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ΕFA-Rainbow supports the right of the Catalan people to decide on their future and joins the EFA campaign "Catalonia decides"

Catalonia decides



Radio Macedonian Culture

A selection of Macedonian blogs in Greece

Aegean Macedonian Culture

Anti-macedonian policy during the elections for the European Parliament against Rainbow by the Greek state and the Greek mass media

A scandal by the Parliamentary committee

Greek TV stations sabotage EFA-Raibow

Ultra-nationalists want "borders with Serbia"!

"Hellenic Post" sabbotages EFA-Rainbow Campaign

Typical example of censorship of Rainbow

Attack of the Greek Neo-nazi party

A Greek - Macedonian dictionary by Vasko Karatza printed with the support of EFA - Rainbow
 Greek   Macedonian

D. Lithoxoou
"Extracts of Letters"

Τι έλεγε κάποτε το ΚΚΕ για τους Μακεδόνες

Denying Ethnic Identity:
The Macedonians of Greece, by Human Rights Watch

Linguistics and politics II:
Macedonian Language

Greece's stance towards
its Macedonian minority
and the neighbouring
Republic of Macedonia.

Lawed Arguments
and Omitted Truths

R. Nikovski: Memorandum to the European Parliament
Facts behind the Greek politics towards Macedonia

English  Macedonian

"Proposed disciplinary measures to stamp out the Macedonian minority in Greece by the National Security Service"

Center Maurits Coppieters
European Free Alliance
Federal Union of European Nationalities
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Greek Anti–Nationalistic Movement
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Macedonian Human Rights of Australia
OMO Ilinden - PIRIN
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Macedonian Forum for politics and history

P.O. Box 60820, GR-15304 Glyka Nera
Telephone: (+30) 210.347.22.59. Fax: (+30) 210.601.87.60.

Presentation to the UN Human Rights Committee
on Greece’s Compliance with the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights

22 March 2005


Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and Minority Rights Group - Greece (MRG-G) have submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), in February 2005, a “Parallel Summary Report on Greece’s Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)” along the lines of the HRC’s List of Issues on Greece.[1] Below is a highlight of the main points of the “Parallel Report” with some underlined updates. In addition, GHM & MRG-G draw the attention of the HRC to discrimination against homosexuals.

1. Generally good legal system suffers in the implementation and the lack of sanctions

Greek Ombudsman Professor George Kaminis has aptly stated[2] that “Greece has … a very advanced legislation [and] a good constitution. The problem lies in its implementation… There are courts, prosecutors … have you seen them produce any results?”[3] “If we really want to ameliorate the public sector, what is needed is not reconciliatory procedures, but sanctions.”

Update: This severe criticism of the inadequacy of even the courts became very pertinent in the past two months when we have had an avalanche of very serious allegations about corruption and favoritism among prosecutors and judges, involving thus far a score of them, often in complicity with Orthodox Church officials. What appeared striking to some is that most of these allegations concerned behavior of judicial officers of at least a few years ago that, as it has been widely reported, was known to many including their superiors. Yet only when the scandal became public and concerned as victims important persons as well, did the courts move to investigate these allegations. Seizing this opportunity, GHM wrote to the country’s chief prosecutor and judge, their unions, as well as the Minister of Justice, on 15 February 2005, bringing to their attention (for most cases again) 32 cases of policemen and civilians (in the Amaliada, Western Greece) initially charged with drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, corruption, etc. following competent police investigation: local and regional courts had failed to find anyone one guilty in all but 3-4 cases. Moreover, in other three cases (trafficking in persons or racist speech in the media) charges were dropped for statute of limitation as prosecutors had let years lapse since the time of the facts. In three other cases, prosecutors and/or bailiffs were involved in summons never having been served to trafficking victims or Roma victims of state violence so they missed their trials or court criminal investigations. While in a notorious police violence against Roma children case, GHM had extensively documented a cover up in the investigation involving breach of duty, perjury, forgery, etc. but no credible investigation had been carried out. GHM asked for all these cases to be included in the current investigation of judicial officials’ inadequate if not illegal and corrupt attitude. Five weeks later there has once again be no such action, perhaps because here the victims belong almost all to minorities.     

