Sie sind auf Seite 1von 18

GREEK HELSINKI MONITOR (GHM)

MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP - GREECE (MRG-G)


COORDINATED ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITIES
FOR ROMA HUMAN RIGHTS IN GREECE (SOKADRE)
Address: P.O. Box 60820, GR-15304 Glyka Nera Tel.: (+30) 2103472259 Fax: (+30) 2106018760
e-mail: office@greekhelsinki.gr website: http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr
Submission to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Greece
13 January 2014
1. Legislative issues
a. Ratification of Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights
Greece has not taken any action towards the ratification of Protocol 12. A parliamentary question
tabled by two Democratic Left MPs on 10 December 2013 on why there has been no ratification and
if there is an intention to ratify it in 2014 has not been answered yet. 1
b. Existence of criminal, civil and administrative law provisions as per ECRIs General Policy
Recommendation (GPR) No. 7
The only development since ECRIs 2009 report is the 2013 amendment (Article 66 of Law
4139/2013) to Article 79 CC which now states that the commission of a criminal act motivated by
hate on the grounds of race, color, religion, origins, national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation or
gender identity constitutes an aggravating circumstance and the sentence imposed may not be
suspended. However, this legal provision cannot be applied by the police or the prosecutor at the
stage of the investigation and the ensuing criminal prosecution of, and referral to trial for, racist
crimes. It can be applied only at the stage of the courts decision on the sentence after the guilt of the
offender has been established. It is noteworthy that this article has been used by the judicial
authorities only once to date: on 20 November 2013, when two Golden Dawn members were
convicted by a Three-Member Misdemeanors Court of Athens for the arson of a shop owned by a
migrant from Cameroon and use of violence on 13 May 2013, and then sentenced to a nonsuspended sentence of 41 months.2 The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights wrote in his 16 April
2013 report on Greece that he was informed by various interlocutors during his visit that a
legislative amendment aimed at creating a special criminal offence () of acts of racist
violence has been under consideration by competent authorities. Legal practitioners have indicated
that such a provision would facilitate the prosecution of racist violence and the inclusion of racist
motivation in the early stages of criminal proceedings, including the indictment, instead of in the
last phase of assessment of the criminal penalty by the court, as it is now possible under Article 79,
paragraph 3, of the criminal code. 3
On the contrary, repeated legal provisions aiming at alleviating the burden of the courts through the
quashing of charges for crimes with small social demerit (that is with a maximum prison sentence
up to one year) has led to an amnesty to all hate speech crimes (punishable with Article 2 of Law
927/79 carrying a maximum sentence of one year) committed before 1 September 2013 (latest
amendment Article 8 Law 4198/2013). It is important to note that the legislator exempted from that
1 http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=270dca5f5fdc-490d-8a8c-0819ed69bad1
2
http://jailgoldendawn.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/%CE%AD%CE%BD%CE%BF%CF%87%CE%BF%CE%B9%CE%BC%CE%B5-41-%CE%BC%CE%AE%CE%BD%CE%B5%CF%82-%CE%BF%CE%B9-%CF%80%CE
%B1%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%B2%CE%B1%CF%83%CE%B9%CE%BB%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%BF%CF
%85-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9/
3 https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?
Ref=CommDH(2013)6&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&BackColorInternet=B9BDEE&BackColorIntranet=F
FCD4F&BackColorLogged=FFC679
1

amnesty provision some crimes carrying a maximum sentence up to one year which the legislator
considered that they do not have small social demerit. They are all economic crimes: violation of
obligation to pay alimony, petty theft concerning purchase of goods with credit, violation of labor
laws and violation of laws concerning competition. Hence, the legislator considers hate speech a
crime with small social demerit and did not exempt it from the amnesty. Several crimes of hate
speech and charges based on Article 2 of Law 927/79 in crimes concerning racist violence, most
committed by members of the racist party Golden Dawn, were thus prevented from referral to trial.4
c. Existence and mandate of independent authorities entrusted with the fight against racism and
racial discrimination, as per ECRIs GPR Nos 25 and 7.
Law 3304/2005 on the Implementation of the principle of equal treatment regardless of racial or
ethnic origin, religious or other beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation establishes or designates
three different bodies for the promotion of equal treatment: one is independent, the Greek
Ombudsman, while the other two are government agencies, the Labor Inspectorate (SEPE) and the
Committee for Equal Treatment (CET), a body established within the Ministry of Justice,
Transparency and Human Rights. The Ombudsman produces annual reports indicating that it has
been handling related complaints. However, The Ombudsman has systematically been refusing to
examine complaints submitted by Greek Helsinki Monitor, which concern ethnic minorities. SEPE
does not report in its most recent annual report for 2012 the handing of any related complaints. 6
There is no information on the work of the CET.
2. Hate speech
There is generalized use of hate speech in Greece not only by extremists but also by mainstream
media and public figures. The Hellenic League of Human Rights has accurately stated in 2011 that:
Currently in Greece, the racist discourse is so pervasive in parts of public opinion, political
parties of the extreme right-mainly but not only-, the Church and the media, that its criminalization
would potentially lead to the criminal prosecution of a massive number of people. 7 As pervasive is
the impunity for hate speech.
Through 2012, there were some 60 complaints based on Law 927/79 filed by GHM of which only
one led to a final conviction. In some additional cases, first instance convictions were overturned on

4 One of the most recent such amnesty decisions was the archiving of a complaint against Golden Dawn MP Elias
Panayotaros, who was caught on camera shouting outside Athens theater Hytirio playing Corpus Christi on 11
October 2012: Faggot, youre done for! Get it? The faggots are done for. Out of here, all you ass-fuckers and
wankers. Actors my ass! Look here, you little slut, your time is coming. Beat it. Beat it. Your time is coming! The
police are coming to protect your little asses? [Who cares] since the Pakistanis are already fucking your asses!
Ass-fucked fags. Shagged-out Albanian assholes! Eh, fucked-out Albanian assholes! (the text in Greek available at
http://www.parapolitiki.com/2012/10/h-10844.html
and
the
related
video
available
at
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JDzptwor6ps#!). It is noteworthy that this case was
not investigated ex officio but only after Greek Helsinki Monitor filed a complaint on 8 February 2013 (case brief
number ABM /2013/1834). The Athens First Instance Prosecutor decided to archive it on 16 October 2013 and the
Athens Appeals Prosecutor approved the archiving on 26 November 2013 (archiving decision available at
http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2013_files/eis_pr_ath_diat_arch_panayot_hytirio_18-10-2013.pdf).
5 On specialised bodies to combat racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance at national level.
6 http://www.ypakp.gr/uploads/docs/6810.pdf
7 http://www.hlhr.gr/index.php?MDL=pages&SiteID=617
2

