
register the party."

The right to self-identification is enshrined in international law
(Framework Convention on National Minorities [FCNM], Art. 3). This right
has individual and collective dimensions. Each person has the right to
identify themselves with a minority group (or not), and each group has
the right to decide whether it would like to preserve its own group
identity; including customs, traditions, language and religion. It is
not up to the state to decide whether a minority group exists.

For more information:
EFA headquarters. info@e-f-a.org , Tel. 003225133476/4851. www.e-f-a.org 
EFA supports European unity and the creation of a European union of free
peoples based on the principles of self-determination, diversity and
subsidiarity. EFA believes in and promotes solidarity with each other
and other peoples of the world; The defense of human rights and the
rights of peoples, in particular the right to self-determination;
Protection of the environment and sustainable development; The creation
of a fair society based on solidarity, with policies which favour
progress, social cohesion and equal opportunities for all citizens and
the principles of parliamentary democracy.

The European Free Alliance (EFA) Group in the European Parliament
includes MEPs from Scotland, Wales, Catalonia and Latvia, who promote
the cause of Europe's stateless nations, regions and minorities. They
together with the Greens constitute the Greens/EFA group

The European Free Alliance asbl (EFA) is one of the ten recognized
European Political Parties. 


EFA the political party and EFA the parliamentary group are alliances of
individual parties from different member states who are free to take
their own views on individual issues. Consequently press statements do
not necessarily reflect the views of all

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