Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non-governmental organisation that informs and advocates before international institutions, governments and broader communities about combating racism and promoting human rights. Our aspiration is to ensure that Macedonian communities and other excluded groups throughout the world, are recognised, respected and afforded equitable treatment.
From the outset one of the main goals of the committee was - as it still is today - the defence and promotion of the human rights of Macedonians in Aegean and Pirin Macedonia as well as throughout the whole of Greece, Bulgaria and Albania. Indeed today one of the primary aims of the AMHRC is to assist and cooperate with Macedonian organisations in these countries to achieve the full recognition of the Macedonian minorities in these countries, especially in the political and cultural spheres.
Within Australia two of the more pressing issues are the recognition of the official state name of the Republic of Macedonia by the Australian government and the withdrawal of the offensive and discriminatory directive issued in 1994 by the Federal Government. This directive renamed persons originating from the Republic of Macedonia to “Slav Macedonians” while persons identifying as Macedonians but born outside of the Republic of Macedonia (i.e. Aegean Macedonia/Northern Greece or Pirin Macedonia/South West Bulgaria) were renamed “individuals associated to Slav Macedonians”.
The AMHRC was successful in overturning a related decision in 1994 to rename the Macedonian language by the Victorian State Government as “Macedonian (Slavonic)”. In 1995 the AMHRC lodged a complaint in the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission (which represented the Federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC)) against the renaming of the Macedonian language by the Kennett Government as 'Macedonian (Slavonic)'. The long legal campaign waged by the AMHRC and the Macedonian Teachers Association of Victoria ended successfully on 8 September 2000 when Alexander Street SC of the Federal Court of Australia decided in favour of the AMHRC and declared illegal the Victorian Government's attempts to rename the Macedonian language. Today the term Macedonian has been restored.
The AMHRC sincerely hopes that the Macedonian community in Australia and beyond will continue to support the work of the committee, as it has to date, so that we can in the near future achieve the goals that Macedonians have for so long struggled.
For a more comprehensive history of the AMHRC click here
For information on the Macedonian community in Australia click here