Minority rights group – greece (mrg-g) Address: P. O. Box 60820, 15304 Glyka Nera

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Address: P.O. Box 60820, 15304 Glyka Nera

Telephone: (+30) 210.347.22.59. Fax: (+30) 210.601.87.60.

Presentation of the Parallel Report on Greece and its Addendum

to the UN Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights
2 December 2002
Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and Minority Rights Group-Greece (MRG-G) are two Greek-based NGOs founded ten years ago. They are affiliated to, or cooperating with, most of the major international NGOs (listed below). They have carried out monitoring, advocacy and research on human and minority rights in Greece as well as in the other Balkan countries. In February 2000, they publicly appealed to the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs George Papandreou for Greece to resume submitting reports to the UN Treaty Bodies, lest UN CERD review it in March 2000 without a state report. As the Minister publicly stated later, he became aware of the problem only through the appeal, and asked that reports be submitted to all UN bodies. GHM and MRG-G have since, alone or in collaboration with other Greek or international NGOs, submitted reports and made official presentations to CERD, CAT, CRC, CEDAW and now CESCR. Their reports, along with all material relevant to the committees’ deliberations available in electronic format (government reports, other NGOs reports, records of proceedings, final documents), can be found at special web pages in the GHM and MRG-G site (see footer of this page).
Regrettably, GHM and MRG-G are not in a position to make today a comprehensive contribution, as the Greek Foreign Ministry has refused to provide them with both the core and the state reports submitted to the UN, despite repeated oral and written requests. It had done the same with the report to CERD, quite unlike the Ministry of Justice that promptly made available its report to CAT, or the General Secretariat for Equality that published in both Greek and English its report to CEDAW and had it distributed very widely. GHM and MRG-G therefore became aware of Greece’s Core Document, when it was uploaded at the UN site a few days ago; they also have the publicly available comments by the National Commission for Human Rights on the drafts of both the Core Document and the State Report to CESCR, to which these documents were made available. This is just one indication of how many Greek state agencies deal with NGOs that monitor regularly and, when necessary, critically the country’s human rights practices. This issue will be dealt with also at the end of the presentation.

  1. General Observations

The general state of human rights protections in Greece can best be described by this statement from the Greek Ombudsman:

Human rights violations by the administration (…) can be codified with the words arbitrariness-indifference-bias-impunity; they take their most acute form when applied on vulnerable social groups. Often the administration arbitrarily uses public interest as an excuse to restrict individual rights or shows illegal idleness when there is a constitutional obligation to protect human rights [p.15]. These phenomena will not be eliminated as long as existing disciplinary procedures remain idle. (…) The administration, reproducing the most backward reflexes of our society, often shows its worst face when dealing with members of minority groups. The pathology of human rights in our country is mainly a problem of implementing existing constitutional and legal provisions rather than lack thereof. It is common wisdom that in the administration prevails a feeling of impunity, that in some cases favors occasional illegal actions, or in other cases it perpetuates a status of generalized anomy and corruption [pp. 55-56].”1
Greece has for this reason a human rights record worse than some other countries that are traditional democracies or new but rather successful democracies. For example, in his concluding remarks, following his visits in 2001, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights wrote about Finland2 and Norway3 that “the standard of human rights protection is high.” After his visit to Hungary4 immediately after his visit to Greece, in June 2002, he wrote that “human rights are respected in Hungary”. While for Greece5 the corresponding evaluation was more elaborate:
Greece is fully entitled to rate as a country with a long-standing commitment to the values of human rights observance and the Greek authorities are aware of the fundamental role of human rights in the building of Europe today.”
This is why, in the UNDP Human Development Report 2002, Greece has the lowest score among traditional democracies in civil liberties (3 vs. 1 or 2 for the other countries), in press freedom (30 vs. 5-27 for the other countries), rule of law (0.62 vs. 0.72-1.91), government effectiveness (0.65 vs. 0.68-1.93) and corruption perception index (4.2 vs. 5.2-9.9) –with Italy being the only other country with scores a little better than Greece’s.6

