United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Preliminary Findings from its visit to Greece (2 – 13 December 2019)

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Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:
Preliminary Findings from its visit to Greece (2 – 13 December 2019)

 

I. Introduction

At the invitation of the Government, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) conducted an official visit to Greece from 2 to 13 December 2019. The WGAD was represented by Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico, Chair-Rapporteur), Leigh Toomey (Australia, Vice-Chair) and Sètondji Roland Adjovi (Benin) and accompanied by staff from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This is the second official visit of the Working Group to the country, the first visit having been conducted in 2013.

The Working Group extends its gratitude and appreciation to the Government of Greece for the invitation to undertake this country visit and for its fullest cooperation throughout the visit. In particular, the Working Group met with the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Citizen Protection, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Hellenic Supreme Court of Civil and Criminal Justice, Supreme Court’s Public Prosecutor Office, Public Prosecutor’s Office in Thessaloniki, Ministry of Mercantile Marine and Island Policy, members of the Athens and Thessaloniki Bar Associations; National Centre for Social Solidarity, National Coordinator for Unaccompanied Minors, the Greek National Commission for Human Rights and the Office of the Greek Ombudsman. The Working Group thanks the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and United Nations Children’s Fund for the support provided prior to and during the visit. The Working Group also recognizes the numerous stakeholders within the country who shared their perspectives on the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, including representatives from civil society. The Working Group thanks all of them for the information and assistance they provided.

The observations presented today constitute the preliminary findings of the Working Group. They will serve as a basis for future deliberations between the five members of the Working Group at its forthcoming sessions in Geneva. The Working Group will then produce and officially adopt a report about its visit that will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council at its 45th session in September 2020.

The Working Group visited 20 places of deprivation of liberty, including police stations; holding cells of the Hellenic Coast Guard, immigration pre-removal detention facilities, prisons, a detention establishment for youth, psychiatric facilities as well as the Centre for children and young adults with disabilities in Lechaina. It was able to confidentially interview over 150 persons deprived of their liberty.

In determining whether the deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, the Working Group refers to the five categories outlined in its Methods of Work, namely: 1) when it is impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty; 2) when the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of certain rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; 3) when the right to a fair trial has been seriously violated; 4) when asylum-seekers, immigrants or refugees are subjected to prolonged administrative detention without the possibility of an administrative or judicial review or remedy; and 5) when the deprivation of liberty constitutes a violation of international law on the grounds of discrimination of any kind.

The Working Group provides its preliminary findings on the deprivation of liberty in the context of the criminal justice system, migration, psychosocial disability and social care.

II. Good practices and positive developments

Ratification of international human rights instruments

The Working Group welcomes the ratification by Greece of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) on 11 February 2014 and the designation of the Greek Ombudsman as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). The Working Group recalls that regular independent oversight over all places of deprivation of liberty has a significant role in reducing the instances of arbitrary detention. The Working Group calls upon the NPM to strengthen its efforts to visit in a more regular manner all places of deprivation of liberty across the country. The Working Group also urges the Government to increase its efforts to engage constructively with the NPM, especially on the implementation of the recommendations issued by this body.

Alternatives to detention

The Government has underlined that it applies alternative forms of detention such as the obligation to report regularly to the authorities.

Law No. 4619/2019 has amended the Penal Code to reduce the length of penalties and encourage the use of non-custodial measures. Article 52 reduces the maximum penalty to 15 years for all offences, with the exception of life sentences. Sentences in youth detention facilities vary from 6 months to 5 years if the normal sentence applicable is up to 10 years’ imprisonment, and from 2 to 8 years for a life sentence or other sentence (article 54). Article 55 provides for community service alternatives to detention, while minor offences only punishable by fines are no longer prosecuted.

While the Working Group acknowledges that these provisions are positive steps forward, it would like to emphasize that there is still considerable scope for their implementation.

Provisions for early release

The Working Group was informed that prisoners who have served a percentage of their sentence are eligible for early release from detention.  Under article 105B of the Penal Code, anyone serving a sentence involving the deprivation of liberty may be released when they have served 2/5 of the required time to be served in the case of a sentence up to five years, and 3/5 of the required time in the case of a sentence of between 5 to 20 years.

In addition, according to article 105B of the Penal Code, convicts who work, attend school or participate in vocational training are eligible for a reduction in their sentence to reflect the time spent working or in attending these programs. While the prisoners are not paid for this work and the Government should review it, their participation in the scheme is voluntary. A maximum of two sentence days is deducted from the sentence for every day of work or education undertaken. Article 1 of Presidential Decree 107/2001 makes similar provision for the reduction of sentences for prisoners who work at certain prison farms and other specific penitentiary institutions.

Furthermore, certain categories of prisoners are eligible for early release: persons above the age of 65 are eligible for a reduction in their sentence of two days for every day spent in detention, persons above the age of 75 who are serving a sentence of up to ten years’ imprisonment may serve the remainder of the sentence at home with an electronic bracelet and persons who are assessed with more than 67% of disability, he or she can be released early after serving 1/3 of the sentence. However, the Working Group met with one detainee aged 70, and would therefore like to encourage the Government to ensure that these provisions are applied in practice.

The Working Group was informed that the early release provisions are implemented across Greece and was able to confirm this during its visits to detention facilities. For example, the Working Group observed that, despite the challenging conditions at the Korydallos Prison in Athens, the authorities deliver educational programs, including for finishing high school and studying at university, as well as various vocational project that may be used in reducing the sentence.

The reduction of sentences under these provisions is commendable as it provides convicts with the ability to undertake work and gain new vocational and other skills, and contributes to the earlier reintegration of prisoners into society. The provisions for early release are also an important means of addressing the very serious problem of overcrowding of detention facilities throughout Greece. The Working Group urges the Government to continue to extend this practice as much as possible within the prison population and other places of deprivation of liberty.

Cooperation by the authorities

The Working Group wishes to emphasize the full cooperation of the Government both prior to and during its visit in terms of securing all the requested meetings with stakeholders, provision of relevant data and information, and ensuring unimpeded access to all places of detention. This is a strong foundation for the Working Group to continue its dialogue with the authorities on detention practices across Greece.

III. Deprivation of liberty in the context of the criminal justice system

Presentation before a judicial authority

The Working Group recalls that anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge has the right to be brought promptly before a judicial authority. During its visit, the Working Group ascertained that individuals are normally presented to the Public Prosecutor within 24 hours of arrest. While this is commendable, the Working Group considers that presentation to the prosecutorial authorities cannot be equated with presentation to judge required under article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As the UN Human Rights Committee has noted, prosecutorial authorities do not possess the requisite degree of independence to assess the necessity and proportionality of detention. The Working Group therefore recommends that Greece complies with its obligations under the ICCPR.

Pre-trial detention

The Working Group recalls that, according to article 9(3) of the ICCPR, detention shall be exceptional rather than the general rule, and anyone detained on a criminal charge has the right to be tried within a reasonable time or released.

The Working Group notes with concern the widespread use of pre-trial detention in Greece. The imposition of pre-trial detention is in practice automatic, as the individual assessment of whether detention is necessary and proportionate does not take place. Pre-trial detention may also be imposed for up to 18 months, contrary to article 6(4) of the Greek Constitution, which stipulates that detention pending trial should not exceed one year in the case of felonies or six months in the case of misdemeanours. These periods may only be extended for up to six months in entirely exceptional cases.

Moreover, the separation of pre-trial detainees and convicted persons is not implemented in any of the facilities visited. Pre-trial detainees are also subject to the same treatment as those who have been convicted, contrary to the presumption of innocence that all persons are entitled to prior to conviction. The failure to separate pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners is contrary to article 10(2)(a) of the ICCPR and rule 11(b) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules).

The Working Group urges Greece to abide by its international obligations to ensure that pre-trial detention is exceptional, and that persons detained pending trial are separated from convicted persons and are subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as unconvicted persons.

Presumption of innocence

The Working Group recalls that everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to be presumed innocent under article 14(2) of the ICCPR. The Working Group received credible information involving non-nationals in pre-trial detention who were detained exclusively on the basis of police testimony, including when there was other evidence that did not support the guilt of the persons involved. Similar instances were reported to the Working Group in cases of drug related crimes and organised crimes. The presumption of innocence imposes a burden on the prosecution of proving charges beyond reasonable doubt. The Working Group urges the judicial authorities to ensure that accused persons are afforded the right to the presumption of innocence and a fair consideration of all available evidence when making decisions to detain, regardless of the nationality of the accused.

Right to legal counsel

The Working Group was informed of numerous cases in which detainees accused of misdemeanours were not informed of their right to legal assistance, including legal aid. In most instances, the detainees appeared without a lawyer when brought to the Public Prosecutor when pre-trial detention was ordered. As a result, the detainees could not effectively defend themselves and were not given a fair opportunity to contest the pre-trial detention. The Working Group received information, however, that detainees who were accused of felonies, particularly in relation to serious drug offences, were informed of their right to access a lawyer of their choice or at no cost if they did not have sufficient means to afford legal assistance. The Working Group recommends that the provision of the right to legal assistance be extended to all persons who are accused of any type of crimes, particularly misdemeanours.

According to principle 9 and guideline 8 of the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on remedies and procedures on the right of anyone deprived of their liberty to bring proceedings before a court, persons deprived of their liberty have the right to legal assistance by counsel of their choice, at any time during their detention, including immediately after the moment of apprehension. Upon apprehension, all persons shall be promptly informed of this right. Assistance by legal counsel in the proceedings shall be at no cost for a detained person without adequate means.

The Working Group encourages the Government of Greece to ensure that all persons shall be promptly informed of the right to legal assistance by counsel of their choice upon apprehension or at no cost if they cannot afford a lawyer. The authorities must also ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty benefit from this right at any time during their detention.

Provision of information in other languages

The Working Group recalls that, according to articles 9(2) and 14(3)(a) of the ICCPR, every person who is arrested has the right to be informed in a language that he or she understands of the reasons of the arrest, and to be promptly informed of the charges. The authorities are also required to inform the detained person in a language that he or she understands of his or her rights, including the right to legal counsel and to request a court to consider the legality of the detention.