2. Direct and indirect gender discrimination

In at least one law enforcement agency, the (police) border guards, there is an entry quota of 10% for women. In many other agencies, gender discrimination is indirect. Update: The state’s Higher Council for Selection of Personnel (ASEP)’s Vice-President Agisilaos Bakopoulos confirmed (Eleftherotypia, 20 March 2005) that –in his words- the “‘trick’ used now is equal body height or performance in sport events.” Such criteria exist for the selection (outside the ASEP system) of professional soldiers, guards of state agencies and banks, as well as in police academies. Administrative courts usually vindicate women who would anyway apply and be rejected but clearly women are discouraged by this practice.

3. Domestic violence and marital rape still not covered by explicit criminal legislation

The HRC is urged to ask the Greek government to communicate to the HRC the ECSR decision reportedly finding Greece in violation, to help the HRC better understand the situation on corporal punishment of children.[4] Update: Already, a legislative amendment to ban corporal punishment at secondary schools was tabled, while a commission to help introduce legislation against domestic violence has been formed by the Ministry of Justice: GHM & MRG-G hope that the outcome of its work would not have the fate of a similar commission established several years ago, whose draft bill was rejected by the Ministry.

4. Ill-treatment, misuse of firearms, and related impunity

GHM & MRG-G have worked in collaboration, inter alia, with Amnesty International (AI) on monitoring ill-treatment, misuse of firearms, and related impunity. Besides AI’s related presentation to the HRC, GHM & MRG-G would like to recall a UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) request to Greece to provide information on the specific, detailed and documented allegations made by NGOs, especially on 117 individual cases and five raids of Roma settlements, included in joint reports of World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and Greek NGOs. The state failed to provide any information on the specific cases, and to adequately answer CAT’s questions. HRC should urge Greece to carry out or –where necessary- reopen prompt, thorough and impartial investigations on these charges and report back to the various international bodies. The investigations into these cases reported by several NGOs should also deal with allegations of cover up and consequent impunity. The whole operation need be assigned to a Supreme Court Prosecutor who should then draw a comprehensive report on all these cases that Greece should submit to the UN Human Rights Bodies that have asked for related information. Perpetrators should be punished and victims compensated. In the meantime, HRC is requested to reaffirm the essence of the November 2004 CAT recommendations on Greece.

Update: Moreover, GHM & MRG-G highlight with new information the leniency of courts even in the rare cases they convict law enforcement officers for such charges. In the report to HRC, GHM & MRG-G reported on only suspended sentences of up to 2.5 years for port officials convicted for torture. Ten days ago, (now cashiered) police officer George Tyllianakis who had killed a Rom in 2001 was convicted –at first instance- for felony murder to 13 years in prison but the sentence was suspended pending appeal (which may take years to be held). The only other cases known in Greek courts where sentences of more than 10 years for such charges were suspended pending appeal involve, again, two police officers. Theodore Haloulakos had crippled for life a teenager in 2000, was sentenced to 10 years and 3 months for attempted murder in 2001 but the sentence was suspended until confirmed on appeal in 2003, when the officer starting serving the sentence. Theodore Katsas killed a youth in 2002 and was sentenced for felony murder to 12.5 years in prison in 2004 but the sentence was suspended pending appeal. GHM & MRG-G recall that in several other cases of police officers killing unarmed civilians, the perpetrators got away with misdemeanors manslaughter sentences of up to three years –which they were able to convert to a fine- or were acquitted (usually when the victims were Roma or Albanians). Moreover, in its presentation to UN CAT, Greece repeatedly stated that any police officer who gets convicted to at least six months in prison is cashiered from the service. This is not true though, as GHM & MRG-G had the opportunity to realize in concrete cases. Indeed, according to Article 9 of PD 22/1994 as amended in 2004, for a series of serious crimes a final conviction of a police officer leads to cashiering. However, in view of article 49 of the same law, such disciplinary action can take place only if there had been no or just  a lower previous disciplinary sanction against this officer. If, as has happened in many cases, a higher sanction of temporary dismissal from service had been imposed, then the officer cannot be punished again and thus stays in the force! This is why in many serious cases police disciplinary councils impose temporary dismissal sanctions to police officers which are in fact protecting them from cashiering in the event of a criminal conviction, while can be overturned if the officers are acquitted in court.  

