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Member of European Parliament Protests Greek Human Rights Abuses

January 20, 2005


European Free Alliance

Bernat Joan i Mari MEP
(Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya)

Press Release


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."

Note

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).

Steven Cornelius
EFA Press Officer / Attache de presse ALE
Green / EFA Group in the European Parliament
T: +32 (0)2 2841665 (BXL) / +33 (0)3 88172936 (STR)
Mobile / Portable: +32 (0)473 560967
F: +32 (0)2 2841771 (BXL) / +33 (0)3 88179048 (STR)

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.

     
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