The authorities informed the Working Group that all detained persons are informed of the reasons for their detention, either orally or in writing. If the detained person is a foreign national who does not understand the Greek language, care is taken to explain their rights to them through an interpreter or a consular authority. Individual informative sessions are provided when necessary in special cases. Information bulletins in the language of the detainee are also available, but were not visible in most cases. The Ministry of Citizen Protection provided to the Working Group printed materials with the rights of detainees explained in various languages, but these materials do not appear to be consistently provided to detainees.

The Working Group received numerous reports that, owing to the lack of interpreters, detainees were not informed in a language that they understood of the reasons of their arrest, nor of their rights as detainees. According to article 14(3)(f) of  the ICCPR, all persons charged with a criminal offence have the right to the free assistance of an interpreter if he or she cannot understand the language used in court. While the challenges of providing interpretation are considerable in a context in which persons of many different nationalities and languages are in contact with the law, the Working Group urges the Government to provide interpretation services to all persons who have been deprived of their liberty.

Short trials

A fair trial requires time for the parties to present their evidence and, in particular, for the accused person to be given adequate time to be heard pursuant to article 14(1) and 14(3) (b) and (d) of the ICCPR. According to several credible reports, some criminal trials have been short, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours and concluded in a single day. There is also often no opportunity for the accused to address the court, while law enforcement agents are extensively heard. This practice is in direct violation of the rights to a fair trial, including the principle of the equality of arms. The Working Group calls upon the Government to ensure that the accused is given adequate time to present a defence and to address the court.

Overcrowding of detention facilities

The Working Group notes that severe overcrowding remains an issue in most detention facilities, which are over capacity. The Working Group is of the view that overcrowding could be resolved by reducing the use of pre-trial detention, establishing new separate facilities for remanded persons and implementing alternative measures to detention.

Conditions of detention

During its visits to facilities in which people are deprived of their liberty, the Working Group noted that the conditions were in some instances better for Greek nationals than other foreign nationals. For example, at some prison facilities, the wards in which Greek nationals are detained appear to be significantly less crowded than other wards in which other nationals are housed, with a higher number of non-European nationals detained in each cell.  In addition, several non-Greek detainees from other regions reported serious health issues, including physical and psychosocial disabilities that require urgent medical attention that has not been granted by the authorities.

The Working Group was, however, also informed of other cases of vulnerable individuals and groups who had received appropriate individualised treatment from the authorities, including persons who were accused of or had committed serious sexual offences that require protective measures and LGBTI persons. The Working Group invites the Government to ensure consistent application of individualised treatment in all places of detention.

Furthermore the Working Group is concerned that, in general, the medical services located in prisons are understaffed, which could result in a higher risk of deaths in custody. According to rule 24 of the Mandela Rules, prisoners should enjoy the same standard of health care that is available in the community, and should have access to necessary health care services free of charge without discrimination.

Having visited detention facilities related to the criminal justice system, including police stations and prisons, the Working Group considers that they do not generally meet international standards, particularly the Mandela Rules, due to overcrowding, lack of adequate cleaning and sanitary services, and inadequate or non-existent health services. The lack of satisfactory conditions of detention often impacts upon a detainee’s ability to participate in his or her criminal proceedings and to present an effective defence and appeal. It is therefore important for the Government to address the conditions within detention facilities as a matter of priority.

Monitoring of places of detention

The Working Group identified a general lack of awareness among detainees as to how to submit a complaint in relation to their detention and the conditions in which they are held.  There is no visible mechanism in places of deprivation of liberty, such as a telephone number or relevant contact details, to present claims to the Greek Ombudsman on violations of human rights.  Many detainees also reported that there were few, if any, visits to their places of detention by relevant monitoring mechanisms. The Working Group urges Greece to consider establishing a hotline for reporting in the prisons, to display such information throughout, and provide sufficient funding for regular and independent monitoring and oversight of places of detention.

IV. Detention of persons in the context of migration

The Working Group recognises the challenges involved in respecting international human rights standards in the current context of mass migration into the country and the arrival of large numbers of people seeking international protection. Following the closure of the borders at the Balkan corridor and the adoption of the EU-Turkey statement in March 2016, the administrative detention of migrants has significantly increased. As a result, in 2017, 68,112 persons were arrested for illegal entry or stay in Greece; 93,367 in 2018; and, as of 2 December 2019, 98,019 in 2019. As of 5 December 2019, 2 257 asylum seekers are detained in pre-removal detention centres (PRDCs) and 1273 persons are further detained in police stations.

The Working Group visited ten facilities in which asylum seekers may be or are deprived of their liberty, including police stations, border guard stations and cells maintained by the Hellenic Coast Guard, reception and identification centres (RICs) and PRDCs. It identified serious problems that may lead to the arbitrary and prolonged deprivation of liberty, including the inadequate individual assessment of the appropriateness and necessity of detention; detention exceeding in practice the maximum three-month period provided by law for asylum seekers due to the delays in registration of asylum applications, and detention in inappropriate facilities such as police stations that are not suitable for the long-term detention, including of asylum seekers. Equally, the Working Group identified gaps in the provision of interpretation and legal aid, resulting in the lack of access to judicial remedies against the detention decisions. It furthermore notes with particular concern the policy of geographical restriction on the movement of asylum seekers from the islands and the lack of awareness of the consequences of breaching this restriction, namely placement in a PRDC.

Right to seek asylum

According to the Government, the Hellenic Police has been given clear orders to respect the right of detainees to submit an application for international protection and to exercise the legal remedies provided for by the law. The authorities claim that no foreign citizen in detention who has applied for international protection may be returned, until his/her application has been examined, since Greece fully respects the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees as well as the procedures laid out in EU Directive 2013/32/EU, incorporated into national law.

The Hellenic Coast Guard signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UNHCR in Greece in September 2014, which was renewed in 2018. The Memorandum aims at protecting and safeguarding the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees, in accordance with the requirements of international, European and national law. Furthermore, representatives of civil society have access to all detention areas. This also applies to representatives from other actors involved in migration and refugee matters, such as the UNHCR.

According to the Greek authorities, foreign citizens under detention are provided with “Information Notes” so that they are informed in a language they understand of their rights regarding detention and the asylum procedure. The presence of an interpreter is also a standard procedure and efforts are made to cover the interpretation needs of all departments involved, with interpreters appointed by the Government or provided by NGOs.

During its on-site visits and interviews, the Working Group observed that many detainees either did not understand their right to apply for asylum and/or the procedure involved in doing so, with some individuals incorrectly believing that the process was initiated when they were fingerprinted. There is no established scheme for providing legal aid during the first instance asylum application, and interpretation was not consistently provided, with asylum seekers relying on second-hand information from fellow applicants.

The Working Group was informed that no information is provided by the police to the detainees on their right to apply for international protection or the procedural stages; such information is only provided by non-government actors. No further information appears to be provided regarding the detention time limits. In addition, both the original detention decisions and their reviews following ex-officio review by the judicial authorities are only drafted in Greek. Most PRDCs do not have interpretation services for most languages, and when interpreters exist, they do not undertake the interpretation of all procedural steps, documents and everyday issues, especially taking into consideration the high number of detainees in many PRDCs.

Furthermore, some persons who had been detained on separate criminal charges but were also applying for asylum experienced significant barriers to pursuing their claims when they were unable to attend their interviews with the Asylum Service. In addition, the Working Group was informed that these criminal charges could affect determination of the asylum claim.

The right to seek asylum is recognised under article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, as the Working Group recognised in its Revised Deliberation No. 5, the right to personal liberty is fundamental and extends to all persons at all times, including migrants and asylum seekers irrespective of their citizenship, nationality or migratory status. All detained migrants must have access to legal representation and interpreters.

Protective custody

According to the Government, article 19 of Presidential Decree 220/2007 obliges the competent authorities, such as the Reception and Identification Service, the Asylum Service and the Police, to undertake all the necessary measures for the representation of unaccompanied minors. This entails the competent authorities informing the Prosecutor for Minors or, when there is no such Prosecutor, the Prosecutor at the local First Instance Court, who acts as a temporary guardian. Moreover, Law 4554/2018, which will enter into force on 1 March 2020, foresees that all unaccompanied minors in Greece are appointed a professional guardian.

According to article 118 of Presidential Decree 141/1991, children can be placed under protective custody until they are referred to appropriate reception facilities or until they are reunited with the persons responsible for them. Protective custody under Greek law does not always amount to detention but, in practice, it has mostly been implemented through the detention of children in pre-removal detention facilities or police stations. In some cases, children have been placed under protective custody in hospitals, also under the care or supervision of police forces.

According to data from the National Centre for Social Solidarity (EKKA), as of 30 November 2019, there were 257 children held in protective custody. EKKA prioritises unaccompanied minors in administrative detention for placement in alternative emergency accommodation or proper shelters. However, the Government points to the considerable lack of such places in order to cover the needs of all unaccompanied minors in Greece. The Working Group was informed that while the number of unaccompanied minors in the country has reached approximately 5000, there are 1376 places in long-term accommodation and 840 in short term accommodation.

The Working Group confirmed the existing substantial burden on shelter facilities, resulting in many unaccompanied children being held in protective custody in unacceptable conditions in facilities that are not appropriate for the detention of children, such as police stations and pre-removal facilities on the mainland. Although officials appear to be providing the best support available in the circumstances, the Working Group noted that some children were being held for prolonged periods (ranging from a few days to more than two months) in conditions similar to those of criminal detention, especially in police stations. These children were being held together with adults, in dark cells, with no access to recreational or educational activities, and no information on what would happen to them in future. There is no maximum time limit on the period in which a child may be held in protective custody.

Furthermore the Working Group was informed that the prosecutor, as institution responsible for the care and security of the children under protective custody, does not visit the children in the detention facilities.