5. Trafficking in human beings

In addition to the presentation made to HRC by AI, GHM & MRG-G would like to reiterate that no statistics on the prosecution of cases under the new (or the old) law are kept. Thus, Greece did not answer a similar question asked by CAT in November 2004. GHM & MRG-G are aware –to a large extent thanks to a Hellenic Aid (Greek MFA) sponsored program to provide legal and administrative assistance to victims- that, in a handful of cases, under the new 3064/2002 law, there have been some notable convictions in first instance for traffickers arrested in 2003 or 2004. Yet, GHM & MRG-G would like to mention one recent ruling by a Three-Member Appeals Felony Court of Thessaloniki in November 2004, leading to a six-and-a-half year prison sentence for only two of the six defendants.[5] The victim –even though reportedly given the new law’s protection- did not appear in court making it impossible to prove some of the charges. There was no state investigation why this protected victim failed to show up in court or whether she is still in Greece. While two Russian victims, who escaped their traffickers in Syros in December 2003, live in scare as, more than fifteen months later, the judicial investigation is still at the preliminary inquiry stage (whose legally allowed maximum time is eight months): no charges are pressed and thus the traffickers continue to walk and work freely in a known address in Athens…

On the 502 missing Albanian children -the “Agia Varvara” case, after a preliminary investigation, on 1 December 2004, the Prosecutor pressed felony charges “against anyone involved” for the “abduction of children less than 14 years of age.” An investigative judge was assigned to carry out the main investigation. Update: In the March 2005 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children (E/CN.4/2005/78/Add.3) it is indicated that a related Communication jointly sent to the Greek authorities with the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons on this case has remained unanswered.

6. Detention conditions in prisons and police detention areas

In addition to the comprehensive AI presentation to the HRC, GHM & MRG-G would like to highlight that they have been repeatedly denied access to all detention or prison facilities they formally sought access to in recent years. They are making available to HRC the November 2004 photos kindly made available by Doctors of the World – Greece from the Mytilini detention facility, which later became notorious for hosting also hundreds of UAM (unaccompanied minors) illegal entrants who after being released were going missing without the child prosecuting authorities being informed. 

7. Inadequate legal aid to minority persons

GHM & MRG-G would like to draw the HRC’s attention to the section in their report on the inadequacy of the free legal aid provisions as well as the legal services offered by several lawyers to minority persons whom they are exploiting, without repeated allegations on this having ever being investigated.

8. Severe restrictions to religious freedom

According to Professor Michalis Stathopoulos, a leading civil law expert and the former Minister of Justice who abolished the religious reference in the identity cards –only to be removed from his job a little later–, the Greek state in many ways “is religious.” More generally, he noted[6] that “There is, in violation of religious freedom, a ‘religiosiation’ (with religious ceremonies) of some purely state activities in which necessarily many non-Christian or non-religious persons have to participate. Characteristically the beginning of each session of Parliament takes a religious character –as in Iran.” This means also:

1. Update: Ten days ago, the new President of the Republic gave a Orthodox Christian oath of office to the Parliament, but the ceremony was officiated by the Archbishop and not the Speaker of the Parliament. Likewise, many civil servants –like the graduates of the diplomatic academy- take the oath of office –itself secular- in ceremonies officiated by Church leaders.   

2.  Although the prevailing Orthodox Church has a formal statute invested in a law, minority religions are either associations, or, as in the case of the Catholic Church -whose presence in today Greek territory is older than the state itself- exist in a legal limbo with various legal personalities considered unsatisfactory by that Church.  

3. Most crucially, in every court room, there is an icon of Jesus Christ behind and above the presiding judge’s head. To every participant in the proceedings, this gives the impression that they are not in a Greek state court (which would have been signified by a picture of the head of state) but in a Christian court. GHM & MRG-G distribute pictures of courtrooms indicating the Christ’s icon, the Gospel in the witness stand for taking the oath, and – incidentally- the place taken by the prosecutor –on the bench next to the judges- which symbolically confirms the practice that the prosecutor acts as another judge. Witnesses take a Christian oath, unless they expressly ask to be exempted from it after they declare their different religious identity. Jurors also take a Christian oath.