appeal or time-barred through amnesty laws.8 There were no such proprio motu investigations
launched by police or prosecutors.
A parliamentary question tabled by Democratic Left MP Maria Yannakaki on 17 October 2013
asking for the number of judicial investigation launched on the basis of Law 927/79 has not been
answered to date. 9
Through mid-January 2014, a bill to amend Law 927/79 tabled by the government in 2013 was
pending before Parliament. The criminalization of the expression in public, either orally or by the
press or by written texts or through depictions or any other means, of offending ideas against any
individual or group of individuals (i.e. hate speech in Article 2) would be abolished. It would be
replaced by the criminalization of publicly condoning, willfully denying or trivializing the
seriousness of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the Holocaust and
Nazi crimes, and his conduct is directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group
defined by reference to race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, or disability when
the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite to violence or hatred or in a threatening,
abusive or insulting manner against such a group or a member of such a group. If the provision in
that bill were applicable in the past, some 55 of the 60 complaints filed by GHM would not have
been filed.
3. Violence
GHM is a member of the Racist Violence Recording Network whose report for 2012 is available on
line,10 just like its June 2013 Positions on antiracist legislation. 11 The report for 2013 is expected to
become public in early 2014.
Additionally, GHM has on file the only racist violence complaint ever filed by a LGBT victim of an
attack on 28 August 2012 in downtown Athens (Omonoia Square). Because of repeated
demonstrative refusal of police authorities to promptly investigate the incident, crucial evidence was
lost and the case was filed to the archive of unknown perpetrators on 24 October 2013. 12
8 In its 2009 report ECRI wrote: On 13 December 2007, a person well known for his extreme right-wing opinions
was also sentenced, by the Athens Court of Appeal under Law 927/1979, for a patently antisemitic book to a 14
month suspended sentence and 3 years probation. The defendant was acquitted on 27 March 2009. At the time of
writing, reports indicated that civil society actors would seek all possible remedies against the acquittal. The
outcome of these efforts (by GHM, the Anti-Nazi Initiative and the Central Board of Jewish Communities-KIS) was
an appeal on cassation filed by the Supreme Court Prosecutor on 1 July 2009. However, a year later, on 15 April
2010, with Judgment 3/2010, the Supreme Courts Criminal Section, sitting in plenary, by a 27-12 vote, dismissed
the appeal in cassation. The judgment translated in English by KIS and unedited by GHM is available at
http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2010_files/supreme_court_judgment_plevris_book_3-2010.doc and quoted here
also unedited. The Supreme Courts majority agreed with the reasoning of the acquittal by the Appeals Court,
considering the author a scientist and historian who in his book makes criticism of the historical figures, which
is not be pretending and does not fall outside the scientific frameworks. Thus the majority of the Supreme Court
concluded that the acquitting judgement of the substance court for the defendants punishable actions is built and
founded on the dominant view of the court that the writer does not en masse revile at the Jewish people, but only at
the Jewish Zionists, who apparently do not form part of a group of persons that can be included in the sense of the
racial or national origin, according to the above-mentioned meaning of the term it is not evident that the
defendant had the intention of inciting the reader to perform acts or actions that may cause discriminations, hatred
or violence against the Jews and/or to express offensive - against the Jews ideas only due to their racial or national
origin.
9 http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=5f62dc6d4db8-4531-8837-1183b7914b3b
10 http://rvrn.org/2013/04/2012-annual-report/
11 http://rvrn.org/2013/06/positions-on-antiracist-legislation/
12 The attack occurred at 4:30am of 28 August 2012. The plaintiff and a friend, both gays, were attacked by two
individuals on a motorcycle who insulted them, punched and kicked them. The plaintiff, a known LGBT activist,
called the police. Two patrol cars and two police motorcycles arrived and heard a report of the attack by the
plaintiff. They took no action but told the plaintiff to go to the police station to report the incident and refused to
accompany him there. After he reported the incident to the police station, he was refused protection asked out of fear
in the form of being accompanied to his home some 15 minutes away. Several hours later he went to be examined in
a state hospital, where his injuries were recorded. Police did not ask for the material of surveillance cameras even
3

Moreover, GHM has evidence of similar unwillingness by police to investigate a racist violence
incident concerning an attack against a Roma child near Acropolis in Athens on 16 September 2013,
which was caught on camera by an Associated Press reporter. 13
However, even more worrisome is the fact that only a few racist violence cases investigated by the
special police unit in Athens and subsequently submitted to the Athens First Instance Prosecutor
Office seem to be promptly, or at all, handled by the latter leading to referral to trial or further
investigation. On 11 October 2013, answering a parliamentary question tabled by Democratic Left
MP Maria Yannakaki on 23 September 2013, the Minister of Public Order and Citizens Protection
informed Parliament that police units had investigated and submitted to the local Prosecutors 39 case
files. A few days later, on 17 October 2013, the Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights
informed Parliament that the various First Instance Prosecutor Offices had not received such case
briefs for most of these cases. Only for seven cases did they report the existence of case files and
related activities. In a previous answer tabled on 12 September 2013 to a similar question tabled by
the same MP on 19 August 2013, the Minister of Justice had also reported on 19 such case briefs.
That means that at least one third of the cases submitted by police units to Prosecutors remained
unaccounted for in the offices of the latter. 14
4. Integration policies
Greece has ignored ECRIs recommendation that the Greek authorities take measures to recognize
the rights of the members of the different groups living in Greece, including to freedom of
association, in full compliance with the relevant judgements of the European Court of Human
Rights. The court proceedings brought by the applicant Turkish minority associations seeking
implementation of judgments Bekir-Ousta and others, Emin and others and Tourkiki Enosis Xanthis
v. Greece have been dismissed by the Greek courts in 2012-2013. 15 While the case of the Home of
Macedonian Culture is pending before the ECtHR (Maison de la civilisation macdonienne v.
Greece) after the rejection by Greek authorities of its registration despite the ECtHR judgment. 16
after the request of the plaintiff: they did so only on 19 October 2012, one and a half month after the prosecutor had
asked them to do so on 7 September 2012, only to report that the videotapes with the material from 28 August 2012
had been erased long ago The complaint was then sent on 23 October 2012 by police to the Athens First Instance
Prosecutor who kept it in its drawers for one year only to decide to archive it on 24 October 2013 (Athens First
Instance Prosecutor case brief number ABM A/2012/3161)
13A local store owner pushes a young Roma busker, playing the accordion, with her foot on a pedestrian walkway
near the ancient Acropolis, in central Athens, on Monday, September 16, 2013. The Athens-based human rights
group, Greek Helsinki Monitor, in a July report, discrimination is still widespread for many of Greece's estimated
400,000 Roma, with schools often yielding to pressure from local communities to exclude Roma children from the
mandatory education system. (AP PhotoDimitri Messinis). AP Pictures with that story available at:
http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/Greece-Street-Musician/608f7865522b46578c81edcb963a313e/2/0 and
http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/Greece-Street-Musician/af23b14662394abbb74fd5e1ce9d2701/1/0 . On
17 September 2013, GHM called the special police racist crime unit reporting the picture which had been picked up
by hundreds of websites and news portals around the world and asking them to use the in flagrante procedure
(which guarantees a speed criminal prosecution) available during the first two days following the crime. Police went
to the place where the Roma child was playing music on that day as well but did not arrest the adjacent shop owner.
Several days later they asked the photographer to testify twice and identify the perpetrator. According to information
provided by the government in reply to a parliamentary question tabled by Democratic Left MP Maria Yannakaki on
24 October 2013, a police investigation was launched only because of the GHM complaint. Yet, on 31 October 2013,
the Athens First Instance Prosecutor reported that the case brief that police was supposed to have sent her office had
not reached it! (http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?
pcm_id=17e08b31-b346-4ae4-b29b-86563b4ad51b). A follow-up question tabled on 5 December 2013 by the same
MP on the fate of the case file and on why the police did not act immediately (as they have a very competent
electronic rime unit) has not been answered yet. (http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/KoinovouleftikosElenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=6785148a-7f59-4adf-a072-a24a19c82dae).
14 http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=de56aa147ab0-4b9a-b8f8-25295febb737
and
http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/MesaKoinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=cafaf707-cb6d-4ee9-8c89-599f01f748c7
15
http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution/Reports/pendingCases_en.asp?CaseTitleOrNumber=Bekir&StateCode=&SectionCode=
16 http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/webservices/content/docx/001-113133?TID=hbyfislyui
4

