GCR and HLHR appeal: safeguard the Rule of Law in Greece


Athens, 28 March 2023: On 17 March, the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and the Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR) sent a joint letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs.

In their letter, the organisations highlight the long-standing nature of reported pushbacks incidents at the country's borders. Yet they stress that in recent years there has been a paradigm shift vis-à-vis the management of refugee and migrant arrivals, which has led to an exponential increase in the number of relevant complaints.

At the same time, in spite of the number of complaints and in stark contrast to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which has prioritised the examination of no less than 32 cases of alleged pushbacks in Greece, the Greek judiciary continues to remain inactive, with the cases that have so far been brought before it having remained stuck at a preliminary stage or having been archived.

In further contrast, amidst the demonisation of civil society organisations active in the field of refugee protection, there has also been an increasing criminalisation, even via the misuse of criminal provisions, of those who bring to light the numerous pushback allegations and/or appeal to justice on behalf of the victims. This is extremely worrying for the state of the Rule of Law in Greece.

In conclusion, the organisations call on the UN, the Council of Europe and the European Commission, as guardians of International and European Human Rights Law, to appeal to the Greek authorities to comply with their obligations under International, European and National Law.

Read the joint letter here


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