4. Members of minority religions face various forms of prejudice, harassment and discrimination. There are no mosques outside Thrace and the Dodecanese for the hundreds of thousands Muslim migrants who are forced to attend “underground” mosques. There is no possibility to get cremated. Most state cemeteries are operated by the Orthodox Church which often refuses the burial to non-Orthodox. Although there are no recent court cases on proselytism, Jehovah Witnesses continue to be harassed. The Ministry of Education has refused to allow the operation of houses of worship by Scientologists or Dodecatheists (followers of the ancient Greek religion). Update: In February 2005, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers reminded Greece once again that the outdated legislation on proselytism and houses of worship (Law 1363/1938 and Decree of 20 May/2 June 1939) is still in force and its amendment is considered necessary for reasons of legal safety.”[7] Hence, again there was no Resolution of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe that acknowledges the execution of the judgment. Members of religious minorities are rarely found in state administration jobs, especially in high echelons; they cannot become either teachers in nursery schools or single-teacher primary schools, unless the pupils are of the same religion with the teacher. An aspect of the constitutionally obligatory Eastern-Orthodox-centered education is the mandatory religious education classes of catechism of the prevailing religion. Non-Orthodox pupils can opt out of this and leave class during it; but only after they first declare their religion. The content of the religious education schoolbooks include several discriminatory references to minority religions. Update: GHM & MRG-G were told by the Ministry of Education that some of them were removed from the 2004 edition of the 3rd year secondary school book. Moreover, with the exception of the traditional minority schools in Thrace and some schools with many Cathloics, even in state schools where there are a significant number of pupils belonging to one non-Orthodox (usually Muslim) denomination, the state does not provide religious education to them. Schools can also ask from the Orthodox Church to send priests for the confession of the pupils, which is not possible for the other faiths. In the National Education Council, in which a national dialogue on the future of education was launched in January 2005, its 32 members include representatives of various government agencies and parliamentary parties, of rectors, of secondary school and university students, of teachers’ unions, of parents’ associations, of trade and businessmen unions, of local administration, and of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.[8] Finally, religious education teachers can also teach –as part of Christian ethics- anachronistic views on sexual life matters. They have been given for example a CD-Rom that argues that “with the legalization of abortions there is an official genocide” which is compared with Hitler’s mass killings of 300,000 disabled Germans and then 6 million Jews, while AIDS is blamed on sexual liberation. It is to be noted that on the other hand there is no mandatory sexual education.[9]

9. Conscientious objectors

GHM & MRG-G consider AI’s presentation to HRC comprehensive.

10. Problems of freedom of expression

Laws call for seizure or ban of books and prison sentences to their authors which may be considered offensive to the dominant religion (in theory to all religions but no book has ever been seized for being offensive to Islam or the Jewish religion).

11. Incitement to national, racial or religious hatred

As then NCHR and now ECHR expert Nicholas Sitaropoulos wrote,[10] “Greek courts have never effectively applied anti-racism Law 927/1979. A series of recent criminal proceedings targeting the publication of anti-Semitic, xenophobic/racist texts in the press, brought before Greek criminal courts by an NGO (Greek Helsinki Monitor), have not had any effect, mainly due to misinterpretation by Greek courts of the above statute.” Hence “ECRI is concerned over reports from non-governmental organisations indicating that racist incidents have occurred in Greece - including racist statements made in public or reported in the press, and acts of racist violence - and that such incidents have not been prosecuted or indeed given all due attention by the Greek authorities. This problem may not necessarily be the result of a deficiency in terms of criminal law provision, but rather of an interpretation of the notion of racism by certain judicial authorities, leading to either no charges being brought, or charges being dropped in these cases.”

12. Freedom of association

There are currently no associations in Greece operating legally with their names including the words “Macedonian” or “Turkish” to reflect the ethnic or national identity of their members. This situation reflects the refusal of Greece to acknowledge the presence of a Macedonia and a Turkish minority in its territory. In the GHM & MRG-G report as well as in the AI presentation to HRC detailed information is provided about one Macedonian and several Turkish associations dissolved or refused registration by the courts through 2005.

