Annual Report: Greece 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Greece 2011

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Conscientious objectors

In September, new legislation on the right to conscientious objection was enacted, by which the length of alternative service was slightly decreased and reserve obligations for conscientious objectors were abolished. However, the maximum length of the alternative service in law remained effectively punitive, at twice the length of normal military service. The reduced length of alternative service, applied at the discretion of the Minister for National Defence, is still likely to be punitive in nature for the vast majority of conscripts.

The repeated persecution of conscientious objectors continued.

  • In February, the Military Appeal Court of Athens upheld the conviction for desertion of professional soldier Giorgos Monastiriotis by the Naval Court of Piraeus and handed down a five months' suspended prison sentence. In 2003, Giorgos Monastiriotis had refused, citing reasons of conscience, to follow his unit when it was sent to the Iraq war.

Trafficking in human beings

In August, Law 3875/2010 implementing, among others, the 2000 UN Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons was introduced. It included positive amendments including rendering the protection and support to victims of trafficking independent of their co-operation regarding the prosecution of alleged traffickers following the fulfilment of certain requirements.

Despite the government's announcement regarding the establishment of further shelters for women victims of trafficking and domestic violence in 2009, only two state-run shelters for 38 beneficiaries were reported as operational, while only one NGO-run shelter for women victims of trafficking remained, due to lack of funding.

Workers' rights

Concerns over the thoroughness of the criminal investigation into the attack against Konstantina Kuneva remained and the case was again at risk of being permanently closed. Following an order by the prosecutor at the end of the year, the investigation into the attack was joined to the investigation about the working conditions in cleaning companies, which meant the case would continue. Konstantina Kuneva, a trade union leader, was severely injured in Athens on 22 December 2008, when she was attacked with sulphuric acid by unknown men.