Greece: Ongoing arbitrary restriction to freedom of movement of minority rights defender Slavko Mangovski
CASE GRE 181116.1
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Restrictions to freedom of movement /
Entry ban / Arbitrary detention
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) about the ongoing arbitrary restriction to freedom of movement of Mr. Slavko Mangovski, Macedonian minority activist who has been for years cooperating also with GHM.
According to the information received, on March 2, 2019, Mr. Mangovski was denied entry into Greece under the argument that an alert refusing entry in the country has been issued against him in the national register. Mr. Mangovski’s attempt to enter Greece followed the reception of a letter from the Greek Ombudsman, dated October 15, 2018 but received only in mid February 2019, in which the Ombudsman informed him that he was not listed into the list of undesirable third country nationals kept at the Greek Police Headquarters in Athens. The involvement of the Greek Ombudsman follows a complaint filed in May 2018 by the GHM on behalf of Mr. Mangovski as well as Ms. Trendafilka Sandeva, a lawyer with long-term cooperation with GHM on human rights issues who’s also facing an entry ban, as well as a second complaint filed by Mr. Mangovski in October 2018.
OMCT recalls that this is not the first attack against Mr. Slavko Mangovski (see background information) and highlights that the situation of human rights defenders and solidarity actors in Greece has been critical for years. Human rights defenders working on migrants’ and minority rights are consistently targeted for their legitimate work and face different types of attacks, including surveillance, arbitrary arrests, detentions, ill-treatment, entry bans and expulsion. At the same time, several complaints related to racism and minority’s rights have not been investigated and/or have been sent to the “archive of unknown perpetrators. OMCT is particularly concerned by the continued increasing of violent attacks and threats against minority rights defenders in Greece.
OMCT condemns the use of entry bans against defenders and journalists working on the rights of minorities on the ground of posing threats to national security, which appears only to be aimed at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities. OMCT urges the Greek authorities including the Greek Ombudsman to promptly and efficiently investigate the allegations as well as to ensure a due process including by providing all relevant documents that would allegedly justify an entry ban against Mr. Mangovski and Ms. Sandeva. Finally, we urge the Greek authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift such bans and more generally to put an end to all acts of harassment against all migrants and minority rights defenders in Greece.
On August 11, 2000, a ban preventing him from entering Greece was issued against Mr. Mangovski. Such decision was lifted two days after GHM intervened before the Greek authorities on his behalf.
On October 24, 2016, Mr. Mangovski was travelling from Macedonia to Greece in order to meet with Macedonian minority activists. At the Niki/Medzitlija Macedonian-Greek border crossing, he was denied entrance to Greece and informed that he was, since June 4, 2013, listed on the national registry of persons not allowed entering the Greek territory. The authorities provided him with a copy of the official document pronouncing his ban; it was the first time Mr. Mangovski learned about the existence of such ban against him, which prevented him from being able to use in a timely manner the available legal remedy to contest such measure soon after it was imposed. Moreover, he was given no explanation either about the grounds of the ban or the length of the measure.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is concerned that the ongoing ban could be linked to Mr. Mangovski’s participation as a speaker to the joint Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia (ARCAM) Gala Banquet on June 1, 2013, in Toronto, commemorating the 65th anniversary of the plight of the Detsa Begaltsi (Macedonian minority Children Refugees from the Greek Civil War).
Please write to the authorities in Greece, urging them to:
- Guarantee the freedom of movement of Mr. Slavko Mangovski and Ms. Trandaflika Sandeva, by immediately and unconditionally lifting the prohibition to enter the country which was issued against them, as it seems to only aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
- Promptly and efficiently investigate these acts of harassment against including any potential individual responsibilities within the Greek administration, as well as to ensure a due process including by providing all relevant documents that would allegedly justify an entry ban against them;
- Put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Mangovski and Ms. Sandeva, as well as against all minority rights defenders in Greece, so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance or fear of reprisals;
- Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1 and 12.2; and
- More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Greece.
- Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, Email: email@example.com
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor George Katrougkalos, firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
- Minister of Justice Mr. Michalis Kalogirou Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Minister for Citizens Protection of Greece, Ms. Olga Gerovasili, Email: email@example.com
- General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights, Ms. Maria Yannakaki, Fax: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Permanent Representative of Greece, Ms. Anna Korka, Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: email@example.com
- Ambassador of Greece, H.E. Eleftheria Galathianaki, Embassy of Greece in Brussels, Belgium, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Permanent Representative of Greece, H.E. Papastavrou Andreas, Permanent Representation to the European Union (EU), Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Greece in your respective country.
Geneva-Brussels, March 6, 2019
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
Created in 1985, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is the main coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as for the protection of human rights defenders. With more than 200 affiliated organisations in its SOS-Torture Network, OMCT aims at accompanying, reinforcing and protecting anti-torture organisations in particular in erosive environments and provides a comprehensive system of support and protection for human rights defenders around the world.
 See OMCT’s “Written Submission to the 35th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation of minority rights defenders”, issued on February 21, 2018.
 See OMCT’s Urgent appeal “Greece: Impunity regarding the attacks perpetrated in December 2016 against minority rights defenders“, issued on February 21, 2018
 See the Observatory (OMCT-FIDH), Urgent Appeal on the break-in and arson attack of the Afghan Community Centre’s premises in Athens and the threats targeting the Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR), GRE 001 / 0318 / OBS 036, published on March 30, 2018.