These are only some of the cases which led to the finding of violations by Greece by the ECtHR or
the UN HRC where Greece has failed to effectively implement the judgments or views. In the section
on Roma below, the failure to implement three ECtHR Judgments on Roma exclusion or segregation
in education (in the cases Sampanis and others, Sampani and others and Lavida and others v.
Greece), three UN HRC Views (in the cases Georgopoulos v. Greece concerning a multiple Roma
eviction, as well as Katsaris v. Greece and Kalamiotis v. Greece concerning ill-treatment of Roma)
and on UN HRC interim measures (Greek Gypsies Association Elpida and Kalamiotis v. Greece
concerning the prevention of eviction before relocation of a Roma community) will be documented.
Additionally, with three judgments Dimitras and others v. Greece Nos. 1, 2 and 3, in June 2010,
November 2011 and January 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found Greece to
violate religious freedom (Article 9 ECHR) by requiring the applicants to reveal their mostly atheist
religious convictions in order to be allowed to make a solemn declaration instead of taking a
religious oath in court proceedings. As a consequence of the first two judgments and while the third
application was under review by the ECtHR, on 2 April 2012, Greece amended the oath taking
procedure abolishing the registration of ones religion and replacing the presumption of every
witness religion as Orthodox Christian by a question on whether s/he would like to take a religious
oath or a secular affirmation. Yet, more almost two years later, GHM has a large file of over one
hundred statements made in judicial procedures (including before an Assistant Prosecutor of the
Supreme Court on 24 September 2013 17) in which religion continues to be declared and registered
and witnesses continue to be presumed as Orthodox Christian, now in violation of both domestic and
international law.
This has serious consequences on religious minorities. The crushing percentage of Greek citizens
who at least nominally identify themselves as Orthodox Christian (95% according to the most recent
poll vs. 3% for non-religious or atheists and 2% for followers of other religions) is heavier on
religious minorities as the state itself is (quasi-)religious. As a consequence, all citizens or residents
of Greece whose religion is not Orthodox Christian or are agnostics/atheists are de facto if not de
jure discriminated on a permanent basis.
Official ceremonies celebrating each year the beginning of the new judicial and parliamentary years
with sanctification ceremonies officiated by the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Greece or one of his
colleagues, as well as the fact that all Greek courtrooms have an icon of Christ above the judges and
a Gospel at the witness stand are very symbolic of the fact that Greece is a (quasi-)religious state
whose citizens are presumed to be Orthodox Christian.18
One consequence is the difficulty to get exempted from religious education at schools without having
to declare ones religion as non-Christian Orthodox. Pupils who succeed to get exempted are not
17

18
5

offered any alternative activity or non-Orthodox religious instruction, except for Thrace Muslims.
Another is the lack of crematory facilities, despite a 2006 law and a 2011 presidential decree
regulating their establishment: these legal provisions are not implemented as some Orthodox
Christian officials voice their opposition to cremation.
The Orthodox Church, the Jewish community, and Muslims in Thrace are the only religious groups
the government recognizes as legal entities of public law, entitled to own, bequeath, and inherit
property and appear in court under their own names. Other religious groups must be registered as
legal entities of private law and cannot own houses of prayer (approved places of worship) or
other property as religious entities. These religious groups must create other corporate legal entities,
such as non-profit associations, to own, bequeath, or inherit property, or to appear in court. The
Ministry of Education indirectly recognizes religions through issuance of house-of-prayer permits.
Religious groups that have never received house-of-prayer permits, including Scientologists, Hare
Krishnas, and polytheistic Hellenic groups, face legal and administrative burdens because they cannot
function as religious legal entities. Scientologists and polytheistic Hellenic religious groups function
as registered non-profit civil law organizations. Without the recognition afforded by house-of-prayer
permits, the government does not legally recognize weddings conducted by religious leaders of those
groups.
Hundreds of thousands of foreigners who are at least nominally Muslims have been living in Greece,
many for over a decade. With the exception of the very few who live in Thrace, all others have no
possibility to attend a legally established mosque. As a result over one hundred unlicensed and
formally illegal mosques created by Muslim communities from more than one dozen countries are
operating and have resort to also unofficial Muslim clerics; they all run the risk of police arrests and
shut downs despite the usual tolerance and silent approval of their operation by authorities. In recent
weeks, the government announced in early November 2013 that a consortium of public contractors
has won a public tender to construct a mosque in Athens, after over ten years of related
announcements. Even when it will become operational in 2015 it will fall short of the needs of
Muslims spread around Athens and will be of little use for the Muslims living outside Athens (and
Thrace where a large number of mosques exist because of the presence there of a mostly Turkish
Muslim minority). On the other hand, no cemeteries for those Muslims exist: their relatives have the
choice to bury their dead in Thrace or ship the corpses back to their countries of origin. Although the
Church of Greece has offered land for such a cemetery in Aspropyrgos, near Athens, the state has
taken no action to build the cemetery.
Muslims in Thrace do not face such problems, but authorities do not recognize the muftis they elect,
appointing instead muftis and administrators of religious charitable foundations (wakfs)- effectively
chosen by Christian authorities. With a recent law, Christian authorities were also given the right to
appoint imams in Thrace without the binding involvement of the Muslim community. Thrace
Muslims are underrepresented in public sector employment, and no Muslim military personnel
advanced to officer ranks. The application of Sharia law for Thrace Muslims is often in violation of

Left: The Archbishop of Athens arrives at the Supreme Court escorted by the SC President (far left)
and Prosecutor (second from right) to officiate a sanctification ceremony for the beginning of the
new judicial year (25/9/2013)
Middle: A Bishop of the Church of Greece, assisted by a dozen other clerics, officiates a
sanctification ceremony for the beginning of the new parliamentary year (7/10/2013)
Right: An average courtroom with an icon atop the judges and a Gospel at the witness stand
6

general Greek law and of provisions on non-discrimination in UN Conventions, in particular with