  1. Multicultural Character

Despite Greece’s active support of the international human rights standards, the government seems unable to deal with the country’s internal diversity. Respect for cultural, ethnic and religious diversity seems to consistently clash with a pervasive Hellenocentric attitude. It is therefore not surprising that the Greek government rejected in 2000 the concept of multicultural society, in response to a related criticism by the Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). In its Second Report on Greece7 ECRI reported the situation as follows:

Problems of racism, intolerance, discrimination and exclusion persist, however, and are particularly acute vis à vis the Roma/Gypsy population, Albanians and other immigrants, as well as the members of the Muslim minority. These problems are connected with the low level of recognition, within Greek society, of its multicultural reality, an acknowledgement which is all the more urgent given the new patterns of migration to Greece in recent years. In the following report, ECRI recommends to the Greek authorities that further action be taken to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance in a number of areas. These recommendations cover, inter alia, the need for the fine-tuning and effective implementation of existing legislation, the need to strengthen and effectively implement existing policy initiatives, the need to address the situation as well as the specific problems faced by non-ethnic Greeks, and the need to raise the awareness among the general public of the multicultural reality of Greek society.”
The Greek government’s rebuttal of ECRI criticism was an almost categorical rejection.
The policies of the Greek Government in the fields falling in the purview of the ECRI … do not imply adherence by the Greek Government to the notion of a multicultural character of the Greek society. This notion, repeatedly mentioned in the report, has in our view not been sufficiently analyzed in all its political and legal implications, and therefore cannot be resorted to lightly.”
ECRI’s report was badly received in Greece by many ministers or state agencies. This prompted then Minister of Justice Michalis Stathopoulos -a non-politician and an academic with a NGO background, who introduced the abolition of religion from the identity cards in 2000, only to lose his cabinet post a year later– to state on 29 June 2000:8
In Greece many –not just a few- boast that we do not have a problem of racism. That there is not even a trace of racism. Those who make such claims are simply not used to make their self-criticism. They make absolutely no self-criticism.”
This is why perhaps the most important recommendation the CESCR can make to Greece is that it wholeheartedly acknowledges being a multicultural society. Greece should thus adapt its education to the needs of multiculturalism with particular emphasis on the teaching of other-than-Greek mother tongues where there is sufficient demand. Finally, related to that is the need for a comprehensive strategy to help Greek society adapt to its new multicultural character by mainstreaming the fight against racism, as opposed to the currently prevailing mainstreaming of racism.

  1. Education

Greek educational system, as spelled out in the Greek Constitution (Article 16 paragraph 2), “shall aim at the moral, intellectual, professional and physical training of Greeks, the development of national and religious consciousness and at their formation as free and responsible citizens.”9 Thus, the main goal of Greece’s education system is the development of a “nationally and religiously correct” culture and the assimilation of minorities into it, rather than the acceptance and celebration of their differences.10 This goal clearly runs counter to the commitments of the ICESCR, which require an education system that “promotes understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups”.

