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Greece Human Rights

Workers' rights

In June, the judge in charge of investigating the attack against trade unionist Konstantina Kuneva concluded the investigation, having failed to identify the perpetrators. Concerns were expressed by her lawyers over the quality and thoroughness of the pre-trial investigation. In November, the Council of Misdemeanours in Athens ordered the continuation of the investigation into the case.

Prison conditions

Reports were received of inhuman and degrading conditions of detention in prisons, including overcrowding, inadequate facilities and lack of access to adequate medical care. Women prisoners reported that they continued to be subjected to the practice of internal examinations. In December, legislative amendments were adopted to deal with prison overcrowding and the improvement of prison conditions.

Conscientious objectors to military service

The current law on conscientious objection was still not in line with European and international standards. Conscientious objectors continued to face discrimination and even prosecution.

On 31 March, conscientious objector Lazaros Petromelidis was given a suspended sentence of 18 months' imprisonment on two charges of insubordination by the Athens Military Court of Appeal. In 2008, the Court of First Instance had sentenced him to three years' imprisonment on the same charges.

Freedom of expression

A report in February by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concerns about the over-restrictive practices of Greek courts in failing to register certain minority associations, and ordering the dissolution of the Xanthi Turkish Union. Similar concerns were expressed by the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues. Despite these, and the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in 2008, the Supreme Court of Greece upheld the refusal of the Court of Appeal to register the association "House of Macedonian Civilization" in June.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

In March, several people were injured in a homophobic attack on a bar in Athens. It was reported that police and ambulances did not respond to the incident, despite many calls.

Trafficking in human beings

Amid concerns that the government had taken insufficient action to identify victims of trafficking, draft guidelines proposed by a coalition of NGOs, including Amnesty International, were still not adopted. Lack of state funding led to the closure of some shelters for victims of trafficking.

Greece Newsroom



December 7, 2018 • Press Release

Response to termination of operations of Aquarius rescue ship from Kumi Naidoo

Responding to news from MSF and SOS Mediterranée that the Aquarius search and rescue vessel has been forced to end operations, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said: “Today, we received some very sad news. Médecins Sans Frontières and its partner SOS Méditerranée have been forced to terminate operations by the search and rescue ship, Aquarius. “Over the last …

December 4, 2018 • Press Release

Greece: Smuggling charges against humanitarian workers who saved refugees must be dropped

Responding to the release on bail of volunteers and staff who provided life-saving assistance to refugees, Kondylia Gougou, Amnesty International’s Greece Researcher said: “Whilst we welcome the news that these dedicated humanitarians will be back with their families tonight after more than 100 days behind bars, the fact that they still face absurd charges and …

October 4, 2018 • Report

Greece: Refugee women speak out against violence, dangerous conditions and official neglect

Women fleeing war and conflict are coming together to fight against horrific abuses, including sexual violence, and to demand a better life in Europe, Amnesty International reveals in a new report published today. I want to decide my future: Uprooted women in Greece speak out, reveals the perilous journeys made by women and girls and …

May 22, 2017 • Press Release

Greece: People displaced by imminent closure of refugee camps must get safe and adequate housing

Greek authorities must ensure that refugees and migrants expected to start being evacuated from three Elliniko camps tomorrow, are provided with safe, adequate, alternative housing, said Amnesty International.

November 14, 2016 • Press Release

Greece: Obama must shine spotlight on Europe’s abysmal failure to protect refugees

US President Barack Obama should use his visit to Greece, which begins on 15 November, to call for concrete action to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Greece and for European countries to stop shirking responsibility for refugee protection, said Amnesty International. “President Obama must use his visit to shine the spotlight not only on abysmal …

October 28, 2016 • Press Release

Greece: Evidence points to illegal forced returns of Syrian refugees to Turkey

·         “They lied to us”: testimony shows refugees were told they were going to Athens ·         Asylum claims and procedural guarantees ignored ·         EU border agency officers involved Greece has illegally returned at least eight Syrian refugees to Turkey without respecting procedural guarantees or considering their asylum claims, documentation and testimonies obtained by Amnesty International …

October 21, 2016 • Press Release

Greece: Reported illegal returns of Syrian refugees to Turkey ‘dangerous’

Greece’s return of 10 Syrian refugees to Turkey, reportedly without considering their asylum claims, is a dangerous move that shows a callous disregard for their safety, Amnesty International said. According to information received by Amnesty International, the group included six adults including two parents who were travelling with their four children aged between one and …

September 30, 2016 • Press Release

Greece: Syrian refugee children detained for carrying toy guns allegedly ill-treated by police

The alleged ill-treatment of five Syrian refugee children who say they were detained, beaten and forced to strip naked by Greek police for carrying plastic toy guns in the street is a deeply disturbing incident that must be properly investigated, Amnesty International said today. The children, boys aged between 12 and 16, were seized “on …

September 22, 2016 • Report

European paralysis forces tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to live in appalling conditions

One year on from promises to relocate over 66,000 asylum-seekers from Greece, just 6% relocated A year after EU leaders agreed on an emergency relocation scheme to share responsibility for asylum-seekers, tens of thousands remain stranded in appalling conditions in Greece, Amnesty International revealed in a new briefing published today. Our hope is broken provides …

September 20, 2016 • Press Release

Greece: Statement from Amnesty research staff at site of refugee camp fire

An Amnesty International research team has arrived at the Moria refugees camp on Lesvos following yesterday’s fire that necessitated the evacuation of thousands of asylum-seekers.