In February 2019, the European Court of Human Rights found that the automatic placement of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children under protective custody in police facilities, without taking into consideration the best interests of the child, violated article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Working Group urges the Government to uphold its obligations under the Convention of the Rights of the Child and ECHR by putting an end to the detention of children under the protective custody scheme in police stations or other facilities related to the criminal or immigration systems.

The Working Group invites the Government to ensure that the best interest of each child is prioritized and that children who enter the country in an irregular manner are not detained and are placed in facilities appropriate to their age. As the Greek Ombudsman has observed, this could be achieved by transitioning to community-based care, foster care, supported independent living, and the gradual reduction of institutional structures.

Age assessment

According to article 14(9) of Law No. 4375/2016, whenever there is doubt as to whether a third-country national or stateless person is a minor, an age assessment shall be undertaken and, until the assessment ruling is issued, the person is presumed to be a minor. In addition, according to article 6 of the Joint Ministerial Decision 92490/2013, age assessment of persons claiming to be minors is to be conducted in three consecutive stages consisting of: clinical examination by a paediatrician; psychological and social evaluation by qualified experts, and medical examination of skeletal age. Article 6(8) of the Decision provides for procedural guarantees throughout the age assessment, including guaranteeing that the person is represented throughout the procedure, obtaining of consent for the examinations, and ensuring that the primary consideration is the best interest of the child.

The Working Group notes that these provisions are not being applied in practice. At present, the police reportedly rely primarily on x-ray and dental examinations under the third step of the age assessment procedure, and these examinations are not sufficient to accurately assess a person’s age. Persons claiming to be children are reportedly not generally represented or informed of their rights in a language that they understand during the assessment. In order to challenge the outcome of the assessment, the person must submit an appeal to the Secretariat of the RIC within 10 days of notification of the decision, which poses difficulties for persons based within a RIC who cannot access relevant documentary proof of their age within such a short timeframe. In addition, the assessment procedure appears to be ad hoc and only applies to persons undergoing reception and registration procedures, as well as those who have applied for international protection. The guarantees applicable to age assessment do not apply to unaccompanied children who are in protective custody under the responsibility of the Hellenic Police.

As a result, unaccompanied minors and other children are being detained unnecessarily due to inaccurate assessment procedures, and are treated as and detained with adults. The Working Group recommends that the authorities consistently apply the guarantees outlined above when conducting age assessments, particularly the presumption that a person is a child unless the contrary can be conclusively proven. The Working Group reiterates the Greek Ombudsman’s call to the Government in 2018 to put a complete end to all administrative detention of migrants under 18.

Vulnerability assessment

Greek law does not prevent the detention of vulnerable individuals or groups. However, the law contains guarantees for such individuals.  According to article 14(8) of Law No. 4375/2016 and article 11(2) of Law No. 3907/2011, vulnerable people include unaccompanied minors; persons with disabilities; elderly persons; pregnant women; single parent families with children, victims of torture or other serious form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence or exploitation (for example, persons with post-traumatic stress disorder), and victims of trafficking. The vulnerability of an individual must be assessed by the Reception and Identification Service prior to registration of an asylum application or during the asylum process, and is used in determining whether to detain or prolong detention.

The determination of vulnerability is critical to the immigration and asylum procedures, at least until the new law on international protection enters into force which no longer associates the vulnerability assessment with the type of asylum procedure to be followed. Currently, when a person is determined to be part of a vulnerable group specified in the legislation, the geographical restriction to remain on the island at which he or she arrived or was received is lifted, and the person can travel freely within Greece without risk of arrest. The consideration of asylum applications is also reportedly faster for those persons who are recognised as belonging to a vulnerable group under the regular asylum procedure.

Persons who are vulnerable are, however, detained in practice, and the Working Group was informed of cases in which individuals did not undergo a proper identification of vulnerability and individualised assessment prior to the issuance of a detention order. There are also delays between the time of arrival and the conducting of vulnerability assessments due to the understaffing and lack of medical and psychosocial experts. The Working Group urges the authorities to prioritise the hiring of sufficient experts, particularly in the islands, to carry out vulnerability assessments and to ensure that they are conducted in every case.

Opportunity to challenge detention and removal decision

The Greek authorities have pointed out that the right of foreign citizens to challenge the measure of detention in case of expulsion was provided for in article 76 of Law 3386/2005, a right that can be exercised anytime during the duration of the detention.

The Working Group was informed that asylum applications are submitted before the Asylum Service in the first instance. If the application is rejected, the applicant can appeal the decision in the second instance before an Independent Appeals Committee under the Appeals Authority. An appeal must be lodged within five days at border procedures. Legal aid funding for lawyers is only provided on appeal and, if a person did not have their own lawyer during the initial first instance hearing, taking into consideration that the Asylum Service lawyers do not suffice to cover all demands, it is practically impossible to find a lawyer within the prescribed time in order to prepare for the appeal.

Asylum seekers may also lodge an application for annulment of the second instance decision before the Administrative Court of Appeals within 60 days from the notification of the decision. However, the effectiveness of this legal remedy is severely undermined by a number of obstacles, including that a lawyer can only file the application for annulment. No legal aid is provided in order to challenge a second instance negative decision on an asylum application and the capacity of NGOs to file this application is very limited taking into account the number of persons in need of international protection in Greece. In addition, the application for annulment does not automatically suspend deportation, and there is no guarantee that the applicant will not be removed during lengthy delays in hearing the matter.

The Working Group urges the Government to expand the availability of publicly funded legal aid so that persons seeking international protection can access legal advice at all stages of the process from the time of filing their application until a final determination is made.

Support to lawyers and human rights defenders

In its 2013 report, the Working Group has recommended that lawyers and civil society organizations, as vital stakeholders who must be protected, should be ensured full access to all detention facilities, and a systematic, independent monitoring system should be established for them.

The authorities have informed the Working Group of the National Mechanism for the investigation of incidents of ill treatment, arbitrary conduct in the discharge of duties or misuse of power by law enforcement and detention facility agents that has been established by article 56 of Law 4443/2016 within the Greek Ombudsman. The National Mechanism is a supplementary mechanism to the independent functions of the judicial system and of the internal procedures of security forces disciplinary bodies, which will further guarantee that such incidents are fully and effectively investigated by an independent authority.

Pushbacks at the Greece-Turkey border

The Working Group was informed that some newly arrived persons in the Evros region are arrested, detained in very poor conditions, and summarily returned across the Greece-Turkey land border without being given the opportunity to apply for international protection in Greece.  In some cases, individuals had made previous attempts to cross the border, but were forcibly removed to Turkey in each case.  Pushback practices are not permitted under Greek law and are contrary to the right to seek asylum. The Working Group is therefore of the view that detention for this purpose has no legal basis. The Working Group urges the Government to put an immediate end to pushbacks and to ensure that such practices, including any possible acts of violence or ill-treatment that has occurred during such incidents, are promptly and fully investigated.

Legislative amendments and the announced policy on migration

The Working Group also takes note of the entry into force of parts of Law No. 4636/2019 on 1 November 2019, with other provisions entering into force from 1 January 2020. The new provisions appear to introduce more restrictive procedures that may compromise the general legal principle that detention of asylum seekers is exceptional and should only be resorted to where provided for by law and where necessary to achieve a legitimate purpose.

According to article 46 of Law 4636/2019, persons applying for international protection can be detained, if necessary, regardless of whether they apply for asylum while in detention or not. In addition, the Asylum Office will no longer provide a recommendation regarding the detention to the police, but only information.

The Working Group is also aware that the new law will extend the maximum detention period from 3 to 18 months, which may reach 36 months if added to immigration detention. This appears to treat the detention of migrants and asylum seekers as the rule and not the exception. The Working Group is concerned that these provisions are not in line with the principle of proportionality, necessity and reasonableness, which should govern measures of deprivation of liberty.

The Working Group is aware of the Government’s plans to establish five new centres in order to create more space to accommodate asylum seekers. It is not clear whether and to what extent these centres will be closed so that residents are in effect deprived of their liberty. The Working Group received numerous allegations that the facilities, as created by the new law and in accordance with the Government’s policy, will be closed ones, as opposed to open centres such as the existing RICs. The authorities have argued that the term closed only means that the entrance and exit of the centre will be controlled.

It is important for the Government to ensure that any new centres remain open and do not reinforce the practice of detaining asylum seekers. However, the plans also reportedly include the creation of centres for unaccompanied minors staffed by doctors and psychologists, which may be a positive development if they are not closed centres.

V. Deprivation of liberty in the context of psychosocial disability and social care

The Working Group was informed that psychosocial disabilities, including depression and anxiety disorders, are increasingly common in Greece as a result of the economic crisis in recent years. The Ministry of Health has committed to prioritising the deinstitutionalisation of persons with psychosocial disabilities whenever possible, which is a commendable approach and has resulted in community-based care being made available to more individuals. For example, the Dromokaiteio Psychiatric Hospital in Attica provides hospices, boarding houses, and supported-living apartments to allow persons who would otherwise have required hospitalisation to live independently in the community.

With regards to the care institution for children and young adults with disabilities in Lechaina, the Working Group would like to encourage the Government to continue with the deinstitutionalisation process and, in the meanwhile, to provide it with sufficient financial and material resources and personnel including doctors, nurses, auxiliary personnel, as well as occupational therapists and physiotherapists, in order to enable the institution to fully comply with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

However, psychiatric clinics and units within hospitals continue to receive a large number of involuntary admissions, with approximately 60% of admissions at Dromokaiteio Psychiatric Hospital being of an involuntary nature. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 8,300 involuntary commitments in 2018 across Greece out of a total 21,500 cases of psychiatric hospitalisation. The procedure for involuntary admission is problematic in several respects, including the fact that police officers are frequently required by an order of the Public Prosecutor to arrest persons who have been reported by relatives or neighbours to be suffering from a psychosocial disability, rather than the arrest being carried out by appropriately qualified medical personnel.  In addition, according to Law 2071/1992, following an assessment of the mental health of such individuals, a court must consider the involuntary admission within 10 days. However, lengthy delays are reportedly common before a judge hears the matter, and when the matter is heard, the proceedings are usually not conducted in the presence of the individual concerned, or of his or her legal counsel. Finally, while involuntarily admitted individuals are given a statement of their rights upon admission, including the right to legal representation, they frequently do not have access to a lawyer to challenge their mental health assessment either because they do not have capacity to contact legal counsel or were unaware of or unable to understand this right.