Education researcher Christos Katsikas has underlined that “we have an education policy that in essence forces the child to forget his/her mother tongue and learn broken Greek. One cannot learn Greek if s/he cannot cultivate his/her own language.”11 While Linguistics Professor Spiros Moschonas has written that “the view presented by those who implement the educational programs for non-Greek-speaking and non-Orthodox populations... [is] that majority education is the only one that is in the best interest of any minority -… implying that minorities must be led ‘out of’ their culture, their religion and their language if they want (like the majority does) to ‘progress.’”
Greece does indeed have ‘intercultural schools’ with a large number of pupils with a non-Greek mother tongue. According to Mochonas again, “The same rhetoric baptizes ‘intercultural’ the following educational approach: minority and majority pupils must necessarily be in the same class and be taught together the majority language, the majority religion, the majority history, the majority culture, as if they all belonged to the majority. This is an educational approach that can be precisely called assimilationist – but not ‘intercultural.’”12
The state television NET showed on 27 August 2001 a documentary on migrant children in such an ‘intercultural school,’ where more than half of the pupils were foreigners: all of them (mostly Albanians and Africans) started the day with the, ritually Orthodox Christian, morning prayer… Most foreigner children of all ages, and some of their parents speaking about them, stressed that they feel Greek rather than the ethnic identity of their origins: they were probably aware that, when you are born and raised in Greece, you have better chance if you proclaim yourself Greek.
Last Saturday, the country’s largest selling daily Ta Nea presented another intercultural school where two 14-year old third grade high school girls, a Filipino Catholic and a Nigerian Protestant, were reported to share the same Orthodox Christian religious education classes with the Orthodox pupils and participate in the Orthodox prayers: when leading the prayer, the Catholic states she was doing the sign of the cross the Orthodox way, whereas when she was just among the others, she was doing it the Catholic way… The religious education teacher explained furthermore that he avoided using expressions that could embarrass the non-Orthodox pupils, and mentioned as an example: “true religion and faith.” 13
There are many more expressions this sensitive teacher avoids using in class. The textbooks for religious education in that (3 G) and the next (1rdst L) grade are full of offending references to all non-Christian Orthodox religions. Recognized religious minorities in Greece are mentioned as: an “antinational mechanism” when it comes to Christian Jehovah’s Witnesses, (JW, 1st L, pg. 208); “CIA instruments” when it comes to “the Protestant sects of North America… and heresies of the ‘worst kind’ (Mormons etc)” (3rd G., pg. 243); “devious” when it comes to the mainly called “Papal” (i.e. Catholic) Church for its “attempt to…approach the Orthodox Church” through the Uniate Church (3rd G., pg. 237); and “bellicose” when it comes to Islam (3rd G., pg. 220). While one anti-Semitic stereotype, on the alleged “Judaic roots” of JW, is repeated therein (1st L., pg. 206).
Greek textbooks do not limit themselves to negative portrayals of ethnic or religious minorities, however. Greek textbooks in primary schools are also filled with sexist portrayals of women, serving to cultivate patriarchal attitudes in children. Moreover, there is an inexplicable absence of Jews and their contributions to Greek society from history textbooks in general14 and virtually no reference is made to Turks, Pomaks, Roma, Arvanites, Aromanians, Macedonians or migrant communities.
This unfriendly school environment for all minority and/or migrant pupils is aggravated by lack of appropriate training of teachers and, even more, widespread hostility of parents and teachers towards the presence of migrant and/or Roma children in the same schools with Greek children, as shown in surveys presented in the GHM-MRG-G Report to the CESCR (p. 44). While no foreign pupils are indeed in segregated schools, there are at least a handful of ‘ghetto’ schools with only Roma children, as their parents have moved the Greek pupils to other schools, despite the legal prohibition.
Perhaps the most crucial factor of alienation of non-Greek speaking pupils in Greek schools is the absence of teaching of their mother tongue. There is one, partial, exception: the teaching of Turkish in the minority schools in Western Thrace. However, as one of the two Greek prefects of the region told the Minister of Foreign Affairs as recently as last September, “minority children in our area did not have the good fortune to learn their mother tongue nor the language of the country they live in and are citizens of.”15 A few days earlier, University of Athens Professor Anna Frangoudaki, in charge of a new education program for that minority, noted that “those minority children entering secondary education after the primary school fail by far. This is extremely unfortunate. It has to do with the insufficient teaching of the Greek language.”16 To overcome the problem, many minority families choose to send their children to Greek secondary schools where though there is no Turkish language teaching. Just as in many other areas of Greece, where members of that minority may have migrated, even when there is sufficient demand, formal school administration request, and it concerns an officially labeled intercultural school, the state refuses to appoint a Turkish language teacher.17 Last Saturday, another newspaper reported that the Ministry of Education is considering introducing, in January 2003, minority mother tongue teaching in schools where ten or more pupils will request it. The courses will be though outside the regular school schedule and the only language to be offered right now will be … Russian, which is the second mother tongue of many ‘repatriated’ (“Pontic”) Greeks from former Soviet Union countries: no Albanian, no Turkish, no Romani…18
The combination of absence of mother tongue teaching, hostile environment and/or negative stereotypes in textbooks account for the under-representation of minority and migrant children in the pupil population reflected in the Greek official data submitted to CRC last year, analyzed in the GHM-MRG-G Report to the CESCR (p. 39). In elementary schools, only 6.6% of the pupils are Roma or foreigners (two groups that make up 11% of the total population of Greece and probably much more in the school age groups); the corresponding percentage is a mere 2.5% for secondary schools. Interestingly so, Turkish pupils make up 1% of the elementary school pupil population (as is the group’s share in the country’s population), as these schools are minority schools. In the secondary schools, though, where most have to go to Greek schools or drop out, the percentage falls to a negligible 0.3%.
GHM and MRG-G believe, moreover, that the official figures for Romani pupils, obviously mere estimates as they are rounded figures, are inflated. Their experience from systematic monitoring of the Roma community cannot confirm even these low figures, and repeated requests to the competent authorities to provide detailed figures to be checked against specific schools have been ignored. The large numbers of Roma children who do not attend school is a direct consequence of the discrimination the Roma face in other aspects of their socio-economic rights. For example many Roma children cannot attend school because the nearest school is at a considerable distance from their settlements and municipal governments rarely provide buses for the children despite repeated requests. Furthermore, Roma children often drop out of school because they are embarrassed to attend school when they have not bathed; without running water bathing is difficult.19 Public officials rarely do anything to remedy these socio-economic situations. On the contrary, in many cases, when Roma insist sending their children to school, they distribute them to many far away schools –which is illegal- lest they ‘overburden’ the nearest school if they all go to it: this contributes to substantial scholastic failure rates even in elementary school. The state-sponsored Panhellenic Federation of Greek Roma Associations has denounced this, too, in October 2001:20
Gypsy children receive a Primary School certificate from preparatory sections (!) solely in order not to integrate them in regular classes. Gypsy children do receive a Primary School certificate but are functionally illiterate. They are promoted from grade to grade, solely to shorten their stay in school. Gypsy children fill special classes and remedial sections, not on the basis of their grade level but because of their ethnic origin. Gypsy children fill “special” schools built of sheet metal and other makeshift materials, so that they don’t contaminate the “other” children.”
Finally, indicative of the general assimilationist approach to education is the multi-million euro -partly-EU financed- state program for the education of the Roma, administered exclusively by the University of Ioannina. Its academic director and the participating –themselves assimilationist- Roma reject the idea that Roma are a separate ethnic group historically originating from India and attack all those (international Romani movement, NGOs, Roma scholars –whom they call pejoratively ‘Gypsologists’) who hold such views. They categorically oppose the teaching of Romani and consider that the Greek public school should “undermine cultural differences” and unify all pupils into the Greek culture.21