regard to marriage and inheritance. The Supreme Court just issued another judgment holding the
Sharia law prevails over general law in inheritance issues.
Finally, since the ethnic identity of the large majority of Thrace Muslim is Turkish, the authorities
persistent denial of that identity and continuing ban of Turkish associations despite ECtHR
judgments is an effective denial of those Muslims rights. In fact, even the use of their Turkish
mother tongue is formally or de facto restricted. In regions of all other EU countries populated by
significant ethno-linguistic minorities, bilingual signs prevail, as called for inter alia by the
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). In Thrace such signs are
absent as Greece is one of the rare EU countries that has not ratified the FCNM. Turkish is taught in
minority schools only because of the Treaty of Lausanne signed 90 years ago and Greeces need to
maintain similar Greek-language minority schools in Turkey.
However, the use of the Turkish language in public institutions by minority members is effectively
discouraged. In November 2013, in Komotini Greeces city with the largest Turkish minority
population-, a state hospital manager issued a circular prohibiting the use of incomprehensible
languages between (Turkish-speaking) patients and doctors in the emergency rooms.
Most importantly at the symbolic level, in an academic conference on the 90 years of the Treaty of
Lausanne held on 22 and 23 November 2013 in the Komotini regional government premises and
organized by two state institutions, the foreign policy think-tank ELIAMEP and the EU-co-funded
Program for the Education of Muslim Minority Children (PEM), Turkish minority journalist Evren
Dede was not allowed to make his speech in Turkish, following an intervention by the high level
representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Foreign Ministry participating in the conference.
This occurred although interpretation was provided and it was used on the following day during the
speech of a Strasbourg-based Turkish academic. As a result, three speakers, the current or former
Turkish minority Members of Parliament Ayhan Karayusuf, Ilhan Ahmet and Mustafa Mustafa,
withdrew. To the amazement of many, the Greek speakers who are prominent academics, the former
European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros, the former Vice-President of the European Court of
Human Rights Christos Rozakis, the co-directors of the PEM Thalia Dragona and Anna
Frangoudaki, as well as Yannis Ktistakis, Nelli Akouni, Hercules Millas, Kostas Tsitselikis, Loukas
Tsoukalis and Dia Anagnostou, all authors of commendable texts on that minority and/or on Greek
nationalism, did not use their combined authority to impose a reversal of that decision nor did they
walk out in solidarity with the Turkish minority leaders. Their attitude seriously damaged years-long
efforts to bridge the confidence gap between the majority and the minority in Thrace. Ironically, the
Greeks speakers stayed through the end to hear former Minister of Education and of Interior and MP
from Komotini Evripidis Stylianidis speak about Thrace: a model of an open democratic society
[sic] obviously open for Greek-speaking persons only...
The small Jewish community suffers mainly from widespread anti-Semitism in all spheres of public
life from the simple citizen to the majority of judges at all levels of justice including the Supreme
Court, as the acquittal of notorious Nazi author Costas Plevris showed. On the contrary, Europes
only open neo-Nazi political party, Golden Dawn, has been represented in Parliament since 2012
where its regular anti-Semitic statements including quoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have
remained unopposed by almost all other MPs. In fact, an amendment of the anti-racist law tabled in
Parliament on 20 November 2013 decriminalizes hate speech.
Similar societal abuse or discrimination is suffered by other religious minorities, including warnings
by some Orthodox bishops and priests to their parishioners not to visit the leaders or members of
religious groups such as Jehovahs Witnesses, Mormons, evangelical Christians, and other
Protestants. Rarely, members of religious minorities are arrested for proselytism on the basis of a law
criminalizing proselytism that has been found to be contrary to the ECHR but, rather than being
abolished, is usually not implemented.
7

A final problem is recurrent desecration of Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and Holocaust memorials,
as well as arsons of synagogues, informal mosques and Jehovahs Witnesses houses of worship.
Police investigations are never thorough and this is why they have never led to the identification of
perpetrators.
5. Follow-up by Greece to the interim recommendations made by ECRI and to
conclusions on Greece published in February 2012
ECRIs 2012 recommendations at the end of its follow-up assessment of Greeces implementation of
ECRIs interim recommendations have not been implemented. The Ombudsman is still not
empowered, nor are they willing to be empowered, to represent alleged victims or grant them legal
aid and the deadline for filing complaints before them has not been extended. There has been no
audit and evaluation mechanism of Roma programs, no new strategy for Roma, no systematic and
long-term monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and no involvement of civil society and the Roma.
On the contrary, in the section on Roma below, the deterioration of the situation of Greeces Roma
victims of institutional apartheid, exclusion or segregation in education, ethnic profiling, and
effective absence of justice will be documented. Finally, the Greek authorities insist on the rejection
of ECRIs recommendation to separate the question of the renewal of residence permits from the
revenue stamps requirement.
6. Country-specific topics
a. Political extremism
In its written replies to UN CERD, Greece stated in July 2009: In Greece there is no organized
Neo-Nazi movement. For this reason, until now, the competent authorities have not been confronted
with the prohibition of groups such as those mentioned above. In case such problems arise in the
future, all necessary measures will be taken, in accordance with the relevant national legislation
and international treaties. 19 With that answer Greece dismissed GHM and other NGO evidence
about the rising presence of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. CERD was apparently not convinces
as in the August 2009 concluding observations it stated: The Committee is concerned about
reports on the propagation by certain organizations and media outlets of racist stereotypes and
hate comments against persons belonging to different ethnic and racial groups. The Committee
recommends that the State party take effective measures to penalize organizations and media
outlets that are guilty of such acts. It further recommends that the State party concretely ban NeoNazi groups from its territory and take more effective measures to promote tolerance towards
persons of different ethnic origins.20
One year later, Golden Dawn was elected to the Athens City Council and three years later that party
entered Parliament. At the same several racist and other violent incidents were obviously or probably
carried out by Golden Dawn members. It took the murder of a leftist activist and rapper in
September 2013 for the government to finally act. On 19 September 2013, the Minister of Public
Order assembled 32 case briefs and submitted them to the Supreme Court Prosecutor with the
request to examine the possibility to join them in one criminal file on felony charges of creation and
operation of an organized criminal organization. In the on-going special criminal investigation that
followed, through mid-January 2014, more than two scores of Golden Dawn members are suspects
or indicted with the partys leader and five other MPs (out of a total of 18 MPs) remanded in
custody.
However, it should be pointed out that for almost all 32 cases, criminal files existed in various
prosecutor offices. Yet, the prosecutor authorities did not take the initiative to join them. The
impression was given that they did so only after the pressing request by the government which
19 http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/Written_replies_Greece_CERD75.doc
20http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fGRC%2fCO
%2f16-19&Lang=en
8

creates the impression that there is no effective independence of justice. Moreover, in several cases,
the investigation before September 2013 did not include a search for racist motivation and/or relation
to an organized organization.
ECRI should reiterate what the Commissioner for Human Rights included in his report on Greece
where he recalled that under the Greek Constitution, treaties ratified by Greece are not only
binding but have supra-statutory force, thus obliging the Greek state to give full effect to their
provisions through domestic law and practice. The International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the European Convention on Human Rights, both
ratified by Greece, make possible the imposition of criminal and other sanctions and restrictions on
the activities of individuals and political organisations, including political parties, such as
Golden Dawn, where evidence demonstrates that they advocate for and are involved directly or
indirectly in acts of racist violence, incite racial hatred and oppose some of the basic principles of
democracy and the rule of law. Such political parties must be banned, as prescribed by ICERD,
and excluded from all state subsidies which are usually provided to political parties. 21
b. Discrimination against LGBT persons
In the Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Vallianatos and others v. Greece on 7 November
2013, the ECtHR considers that the Government have not offered convincing and weighty reasons
capable of justifying the exclusion of same-sex couples from the scope of Law no. 3719/2008 [on
civil unions]. Accordingly, it finds that there has been a violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction
with Article 8 of the Convention in the present case. 22 On 12 November 2013, the applicants and
the supporting NGOs appealed to the MPs asking that the discriminatory law be amended with the
extension of civil unions to same-sex couples. 23 On 26 November 2013, the government made its
intention known that it will amend the law accordingly24 only to reverse its intention a day later after
the reaction by bishops (in some cases with extreme homophobic statements) and conservative
MPs.25 Minor government coalition partner PASOK and opposition Democratic Left tabled
amendments to amend the law, while main opposition party SYRIZA tabled a bill to extend the civil
unions to same-sex-couples and to improve the rights of civil unions couples. By mid-January 2014,
the government has prevented their discussion and ensuing vote in Parliament. As a result, scores of
same-sex couples have decided to file a new complaint. They also organized a protest on 6 January
2014 against the most homophobic bishop in Piraeus26 which in turn triggered a homophobic reaction
by the Mayor of Piraeus, condemned by litigation oriented NGOs27 and, with notable delay, by only
one political party, main opposition SYRIZA.28
In its 2005 concluding observation on Greece, the UN HR inter alia stated: The Committee is
concerned at reports of continued discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual
orientation. The State party should provide remedies against discriminatory practices on the basis
of sexual orientation, as well as informational measures to address patterns of prejudice and
discrimination. 29 That recommendation was based on the following GHM & MRG-G submission
to UN HRC: Greeces dogged resistance to the notion of any form of family unit other then the
traditional family also extends to their refusal to recognize homosexual relationships. GHM &
MRG-G welcome the February 2005 NCHR ruling on homosexual rights that recommended to the
21https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?
Ref=CommDH(2013)6&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&BackColorInternet=B9BDEE&BackColorIntranet=F
FCD4F&BackColorLogged=FFC679
22 http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/webservices/content/docx/001-128294?TID=dnsgpczeqo
23 http:// cm.greekhelsinki.gr/index.php?sec=192&cid=3832
24 http://www.tanea.gr/news/greece/article/5058026/prasino-fws-gia-to-symfwno-symbiwshs/
25 http://www.tanea.gr/news/politics/article/5058453/ena-bhma-mpros-ena-pisw-gia-ta-omofyla-zeygaria/
26 Greece's Kissing Gays Defied Neo-Nazis and Bigot Bishops Yesterday http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/gaypiphany-in-greece
27 http://www.efsyn.gr/?p=164341
28 http://syriza.gr/article/Anakoinwsh-ths-omadas-seksoyalikoy-prosanatolismoy-kai-taytothtas-fyloy-gia-tis-dhlwseistoy-dhmarchoy-Peiraia.html#.UtLPQ_uBVi4
29 http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/%28Symbol%29/CCPR.CO.83.GRC.En?Opendocument
9