A draft law is currently being developed in relation to the deprivation of liberty of persons with psychosocial disabilities, and the Working Group urges the Government to address these issues as part of the development of that legislation. Such reforms could include the automatic release of involuntarily admitted individuals if their case cannot be reviewed by the courts within the statutory deadline of 10 days, and ensuring that a guardian is appointed in cases where the individual is lacking capacity to represent him or herself or is unable to seek the assistance of a lawyer.

According to the information received, some individuals are detained involuntarily for prolonged periods, in some cases for years, because they are experiencing mental and/or physical health conditions. This is often because the individuals have no other family or other support in the community.  While this can be an invaluable means of providing social care, such cases must remain under regular review by the courts so that the involuntary admission does not become indefinite deprivation of liberty against the will of the individual concerned.

Finally, the Working Group was informed that the legal basis for the involuntary admission of persons with psychosocial disabilities in private clinics is not clear due to the absence since 1992 of a Ministerial decision covering private facilities. It is important that this gap in the law is addressed as soon as possible, given the increasing use of private clinics due to insufficient capacity to house individuals in public facilities. The Ministry of Health should also conduct regular visits to all places where persons with psychosocial disabilities are held, whether private or public facilities, in order to monitor the length and conditions of involuntary admission and to bring cases that may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty to the attention of the Public Prosecutor and the courts.

Conclusion

These are the preliminary findings of the Working Group. The Working Group is mindful of the complexity of the legal framework and the current challenges in relation to the deprivation of liberty in a variety of settings in Greece. It looks forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the Government of Greece in the coming months, while determining its final conclusions in relation to this country visit. The Working Group acknowledges with gratitude the willingness of the Government to invite it to Greece and notes that this is an opportunity for introducing reforms to address situations that may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

«Πολιτικοί και ΜΜΕ ευθύνονται για τη διάχυση ρατσιστικών απόψεων»: Συνέντευξη Παναγιώτη Δημητρά

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για ereportaz
«Πολιτικοί και ΜΜΕ ευθύνονται για τη διάχυση ρατσιστικών απόψεων»

«Πολιτικοί και ΜΜΕ ευθύνονται για τη διάχυση ρατσιστικών απόψεων»

Της Νατάσσας Βουδούρη

Σφοδρές αντιδράσεις και ερωτηματικά έχει προκαλέσει η μήνυση του Παναγιώτη Δημητρά, εκ μέρους του Ελληνικού Παρατηρητηρίου των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι, στην «Κιβωτό του Κόσμου», για ρατσιστική συμπεριφορά. Ο κ. Δημητράς, αγωνιστής με πλούσια δράση, μίλησε αποκλειστικά στο ereportaz για τις ρατσιστικές απόψεις της χώρας μας, την ξενοφοβία και την νομική οδό που ακολουθεί στα θέματα αυτά.

1.Τι ακριβώς είναι το Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι; Που και πως δραστηριοποιείται εντός και εκτός Ελλάδας;

Η οργάνωση ιδρύθηκε το 1993 και δηλωμένος σκοπός της είναι «να παρακολουθεί, να δημοσιοποιεί, να ασκεί πίεση και να παρεμβαίνει για θέματα ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων και διακρίσεων στην Ελλάδα, και, περιστασιακά, στα Βαλκάνια». Επίσης, παρακολουθεί συντονισμένα τα ελληνικά και βαλκανικά μέσα μαζικής ενημέρωσης όσον αφορά ρατσιστικά, μισαλλόδοξα ή εθνικιστικά στερεότυπα μίσους. Το έργο της περιλαμβάνει, σε συνεργασία με άλλες ΜΚΟ, τη δημοσίευση δελτίων τύπου, αναλυτικών ετήσιων εκθέσεων, εναλλακτικών εκθέσεων προς τις Επιτροπές Εμπειρογνώμων για τις Συμβάσεις του ΟΗΕ, όπως επίσης εξειδικευμένες εκθέσεις αναφορικά με εθνοτικές ή εθνικές, εθνογλωσσικές, θρησκευτικές και μεταναστευτικές κοινότητες που υφίστανται στην Ελλάδα και στα Βαλκάνια.

Το ΕΠΣΕ ασχολείται με θέματα ανθρώπινων και μειονοτικών δικαιωμάτων με:

* παρακολούθηση της εφαρμογής των διεθνών συνθηκών,
* σύνταξη εκθέσεων για εθνικές, εθνογλωσσικές και θρησκευτικές μειονοτικές κοινότητες, καθώς και εκθέσεων στα όργανα του ΟΗΕ για την κατάσταση στην Ελλάδα σχετικά με τα δικαιώματα των γυναικών, τα δικαιώματα των παιδιών, την καταπολέμηση του ρατσισμού, τα πολιτικά, οικονομικά, κοινωνικά και πολιτιστικά δικαιώματα, τα βασανιστήρια,
* αναφορές και ένδικα μέσα σε ελληνικά και διεθνή δικαστικά όργανα,
* παρεμβάσεις στις κυβερνήσεις και στους διακυβερνητικούς φορείς,
* δημοσίευση άρθρων, βιβλίων και εντύπων, παραδοσιακών και ηλεκτρονικών.

Ειδικότερα, καταγράφει ρατσιστικά εγκλήματα (στο Παρατηρητήριο Ρατσιστικών Εγκλημάτων racistcrimeswatch.wordpress.com) και τα αναφέρει στις Εισαγγελίες για Ρατσιστικά Εγκλήματα. Σε λίγες περιπτώσεις παρέχεται και νομική συνδρομή σε σχετικές δίκες. Το έργο αυτό γίνεται αποκλειστικά με τη συνδρομή εθελοντών και εθελοντριών, στελεχών και δικηγόρων.

To ΕΠΣΕ υπήρξε μέλος της Διεθνούς Ομοσπονδίας Ελσίνκι για τα Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα μέχρι τη διάλυσή της το 2007. Σήμερα είναι μέλος των διεθνών ΜΚΟ European Implementation Network, World Organization Against Torture, Justicia European Rights Network, the International Detention Coalition, the International Network Against Cyber Hate, και Justice and Environment.

2.Ποιες είναι οι σημαντικότερες «νίκες » που έχετε πετύχει ως τώρα;

Αναμφισβήτητα οι δεκάδες καταδικαστικές αποφάσεις του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικαστηρίου Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου και της Επιτροπής του ΟΗΕ για τα Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα καθώς και οι Συστάσεις των Επιτροπών Εμπειρογνωμόνων του ΟΗΕ και του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης επειδή η Ελλάδα παραβίασε δικαιώματα των Ρομά, των θρησκευτικών και εθνικών μειονοτήτων, των θυμάτων εμπορίας ανθρώπων, των θυμάτων αστυνομικής βίας, των θυμάτων ρατσιστικών εγκλημάτων λόγου και βίας, κτλ.

3.Οι πρόσφατες μηνύσεις εναντίον του πάτερ Αντώνιου και στην συνέχεια του Αντώνη Σαμαρά έγιναν επί προσωπικού ή από το Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι; Που αποσκοπούν;

Έγιναν από το ΕΠΣΕ και υποχρεωτικά υπογράφονται από το νόμιμο εκπρόσωπό του που είναι ο υποφαινόμενος. Όπως και άλλες 600 ανάλογες μηνυτήριες αναφορές στοχεύουν να βοηθήσουν τη δικαιοσύνη να εφαρμόσει τις συστάσεις ΟΗΕ και Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης. Χαρακτηριστικότερες οι πιο πρόσφατες (2016) συστάσεις της Επιτροπής του ΟΗΕ για την Εξάλειψη των Φυλετικών Διακρίσεων:

«Η Επιτροπή καλεί το Συμβαλλόμενο Κράτος να λάβει μέτρα αποτελεσματικής πρόληψης, καταπολέμησης και τιμωρίας της ρατσιστικής ρητορικής μίσους και των ρατσιστικών εγκλημάτων μίσους. Υπενθυμίζοντας τις γενικές συστάσεις της Νο 35 (2013) για την καταπολέμηση της ρατσιστικής ρητορικής μίσους και Νο 31 (2005) σχετικά με την πρόληψη των φυλετικών διακρίσεων στη διοίκηση και λειτουργία του συστήματος ποινικής δικαιοσύνης, η Επιτροπή συνιστά στο Συμβαλλόμενο Κράτος:

(α) Να λάβει τα κατάλληλα μέτρα για τη δίωξη ατόμων, συμπεριλαμβανομένων πολιτικών, για τις πράξεις που προβλέπονται από το άρθρο 4, και να παράσχει πληροφορίες στην επόμενη έκθεση της σχετικά με τις έρευνες της αστυνομίας, τις ποινικές διαδικασίες, και τις ποινές, συμπεριλαμβανομένων εκείνων που σχετίζονται με το πολιτικό κόμμα της Χρυσής Αυγής και των μελών της. Η Επιτροπή επιθυμεί να τονίσει ότι το θεμελιώδες δικαίωμα της ελευθερίας της έκφρασης δεν πρέπει να υπονομεύει τις αρχές της αξιοπρέπειας, της ανεκτικότητας, της ισότητας και της μη διάκρισης, καθώς η άσκηση του δικαιώματος στην ελευθερία της έκφρασης φέρει μαζί της ιδιαίτερες ευθύνες, μεταξύ των οποίων είναι η υποχρέωση της μη διάδοσης ιδεών βασισμένων στη φυλετική ανωτερότητα ή στο φυλετικό μίσος·