  1. Roma

There are conditions of institutionalized apartheid for many Roma [in Greece], when they are forcefully settled in segregated areas far away from the rest of society.” This comment was made by Josephine Verspaget the Chair of the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies of the Council of Europe in July 2001 after her three day stay in Athens which included visits to the area’s Roma settlements. She went on to explain that the largest of them, in Aspropyrgos, was the worst place she had ever seen even though she has been to many refugee camps in Africa and Asia.22 “The Gypsies are condemned to living in conditions of apartheid,” echoed the National Commission for Human Rights, a few months later.23 Exactly a year later, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil-Robles visited the Aspropyrgos settlement and subsequently wrote: “these people live under conditions very remote from what is demanded by respect for human dignity, in particular without running water supplies among other essential services.”24

Greek authorities rarely do anything to improve the living condition of the Roma living in settlements (about half the total Roma population –the other half is assimilated) and in fact tend to perpetuate policies that make them even worse. For example, illegal forced evictions are commonplace among Roma communities in Greece. Greece’s hosting of the 2004 Olympics has meant even further illegal evictions and police abuse for the Roma communities living in the Greater Athens area. Municipal authorities, with the government’s tolerance, are implementing what appears to be a “cleansing” policy aimed at clearing land in order to build sports facilities for the 2004 Olympics. As the NCHR commented in its report to the authorities:
The municipal authorities regard the Roma who live within their borders as a burden and instead of solving the problem, they simply try to get rid of them in any way -even illegally. With the opportunity of the Olympic Games they have organized the eviction of the Gypsies from many areas. The local societies invoke (usually falsely) the need for the construction of sport facilities in order to evict the Roma, just like it happened in Mexico in 1968.”
GHM and MRG-G believe that the second most important recommendation the CESCR can make to Greece is to urge the country to implement the ambitious but up to now ineffective programs it launched so as to improve the living conditions and the rights of the Roma. Given repeated failure to do so in the past, Greece must create an ‘outside’ body to monitor the implementation of these programs and report to the Prime Minister with the participation of the NCHR, the Greek Ombudsman, and those NGOs that represent or work closely with the Roma living in such conditions.25

