The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.
Description of the situation:
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing harassment of human rights defenders dealing with minority rights in Greece.
According to the information received, on December 12, 2016 six parliamentarians belonging to the Greek far-right party Golden Dawn and some of their followers violently interrupted a Human Rights Day conference organised in the Athens Journalist Union building by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), along with the Party of Friendship Equality and Peace (Dostluk Esitlik Baris – DEB), on the topic of “National Minorities in Greece and Recommendations from International Organisations”.
During the attack, the six Golden Dawn members and their followers entered the room shouting racist slogans and threatening the participants. Verbal abuses, death threats against the participants, particularly against DEB Party President Mustafa Ali Cavus, and slogans such as “Turks are unwelcomed in Greece” have been heard during this incident.
In spite of the warning received prior to the event and their written promises to GHM to ensure the smooth running of the conference, the Greek police did not take any measure to protect the integrity of the participants nor to ensure their freedom of speech and association.
Moreover, the Greek Prosecution Offices did not take any ex officio action following this violent and threatening action by Golden Dawn members of the Parliament (MPs) and the failure of police to take any action. On December 21, 2016, GHM and DEB filed a complaint before the Athens Prosecutor for Racist Crimes against both the Golden Dawn MPs and the Hellenic Police leadership.
The International Secretariat of OMCT recalls that the situation of minority rights defenders in Greece has been critical for years. Human rights defenders dealing with this matter have been subjected to expulsions, entry bans and other forms of administrative harassment and threats.
The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its deep concern for the overall situation of minority rights defenders in Greece, as evident in the incident reported above, and urges the Greek authorities to put in place all necessary measures to ensure their physical and psychological integrity as well as to protect their right to freedom of expression and association in order to be able to carry out their legitimate human rights work.
Finally, the International Secretariat of OMCT urges the Greek authorities to promptly and effectively investigate the complaint related to the events of December 12, 2016 and bring those responsible to justice.
Please write to the authorities of Greece asking them to:
i. Put an end to all acts of harassment against all minority rights defenders in Greece;
ii. Put in place all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of minority rights defenders in Greece;
iii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the events described above in order to identify all those responsible, and sanction them as provided by the law;
iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1 and 12.2; and
v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Greece.
· Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Minister of Justice Mr. Stavros Kontonis Email: email@example.com
· Alternate Minister for Citizens Protection of Greece, Mr. Nikolaos Toskas, Fax: +30 210 692 9764, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
. General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights, Ms. Maria Yannakaki, Fax: Email: email@example.com
· Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece, Mr. Ioannis Tsaousis, First Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 732 21 50; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Ambassador of Greece, H.E. Eleftheria Galathianaki, Embassy of Greece in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: (+32) 2 545 5585, Email: email@example.com
· Permanent Representative of Greece, H.E. Papastavrou Andreas, Permanent Representation to the European Union (EU), Fax: +32 2 5515651, 5127912
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Greece in your respective country.
Geneva, January 6, 2017
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
 The Party Friendship Equality and Peace is a Greek political party founded in 1991 to represent the interest of the Turkish minority in Greece.