Greek government to recognize same sex couples so that they cease be discriminated against on
matters of inheritance, tax, social security, health and welfare, pensions, and work. NCHR also
recommended the amendment of the anti-discrimination law 927/79 (see section 11 above) to
include protection against incitation to discrimination or hatred on the basis of sexual orientation.
Most importantly, the NCHR called for the abolition of Article 347 of the Criminal Code that
describes the homosexual male act as unnatural indecency and criminalizes it if carried out in
an abuse of a dependant situation, but also if done for money (male prostitution) or with a child of
less than 17 years (as opposed to 15 for heterosexual relations). NCHR also called on the National
Council for Radio and Television to sanction programs where there are insulting or discriminatory
references to homosexuals; on the Ministry of Public Order to take measures so that humiliating
and discriminatory behavior of law enforcement officers towards homosexuals in stop and searches
ceases and to facilitate granting asylum to people persecuted in their countries for their sexual
orientation; and on the Ministry of Education to see to it that sexual orientation does not lead to
discrimination against teaching personnel, and to include references to sexual orientation in sexual
education classes that need be introduced at schools. 30 A question about the governments
intention to abolish the discriminatory Article 347 CC was tabled in Parliament by Democratic Left
MP Maria Yannakaki on 19 December 2013 and has not been answered yet. 31
c. Treatment of irregular migrants
GHM is a member of the Campaign for the access to asylum in Greece whose reports, as well as
reports of its members like Amnesty International, are available on line.32

d. Roma
Housing: institutionalized apartheid
On 13 June 2001, Josephine Verspaget, Chair of the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies of the
Council of Europe, at the end of her three-day stay in Athens, that included visits to Roma
settlements in Aspropyrgos, Halandri, Marousi (Olympic Stadium), and Spata declared: There are
conditions of institutionalized apartheid for many Roma, when they are forcefully settled in
segregated areas far away from the rest of society... It is also discrimination that the Roma settled
in Spata were sedentary, hence the application of that apartheid decision was in fact also turning
them into nomads. At the same time, they have been settled since last October without any papers
of ownership or lease of the property, in a former NATO waste dump, possibly contaminated from
toxic waste. There is no electricity, no playground for children, who have also been deprived of
their education, as there is no public transport nor special buses for school children, while the
settlement is 5 km away from the last houses of Spata, of which 1,5 km is a bumpy dirt road. The
government admitted to us that this settlement was a mistake and tried to put the blame on the local
authorities. But the central government contributed 84 million drs. in total for this resettlement,
hence it is equally responsible. In Aspropyrgos, I saw one of the worst places I have ever visited in
my life -and I have been to many refugee camps in Africa and Asia. It is a shame that Roma live in
such conditions in the midst of a garbage dump: no water, no electricity, bare-foot children with
skin diseases and no access to school. Again, the government put the blame on the local
authorities, but I reminded them that it is the central government that is accountable for the
implementation of international human rights standards.... I have to admit that I was shocked by
the living conditions of the Roma I visited here. 33
30 http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/index.php?sec=194&cid=400
31 http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=35fc875d52ca-47d7-8f49-899257aedb05
32 http://aitima.gr/en/en/page/reports and for the recent assessment of the New Asylum Agency (in Greek)
http://asylum-campaign.blogspot.gr/2013_12_01_archive.html
33 http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm/ghm_13_06_01.doc
10

In its 2009 report on Greece, following a 2008 visit, ECRI stated: 34 ECRI noted in an on-site visit
to Roma settlements in Aspropyrgos and Spata near Athens, the living conditions of some Roma
continue to fall unacceptably below international standards. ECRI recognises that some settlements
have been established within the framework of the law and others not. However, it is concerned by
the fact that as noted in Aspropyrgos and Spata, some Roma settlements are in complete isolation
from the rest of the population, without running water or electricity and without a sewage system or
access to public transport. These settlements are not easily accessible as there are no tarmacked
roads leading to them and their inhabitants live in makeshift or pre-fabricated houses, with no
heating in winter and leaking roofs in some cases, thus leaving the vulnerable such as children,
pregnant women and the elderly particularly susceptible to illness. Roma living in those settlements
also face at best indifference and at worst hostility (as noted in Aspropyrgos) on the part of some
local authorities and non-Roma. ECRI was informed in the Aspropyrgos settlement that the Greek
government had resettled some communities in the northern part of the country in better conditions.
In view of the seriousness of the problems encountered in this settlement, assistance from the
government to resettle the Roma who remain there is necessary. This is all the more important as
the situation has created tensions between Roma and non-Roma in the area. ECRI is not aware of
additional measures taken by the government or local authorities to build a sufficient number of
transit camps for Roma who wish to preserve their nomadic lifestyle.
Hardly anything has changed since these visits and institutionalized apartheid continues to prevail.
The Aspropyrgos community visited by ECRI in 2008 was forcefully and unlawfully evicted in midAugust 2010 without any provision of alternative settlement. They have since settled in another area
of Aspropyrgos, very isolated. The communitys children are segregated in a token ghetto school
despite two ECtHR judgments (Sampanis v. Greece in 2008 and Sampani v. Greece in 2012). The
Spata community remains in the isolated area without electricity and is squalid conditions. Its
children have been excluded from schooling with the exception of a few years as a result of
international pressure and exposure.
Forced evictions and nomadization
In several areas around Greece, Roma are evicted without any provision of alternative housing or a
resettlement in isolated areas usually without infrastructure. In all cases they are not consulted. It is
characteristic that the authorities use a ministerial decision on provisional settlement of nomads to
resettle Roma who have been sedentary sometimes for decades before their eviction/relocation: in
that decision there is no provision for consultation of the Roma concerned. The open letter to the
Minister and Alternate Ministers of Interior includes a lot of related information.
This letter was triggered by an on-going effort to evict Halandri Roma who had been living in that
Greater Athens area since the late 1970s without prior relocation and despite interim measures taken
by the UN HRC in May 2013 and confirmed in August 2013! In 1995-1996 the urban planning
authorities had issued decisions that the -at the time- 43 lodgings housing Roma families in that area
were illegal and had to be demolished. An attempt to execute those decisions was carried out in 1999
but it was averted after an intervention of the Halandri municipal authorities and the Office of the
Prime Minister. The demolition was averted as it was declared that the state had to first find a
suitable alternative area to relocate those families. Efforts to find relocation failed. The Secretary
General of the Decentralized Administration of Attica, on 4 September 2012, issued a decision to
demolish on 18 September 2012 the 43 lodgings registered as illegal in 1995-1996 and belonging to
37 owners and one to an unknown owner, without even updating that list, Yet he knew that eleven
owners are dead today, while nine have moved out. So, only 17 owners of 19 lodgings from the
initial list were served with the decision to demolish their homes, in a settlement that has today more
than 50 homes, the majority belonging to owners not concened by the 1995-1996 demolition orders.
The demolition was avoided after an injunction by a President of the Athens Administrative Court of
Appeals issued on 17 September 2012 following a motion for annulment. On 12 November 2012 the
34 http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Greece/GRC-CbC-IV-2009-031-ENG.pdf
11