13. Discrimination between ethnic and non-ethnic Greek applicants for citizenship

Ethnic Greeks have privileged access to the acquisition or the restoration of Greek citizenship as compared to non-ethnic Greeks, for whom not only requirements are more onerous but also they are rarely citizenship even if they have lived in Greece for decades and are married with a Greek and/or have children with Greek citizenship. Even among ethnic Greeks, moreover, the state gives privileged access to citizenship to those from former Soviet states while routinely denying it to those from Albania, a formal discrimination denounced by the Greek Ombudsman too. 

14. Recognition of minorities

ECRI aptly summarizes the situation of minorities in Greece: “In its second report, ECRI encouraged the authorities to ensure that all groups in Greece, Macedonians and Turks included, could exercise their rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression in accordance with international legal standards. ECRI notes that the Greek authorities are more ready to recognise the existence of minority groups in Greece, such as the Pomaks or the Roma, including the fact that certain members of these groups have a native language other than Greek. However, other groups still encounter difficulties, the Macedonians and Turks for example. Even today, persons wishing to express their Macedonian, Turkish or other identity incur the hostility of the population. They are targets of prejudices and stereotypes, and sometimes face discrimination, especially in the labour market.”

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), in its 2004 Concluding Observations, after having read a similar presentation by Greece on minorities with the one included in the state report to HRC, stated: “The Committee is concerned that there is only one officially recognized minority in Greece, whereas there are other ethnic groups seeking that status. (...) The Committee urges the State party to reconsider its position with regard to the recognition of other ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities which may exist within its territory, in accordance with recognized international standards, and invites it to ratify the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995).”

The Greek state report to HRC drew the criticism of the National Commission for Human Rights in its review of that draft. The NCHR first recalled the prevailing principle of self-identification. It then pointed out that, besides the “Muslim” minority, there is de jure recognition of the Jewish minority as well. Following that it listed other ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, like Roma, Catholics, Protestants, Armenians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Turks, Pomaks, (Slavo)Macedonians, Vlachs and Arvanites, adding that “some of these groups also seek recognition of their ethnic origins.” It concluded that “this situation does not confirm the categorical statement in the draft report according to which there are no other groups in Greece which could be defined according to international law standards as minorities.”

GHM & MRG-G consider of utmost importance that HRC urges Greece to acknowledge the presence of, if not formally recognize, various ethno-national or ethno-cultural minorities that aspire to such status or at least implicitly indicate they want to preserve their identity. An unequivocal opinion on the applicability of Article 27 as interpreted in the 1994 General Comment is necessary, as in the case of France, in view of similar “denial of minorities” attitudes of the two states. It is stressed that the recommendation need be unequivocal as Greece has stated, in the November 2004 ECRI seminar in Athens, that it does not consider the aforementioned UN CESCR recommendation as calling Greece to recognize other minorities. Greece argued that, since the recommendation refers to minorities that may exist, it is up to the state to ascertain if there are such minorities: the Greek state believes that no other minorities do exist hence it is not obliged to consider such recognition.

HRC is requested to remind Greece that it should interpret Article 27 according to the General Comment and most particularly the following excerpts:

“5.1. The [...] persons designed to be protected are those who belong to a group and who share in common a culture, a religion and/or a language. Those terms also indicate that the individuals designed to be protected need not be citizens of the State party [...]. A State party may not, therefore, restrict the rights under article 27 to its citizens alone.’

‘5.2. Article 27 confers rights on persons belonging to minorities which “exist” in a State party. [...] Thus, migrant workers or even visitors in a State party constituting such minorities are entitled not to be denied the exercise of those rights. [...] The existence of an ethnic, religious or linguistic minority in a given State party does not depend upon a decision by that State party but requires to be established by objective criteria [...]’.

In view of the above, Greece has to recognize that there are Greek citizens who have a national (or ethno-national) identity of Macedonian or Turkish; as well as others who have an ethnic (ethno-linguistic or ethno-cultural) identity of Roma. They should all be conferred the rights of Article 27, which should also be extended to migrant communities, many of which have now been living in Greece for up to fifteen years.

