With the kind support of our colleagues at PICUM, we intervene today at the Universal Periodic Review process of the Human Rights Council of the UN, regarding human rights situation in Greece. The intervention of #HumanRights360 focuses of the following issues:
“We welcome Greece’s acceptance of recommendation from Norway to implement a national action plan against racism and xenophobia; we note however the need for regular monitoring of the implementation of this action plan. Hate crimes are very often not prosecuted as such, police rarely investigate potential bias indicators in a criminal act, while racist violence perpetrated by police officers is on the rise.
We echo recommendations from Sweden, Belarus and Cuba to guarantee an enabling environment for human rights defenders and journalists. We highlight that several volunteers and NGO workers face charges because of their humanitarian work. We also note the legislation around the NGO Registry which places extremely onerous registration requirements on NGOs, and creates an unfavourable effect on the freedom of association.
Finally, we are particularly worried about the response of the Greek state, with regards to recommendations from the Netherlands, Norway and the UK, that once more denies the widespread pushback operations taking place in the Greek borders. For years, migrants and refugees crossing the Evros River from Turkey to Greece have testified to being detained, beaten, and ‘pushed back’ across the river to Turkey, by unidentified masked men, in full secrecy, and without being granted access to asylum procedures. Our cases brought before the European Court for Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Committee document beyond the shadow of a doubt that these operations are both systematic and widespread. We call on the Greek state to ensure accountability for those actions.”
Our intervention is mutually co-sponsored with the Greek Council for Refugees, who is also intervening with focus on asylum procedures and reception conditions.