Athens Administrative Court of Appeals issued its Judgment 1040/2012 rejecting the motion as
inadmissible, without considering it on the merits, since the decision with which the demolition of
the constructions irrevocably considered as illegal was ordered does not have an executable
character. The Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration of Attica, on 26 February
2013, issued a new decision to demolish the 43 lodgings on 14 May 2013 even though he also issued
a decision on 16 April 2013 to relocate the entire Roma community in an adjacent plot of land. So
the state planned to demolish the homes and then in some unknown future date provide alternative
housing. So, on 6 May 2013, the Roma community through GHM filed a communication to UN
HRC seeking also as a matter of urgency an immediate injunction to their forced eviction through
demolition of their lodgings while the case is under consideration by the Committee. The latter
granted the interim measures on 10 May 2013,35 which were maintained on 14 August 2013, when
the HRC transmitted to Greece the authors comments. In the meantime, because of fierce antiRomani reaction by neighbors the relocation in an adjacent era was cancelled. In total secrecy,
including without consulting with the Roma and/or the Ombudsman who was involved in the case,
the Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration of Attica decided to relocate the Roma
atop a far away mountain in Megara, outside Greater Athens, in an old NATO American radar base!
The two decisions, of cancellation of the previous relocation decision and of relocation in the new
area, were issued on 18 October 2013 but were not notified to the Roma and the Municipality of
Megara until 25 November 2013. In the meantime, on 8 November 2013, the Secretary General of
the Decentralized Administration of Attica issued a new decision to demolish the Roma homes on 25
February 2014 in blatant violation of the interim measures taken and reaffirmed by the UN HRC!
That demolition decision was also kept secret for two months and was served to the Roma on 10
January 2014! In the meantime, the municipalities of Megara and (adjacent) Mandra took decisions
opposing that relocation, which though the Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration of
Attica stated in Efimerida ton Syntakton that he does have to take into consideration: he is
determined to move the Roma to that place despite the objection of the Roma and the local
authorities, which in the meantime have blocked any works in that area atop Patera Mountain.
A few months earlier, in August 2013, one hour away from Athens, and with no possible resistance,
Roma from Atalanti were coerced by police to resettle in a far away area without proper
infrastructure and without even proper authorization by the regional authorities. One year earlier,
another hour away, in Lamia, Roma were forced to resettle in another far away area in Kamilovrisi,
again without proper infrastructure and without even proper authorization by the regional
authorities. In September 2013, in Aharnai/Menidi (Attica) eleven Roma homes were demolished
without first securing relocation. On 30 July 2013, in Kalamata (Peloponnese) fourteen Roma homes
were demolished without first securing relocation. Previous evictions without relocation in 20122013 took place also in Votanikos (Athens), Koropi (near the Athens Airport), Rhodes (twice), and
Iraklion Crete. For all of them,36 as well as for existing destitute Roma communities, parliamentary
questions had been tabled by SYRIZA and Democratic Left MPs, with the government failing to
provide any or adequate information. Two more related actions need be added here. As mentioned
above, the Psari, Aspropyrgos Roma community, squatting on private property, visited by ECRI in
2008 was unlawfully and forcefully evicted in August 2010. Moreover, the Secretary General of the
Decentralized Administration of Attica issued on 30 October an order to demolish 192 Roma homes
in Megara on 14 November 2013, 37 without previously having secured alternative housing: the

35 http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2013_files/hrc_on_communication_10-5-2013.pdf
36
http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?
pcm_id=09d80480-59c2-43e0-94ba-bd9719e78a87
http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/KoinovouleftikosElenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=d7943536-b68a-4677-b7c2-800c5f757e59
http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=e1aa8b24d3db-462b-915c-c152cc8502de
http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/MesaKoinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=525fe53d-8b86-460d-962a-4b5a39b6109c
http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=fa60a2eca664-4c08-ab32-936c70f77ba2
37http://et.diavgeia.gov.gr/f/apdik_attikis/ada/%CE%92%CE%9B%CE%9B%CE%9C%CE%9F%CE%A11%CE
%9A-%CE%96%CE%9D2
12

demolition was cancelled unofficially. Previously, the Municipality of Megara had demolished the
homes of 14 Roma families on 17 April 2013, again without the provision of relocation.38
Ethnic profiling
The Human Rights Commissioner, in his report on Greece, had urged the authorities to put an end
to the practice of ethnic profiling by the police, reportedly widely used concerning Roma and as
part of the Xenios Zeus police operation under which the legal status of migrants is verified.
Racial profiling is discriminatory and seriously undermines confidence in the police among the
social groups targeted. Drawing on ECRIs General Policy Recommendation N 11 on combating
racism and racial discrimination in policing, the authorities are invited to introduce in the law
enforcement rules a reasonable suspicion standard, whereby powers relating to control,
surveillance or investigation activities can only be exercised on the basis of a suspicion that is
founded on objective criteria. 39 Answering parliamentary questions tabled by Democratic Left MP
Maria Yannakaki on 27 September 2013 and 29 October 2013, the Minister of Public Order
informed Parliament on 18 October and 23 November 2013 that in 2013 police had made 1131
operations in Roma settlements, almost always at around 5am to 6am, where they had checked
52,431 Roma (Greeces Roma population is estimated at 350,000 persons), taken in 19,067 Roma
and arrested just 1,305 Roma, with only about half of them (ca. 650) for serious crimes (drugs,
thefts, guns etc.). 40 So, less than 7% of the Roma taken to police stations (where they usually spend
several hours losing a days income) end up being arrested! At the same time, police issued hundreds
of statements naming each and every time the Roma ethnic identity, even though this is not
registered in the identity cards, in a deliberate effort to show that there is Roma criminality which is
combated by police. The reference to ethnic identity of Greek citizens is in violation of the Greek
data protection legislation. Similar data are available about mass controls of foreigners in the streets
and taking in police stations of tens of thousands to arrest only about 7% of them mostly for being
irregular migrants.
Exclusion and segregation in education
Greece has failed to implement the ECtHR judgments in the cases Sampanis and others, Sampani
and others and Lavida and others v. Greece. The first Sampanis judgment issued in 2008 concerned
the initial exclusion from school and the ensuing segregation in a ghetto school of Psari,
Aspropyrgos (Attica) Roma pupils in 2004-2007. Greece failed to integrate the Roma pupils in the
nearby regular school for all children, Roma and non-Roma. This led to a second application and a
second Sampani judgment against Greece issued in December 2012 for the segregation of the pupils
from the same community through 2012. The applicants asked to be transferred to the same nearby
regular school for all children, Roma and non-Roma. The authorities failed to do so and the ghetto
school continues to operate with minimal staff as a token. In both cases, integration failed because of
the racist resistance of the local authorities and the parents of non-Roma families. The Lavida
judgment issued in May 2013 concerned the segregation through 2013 of all Roma pupils in Sofades
in one ghetto school with the non-Roma pupils attending two other schools. The applicants asked for
the desegregation of the Sofades (Thessaly) school system so that all three schools have a mixed
Roma and non-Roma pupil population, but the authorities refused to do that: they just moved to the
two other schools, in an arbitrary way, the few applicant children still of primary school age, leaving
in the ghetto school the large number (in the hundreds) of all other Roma pupils. Several questions
had been tabled to Parliament by SYRIZA and Democratic Left MPs on the implementation of these
judgments, the most recent and comprehensive on 10 January 2014 by SYRIZA MPs.41
38 http://www.megaraonair.gr/megara-ditiki-attiki/epikairotita/4254--------qq-.html
39https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?
Ref=CommDH(2013)6&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&BackColorInternet=B9BDEE&BackColorIntranet=F
FCD4F&BackColorLogged=FFC679
40 http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=baf155b28a0e-4f4d-8712-e56b84761d1d
and
http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/MesaKoinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=fbbdb428-2ac4-4085-9cda-bca5f58bcbad
41 http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=070f0fa32e0e-449b-9164-cec34d771869
13

