Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia (February 11, 2010) -- Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) condemn the Albanian government's involvement in preventing Macedonian language classes from taking place in the Golo Brdo region.
The Director of the Educational Office in Bulqize, Miranda Kurti, sent a letter to officials in Golo Brdo and the Albanian Intelligence Service stating,
"We have contacted the local government and the principals in charge of these schools concerning the termination of these private courses. However we have to inform you that in the village Trebiste in the Municipality Trebiste and the village Pasinki in the Municipality Ostreni, there are still operating illegal private courses in Macedonian. Therefore we ask for your cooperation and intervention in the complete cessation of this activity..." (see full text below)
Albanian authorities in Golo Brdo have prevented around 200 students from attending private Macedonian language classes under the pretext that the teachers are not qualified and the classes are "illegal". Some of the teachers have received death threats from the Albanian authorities if they do not stop teaching Macedonian.
According to Edmond Osmani, teacher and Vice President of the Macedonian Alliance for European Integration, "The Albanian principals and teachers beat Macedonian students, lower their grades, and mistreat their parents. Now the police have begun issuing all kinds of threats. I personally have been threatened that I would be physically eliminated. We are under permanent pressure to stop the teaching of Macedonian."
We note that during the recent election campaign in Albania, the coalition led by current Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, had promised that Macedonian would be able to be freely studied and taught in the Golo Brdo region.
Today, the Albanian Minister of Education, Prof. Dr. Myqerem Tafaj, gave permission for the Macedonian classes to be taught in Golo Brdo.
MHRMI, AMHRC and the Macedonian Alliance for European Integration call on the international community, and specifically the European Union, to hold Albania accountable for its persecution of its Macedonian minority and force Albania to uphold its obligations regarding minority rights under international human rights law.
Further, MHRMI and AMHRC are pleased to announce funding for the school operated by the Korca Regional Committee of the Macedonian Alliance for European Integration, and will expand our funding of Macedonian language classes throughout Albania.
Letter from Miranda Kurti, Director of Educational Office in Bulqize
Subject: Request for Cooperation
To: Regional Directorate for Debar's tax
With knowledge by the SHISH (Albanian Intelligence Service)
Beginning with the information received from the heads of schools and local government, as well as verification of this information by the Education Department of Bulqize, we announce to you that in Golo Brdo, at first in the villages of the municipality Ostreni and then in the villages of the municipality Trebiste, private courses in Macedonian language are held by individuals without licenses for the students of the schools.
The persons who hold these private courses in the Macedonian language contrary to the Normative Deposits for Pre-University Education and the recommendations of the Ministry of Education of Albania, no. 34 from 02.11.2009 "Organization of activities in the service of students with Pre-University education are responsible: Ili Halilaj, Edlira Ala, Elida Adili, Roland Dauti. The above persons are not employed in the sector of education in the region Bulqize.
We have contacted the local government and the principals in charge of these schools concerning the
termination of these private courses. However we have to inform you that in the village Trebiste in the Municipality Trebiste and the village Pasinki in the Municipality Ostreni, there are still operating illegal private courses in Macedonian. Therefore we ask for your cooperation and intervention in the complete cessation of this activity, because the non-licensed persons, as noted above, are not employed in the education sector and this represents a grave violation of the legislation in force.
Thank you for your cooperation.