(β) Να ενισχύσει την εκπαίδευση για τον εντοπισμό, την καταγραφή, την πρόληψη και την καταπολέμηση των εγκλημάτων μίσους, της ρητορικής μίσους και των κινήτρων προκατάληψης, στοχεύοντας το δικαστικό σώμα, την αστυνομία, τις εισαγγελίες, και την επιθεώρηση εργασίας, και να βελτιώσει του συντονισμό μεταξύ αυτών των θεσμών·

(γ) Να διασφαλίσει ότι τα μέσα μαζικής επικοινωνίας δεν στιγματίζουν, δεν παράγουν στερεότυπα και δεν στοχεύουν αρνητικά μη-πολίτες και εθνοτικές μειονότητες, και με αυτό το σκοπό, να διασφαλίσει την εφαρμογή και την ενίσχυση της αρμοδιότητας του Εθνικού Συμβουλίου Ραδιοτηλεόρασης που εποπτεύει και ρυθμίζει τα μέσα μαζικής ενημέρωσης ώστε να απαγορεύει τη μετάδοσης των ρατσιστικών, ξενοφοβικών ή μη-ανεκτικών δηλώσεων, και να διασφαλίσει ώστε οι ανάλογες κυρώσεις να επιβάλλονται σε αυτές τις περιπτώσεις·

(δ) Να διοργανώσει εντατικές εκστρατείες σε όλη τη χώρα, σε συνεργασία με τα εθνικά θεσμικά όργανα για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα και τους φορείς της κοινωνίας των πολιτών, με στόχο την προώθηση της ανοχής και την καταγγελία ρατσιστικών συμπεριφορών και να ευαισθητοποιήσει το κοινό για τη νομική απαγόρευση των φυλετικών διακρίσεων και για τις διαθέσιμες οδούς για την κατάθεση μηνύσεων και να διευκολύνει την πρόσβαση των θυμάτων στη δικαιοσύνη μεταξύ άλλων με την ενίσχυση του συστήματος νομικής βοήθειας·

(ε) Να θεσπίσει συγκεκριμένα μέτρα, σε διαβούλευση με τις εμπλεκόμενες ομάδες, να αυξήσει τις αναφορές και καταγραφές ρατσιστικών εγκλημάτων μίσους, εξασφαλίζοντας ότι ο μηχανισμός υποβολής αναφορών είναι διαφανής και προσβάσιμος, και να βρει τρόπους ώστε τα θύματα να έχουν περισσότερη εμπιστοσύνη στην αστυνομία και το δικαστικό σύστημα·

(στ) Να βελτιώσει το σύστημα συλλογής στατιστικών στοιχείων σχετικά με τις καταγγελίες εγκλημάτων μίσους, και να παράσχει λεπτομερείς πληροφορίες στην επόμενη περιοδική έκθεσή του για τέτοιες καταγγελίες και τα αποτελέσματά τους, συμπεριλαμβανομένων εκείνων που συλλέγονται από το Παρατηρητήριο για την Πρόληψης της Σχολικής Βίας και του Εκφοβισμού, καθώς και αναλυτικά στοιχεία για τις άδειες διαμονής για ανθρωπιστικούς λόγους που χορηγούνται σε υπηκόους τρίτων χωρών οι οποίοι είναι θύματα ή μάρτυρες ρατσιστικών εγκλημάτων·

(ζ) Να επιταχύνει την υιοθέτηση του υπό διαμόρφωση Σχεδίου Δράσης κατά του ρατσισμού και να του παράσχει τους απαραίτητους πόρους, μετρήσιμους δείκτες, και χρονοδιάγραμμα για την αποτελεσματική εφαρμογή του.»

4.Πώς βλέπετε η κοινωνία να αντιμετωπίζει τέτοιου είδους θέματα;

Ενώ σημαντικά τμήματα της κοινωνίας έχουν ενεργή αντιρατσιστική στάση και δράση μεγάλα τμήματα της κοινής γνώμης έχουν διαμορφωμένες ρατσιστικές θέσεις, όπως δείχνουν τα Ευρωβαρόμετρα, όπου τα μεγαλύτερα ποσοστά φορέων ρατσιστικών απόψεων εδώ και δεκαετίες υπάρχουν στην Ουγγαρία και στην Ελλάδα.

5.Θεωρείτε ότι το Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι μπορεί να συμβάλει στην ευαισθητοποίηση και στην πάταξη φαινομένων ρατσισμού απέναντι στις ευαίσθητες κοινωνικές ομάδες;

Την ευθύνη της ευαισθητοποίησης, όπως λένε και οι συστάσεις του ΟΗΕ, έχει η κυβέρνηση και η δικαιοσύνη και βέβαια οι εκπαιδευτικοί φορείς και τα ΜΜΕ. Το ΕΠΣΕ συμβάλλει στην πάταξη μέσω των αναφορών στις αρχές και στους διεθνείς οργανισμούς, και είναι πάντα διαθέσιμο για κάθε άλλη δράση, αλλά διαχρονικά οι κυβερνήσεις το αποκλείουν από την Εθνική Επιτροπή Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου, το Εθνικό Συμβούλιο κατά του Ρατσισμού και της Μισαλλοδοξίας και διάφορα παρόμοια όργανα.

6.Με αφορμή τη μήνυση στον Αντώνη Σαμαρά με ποιον τρόπο πρέπει να αντιμετωπίζονται οι μετανάστες και οι πρόσφυγες;

Απλή η απάντηση: όπως προβλέπουν οι νόμοι και οι υπερνομοθετικής ισχύος διεθνείς συμβάσεις. Γενικότερα, με πολιτικές ένταξης όσων μείνουν στην Ελλάδα και με εφαρμογή των αποφάσεων νόμιμης απέλασης ή επαναπροώθησης με σεβασμό στην προσωπικότητα των εμπλεκόμενων.

7.Θεωρείτε ότι η κοινωνία και οι κοινωνικοπολιτικοί ιθύνοντες με τις αποφάσεις τους τρέφουν και δικαιώνουν φαινόμενα ξενοφοβίας;

Αναμφισβήτητα πολιτικοί και ΜΜΕ και άλλοι γνωμηγήτορες (πανεπιστημιακοί κτλ) επηρεάζουν την κοινή γνώμη και στην Ελλάδα έχουν τεράστια ευθύνη για τη διάχυση ρατσιστικών και μισαλλόδοξων απόψεων, οι μεν γιατί τις θρέφουν με δηλώσεις και πράξεις οι δε που διαφωνούν γιατί τις θρέφουν με την εγκληματική σιωπή τους.

8.Εάν ναι μπορεί το 2019 αυτό να εξαλειφθεί ή τουλάχιστον να μειωθεί;

Το 2019 σίγουρα όχι. Από το 2020 ίσως αν ποτέ αποφασίσουν οι γνωμηγήτορες να παίρνουν συστηματικά δημόσια θέση για τα φαινόμενα και να καταδικάζουν συστηματικά κάθε εκδήλωση ρατσιστισμού.

9.Σκοπεύετε να ακολουθήσετε τη νομική οδό και για κάποιους άλλους που ενδεχομένως θεωρείτε ότι έχουν δώσει λαβές με τα σχόλιά τους;

Το έχουμε ήδη κάνει και παραπέμφθηκαν σε δίκη μεταξύ άλλων οι πρώην Υπουργοί Θεοδόσης Πελεγρίνης για αντισημιτισμό και Θεόδωρος Πάγκαλος για αντιτουρκισμό και άλλοι.

10.Με αφορμή όλα αυτά θεωρείτε ότι ζούμε σε μια κοινωνία με φαινομενική Δημοκρατία;

Στα θέματα δικαιωμάτων των πάσης φύσης μειονοτήτων/ευάλωτων η Ελληνική Δημοκρατία βρίσκεται ακόμα σε αναζήτηση της Μεταπολίτευσής της…

Προσφυγές ΕΠΣΕ σε ιστότοπους ΕΔΔΑ – Συμβουλίου Ευρώπης και Επιτροπής ΟΗΕ για ΑΔ

Προσφυγές ΕΠΣΕ σε ΕΔΔΑ

Αναφορές ΕΠΣΕ σε Επιτροπή Υπουργών Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης

Προσφυγές ΕΠΣΕ σε Επιτροπή ΟΗΕ για τα Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα
– στο Keyword βάλετε “Greek Helsinki Monitor”

Σχόλια σε διαβούλευση για ποινικούς κώδικες

RACIST CRIMES WATCH - Παρατηρητηριο Ρατσιστικων Εγκληματων

18 Οκτωβρίου 2019, 11:39 | Παρατηρητήριο Ρατσιστικών Εγκλημάτων
[Αφορά το άρθρο 137Α “Βασανιστήρια”]

Είναι θετικό πως ενσωματώσατε δύο από τις συστάσεις της Επιτροπής του ΟΗΕ κατά των Βασανιστηρίων με την αντικατάσταση του όρου «μεθοδευμένη» με τον όρο «εσκεμμένη» και την προσθήκη πως υπάρχουν βασανιστήρια και όταν η επιλογή του παθόντος έχει γίνει λόγω συγκεκριμένων χαρακτηριστικών, όπως του φύλου, της θρησκείας κλπ.

Θα ήταν πάντως καλύτερα για το πρώτο να μπει η ορολογία από την επίσημη μετάφραση της Σύμβασης «ο όρος «βασανιστήρια» σημαίνει κάθε πράξη με την οποία, σωματικός ή ψυχικός πόνος ή έντονη οδύνη επιβάλλονται με πρόθεση σ’ ένα πρόσωπο»

Η Επιτροπή του ΟΗΕ κατά των Βασανιστηρίων όμως ζήτησε από την Ελλάδα να μην υπάρχει παραγραφή για τα αδικήματα αυτά. Αυτό πρέπει να συμπεριληφθεί ώστε να συμμορφωθεί η χώρα με την ανάλογη σύσταση.

