Parliamentary slur could lead to harassment of Greek anti-racist campaigner, says MRG
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Publication Date||11 February 2010|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, Parliamentary slur could lead to harassment of Greek anti-racist campaigner, says MRG, 11 February 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dfb655023.html [accessed 16 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Minority Rights Group International is concerned for the welfare of an anti-racist activist after he was accused of slandering Greece in a parliamentary question, tabled by a right-wing MP.
Panayote Dimitras, of Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), was accused by Adonis Georgiadis, of the LAOS political party, of insulting and defaming Greece 'wherever he goes', in a parliamentary session on 5 February.
"Greece can be a difficult environment for human rights defenders and MRG is anxious that Panayote Dimitras could be targeted for harassment as a result of these inflammatory comments. To point out when a state is in breach of its human rights obligations should not be considered slander", says Snjezana Bokulic, MRG's Director of Programmes.
In his response to Mr Georgiadis, the Deputy Foreign Minister informed the Greek parliament that the government held data on all NGOs in the country and promised to enter into it details of GHM as an organisation 'that slanders Greece'.
"The Deputy Minister's reaction is unacceptable. Is the Greek state indeed keeping a register in which data on NGOs is entered arbitrarily, without due process and regard for freedom of association and expression obligations?" added Bokulic.
Adonis Georgiadis is co-editor of the book, Jews: The Whole Truth, which denies the Holocaust. Panayote Dimitras testified as a prosecution witness at the December 2007 trial of its author Kostas Plevris, who was convicted of inciting racial hatred and given a 14 month suspended sentence.
Georgiadis also questioned continuation of the funding of GHM by the Greek state in his questions to the Deputy Minister.
"GHM is an internationally recognised organisation carrying out important anti-discrimination work, in a country where more attention needs to be paid to minority rights. Denial of funding could be highly detrimental to the organisation", says Bokulic.
GHM monitors, publishes, lobbies, and litigates on human and minority rights and anti-discrimination issues in Greece.
The Greek government does not officially recognise ethnic minorities, apart from Muslims as a religious minority, within its borders.