  1. Recommendations of Other UN Treaty Bodies

The UN Treaty Bodies CRC and CEDAW have issued in 2002 a series of detailed recommendations on children rights and gender equality. CESCR, in its own recommendations, should mention and support them, while it can also ask the Greek authorities for a detailed report on what concrete measures they have taken in response to those recommendations, as well as how they disseminated them. Besides their own efforts, GHM and MRG-G are unaware of any dissemination at all, even in the multiple meetings organized in 2002 on children rights or gender equality issues, both by state agencies and other NGOs. In particular, CESCR is requested to reiterate the need for Greece to promptly abolish the implementation of an archaic version of Sharia (Islamic Law) –not even used in most Arab states- for the country’s ‘Muslim’ minority, that is detrimental to the rights of the women and children; as well as the need for Greece to swiftly introduce legislation criminalizing family violence and in particular marital rape, as well as sexual harassment. Finally, it is very important that Greece be advised that an effective fight against trafficking in human beings necessitates the full protection of the victims that come out and denounce such practices, which must include their right not to be forcefully repatriated, as unfortunately the new law calls for.

Moreover, in 2001, CERD and CAT issued recommendations to Greece that have also remained widely unknown and been ignored. Characteristically, the country’s NCHR made concrete recommendations to the government as a follow up to the CAT and CERD documents, including commnets on the new state report to CAT before its January 2002 submission, but they too have been totally ignored. In the meantime, on 20 November 2002, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) released its report on Greece,26 which confirmed both CAT’s concerns and the related findings of GHM, MRG-G, Amnesty International and the International Helsinki Federation.27 Inter alia, CPT reported that Greece seriously underestimates the scale of the problem of detainees’ ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, and that it also noticed the disrespectful attitude displayed towards immigrant detainees, particularly those of Albanian origin.28 It will be helpful if the CESCR addresses these reports too in its questions and later its recommendations to Greece.

  1. Role of NGOs and Independent Authorities

The Greek state has established independent authorities but their advice is usually ignored. The National Commission for Human Rights has no offices nor an independent budget and only a minimum staff. Characteristic of how the state sees its obligation to consult it, for example, before submitting state reports to the UN, is that the advice of the NCHR on the report to CESCR was requested on 23 August 2002 with a deadline for an answer on 2 September 2002! Despite that short a deadline the NCHR did provide comments, in which it partly reiterated previous recommendations to the Greek government on combating racism, rights of asylum seekers, workers’ rights, Roma rights, role of the media, etc. When the CESCR report becomes available to GHM and MRG-G, they will be able to assess how many of these were adopted. GHM and MRG-G know though that the NCHR recommendations for the state report to CAT were ignored. While from the NCHR recommendations on the draft Core Document, issued on 28 February 2002, were adopted only those not suggesting the addition of self-critical points. In that latter document, the NCHR recalls that its various recommendations to competent ministries on training of police offers in human rights, on migrants, on refugees and on Roma have remained unanswered. As a final note, it need be mentioned that the state has appointed four NGOs to the NCHR, none of whose mandate is to actively monitor and report on human rights violations in Greece, especially in the sensitive area of minority rights.