Ζήτησε επίσης να αναφέρεται ρητά «εφ’ όσον ένας τέτοιας πόνος ή οδύνη επιβάλλονται από δημόσιο…

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131 organisations set out proposed criteria for selection and appointment of the next UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

09.09.2019

ISHR and 130 partners around the world have published a checklist for the selection and appointment of a UN expert on human rights defenders. Candidates have until 17 October 2019 to apply for the position.

 

The current Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders shaking hands with the UN Secretary General

ISHR and 130 other organisations have set out the criteria that should be at the heart of the selection of the next UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. As Michel Forst’s term as mandate holder comes to an end, candidates have until 17 October 2019 to submit their applications for the position. Defenders from marginalised groups or from under-represented communities and identities are strongly encouraged to apply.

If your organisation would like to endorse the criteria, please sign on here.

ISHR’s Programme Manager Helen Nolan explains that the Special Rapporteur plays a key role in the recognition and protection of those who promote and defend human rights.

‘Human rights defenders often face serious challenges and risks as a result of their human rights work, and so the mandate seeks to promote a safe and enabling environment for them around the world,’ says Nolan. As the document highlights, the mandate does this work in many ways.

‘With the power to report and advise countries on how to make the right to defend rights a reality, mandate holders have helped bring about real change on the ground,’ says Nolan. For example, Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders have:

  • visited dozens of countries in all regions to examine the situation of human rights defenders on the ground and make recommendations to strengthen their protection;
  • investigated the situation and protection needs of groups of defenders particularly at risk, most recently looking at women human rights defenders, environmental defenders, and people on the move; and
  • raised thousands of cases of alleged human rights violations against human rights defenders around the globe.

‘131 organisations working nationally, regionally and internationally have come together to set out the skills and expertise that should be taken into account in the appointment of the next expert in March 2020,’ explains Nolan. These fit under 4 priorities:

  • qualifications and skills;
  • relevant expertise
  • established competence;
  • and flexibility/ readiness and availability

The document also provides information on the application process, and underlines the importance of independence and impartiality, as well as experience or knowledge of the realities faced by human rights defenders.

‘Human rights defenders who are most at risk around the world are often persons with discriminated identities or from communities that are marginalised, so the Special Rapporteur should be able to consider the particular contexts and challenges faced by these individuals and groups with the benefit of insights from the mandate holder’s personal experience,’ emphasises Nolan.

‘We all strongly encourage nominations of such human rights defenders, including women and gender diverse persons,’ adds Nolan.

The checklist is available here.


 

 9 September 2019

PROPOSED CRITERIA FOR SELECTION AND APPOINTMENT OF A NEW MANDATE HOLDER ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

This document is part of a series of criteria developed for vacant positions of Special Procedures mandate holders, and is endorsed by 131 organisations working internationally (41), regionally (12) and nationally (78) (full list below). Its intention is to support all stakeholders in the identification of and outreach to highly qualified and independent candidates for the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, to be appointed by the Human Rights Council in March 2020.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders plays a key role in the recognition and protection of those who promote and defend human rights. These individuals, organisations and groups often face serious challenges and risks as a result of their human rights work, and the mandate seeks to promote the creation of a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders around the world. It does this in many ways, such as by promoting the Declaration on human rights defenders; studying trends, developments and challenges faced by human rights defenders, including those with specific protection needs; recommending concrete and effective strategies to increase protection; and seeking, receiving and examining information on individual cases. The mandate engages with a wide variety of stakeholders, collaborating particularly closely with States and human rights defenders themselves.

For example, Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders have visited dozens of countries in all regions to examine the situation of human rights defenders on the ground and make recommendations to strengthen their protection; investigated the situation and protection needs of groups of defenders particularly at risk, most recently looking at women human rights defenders, environmental defenders, and people on the move; examined thematic issues in depth, such as the elements necessary to create a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders; and raised thousands of cases of alleged human rights violations against human rights defenders around the globe.

The appointment of independent, impartial, competent and expert persons from all regions of the world as mandate holders is essential to ensuring a well-functioning system of Special Procedures, which, in turn, is of crucial importance to the functioning of the Human Rights Council. The selection and appointment of mandate holders, through a transparent and merit based process, on the basis of relevant expertise for the mandate in question, real and perceived independence, impartiality, personal integrity and objectivity are of crucial importance for the effective functioning of the mandates. This document provides information on the application process for candidates for the position of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, formal criteria for selection of a mandate holder, and a checklist of criteria intended as an interpretive aid for those criteria.

States may use the document to strengthen national consultations processes for the identification of suitable candidates. It is also intended as a checklist that can be used by the Human Rights Council’s Consultative Group and the President of the Council to ensure that only highly qualified and independent candidates are considered and appointed.

The signatory organisations call on Governments, NGOs and others, including relevant professional networks, to use this checklist of criteria to identify eligible candidates for the upcoming vacancy for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. We urge Governments to consult civil society and human rights defenders in their countries, and to disseminate the vacancy widely so as to encourage candidates to apply for this vacancy.

In particular, we encourage nominations of human rights defenders from marginalised groups or from communities and identities that are under-represented among Special Procedures mandate holders, including women and gender diverse persons.

  • APPLICATION PROCESS

The Human Rights Council will appoint a new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in March 2020, following the end of the second term of Michel Forst. The new mandate holder will serve a term of three years, which can be renewed once, and the following stakeholders may nominate candidates:

  • Governments;
  • Regional Groups;
  • International organisations (e.g. the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR));
  • Non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
  • National human rights institutions (NHRIs) in compliance with Paris Principles;
  • Other human rights bodies;
  • Individuals.

All candidates must submit an application through the OHCHR online application system, together with personal data, curriculum vitae and a motivation letter. OHCHR will prepare a public list of candidates who applied for each vacancy.

The Council’s Consultative Group (currently composed of the Ambassadors of the Permanent Missions to the UN of Djibouti, Ecuador, Iraq, Italy and the Republic of Moldova), will prepare a shortlist of candidates to be interviewed. Following the interviews, the Consultative Group will send a letter to the President of the Human Rights Council setting out their top three candidates in order of preference.

At the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, the President will communicate the candidate the President has selected, bearing in mind the overall geographic and gender balance among all Special Procedures mandate holders. At the end of that Council session, the Council will endorse the President’s selected candidate.

Prospective mandate holders should be aware that this is a voluntary, unpaid role. They would not receive salary or other financial compensation, except for travel expenses and daily subsistence allowance of ‘experts on mission’. It will require a substantial time commitment from the individual, including readiness to travel and respond to urgent situations, as explained in the checklist below.

Details and formalities about the nomination, selection and appointment of mandate holders are explained on the OHCHR website here. Applications have to be submitted through an online system, which is available here, with a deadline of 17 October 2019 (12 NOON GREENWICH MEAN TIME / GMT)

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF CANDIDATES FOR MANDATE OF 

SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 sets out the formal criteria that are of ‘paramount importance while nominating, selecting and appointing mandate-holders:

  1. expertise;
  2. experience in the field of the mandate;
  3. independence;
  4. impartiality;
  5. personal integrity; and
  6. objectivity.’

Resolution 5/1 provides that to be independent ‘individuals holding decision-making positions in Government or in any other organisation or entity which may give rise to a conflict of interest with the responsibilities inherent to the mandate shall be excluded.’ The conflict of interest provision has also been interpreted to mean that candidates are expected to clarify how, if appointed, they would deal with any perceived or actual conflict of interest in relation to governments, inter-governmental organisations, or non-governmental organisations. We encourage that a rigorous application of both the letter and the spirit of this provision be applied by the Consultative Group when selecting and proposing candidates. In particular, we consider that there should be a minimum of a two-year period between when an individual leaves a position in Government and when they may be considered as a candidate for the position of a mandate holder.

Human Rights Council decision 6/102 establishes four technical and objective requirements to be considered in the selection of Special Procedures mandate-holders:

  1. qualifications,
  2. relevant expertise,
  3. established competence and
  4. flexibility/readiness and availability of time.

Due consideration should be given to gender balance and equitable geographic representation, and to an appropriate representation of different legal systems. The selected candidate should be a highly-qualified individual who possess established competence, relevant expertise and extensive professional experience in the field of human rights (paras. 39-41).

We consider it paramount that this selection process give continued consideration to diversity, of all kinds. Human rights defenders who are most at risk around the world are often persons with discriminated identities or from communities that are marginalised. Consequently, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders should be able to consider the particular contexts and challenges faced by these individuals and groups with the benefit of insights from the mandate holder’s personal experience. We encourage that the Consultative Group give special consideration to candidates from communities or identities that are underrepresented among special procedures mandate holders.

The attached checklist is intended as an interpretive aid for those requirements.

CHECKLIST FOR SELECTION OF CANDIDATES FOR MANDATE OF

SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

1. Qualifications (and skills): relevant educational qualifications and equivalent professional experience in the field of human rights.

Checklist:

  • Demonstrated experience addressing issues relevant to the mandate, from a human rights perspective (for example through lived experience and practice, academic publications, studies, reports, research papers or any similar written material demonstrating in-depth knowledge);
  • Extensive experience in public speaking (for example in expert seminars) as well as in communicating and/or working together with relevant stakeholders, including senior government officials, the diplomatic corps, intergovernmental organisations, national human rights institutions, NGOs, human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations, businesses, media and other non-state actors;
  • A university degree, or equivalent in experience, in a discipline directly related to the mandate, preferably with a focus on international human rights law, would be highly desirable;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in at least one of the UN working languages (English, French and Spanish – knowledge of other widely-used or official UN languages, such as Arabic, Chinese or Russian, would also be an asset);

2. Relevant expertise: knowledge of international human rights instruments, norms, standards and principles; as well as knowledge of institutional mandates related to the United Nations or other international or regional organisations’ work in the area of human rights; proven work experience in the field of human rights.

