Greece: Continuous acts of harassment against minority rights defenders
November 21, 2016
CASE GRE 181116
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Restrictions to freedom of movement /
Entry ban / Arbitrary detention
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.
Description of the situation:
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) about continuous acts of harassment against defenders and journalists working on the rights of minorities in Greece, including the arbitrary restriction to freedom of movement of Mr. Slavko Mangovski, International Coordinator of the Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI).
According to the information received, on October 24, 2016, Mr. Mangovski was travelling from Macedonia to Greece in order to meet with Macedonian minority activists in the framework of his work for MHRMI, inter alia. At the Niki/Medzitlija Macedonian-Greek border crossing, he was denied entrance to Greece and informed that he was, since June 4, 2013, listed on the national registry of persons not allowed entering the Greek territory. The authorities provided him with a copy of the official document pronouncing his ban; it was the first time Mr. Mangovski learned about the existence of such ban against him, which prevented him from being able to use in a timely manner the available legal remedy to contest such measure soon after it was imposed. Moreover, he was given no explanation either about the grounds of the ban or the length of the measure.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is concerned that such ban could be linked to Mr. Mangovski’s participation as a speaker to the joint MHRMI and Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia (ARCAM) Gala Banquet on June 1, 2013, in Toronto, commemorating the 65th anniversary of the plight of the Detsa Begaltsi (Macedonian minority Children Refugees from the Greek Civil War).
It is important to note that this is not the first time that Mr. Mangovski is prevented from entering Greece, since another ban had been issued against him on August 11, 2000. Such decision was lifted on August 11, 2010, two days after GHM intervened before the Greek authorities on his behalf.
The International Secretariat of OMCT would like to highlight that this measure echoes many other violations, particularly entry bans, arbitrary detentions and expulsions, suffered by minorities’ rights defenders in Greece in the past years.
The most recent case is the one of the Turkish defender Mr. Mustafa Kaymakci, President of the organisation “Rhodes, Kos and the Dodecanese Turks Culture and Solidarity Association”, who was arbitrarily detained, expelled and banned from the Greek territory while he was conducting a fact finding mission about Turkish minorities in Greece.
Moreover, on November 8, 2014, the human rights lawyer Ms. Trandaflika Sandeva was also declared persona non grata and banned from entering the Greek soil. She was heading towards Thessaloniki to legally represent Macedonian families in cases involving their properties in Greece, which they had lost during the Greek Civil War, but at the Evzoni border crossing she was handed a notice banning her from entering the country.
Furthermore, on June 3, 2013, two Macedonian journalists Mr. Goran Momirovski and Ms. Ivana Kostovska were also banned from entering Greece, after filming a documentary about the daily life and struggles of the Macedonian minority in Greece. They were declared personae non grata, and were handed official documents describing them as "dangerous" and "enemies of the state", for posing threats to the public and internal security of the country.
On August 19, 2012, Mr. Marin Mema, an Albanian reporter was declared a “threat to national security” and therefore denied entry to the country by the Greek authorities after he realised a documentary about the Cam community, an Albanian minority expelled from northern Greece during the Second World War and never allowed to return.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is concerned about the pattern of restriction of movement, particularly entry in the country, on the ground of posing threats to national security, against defenders and journalists working on the rights of minorities, which appears only to be aimed at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities.
The International Secretariat of OMCT calls upon the Greek authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift such bans and more generally to put an end to all acts of harassment against all minority rights defenders in Greece.
Please write to the authorities in Greece, urging them to:
i. Guarantee the freedom of movement of Mr. Slavko Mangovski, Ms. Trandaflika Sandeva, Mr. Goran Momirovski, Ms. Ivana Kostovska and Mr. Martin Mema by immediately and unconditionally lifting the prohibition to enter the country which was issued against them, as it only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against all minority rights defenders in Greece;
iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1 and 12.2; and
iv. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Greece.
· Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Alternate Minister of Immigration Policy of Greece, Mr. Giannis Mouzalas, Fax: +30 213 136 4418, Email: email@example.com
· Alternate Minister for Citizens Protection of Greece, Mr. Nikolaos Toskas, Fax: +30 210 692 9764, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece, Mr. Ioannis Tsaousis, First Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 732 21 50; Email: email@example.com
· Ambassador of Greece, H.E. Eleftheria Galathianaki, Embassy of Greece in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: (+32) 2 545 5585, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Permanent Representative of Greece, H.E. Papastavrou Andreas, Permanent Representation to the European Union (EU), Fax: +32 2 5515651, 5127912, Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Greece in your respective country.
Geneva, November 18, 2016
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.