At the same time, all around Greece, Roma pupils are excluded from schools, or attend ghetto
schools, or attend regular schools but with a high dropout rate. Two government reports on Western
Greece and on Eastern Macedonia and Thrace have provided telling data for scores of Roma
communities in these regions. Additionally, a series of parliamentary questions have reminded the
government that Spata Roma have been excluded from the local school since 2011. In all cases the
government does not take any action other the issuing circulars about the importance to secure
Roma pupils attendance.
Non-implementation of UN HRC Views on evictions and ill-treatment
Greece has also failed to effectively implement three UN HRC Views (in the cases Georgopoulos v.
Greece concerning a multiple Roma eviction, as well as Katsaris v. Greece and Kalamiotis v.
Greece concerning ill-treatment of Roma), after communications submitted through GHM. In all
three Views, the HRC concluded that In accordance with article 2, paragraph 3 (a), of the
Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy, as
well as reparations to include compensation. In the cases of Katsaris and Kalamiotis, police actions
that had led to the violations had occurred more than five years before the publication of the views (in
1999 and 2001 respectively); thus, the consequent misdemeanors crimes had become time-barred.
Hence the perpetrators of these police actions are not being prosecuted. The only effective criminal
remedy available was, in the case of Katsaris, the prosecution of the judicial officials involved, for
which the State is claiming to the UN HRC that there is a pending criminal investigation by the
Supreme Court Prosecutor for the offenses of abuse of authority and breach of duty, unbeknown to
the author and to GHM. In the case of the Georgopoulos family, the unlawful evictions occurred in
2006, less than five years before the publications of the views; thus the consequent misdemeanors
crimes were not time-barred. Hence effective criminal remedy included both the assignment of
criminal liability to the perpetrators and the prosecution of the judicial officials involved. For both
cases, Authors Georgopoulos had filed criminal complaints, which were reopened after the Views.
Concerning the complaint against the municipal officials, the domestic court acquitted the defendants
municipal officials ruling that, whereas the demolition of the shacks was unlawful insofar as no
relevant permit had been issued by the town planning office, the requisite subjective element (namely
the specific intent, dolus specialis) of the offense was not made out as their intent was to satisfy the
(implied) overriding priority of protection of public health and not to harm the Roma. In its
reasoning it did not even include a reference to the HRC Views where these actions we found to be
unlawful. Nor was there any reference to the Supreme Court case law that the Views constitute a res
judicata, let alone some reasoning why it departed from that case law and reached a different
conclusion. As for the complaint against the judicial officials who had failed to refer to trial the
municipal officials responsible for the evictions of the authors, the latters legal representative Greek
Helsinki Monitor (GHM) was informed in November 2013 that the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court
had decided to archive the complaint. GHM filed a request asking for a copy of that decision and the
related court brief so as to inform the HRC (appending the HRC letters to GHM). The Supreme
Court Prosecutors office subsequently informed GHMs Panayote Dimitras orally that the
Prosecutor refused to give him the documents requested.
The HRC has ruled that Greece should offer adequate compensation to the authors in all three cases.
The State argued in the observations during the follow-up procedure that there is a domestic remedy
for the authors to seek compensation. This is not an implementation of the HRC Views. HRC did not
rule that the State provides the authors with a remedy to seek compensation but to offer adequate
compensation. Additionally, the procedure suggested by the State, a lawsuit for damages before
administrative courts, is not the proper one for awarding compensation to the authors. Such lawsuit is
necessary when there is a need to first establish State liability and then decide on the awarding of
compensation. When liability is established, the State decides on adequate compensation through its
Legal Council of State. Also, for the procedure invoked by the State, there is anyway a five-year
prescription. As the violations occurred in 1999, 2001 and 2006, a lawsuit would be thrown out as
inadmissible. Finally, even if all that did not hold, in all these lawsuits there is an excessive length of
14

procedure, with final judgments not expected before the 2020s for lawsuits filed in early 2010s
assuming they would have found admissible.
Informed of these and other cases of reluctance to implement ECtHR and UN HRC decisions, the UN
CAT, in its 2012 concluding observations on Greece stated: The Committee reiterates its concern
at the insufficient information provided relating to redress, including fair and adequate
compensation as well as rehabilitation, available to victims of torture and ill-treatment or their
dependants, in accordance with article 14 of the Convention. The Committee is also concerned at
the significant delays in offering redress to victims of violence which has been determined by
international supervisory organs and courts (art. 14). The State party should strengthen its efforts
in respect of redress, including compensation and the means for as full rehabilitation as possible,
and develop a specific programme of assistance in respect of victims of torture and ill-treatment.
The State party should also establish more efficient and accessible procedures to ensure that
victims can exercise their right to compensation in accordance with Law 3811/2009, especially by
reducing the time used by domestic courts to award damages in such cases. The Committee also
recommends that the State party should without exception and as a matter of urgency offer prompt
redress to victims of violence which has been determined by international supervisory organs and
courts, such this Committee and the Human Rights Committee, as well as the European Court of
Human Rights. 42
Effective denial of justice
In its 2009 report on Greece, following a 2008 visit, ECRI stated: 43 ECRI has also received
reports of Roma not being treated equally in the judicial system, with cases brought against
members of this group being investigated promptly while those in which Roma are plaintiffs often
take longer to solve and/or yield results which are not always in full respect of the Roma plaintiffs
rights ECRI recommends that the Greek authorities take vigorous measures to combat the
discrimination faced by Roma in various areas, including the justice system ECRI also
recommends that any allegations of discrimination brought by Roma be promptly investigated and
appropriate sanctions meted out where they prove founded. The way the Greek justice system
dealt with the cases that also led to ECtHR judgments against Greece is indicative of the effective
denial of justice for Roma.
After Greecs failure to implement the first Sampanis judgment, a new application to the ECtHR was
filed. The same documentation was also included in a criminal investigation filed before the Athens
First Instance Prosecutor (ABM 2010/285). In December 2012, the ECtHR found a new violation
by Greece in the second Sampani judgment. At that time, the Athens First Instance Prosecutor had
found no criminal liability of the authorities who had failed to desegregate the ghetto school but
instead had summoned GHMs representative Panayote Dimitras to respond to charges of perjury!
After the ECtHR judgment, the charges against him were dropped and an investigation against the
authorities was reopened: yet, it is still pending more than four years after the complaint was filed
and as the crimes (committed since 2008) have partly become time-barred (there is a five year
prescription period). Likewise, the criminal investigation of the liability of authorities in the
segregation of Sofades Roma pupils in a ghetto school (Karditsa First Instance Prosecutor
2012/807) for which the ECtHR found a violation by Greece in the Lavida judgment is still at the
level of a preliminary investigation, even though all information included in the ECtHR file was also
submitted by the applicants to the ECtHR and civil claimants before the Greek courts.
Additionally, on 6 September 2013, GHM asked the Supreme Court Prosecutor to secure the
implementation of the judgments and ask the local prosecutors to act on exclusion or segregation in
education of Roma pupils. Moreover, the Supreme Court Prosecutor was asked to see that
prosecutor orders are issued for the immediate implementation of the Sampani and Lavida

