27 August 2014
The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is deeply concerned about reports that European Parliament MPs from the Greek political party Golden Dawn, Eleftherios Synadinos and Georgios Epitideios, are set to visit Australia in October in order to “raise funds and increase awareness among Greek-Australians” according to a statement by Golden Dawn's Australian representative.
At present, the Golden Dawn political party has no less than 18 members in the Greek Parliament and 3 seats in the European Parliament. The party preaches an openly “neo-Nazi” platform, promoting the supremacy of the Greek nation and hatred of others. According to a report submitted by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (an Athens based human rights organisation) to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination (UN CERD), Golden Dawn is “openly neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, racist and white supremacist and have been involved in many violent incidents against migrants, Macedonians ... as well as in desecration of Jewish monuments” (See full GHM submission here: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds75.htm)
In the Greek Parliament, MPs belonging to the Golden Dawn party frequently refer to Macedonians as “Gypsy-Skopians” (a highly offensive term of abuse) and call for the destruction of the Macedonian state. On the 4th of June 2009, Golden Dawn members forcibly disrupted the launch of a Greek-Macedonian dictionary in Athens by the ethnic Macedonian political party in Greece, Ouranio Toxo (EFA-Rainbow Party), threatened the participants, damaged equipment and destroyed promotional materials. The party regularly threatens and harasses activists belonging to Greece’s sizeable Macedonian minority, deeming them to be a “traitorous fifth column” simply because they demand respect for their basic human rights.
While such manifestations of intolerance and racism may be acceptable to Golden Dawn supporters and more widely to certain elements within Greek society itself, they have absolutely no place in Australian society.
The AMHRC calls on the Minister for Immigration, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, to take action to prevent the abovementioned Golden Dawn MPs from visiting Australia for the purpose of disseminating their racist propaganda. Under Section 501 of the Australian Migration Act 1958, the Minister has the power to refuse entry into Australia of persons who do not meet the character test as defined in the Act. We strongly believe that no sitting MP in the Greek or European Parliaments belonging to the Golden Dawn party or any office bearer of the Golden Dawn party would meet the character test requirements as defined in subsection (6) of Section 501. Namely, we believe that there is strong evidence to support the view that in the event that any such person as described above were allowed to enter or remain in Australia, they would:
(iii) vilify a segment of the Australian community; or
(iv) incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community; or
(v) represent a danger to the Australian community or to a segment of that community, whether by way of being liable to become involved in activities that are disruptive to, or in violence threatening harm to, that community or segment, or in any other way.
The AMHRC also appeals to all community organisations in Australia, especially those of the Greek and Jewish communities, to join this call from within the Australian Macedonian community for the abovementioned European Parliament Golden Dawn MPs and indeed all Golden Dawn MPs and representatives to be denied entry into Australia.
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, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via +61 3 9329 8960.