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Appeal for Abolition of Article 19

December 12, 1997

Subject: Appeal to Greek Government for the abolition of Article 19 of the Citizenship code and other discriminations

Greek Helsinki Monitor

The human rights organizations signing this text, on the occasion of today’s International Day of Human Rights, appeal to the Greek government to:

  1. Abolish Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code, which is a flagrant violation of the constitutional principle of equality before the law, by giving the administration the discretion to arbitrarily revoke the citizenship of only "non-ethnic (allogenous)" Greek citizens when they settle abroad with no intent to return, an article that was recently characterized by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos "a clause that violates human rights."
  2. Grant to the stateless (former Greek citizens who, following an irregular application of Article 19, lost the Greek citizenship though they have been living permanently in Greece) all rights resulting from the UN 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (ratified by Greece with Law 139 of 25/25 - 8-1975 but never applied to this date in our country), starting with the granting of identity documents (according to article 27 of the Convention) or/and travel documents (according to article 28), so that these persons can at long last go to school, have social security and healthcare, receive pensions, have work permits, etc. instead of being almost "human ghosts."
  3. Abolish all administrative circulars and provisions on the restricted zone in Thrace, which, contrary to government declarations, remains in force, with the exception of the abolition of the control of the entrance and exit from it only for Greek citizens, as the local police authorities sincerely assert.
The appeal is also signed by the three minority deputies Birol Akifoglou (ND), Galip Galip (PASOK), and Moustafa Moustafa (Coalition) and the political parties Coalition (Synaspismos), OAKKE and The Rainbow Party

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