15. The use of sharia among ‘Muslim’ minority women

Muslim minority women formally have the option of turning either to the local muftis (if they live in Western Thrace, as there are no Muftis in the rest of Greece) or to the competent Greek courts concerning family and inheritance law cases. In reality, however, Muslim minority women are not aware of this fact. Moreover, even if they turned to the civil courts, case law indicates that the latter do not review the merits of the decisions of the muftis but only if the formalities are correct: hence, the muftis’ rulings are in reality final, as experts have stated.[11] The most serious problem though is that such procedures take place before religious or judicial authorities without the women even being informed. GHM & MRG-G have also noted numerous other causes for concern over the way Muslim minority are treated by state authorities. One concern is polygamy. Greek case law indicates that it is not considered a crime (as it is considered for non-Muslims) and that the Koranic reference to it in conjunction with law 14/1914 overrides the relevant provisions of Greek civil law and Greek public order.[12] Finally, there are more problems concerning the marriage of minors belonging to two minorities, the Roma and the “Muslims”. Thousands of marriages involving one or both spouses aged (often much) less than eighteen have taken place and were recognized. As long as Christian priests or Muslim muftis perform them, the state approves them without even court decisions. Update: Besides the recent extreme case, of an August 2004 wedding between a twenty-two year old Muslim man and an eleven year old Muslim girl (both Muslim Roma), an article in “Vimagazino” insert in “To Vima” of 20 March 2005 included the information that the sister of this girl, herself 14, is already married to a 16 year old, while the bridegroom in the first marriage was missing from the pictures of the wedding which was probably a proxy marriage. In the article, references are made to two specific weddings of minority women at the age of 13 and 15, and to a prevailing attitude in Muslim Roma and Muslim Pomak communities of women aged 15 with several children already. Among Christian Roma too, data gathered by medical personnel of the state Aglaia Kiriakou Children’s Hospital, the average marriage age was 14 for women and 17 for men.[13]

16. Racist prejudice against migrants and Roma

According to the extensive excerpts of statements and observations by both IGOs and by Ministry of Public Order officials reproduced in the report, racial prejudice on the part of police officers towards migrants and Roma merely reflects prevailing racist attitudes in Greek society. This is why there is a -disproportionately to their share in the population- high number of victims of police violence who are Roma or migrants. GHM & MRG-G draw the attention to a very indicative recent example of racial profiling in Patras, detailed in their report to HRC.

17. Forced evictions of Roma

The GHM & MRG-G report to HRC, as well as the AI and the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) presentations to HRC, provide ample and documented evidence on systematic forced evictions of Roma, especially around the 2004 Olympic Games, without compensation or provision of alternative housing, and with ensuing impunity even when such illegal actions are taken before the courts. ECRI, the UN CESCR, UN CAT, as well the Greek NCHR, have also expressed similar concerns. Collective complaint under the European Social Charter No. 15/2003 European Roma Rights Centre v. Greece, lodged in April 2003, related to Article 16 (the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection) and the Preamble (non-discrimination) of the European Social Charter. It was claimed that there is widespread discrimination both in law and in practice against Roma in the field of housing. The European Committee of Social Rights transmitted its decision on the merits of the complaint to the Committee of Ministers on 7 February 2005. The HRC is urged to ask the Greek government to communicate to the HRC the ECSR decision so as to help the HRC better understand the situation on forced evictions. 

18. Dissemination of information related to the ICCPR and state-NGO relations

GHM & MRG-G have previously stated that the UN Covenants as well as most UN Treaties, and state reports to and recommendations of UN Human Rights Bodies are widely unknown and unavailable in Greece, and hardly ever used by courts (the report to CEDAW was an exception). The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not publish even state reports, while Greece’s review is not mentioned even in Greece’s UN site Greek delegation pledges to UN Treaty Bodies that publication of state reports and the bodies’ concluding documents will take place has remained an unfulfilled promise to date. Update: GHM & MRG-G have sent to the Greek authorities their report the same day they submitted it to the HRC, making themselves available for an exchange of information and a discussion with the competent agencies. With the exception of the Ministry of Education, no other ministry or agency replied to GHM & MRG-G: worse, in the 16 March 2005 meeting of the inter-ministerial task force on trafficking with the NGOs working on this topic, GHM was the only NGO that was practically not allowed to raise the issues included in its reports to UN CAT and UN HRC, and was asked to merely send them to the task force (even though they had already been sent…). 