The Greek Ombudsman has been more efficient as it was established earlier and was able to acquire a real independence, a significant budget and a large staff. It has become a very well known and popular institution, whose success with the public is reflected in the growing number of complaints that has by now led to the need of an even larger staff. Whereas in many individual cases the Ombudsman succeeds in persuading the state to implement the law and grant the plaintiff his/her rights, most of the general recommendations made by that institution to the state have also been ignored.
In view of the emphasis the CESCR puts on cooperation between states and NGOs, it is important if it stresses that aspect in its questions and later recommendations to Greece. It has already been mentioned that the state report to CESCR was not made available to GHM and MRG-G. Moreover, when the Greek foreign or other ministries invite NGOs to meetings, they do not invite those which are producing critical reports or represent minorities. Worse, sometimes they even try to discredit them in some international fora, like the OSCE, by occasionally accusing NGOs these ministries refuse to communicate with they for …not cooperating with the authorities and only criticizing Greece abroad.
The two most recent examples, both from the Ministry of Public Order, are indicative of the prevailing Greek state attitude towards NGOs and NGO reports. First, in its answer to the CPT, the Ministry informed the Committee falsely that unannounced visits to detention facilities are done by non-governmental organizations, even though access has expressly been denied in 2002 to GHM and Médecins du Monde, even after prior request;29 this ban, combined with Greek state statements to international organizations to the contrary, have been reported by GHM to the Greek Ombudsman. In fact, the latter has recently criticized the Ministry for restricting access to detention facilities even to lawyers.30 In the other case, the Deputy Minister of Public Order stated to the monthly magazine “Metro”, (December 2002, p. 60), that the “allegations making up the results of the [Amnesty International – International Helsinki Federation] Report are based on claims of people who have broken the law and it is, therefore, possible that these allegations are the product of an unreliable behavior and mentality”. Most testimonies used in that report though came from individuals that had not broken the law, while the NGOs’ arguments were also based on testimonies of third parties, police reports, forensic reports etc. Despite the fact that the Deputy Minister knew all this, he made the slandering statement and, though invited to retract it, he did not.
The National Commission for Human Rights highlighted that state’s attitude in its first ever report. Therein, the NCHR noted the tendency of the authorities to view NGO and IGO reports as “undermining the nation” and to treat them with either “secrecy or scorn.” It then recommended that state reports or answers to criticism “should not be confined to banalities or exaggerated promises.”31 One more NCHR recommendation that was not headed by the state…

1 Annual Report 1999 of the Greek Ombudsman

2 http://www.commissioner.coe.int/docs/CommDH(2001)7_E.htm

3 http://www.commissioner.coe.int/docs/CommDH(2001)4_E.htm

4 http://www.commissioner.coe.int/docs/CommDH(2002)6_E.doc

5 http://www.commissioner.coe.int/docs/CommDH(2002)5_E.doc

6 http://www.undp.org/hdr2002/chapterone.pdf


8 Mihalis Stathopoulos, Minister of Justice “Universality of Human Rights and Protection of Otherness” in “Migrants, Racism and Xenophobia: From Theory to Practice” [in Greek] (Sakkoulas, 2001) pp. 17-20.

9 http://confinder.richmond.edu/greek_2001.html

10 GHM and MRG-G, “Report about Compliance with the Principles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,” 18 September 1999, p. 11, [henceforth “FCNM Report”]


11 Interview of Christos Katiskas to George Tolios in Flash 961 FM, 13 August 2001.

Spiros A. Moschonas, “The Rhetoric of ‘Intercultural’ Education: Or how they call in modern times the attempt through education to assimilate migrants and minorities in Greece,”Kathimerini, 24 June 2001.

