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Human rights report slams Greece over extreme-right violence and press freedom

A slap in the face of Greece is the annual report issued by independent organization Freedom House for the promotion of democracy and human rights. Greece received a downward trend due to “significant upsurge in right-wing violence, led by the Golden Dawn party, against immigrant groups, their supporters, and the political left, as well as a lack of effective police protection from this violence.”

Booklet Cover

Greece was assessed by 41 points compared to 30 in 2012 and it holds the 85th place among 197 countries surveyed.

Some report excerpts:

The constitution includes provisions for freedoms of speech and the press. Citizens enjoy access to a broad array of privately owned print and broadcast outlets, and internet access is unrestricted. There are, however, some limits on speech that incites fear, violence, and public disharmony, as well as on publications that offend religious beliefs, are obscene, or advocate the violent overthrow of the political system. Also, political interests occasionally attempt to squelch free speech. A number of journalists have been physically assaulted by police while covering anti-austerity protests over the past two years. Additionally, Vaxevanis, in retaliation for publishing the list of tax evaders, was charged with violating Greece’s data privacy laws, although he was acquitted in early November 2012.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution, though the Orthodox Church receives government subsidies and is considered the “prevailing” faith of the country. Members of some minority religions face discrimination and legal barriers, such as permit requirements to open houses of worship and restrictions on inheriting property. The constitution prohibits proselytizing, but this law is almost never enforced. Opposition to the construction of an official mosque in Athens remains substantial; Muslim inhabitants are forced to worship in improvised mosques.

Freedoms of assembly and association are guaranteed by the constitution, and the government generally protects these rights in practice, though there are some limits on groups representing ethnic minorities. Nongovernmental organizations generally operate without interference from the authorities. Workers have the right to join and form unions. Anti-austerity protests have recurred during the past three years, including large-scale demonstrations throughout 2012. The vast majority of participants are peaceful, but the protests often turn violent as anarchist elements and the police confront each other.

Full Greece report here

The worldwide Freedom House 2013 Report is here

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  1. independent organization Freedom House

    KTG – never assume that these organisations are independent.

    From wiki ” As of 2010, grants awarded from the US government accounted for most of Freedom House’s funding “