Greece: Rule of Law Threatened
Rights Groups Urge European Commission to Take Action
(Athens, February 6, 2024) – The European Commission should take immediate action to address the deterioration of media freedom and the rule of law in Greece and its impact on fundamental rights, 17 human rights and press freedom organizations said today in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Threats to the rule of law include an ongoing major surveillance scandal allegedly implicating the government in the targeted hacking of journalists’ devices, government interference with the media, abusive lawsuits against journalists and activists, and an overall unsafe working environment for journalists. Two unresolved murders of journalists in 10 years underscore the risks they face. In addition, under the New Democracy government, the authorities have used the criminal justice system to threaten civil society groups and activists. Registration requirements for nongovernmental groups working on migration and asylum have imposed an unreasonable burden on them.
Defending and strengthening the rule of law in remains a core priority for Greek civil society against the backdrop of ongoing institutional decline in the country.
Independent organisations Vouliwatch, Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), HIAS Greece, Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR) and Reporters United document persisting deficiencies and emerging threats to the rule of law in Greece in their contribution to the European Commission’s annual monitoring of Member States’ systems through its Rule of Law Report.
Athens, September 14, 2023: Forty survivors of the deadly shipwreck in Pylos filed yesterday a criminal complaint against all responsible parties before the Naval Court of Piraeus.
The survivors, represented by the Network for Refugee and Migrant Rights, the Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR), the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), the Initiative of Lawyers and Jurists for the shipwreck of Pylos, and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), denounce a series of violations of the Greek authorities’ obligations to protect the lives of those on board and demand an effective investigation into the circumstances of the deadliest shipwreck to occur in the Mediterranean in recent years.
Athens, June 21, 2023: Greece must guarantee independent and effective monitoring of violations of the human rights of refugees and migrants to restore the rule of law, following the European Commission request to the Greek authorities for an investigation of a push back of refugees by the Hellenic Coast Guard on Lesvos island, documented by the New York Times. The Greek authorities have entrusted the National Transparency Authority (NTA) with the investigation.
The treatment of investigative journalism as a threat and the vindictive lawsuits and lawsuits against journalists create great concern, not only for the violation of their rights, but above all for the future of press freedom in Greece. Lawsuits against journalists because of their research or criticism of issues of public interest are SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) cases aimed at intimidating as well as morally and financially eliminating the defendant journalists.
After two years of continuous research, recording and substantial interventions in the process of granting citizenship in our country, we are publishing our final report. The text Towards Improving Access to Greek Citizenship attempts to include all the experience of monitoring the new naturalization system as a whole and synthesize the conclusions drawn from the individual actions of the project during the past two years.
Athens, 28 March 2023: On 17 March, the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and the Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR) sent a joint letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs.
THE ATTEMPT TO SILENCE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS CONTINUES. WHAT REMAINS TO BE DECIDED ARE ITS ACCOMPANYING MEASURES
On Tuesday, 20.12.2022, the interrogation of Panayote Dimitras took place, following criminal charges brought against him for “setting up a criminal organisation with the purpose of facilitating the illegal entry and stay in Greece of third country nationals”. Following the conclusion of the interrogation, the Investigating Magistrate and the Prosecutor agreed on imposing a prohibition on involvement with the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a civil society organisation of which he is a founding and core member since 1993, while they disagreed on the remaining measures that will be accompanying this prohibition. These are to be decided by the competent Judicial Council.
WITCH-HUNT AGAINST DEFENDERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN COMPLETE REVERSAL OF REALITY
Athens, 19 December 2022
European and international human rights monitoring bodies record systematic and continuous complaints regarding pushbacks (which are always illegal) of refugees at Greece’s borders. These complaints have become commonplace; yet, instead of being investigated, the people and the organisations who denounce them and address the competent bodies are themselves targeted and accused of criminal charges.
Is there a difference between Citizenship and Nationality? Is everyone born in Greece automatically entitled to Greek citizenship or must they meet more conditions? Do they receive a national ID within a few months? And what about honorary naturalizations? How easy is it to become a Greek after all?
How much do we really know about Greek citizenship?
The publication “Greek Citizenship: A Mythbuster” aims to fill the information gap and the lack of meaningful dialogue on an issue that concerns us all: citizenship.
Hellenic League of Human Rights along with 11 civil society organizations and independent media addressed a letter to the Vice-President and Commissioner for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourova and the member of LIBE committee of the european parliament, to express our serious concerns with regards to the continuous deterioration of the state of the Rule of Law in Greece.
Με επιστολή τους της 27ης Απριλίου 2021 προς την Ευρωπαία Επίτροπο Εσωτερικών Υποθέσεων, Ylva Johansson, πέντε οργανώσεις της κοινωνίας των πολιτών αιτούνται από την Επιτροπή την εκτίμησή της ως προς τη συμμόρφωση της Ελλάδας με τις διαδικαστικές υποχρεώσεις της σχετικά με την αρχή της μη επαναπροώθησης και την υποχρέωση παροχής πρόσβασης στο άσυλο στα χερσαία και θαλάσσια σύνορα.
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