 

Checklist:

  • Extensive knowledge of international human rights law and standards, including through the lens of non-discrimination and equality, and their application for the promotion and protection for human rights defenders and their work;
  • Several years of progressively responsible work experience in the field of human rights or as a human rights defender, including in human rights research, monitoring, reporting, investigating and advocacy;
  • Excellent knowledge of the international and regional legal frameworks, including case law relevant to the promotion and protection of the rights of human rights defenders, including on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, torture and other ill-treatment, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and enforced or involuntary disappearances;
  • Practical experience in promoting and protecting the rights of human rights defenders, including through a gender perspective;
  • Excellent knowledge of institutional mandates of the United Nations and/or other international or regional human rights bodies.

3. Established competence: nationally, regionally or internationally recognised competence related to human rights.

Checklist:

  • A demonstrated commitment to human rights law and standards;
  • Excellent knowledge and expertise of the work of human rights defenders, and of responding to recent trends, developments and challenges human rights defenders face;
  • Recognized knowledge and experience of human rights-based academic and field research and/or fact-finding methodology, including carrying out fact-finding visits;
  • Experience in applying international human rights standards, such as the Declaration on human rights defenders, in particular with a view to furthering the recognition and protection of human rights defenders and their work;
  • Experience at national, regional and/or international level in developing legislation, policies and mechanisms for the protection of human rights defenders, including knowledge in developing comprehensive protection strategies that incorporate a collective, gender, ethnic and intersectional perspective, and in creating a safe and enabling environment for their work, including addressing issues related to discrimination, threats, intimidation, reprisals, and impunity;
  • Extensive experience with and proven commitment to working and/or interacting with civil society and individuals whose human rights may be at risk of, or who have experienced, among other, harassment, stigmatisation, smear campaigns, surveillance, criminalization, threats, intimidation, reprisals, violence or killings as a result of their work in defending human rights;
  • Proven awareness of the particular risks faced by and particular protection needs of specific groups of human rights defenders, such as women human rights defenders, defenders working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues; ethnicity, religion or belief, minorities or people discriminated against based on work, decent or socio-economic status; non-nationals, migrants, refugees and internally displaced people; defenders working on environmental and land rights issues; members of political opposition groups; journalists and media workers; and youth/children human rights defenders;
  • Knowledge of the particular challenges and risks facing human rights defenders in the digital age and proven awareness of the digital security needs of human rights defenders and strategies for protecting and promoting the exercise and defense of human rights online;
  • Experience in interacting with actors impacting the work of human rights defenders, such as: governments and political groups; security forces; armed groups; companies, investors, international or regional financial institutions or development finance institutions; and religious groups and institutions.
  • Experience in the development and delivery of assistance and capacity building in human rights and the rule of law, including as relevant to training of law enforcement officials, judges and other legal professionals and officials responsible for the protection of human rights defenders;
  • Knowledge and sensitivity to the issue of reprisals or intimidation experienced by persons who interact with the mandate in any way.

4. Flexibility/readiness and availability of time to perform effectively the functions of the mandate and to respond to its requirements, including attending Human Rights Council sessions.

Checklist:

  • Willingness and ability to conduct in-country investigations, in all regions of the world, into laws, policies, and practices affecting human rights defenders and their work;
  • Energy, determination and vision to promote the effective and comprehensive implementation of the Declaration on human rights defenders, including the protection of human rights defenders wherever they are at risk, and the promotion of a safe and enabling environment so that they can operate without fear of reprisals;
  • Preparedness, willingness and ability to devote a substantial proportion of working hours to fulfilling the mandate, which includes undertaking two to three country missions per year, preparing and presenting reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly (such as the annual thematic report, and country mission and follow-up reports), attending seminars and other UN meetings and acting on individual cases of human rights violations committed against human rights defenders;
  • Willingness and ability to act urgently on cases or situations requiring immediate attention;
  • A demonstrated commitment to human rights in general, and a commitment to uphold the integrity, objectivity, discretion, independence and impartiality of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and the Special Procedures system as a whole.

LIST OF SIGNATORIES

11.11.11. – The coalition of the Flemish North-South movement International
ABEMO- WOMEN OF VISION National
ACAT España-Catalunya National
ACAT-Switzerland National
Action Solidarité Tiers Monde (ASTM) National
Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l’Homme (AEDH) National
Al-Haq National
Aluna Acompañamiento Psicosocial, A.C. National
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Regional
Amnesty International International
Arisa Regional
Article 19 International
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development Regional
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) Regional
ASISTENCIA LEGAL POR LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS A. C (ASILEGAL) National
Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos, A.C. National
ASOCIACION DE INVESTIGACION Y ESPECIALIZACION SOBRE TEMAS IBEROAMERICANOS National
ASOCIACIÓN PRO DERECHOS HUMANOS – APRODEH National
Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos de España National
Association for Progressive Communications (APC) International
Association for the Prevention of Torture International
Avocats Sans Frontières France International
Balkan Civil Society Development Network BCSDN Regional
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) National
Bread for all National
Broederlijk Delen National
Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO) National
Buruea for Rights-Based Development (BRD) National
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre International
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Regional
Calala Fondo de Mujeres International
Cambodian Center for Human Rights National
Center for Civil Liberties National
Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña “Tlachinollan” National
Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres (CEDEHM) National
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, AC National
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova National
Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh) National
Centro de derechos humanos Paso del Norte. National
Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM) National
CENTRO DE INVESTIGACION Y EDUCACION POPULAR-CINEP National
Centro Regional de Defensa de Derechos Humanos José Ma. Morelos y Pavón A. C National
Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) National
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) International
CISV Onlus National
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation International
CNCD-11.11.11 (Centre National de Coopération au Développement) National
COC Netherlands National
Colectivo contra la Tortura y la Impunidad A.C. National
Comisión Ciudadana de Derechos Humanos del Noroeste, A.C. National
Comisión de Ayuda al Refugiado en Euskadi  (CEAR-Euskadi) National
Commission Justice et Paix National
Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC) National
Conectas Direitos Humanos National
Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CS.CC.OO.) National
Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos National
Coordinated Organizations and Communities for Roma Human Rights in Greece (SOKADRE) National
Corporación Humanas National
Crude Accountability International
Defend International International
DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) Regional
Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR) National
Diakonia International
Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) National
FIAN INTERNATIONAL International
Forum Syd International
Free Press Unlimited International
Freedom House International
Front Line Defenders International
Fund for Global Human Rights International
Fundación Mundubat – Mundubat Fundazioa International
Greek Helsinki Monitor National
Green Advocates International (Liberia) International
Greenpeace International
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) Regional
Human Rights Association (Insan Haklari Dernegi), IHD National
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan National
Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) International
Humanist Union of Greece National
ILGA World International
IM Swedish Development Partner International
IM-Defensoras Regional
Indonesian Institute for Independent Judiciary National
Instituto de Derecho Ambiental National
International Dalit Solidarity Network International
International Federation of ACAT (FIACAT) International
International Service for Human Rights International
Irish Council for Civil Liberties National
Just Associates (JASS) International
Karapatan Alliance Philippines Inc. National
Latinamerikagrupperna/Solidaridad Suecia-América Latina (SAL) National
MADA- Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms National
Media Rights Agenda National
Medical Action Group,Inc. National
Minority Rights Group – Greece National
Movimento Católico Global pelo Clima-Brasil National
Namibia Diverse Women’s Association  (NDWA) National
Namibia Equality and Justice Alliance (NEJA) National
National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya National
National Council of Churches in the Philippines National
NGO Forum on ADB Regional
Odhikar National
Oil-Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public Union National
Open Briefing International
Organisation Tchaienne Anti-Corruption (OTAC) National
Oxfam International Regional
Pakistan Labour Federation National
Participatory Research Action Network- PRAN National
Peace Brigades International International
Peace with Dignity International
People’s Watch National
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity ( PACTI) National
Protection International International
Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” National
Réseau International des Droits Humains RIDH International
Robert F Kennedy Human Rights International
Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz A.C. National
Society for International Development (SID) International
SOS AFRICAINES EN DANGER International
Southern Africa Litigation Centre Regional
SweFOR International
Syrian Center for media and freedom of expression – SCM National
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression National
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy International
Trocaire International
Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos – Guatemala National
Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State National
We Effect National
Women Solidarity Namibia ( WSN) National
World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) International
Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity National

Ειδική σύμβουλος με θητεία 20 ημερών επικεφαλής 26-μελούς αντιπροσωπείας σε Επιτροπή ΟΗΕ για Δικαιώματα ΑμεΑ πάνω από δύο Γενικούς Γραμματείς!


Δρ. Ματίλντα Χατζηπαναγιώτου, LL.M

Στις 2-4 Σεπτεμβρίου 2019, η Επιτροπή του ΟΗΕ για τα Δικαιώματα των ΑμεΑ (CRPD) θα εξετάσει την εφαρμογή από την Ελλάδα της αντίστοιχης διεθνούς σύμβασης. Η Επιτροπή ανάρτησε τον ακόλουθο κατάλογο με τα μέλη της ελληνικής αντιπροσωπείας.

