ECRI highlights the cases of a number of attacks against people who identify themselves as Bulgarians
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe has published in September 2023 its annual report on N. Macedonia, and in the section on hate speech, attention is mainly paid to the repression against Bulgarians in the Republic of N. Macedonia.
ECRI states in the report that Bulgarians complain about the anti-Bulgarian statements in the Republic of North Macedonia, and as a typical stereotype they point to the labeling of all Bulgarians as “fascists”, as well as the presentation of Bulgarian women as “cheap prostitutes”.
In addition, ECRI highlights the cases of a number of attacks against people who identify themselves as Bulgarians and against Bulgarian cultural clubs as an element of concern, given the steps taken by the authorities to cancel the registration or dissolve some existing Bulgarian cultural associations.
The commission emphasizes that a local singer insulted the “Ivan Mihailov” club in Bitola, and was then hired to sing at a local celebration. The report also includes the club “Tsar Boris Treti” in Ohrid and the attack with the use of firearms.
ECRI notes with concern that in March 2023 the Central Register of North Macedonia rejected the request of the Bulgarian Cultural Club “Tsar Boris III” in Ohrid to keep its name and that the Bulgarian Cultural Center “Ivan Mihailov” in Bitola was deleted from the register.
In the section on the language of hatred, in addition to the Bulgarians, there are also remarks on the attitude towards the LGBTI community and the Roma in the Republic of N. Macedonia.