UPR of Greece: concerns over handling of migrants and asylum seekers
Friday, 13 May 2011 17:44


On 9 May 2011, the Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights situation in Greece. The delegation was led by George J. Kaklikis, Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations in Geneva. In his introductory statement the Ambassador stated that Greece’s position as the gateway for illegal migration into Europe was a cause for concern with potential to create tensions in the future between migrants and Greek citizens. However, a number of States that the situation of illegal migrants was a European problem not merely a Greek one, and that a European solution to migrants and asylum seekers had to be sought. The interactive dialogue largely focused on issues such as illegal migration, gender equity, trafficking, and discrimination against minorities.


Specific recommendations, questions and comments focused on the following issues:

  • Need for more efforts to combat the marginalisation and segregation of the Roma through the provision of services in the spheres of housing, education and political participation.
  • Calls for Greece to change the general attitude towards domestic violence through public awareness campaigns.
  • Recommendations to create a comprehensive system for handling asylum seekers  that aligns itself with international and regional human rights standards.
  • The need to assess and improve the living standards of migrants through access to basic services such as health and educational institutions.
  • Concerns regarding the current period of detention for asylum seekers, especially unaccompanied minors.
  • Encouragement to step up efforts to cooperate with other countries in the fight against trafficking.
  • Recommendations to ensure the protection of sexual minorities from discrimination through the creation of legislation.
  • Calls on Greece to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

The delegation from Greece reiterated that it would respond in written form to any questions it had not been able to answer due to time constraints. Additionally they answered States’ questions with clear examples of actions already taken to address their human rights challenges. They acknowledged that there were a number of steps they still needed to take. Of  recommendations made, Greece accepted 97, rejected 9 and left 18 pending for decision by the 18th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2011. The rejected recommendations related to migrants, including ratification of the Convention on Migrant Workers, ensuring equal rights for minorities such as the Roma, and effectively implementing the national action plan on migrants. Pending recommendations include calls to ratify the optional protocols to the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and to develop a national action plan on human rights.


For more information, including statements delivered and the report of the Working Group, see the OHCHR extranet (username: hrc extranet, password: 1session). 

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