Member of European Parliament Protests Greek Human Rights Abuses
January 20, 2005
|European Free Alliance
Bernat Joan i Mari MEP
(Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya)
Brussels - Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya Euro-MP Bernat Joan is to protest to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg about ongoing
human rights abuses in Greece.
The Catalan Euro-MP and Vice President of the European Free Alliance is concerned about ongoing state backed intolerance and discrimination
particularly against the country's Macedonian and Turkish minorities. This follows the recent Greek Supreme Court ruling dissolving the Turkish
Union of Xanthi.
This follows previous refusals to register Turkish and Macedonian associations or to force their dissolution in spite of earlier rulings against
the Greek authorities by the Strasbourg based European Court of Human Rights.
Bernat Joan MEP commented:
"I was very concerned to hear this news of ongoing intolerance by Greek authorities. It seems to me a flagrant abuse of basic human rights, not
to mention treaty commitments. Greece has fallen foul of the European Court of Human Rights in the past yet this seems to have had little impact
on the attitude of the Greek authorities. They must recognise the right to peaceful and free association without interference or oppression. It
is ironic that at a time when the EU is asking countries who want to join to implement the so-called 'Copenhagen criteria' which includes the
protection of minorities, some existing EU members behave in such a way.
That's why I'm writing to the European Court of Human Rights to draw their attention to these ongoing human rights abuses by Greek authorities."
In the Sidiropoulos and others v. Greece judgement of 10 July 1998, the European Court of Human Rights found that the refusal to register the
association "Home of Macedonian Culture" in Florina constituted an interference with the freedom of association as guaranteed by Article 11 of
the European Convention on Human Rights. Five years after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, this association has still not
been registered despite the repeated applications made by its members (see recent decision 243/19/12/03 of the Florina Single-Member Court of
First Instance one more time negative; the applicants have applied again to the Appeal Court in Kozani).
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The European Free Alliance (EFA) Group in the European Parliament includes MEPs from Scotland, Wales, Catalonia and Latvia, who advance the
cause of Europe's stateless nations, regions and disadvantaged minorities.