Είναι καταχρηστικά υψηλός ο αριθμός των μελών της (26!!!). Προκαλεί δε εντύπωση πως ενώ μετέχουν δύο Γενικοί Γραμματείς των Υπουργείων Δικαιοσύνης και Εσωτερικών, επικεφαλής έχει τεθεί η 33χρονη Ματθίλδη Χατζηπαναγιώτου που διορίσθηκε Ειδική Σύμβουλος του Υπουργού Επικρατείας Γιώργου Γεραπετρίτη μόλις στις 5 Αυγούστου 2019. Μέχρι τώρα είχε διοικητική θέση στο American College of Greece (Pierce-Deree) ενώ είχε κάποτε λάβει χορηγία από το Ίδρυμα Μητσοτάκη. Δεν προκύπτει να έχει κάποια εμπειρία σε θέματα ΑμεΑ…

Ministry of State Ms.  Matthildi CHATZIPANAGIOTOU Head of the Delegation

Special Advisor to the Minister of State

Ministry of Justice Mr.  Panos ALEXANDRIS Secretary General of Justice and Human Rights

Ministry of Justice Delegate

Ministry of Interior Mr Michail Stavrianoudakis Secretary-General of the Ministry of Interior
Ministry of Foreign Affairs H.E.  Anna  KORKA Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva
Mr  Georgios KYRIAKOPOULOS Deputy Permanent Representative
Ms Christina VALASSOPOULOU First Counsellor
Mr Thiseas Fragkiskos POULLOS First Secretary
Ms. Elissavet CHATZIMICHALAROU Ministry of Foreign Affairs Delegate

Expert Minister Counsellor

Mr. KASTANAS Elias Senior Legal Counsellor
Ministry of Citizen Protection Ms.  Sevastiana KOURTI

 

Ministry of Citizen Protection Delegate
Ms.  Electra CHRISTEA Greek Asylum Service Delegate
Ministry Of Education

and Religious Affairs

Ms.  Athina Anna CHRISTOPOULOU Head of Unit C (Protection of the Rights of Pupils with Disabilities and/or Special Educational Needs) Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs Delegate
Ms.  Athina CHATZIGEORGIOU

 

Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs Delegate
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Mr. Dimitrios NIKOLSKY Head of Unit “Children with Disabilities”

Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Delegate

Ms.  Evangelia ZERVA Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Delegate
Mr.  Stavros GOULIDIS Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Delegate
Ministry of Health  

Mr.  Constantinos MOSCHOVAKIS

Head of Unit A of Mental Health Directorate

Ministry of Health Delegate

Ministry of Environment and Energy Ms. Kalliopi  PAPADAKI Member of the National Accessibility Committee

Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy Delegate

Ms. Maria GRIVA Deputy President of the National Accessibility Committee

Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy Delegate

 

Ministry of Justice Ms Aliki KONSTA Ministry of Justice Delegate
Ms.  Eftychia KATSIGARAKI Ministry of Justice Delegate
Ministry of Interior Mr.  Ioannis MATHIOUDAKIS Ministry of Interior Delegate
Ms.  Georgia VALATSOU Director General

Ministry of Interior

Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation Mr.  Panagiotis GEORGANTOPOULOS Department of Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation Delegate

Ministry of Tourism Ms.  Eleni NIKOLAOU Head, Directorate of Legislative Coordination and Better Legislation

Ministry of Tourism Delegate

Secretariat General for Communication and Information Ms.  Christina LAMPROU Administrator at the Directorate for Mass Media

Secretariat General for Communication

 

Ελλάδα: Κοινωνία πολιτών καταγγέλλει δολοφονία ασυνόδευτου παιδιού στη Μόρια [δήλωση ΕΠΣΕ – OMCT – RRE]

GHM RRE OMCT

Κοινή Δήλωση


Ελλάδα: Κοινωνία πολιτών καταγγέλλει δολοφονία ασυνόδευτου παιδιού στη Μόρια

Αθήνα, Γενεύη και Λονδίνο, 27 Αυγούστου 2019

Η Παγκόσμια Οργάνωση κατά των Βασανιστηρίων (OMCT), το Refugee Rights Europe (RRE) και το Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι (ΕΠΣΕ) είναι σοκαρισμένες από το θάνατο με μαχαίρωμα 15χρονου αγοριού από το Αφγανιστάν και τους σοβαρούς τραυματισμούς δύο άλλων εφήβων, μετά από καυγά στις 24 Αυγούστου 2019 στο Κέντρο Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης στη Μόρια (KYT) στη Λέσβο.

Εκφράζοντας σοκ, η Ύπατη Αρμοστεία του ΟΗΕ για τους Πρόσφυγες (UNHCR) περιέγραψε επίσης τις απάνθρωπες και εξευτελιστικές συνθήκες “στην ασφαλή ζώνη του Κέντρου Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης (ΚΥΤ) όπου φιλοξενούνται σχεδόν 70 ασυνόδευτα παιδιά, αλλά με περισσότερα από 500 ακόμα αγόρια και κορίτσια να διαμένουν σε διάφορα σημεία της υπερπλήρους δομής, χωρίς επίτροπο και εκτεθειμένα σε εκμετάλλευση και κακομεταχείριση με κάποια από αυτά να στεγάζονται μαζί με άγνωστους προς αυτά ενήλικες.”

Τον Ιούνιο 2019, η OMCT, η RRE και το ΕΠΣΕ, μαζί με 9 άλλες ΜΚΟ, υπέβαλαν κοινή έκθεση στην Επιτροπή του ΟΗΕ κατά των Βασανιστηρίων (CAT), εκφράζοντας σοβαρή ανησυχία για την κατάσταση των ασυνόδευτων παιδιών στο hotspot της Μόριας, όπου διαμένουν κατά μέσο όρο πέντε μήνες πριν μετακινηθούν στην ηπειρωτική χώρα. Υπάρχει έντονη έλλειψη διαθέσιμης μέριμνας, ιδιαίτερα της ψυχικής υγείας, σε συνδυασμό με διαδεδομένη κατάχρηση ουσιών από παιδιά, που συχνά αντιμετωπίζουν σοβαρό τραύμα. Οργάνωση που ζήτησε να τηρηθεί η ανωνυμία της περιέγραψε τις συνθήκες για τα ασυνόδευτα παιδιά που ζητούν άσυλο (UASC) στη Μόρια: “Η γενική κατάσταση των ασυνόδευτων ανηλίκων είναι ανησυχητική. Οι συνθήκες διαβίωσης στα στέγαστρα είναι υποβαθμισμένες και η εποπτεία είναι ελάχιστη και σε 24ωρη βάση. Έχει αναφερθεί σοβαρή έλλειψη ειδικών στον τομέα της υγειονομικής περίθαλψης καθώς και τεράστια έλλειψη κοινωνικών λειτουργών και ικανών φροντιστών για παιδιά. Μόνο ένας ψυχολόγος, δύο συντονιστές και δύο νοσηλευτές είναι παρόντες για περισσότερα από 300 παιδιά και μόνο μέχρι τα μέσα του απογεύματος . Επιπλέον, η αστυνομία είναι το μόνο σημείο επαφής για τα παιδιά, αλλά οι αστυνομικοί δεν είναι εκπαιδευμένοι να ασχολούνται με παιδιά, ιδιαίτερα τραυματισμένα παιδιά, και δεν μιλούν τη γλώσσα τους.

Οι ελληνικές αρχές καλούνται να διεξαγάγουν ταχεία και αμερόληπτη διερεύνηση της υπόθεσης, συμπεριλαμβανομένης τυχόν αδράνειας από τη διεύθυνση της δομής ή από άλλους αρμόδιους, να εντοπίσουν τους υπεύθυνους, να τους οδηγήσουν σε δίκη και να εφαρμόσουν τις ποινικές, αστικές και/ή διοικητικές κυρώσεις που προβλέπει ο νόμος. Καλούνται επίσης να προσφέρουν αποζημίωση στα θύματα και/ή στις οικογένειές τους, καθώς ο καυγάς έγινε σε επίσημη “ασφαλή ζώνη”, η οποία ορίζεται ως επιτηρούμενος χώρος σε προσωρινή ανοιχτή τοποθεσία καταλύματος η οποία υποτίθεται ότι χρησιμοποιείται ως βραχυχρόνιος μέσο προκειμένου να φροντίσουν τα ασυνόδευτα παιδιά λόγω του ανεπαρκούς αριθμού διαθέσιμων καταλυμάτων, για μέγιστο διάστημα 3 μηνών.

Από την άποψη αυτή, η OMCT, η RRE και το ΕΠΣΕ καλούν τις ελληνικές αρχές να σεβαστούν τη Σύμβαση των Ηνωμένων Εθνών για τα Δικαιώματα του Παιδιού και την Γενικό Σχόλιο της Επιτροπής των Δικαιωμάτων του Παιδιού αριθ. 6 σχετικά με τη μεταχείριση των ασυνόδευτων και χωρισμένων παιδιών εκτός τη χώρα καταγωγής τους λαμβάνοντας τα κατάλληλα μέτρα “για να επιτρέψουν την άμεση απελευθέρωση ασυνόδευτων ή χωρισμένων παιδιών από την κράτηση”[1] και να εφαρμόσουν τις συστάσεις της Επιτροπής κατά των Βασανιστηρίων (CAT) μετά την εξέταση της Ελλάδας τον Ιούλιο 2019 “να διασφαλίσουν ότι τα παιδιά δεν κρατούνται μόνο λόγω του ότι είναι μετανάστες. Η κράτηση πρέπει να χρησιμοποιείται μόνο ως έσχατη λύση και για το συντομότερο δυνατόν χρονικό διάστημα”[2].

Η OMCT, η RRE και το ΕΠΣΕ υιοθετούν τη δήλωση του Αντιπροσώπου της Ύπατης Αρμοστείας του ΟΗΕ για τους Πρόσφυγες στην Ελλάδα, Philippe Leclerc: “Η Μόρια δεν είναι μέρος για παιδιά που είναι μόνα τους και που έχουν υποστεί βαθιά τραύματα από όσα έχουν ζήσει στις πατρίδες τους και από τις κακουχίες του ταξιδιού τους. Χρειάζονται ειδική φροντίδα σε κατάλληλους ξενώνες. Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση πρέπει να λάβει επείγοντα μέτρα, ώστε τα παιδιά αυτά να μεταφερθούν σε ασφαλές περιβάλλον και να δοθεί ένα τέλος στον υπερσυνωστισμό που βλέπουμε στη Λέσβο και τα άλλα νησιά», προσθέτοντας ότι «η Ύπατη Αρμοστεία είναι έτοιμη να προσφέρει οποιαδήποτε στήριξη είναι απαραίτητη».”

[1]. Γενικό σχόλιο αριθ. 6 (2005) περί της μεταχείρισης των ασυνόδευτων και χωρισμένων παιδιών εκτός της χώρας καταγωγής τους, 1η Σεπτεμβρίου 2005 (CRC/GC/2005/6), §61.

[2]. Επιτροπή κατά των Βασανιστηρίων, Τελικές παρατηρήσεις για την Ελλάδα, Ιούλιος 2019 (CAT/C/GRC/CO/7) §23.

 

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