12 Ibid.

13 Katerina Routsi “Different religions in the same classroom” Ta Nea, 30/11/2002, p. 53 LINK

14 Cite Prof. Anna Frangoudaki’s article from GHM-CRC report

15 Paratiritis tis Thrakis, 19 September 2002, http://www.paratiritis-news.gr/search/view.php?id=1:1309

16 Paratiritis tis Thrakis, 20 September 2002 http://www.paratiritis-news.gr/search/view.php?id=19:62

17 Repeated GHM-MRG-G interviews with Martha Floratou, Principal of the 87th elementary school in Athens (2001-2).

18 Nota Triga “The mother tongue at the desks of the foreigners” To Vima, 30 November 2002, p. 20

19 GHM-MRG-G Field Visit Report to Roma communities in Greece August 2001

20 http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm/ghmA_13_12_01.rtf

21 See: Christina Rougheri, “Assimilationist vs. Multiculturalist Approaches to Greece’s Roma”, AIM Athens, 29 February 2000, http://www.aimpress.org/dyn/trae/archive/data/200003/00303-002-trae-ath.htm; Georgia Dama “Greek Gypsies do not want another national identity”, Eleftherotypia, 2 August 2000 [The state-sponsored Panhellenic Federation of Greek Roma Associations’ president Christos Lambrou stated therein that “We Greek Gypsies have repeatedly stressed, both publicly and privately, that we are first and foremost Greeks who happen to be of Gypsy origin. Therefore, the Federation of Greek Gypsies rejects the declaration of the Gypsies of Europe, and will not under any circumstances participate in similar activities that target the promotion of the Gypsies as an ethnic group… The Americans are behind all these. Since they want to maintain their hegemony over an afflicted European region, they are now trying to create an issue from nowhere that makes use of the Gypsies of Europe, whose political judgment and awareness is still embryonic because of the poor living conditions.” While Yannis Chalilopoulos, president of the Union of Greek Gypsies added “I would rather stop calling myself a Gypsy than belong to a separate nationality”]; Historika issue on the Roma, supplement to the daily Eleftherotypia, 21 June 2001; Educational Interventions and Social Marginality: the case of Greek Roma, University of Ioannina, Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology, Division of Education (no date); Aliki Vaxevanoglou, Greek Gypsies: Marginalized and Family men, Alexandreia Editions, Athens: 2001 [Therein Ch. Lambrou stated: “All the Aghia Varvara residents, the Gypsies, can hardly find a common ground with those people [the Gypsies living in settlements] …We cannot get in touch or communicate with them. We are prejudiced against them, they are prejudiced against us…[This is because of] Their different lifestyle…The rubbish, the dirt…It is the lifestyle.”; Athanassios Gotovos, Education and otherness, Metaihmio Editions Athens: 2002 (in Greek).

22 http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm/ghm_13_06_01.doc

23 “Ekthesi 2001” [Report 2001], January 2002, p. 194

24 http://www.commissioner.coe.int/docs/CommDH(2002)5_E.doc

Available in Greek at the GHM web page: http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/greek/articles_2002/rep_25_02_02.rtf

25 Like the Coordinated Organizations and Communities for Roma Human Rights in Greece (SOKADRE), a network of a score of Roma communities and NGOs representing them or working with them.

26 http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/reports/inf2002-31en.htm

27 See Amnesty International and International Helsinki Federation “In the shadow of impunity – Ill-treatment and the misuse of firearms”: http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/countries/greece/ai_main_nophotos_24_09_02.doc, September 2002.

28 Paras 14-16 of the CPT report http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/reports/inf2002-31en.htm

29 Letter by to the Aliens’ Directorate of the Ministry of Public Order to GHM, 23 November 2002.

30 Letter by the Ombudsman to the Aliens’ Directorate of the Ministry of Public Order, 5 November 2002.

31 See report available in Greek at http://www.ananeotiki.gr/dikaiwmata/ekthesi2000.htm

E-mail: office@greekhelsinki.gr

Internet Addresses: Balkan Human Rights Web Pages: http://www.greekhelsinki.gr

The Balkan Human Rights List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balkanhr

The Greek Human Rights List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greekhr

Center of Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe – Southeast Europe: http://www.cedime.net

Web Pages on Greece’s Review by UN Committees (2001-2002):

U.N. Committee against Torture http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/special_issues/cat.html

U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/special_issues/cedaw.html

U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/special_issues/cerd.html

U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/special_issues/crc.html

U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/special_issues/cescr.html

GHM Board: Panayote Dimitras, Orestis Georgiadis, Dimitrina Petrova, Alan Phillips, Gregory Vallianatos.

MRG-G Spokesperson: Nafsika Papanikolatos.

International Advisory Committee: Savvas Agouridis, Teuta Arifi, Ivo Banac, Vladimir Bilandzic, Marcel Courthiade, Loring Danforth, Fernand de Varennes, Victor-Yves Ghebali, Henri Giordan, Krassimir Kanev, Will Kymlicka, Magda Opalski, Theodore S. Orlin, Dimitrina Petrova, Alan Phillips, Aaron Rhodes, Vladimir Solonari, Patrick Thornberry, Stefan Troebst, Boris Tsilevich, Tibor Varady, Marc Weller.

Affiliation to International Organizations: Consortium of Minority Resources (COMIR), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), Minority Rights Group International (MRGI), One World Net, South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).

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