The national elections held in the Republic of Macedonia last December, have so far failed to solve the political crisis which has gripped the country for the last 18 months. The major parties, VMRO-DPMNE & SDSM have failed to establish a governing coalition. Moreover, that failure is directly connected to an intensification and virtual conversion of what was a crisis centred around corruption to one about ethnic issues.
Minor political parties representing Macedonia's Albanian minority, especially DUI, have presented the major parties with a set of jaundiced and ethnically skewed demands, as the price for entering a coalition government. Among other things, ethnic Albanian demands involve a desire to officially impose usage of the Albanian language, throughout the entire territory of Macedonia. Attempts by ethnic Albanian leaders to couch such a demand in terms of human rights are beneath contempt.
The desire to impose the language of around 20% of the population on the remaining 80%, has nothing to do with human rights and responsible citizenship; rather, it reeks of nationalism bent on destruction. If implemented, it would undoubtedly create unnecessary and onerous difficulties for both state and society alike. The probable result would be a dangerous level of internal discord.
From a human rights perspective, it is undoubtedly proper that ethnic Albanians have always possessed the right to use their mother tongue and to maintain it via state funded educational institutions, in the Republic of Macedonia. Indeed, the linguistic and other rights granted to the ethnic Albanian minority by the 2001 Ohrid Framework Agreement exceed standard international conventions and accords designed to protect minority groups. Put another way: ethnic Albanians in Macedonia enjoy legal protections for their linguistic and other rights, which surpass those possessed by almost any other minority group in Europe.
Remarkably, it appears that none of the figures involved in the public debates have deemed it relevant to mention that the Macedonian minority in Albania, enjoys only a fraction of the rights possessed by Macedonia's Albanian minority.Suspicions about the malicious intent of the Albanian demands have been heightened by the fact that ethnic Albanian leaders presented their demands, not during the recent election campaign, but rather upon the completion of post election consultations with the leadership of a foreign country, i.e. neighbouring Albania. Contextually, it is imperative to note that ethnic Albanians predominate in two states which neighbour Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo.
The AMHRC calls on the members of all political parties in Macedonia to reject the corrupt ethno-political bartering of their leadership groups which treat the populous as ethnic pawns in the service of maintaining their power. Like all countries, Macedonia needs a government which begins from the premise that its raison d'être is to serve citizens.
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. For more information please visit www.macedonianhr.org.au or email email@example.com.