42 http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/CAT.C.GRC.CO.5-6.doc
43 http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Greece/GRC-CbC-IV-2009-031-ENG.pdf
15

judgments with desegregation of the two ghetto schools.44 Such orders to execute final judgments in
order to avoid criminal liability are a usual procedure; yet they were not issued. The request was
supported by SYRIZA,45 Democratic Left46 and Ecologists Greens.47 The Supreme Court Prosecutor
did not act on the specific request. A Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor merely sent the complaint
to all local prosecutors asking them to act and investigate such complaints as a priority, just like
another Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor had done in February 2011, without any result as has
been documented above.
These developments as well as information presented above confirm the prevailing impression that
judicial authorities, just like the government, have only an ostensible interest in upholding Roma
rights when they issue circulars or make statements in apparent defense of Roma rights.
Efimerida ton Syntakton
05/01/14
Roma means humans, not human garbage
[translated from the Greek original available at http://www.efsyn.gr/?p=163453 by Vasilis Tsarnas
and edited by Panayote Dimitras]
An open letter entitled Roma means humans, not human garbage - Fifteen years of Greek
apartheid is addressed to the Minister of the Interior G. Michelakis and the Alternate Minister of
Interior L. Grigorakos by P. Dimitras, an authorized representative of the The Hope, the Roma
Association of Halandri and also representative of Greek Helsinki Monitor.
This letter responds to a statement by the Secretary General of Decentralized Administration D.
Kalogeropoulos in the Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper (30/12/2013 http://www.efsyn.gr/?
p=162481) concerning two of his decisions: the temporary settlement of the Halandri Roma
community to the old U.S. radar base in the border between the municipalities of Mandra and
Megara and the demolition of their settlement in Halandri on 25 February 2014.
The letter:
1 January 2014
Messrs. Ministers,
The Secretary General of Decentralized Administration of Attica, Dimitris Kalogeropoulos
(GSDAA) who reports directly to you, commented in the Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper
(30/12/2013) that the relocation of the Halandri Roma to the ... top of the Mount Pateras in Megara
area is decided.
The relocation will take place before the demolition ... For this decision, the consent of the city
council is not required... We have been searching thoroughly for nine months. I have no land
available, so I am asking the state for some. We could find any public land near the national road,
44
http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2013_files/aitisi_gia_eisageliki_paragelia_kai_egyklio_roma_education_6-92013.doc
45
https://www.facebook.com/notes/panayote-dimitras/%CF%83%CF%85%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%B6%CE%B1%CF%83%CE%B5-%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%83%CE%B1%CE%B3%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%AD
%CE%B1-%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%BF%CF%85-%CF%80%CE%AC%CE%B3%CE%BF
%CF%85-%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1-%CE%B5%CE%BA%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%AF%CE%B4%CE
%B5%CF%85%CF%83%CE%B7-%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%BC%CE%AC-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9-%CF
%85%CF%80%CF%8C%CE%B8%CE%B5%CF%83%CE%B7-502-%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%B9%CE%B4%CE
%B9%CF%8E%CE%BD-%CE%B1%CE%B3/742336365792076
46 http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2013_files/yannakaki_letter_to_eisap_6-9-2013.pdf
47
http://www.ecogreens-gr.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4872%3A-lr&catid=11%3Arights&Itemid=27
16

near Megara. But that would cause panic. I would apply the law, so that Greece would not be
condemned. The law allows me to decide without the consent of the local community. But then the
people would be exposed. I do not feel in good conscience to do so and to say that I swept it under
someone elses carpet.
Messrs. Ministers,
Roma in their language means humans. For the Golden Dawn, of course they are human
garbage. If for you they are humans and not human garbage, you cannot decide as if its about
landfill sites, ignoring those its actually about. The GSDAA said he insists on sending to the top of a
mountain in Megara, 70 Roma families, most of them residents of Halandri for decades: he asked the
Mayors of Megara and Mandra and they said no, also representing the feelings of the local
communities.
A two-party decision
The law, the GSDAA says, does not require their consent, only the expression of their opinion.
Roma, for whom the GSDAA decides -and so you also take a two-party decision Messrs.
Ministers-48, that will have to go there, have not been consulted as this is not required by the law, so
their opinion is considered completely unimportant. The same way the garbage isnt asked where
landfill sites should be located. The same way Africans werent asked in South Africa for the
apartheid imposed on them. Obviously, regardless of your political announcements, in the end you
too Messrs. Ministers, just like the GSDAA, in effect agree with the Golden Dawn that they are
human garbage, not needing to be asked for the apartheid you plan for them.
Of course, the GSDAA, before concluding to send them to an exile at the top of Pateras Mountain,
took the decision a year ago to relocate the Roma within the limits of Halandri municipality, where
they belong. Then, the Roma were even asked and they had agreed. The GSDAA was also,
alternatively, thinking to relocate them within the urban Lykovrisi area without asking the Roma.
But, contrary to what he says today, he did not ignore the opinions of the local communities and of
the two municipal councils in Halandri and Lykovrisi who were opposed and he thwarted these
solutions.
As he sincerely says, he realized that without apartheid you cant have a final solution. He could
decide to relocate them (without their consent of course) on public land next to the national road
near Megara. He did not because that would cause panic.
Police brutality
While all these were happening in Attica, in another place and outside the limelight, in early
September 2013 and with a unanimous decision of the Lokri municipal council, the Roma
community of Atalanti, with the use of police brutality and in an illegal way -according to the
Ombudsman and the Decentralized Administration of Thessaly and Central Greece-, was transferred
to the Fouflas remote area. A year before, it was the municipality of Lamia that relocated in the same
illegal way its Roma community to the remote Kamilovrisi area.
Thirteen years before, in October 2000, was carried out the first institutionalized apartheid that is
how the representative of the Council of Europe called it- with another illegal relocation of the Spata
Roma community in the Kiafa remote area, where they still live in squalor.
Messrs. Ministers,
Do all these actions of institutionalized apartheid for the Roma, at least, for the last fifteen years,
48 Note: the Minister belongs to ND and the Alternate Minister to PASOK
17

actually show the respect of the state for the Roma humans or maybe their treatment as human
garbage in accordance to the wishes of Ilias Kasidiaris?49
Panayote Dimitras

49 He is the Golden Dawns spokesperson and he used this term for Roma in a public anti-Roma meeting in
Aspropyrgos in May 2011.
18