The Australian Human Rights Commission ("the Commission") has acted on the complaint lodged by the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee ("AMHRC") against the Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann. Mr Rann is at present the subject of an investigation by the Commission for an alleged discriminatory slur against Macedonians. At the 31st Annual "Dimitria Greek Festival" (29/11/09) in South Australia, Mr Rann made the following statement in reference to Macedonians: "People sometimes say to me, but why is this important? It is important because no one is entitled to steal another nation's history or culture; that's why it's important". ?
Furious, at being labelled historical and cultural thieves, the AMHRC lodged a complaint with the Commission. The Commission has asked Mr Rann to confirm and explain his statement, with a requirement to respond by 10th March 2010. To date, the current South Australian Premier has refused to publicaly respond to the charge of engaging in offensive behaviour based on race, nationality or ethnicity and in so doing spreading hatred. Mr George Vlahov, President of the AMHRC stated that:
"History and culture are created via selective valuing and relatively; they cannot be "stolen" in the manner suggested by Mr. Rann. There can be no justification for such a vile attack against Macedonians".
The Australian Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia is yet to receive a satisfactory response to the letter of complaint it sent on the 9th February 2010, to the Australian Government in regard to Mr Rann's comments. It is feared that this has cost Australia a crucial vote in favour of its bid to join as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. "We hope that other Australian politicians learn from Premier Rann's indiscretion. Fuelling ethnic hatred is no way to govern" remarked Mr. Vlahov.
Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that informs and advocates to governments, international institutions and broader communities about combating discrimination and promoting basic 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 contact AMHRC at firstname.lastname@example.org or via +61 3 93298960.