Blocking of EU Human rights diplomacy in favour of authoritarian countries undermines Greece’s solvency and political leadership

Press release
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The decision of the Greek Government to block the joint EU statement with regard to the human rights situation in China and Egypt before the UN Human Rights Council’s 35thsession in June constitutes a highly negative development in relation to the country’s stance on human rights issues within international organizations. A decision that is evidently dictated by manifest feasibilities that stem from the expanded commercial and economic cooperation of Greece with the two aforementioned regimes.

By this decision, the Greek government fails to comply with its commitment as a member of the EU to seek condemnation of human rights violations within international organizations, while undermining in practice the joint and effective action and intervention of the EU on the issue of protection of human rights.

We should underline here that similar positions have also been taken in the recent past by the Greek governments, resulting in the suspension of the issuing of condemnatory statements and decisions on major human rights violations committed by governments such as Russia and Israel.

This refusal to condemn human rights violations, products of a poorly understood political realism - in fact products of a political cynicism - beyond the self-evident undermining of the effort to protect human rights at international level effectively, can ultimately have the opposite results of the desired ones. Because in international relations, cynicism and obvious self-interest, while they temporarily satisfy the direct beneficiary, lead to undermine the solvency and waste the political capital of the country that chooses to do politics in this way.

In the time of the seven-year dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974), the Council of Europe condemned the colonels’ regime by expressing the solidarity of European citizens and institutions towards the Greek citizens during the dictatorship. The Hellenic League for Human Rights, in collaboration with the International Federation for Human Rights to which it belongs, played back then a leading part in the fight for the expulsion of Greece by the Council of Europe.

The current Greek government is violating this tradition and replacing the solidarity with the citizens who suffer from the abolition of individual rights with the micro-political feasibility of controversial alliances with states-oppressors of human rights.

FIDH and the Hellenic League for Human Rights urge the Greek government to revise its tactics on human rights issues, which should be a policy of principles, as the current government officials have been reluctant to speak for so many years now.

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