19. Update: Discrimination against homosexuals

Greece’s 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. Greece GHM & MRG-G welcome the February 2005 NCHR ruling on homosexual rights[14] that recommended to the 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.

[2] Interview in the Athens based magazine Tachydromos inserted in the Saturday edition of the daily newspaper Ta Nea, 24 April 2004.

[3] Interview in the Athens based daily newspaper Ethnos, Sunday issue, April 13, 2003.

[5] Ta Nea, 10-11-2004

[6] Interview in the Athens-based daily newspaper “Eleftherotypia” 12/2/2005 available at

[10] Nicholas Sitaropoulos, at the time he wrote this text, was the Legal Research Officer for the Greek National Commission for Human Rights and Independent Expert for Greece in the context of a relevant program of the European Union and the Migration Policy Group, Brussels. See “Executive Summary on race equality directive, state of play in Greece, 12 October 2003”, section 5, document available at

[11] Constantinos Tsitselikis, “The place of the mufti in the Greek legal order” in D. Christopoulos ed “Legal Issues of Religious Otherness in Greece”, KEMO/Kritiki, 1999, pp. 273-330 (in Greek).

[12] Constantinos Tsitselikis, “The place of the mufti in the Greek legal order” in D. Christopoulos ed “Legal Issues of Religious Otherness in Greece”, KEMO/Kritiki, 1999, pp. 273-330 (in Greek).

[13] Document entitled Statistic Data of the Program for the protection and promotion of health and of the social integration of Greek Gypsies, undated, circa February 2003, at p 2.




Internet Addresses: Balkan Human Rights Web Pages:

The Balkan Human Rights List:

The Greek Human Rights List:

Center of Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe – Southeast Europe:

GHM Board: Kevin Boyle, Panayote Dimitras, Nafsika Papanikolatos, Dimitrina Petrova, Gregory Vallianatos.

MRG-G Spokesperson: Nafsika Papanikolatos.

International Advisory Committee: Savvas Agouridis, Teuta Arifi, Ivo Banac, Vladimir Bilandzic, Marcel Courthiade, Loring Danforth, Fernand de Varennes, Victor-Yves Ghebali, Henri Giordan, Krassimir Kanev, Will Kymlicka, Magda Opalski, Theodore S. Orlin, Dimitrina Petrova, Alan Phillips, Aaron Rhodes, Vladimir Solonari, Patrick Thornberry, Stefan Troebst, Boris Tsilevich, Tibor Varady, Marc Weller.

Affiliation to International Organizations: Consortium of Minority Resources (COMIR), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), Minority Rights Group International (MRGI), One World Net, South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).


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Promotion of the
Macedonian Language
Primer at the OSCE HDIM

English Greek Macedonian

Greek irredentism and expansionism officially sanctioned by the Greek Parliament
English Greek Macedonian

Letter to Carla del Ponte,
Chief Prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

English Greek Macedonian

The Yugoslavian Crisis
English Greek Macedonian

Document of the Ministry
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Related to the article - The obvious linguistic particularity - Eletherotypia, 18/11/2006

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The ten Greek myths
on the “Macedonian issue”

By IOS team – Eletherotypia, 23/10/2005

Who says there are no
minority languages in Greece?

The "secret" census
in north Greece, in 1920

Map showing the Cultures and Languages in the E.U.

Council of Europe
Framework convention for the Protection of national minorities




Συνέντευξη: Ευάγγελος Κωφός, Έλληνας ιστορικός
Δημοκρατία της Μακεδονίας - Σκόπια είναι όνομα που εκφράζει την ταυτότητά σας

Greek   Macedonian

Ο Παύλος Φιλίποβ Βοσκόπουλος απαντά στον Ευάγγελο Κωφό.
«Το Μακεδονικό ζήτημα είναι η αχίλλειος πτέρνα του ελληνικού μύθου».

Greek   Macedonian
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