Saturday, 3 December 2016

International Law and Human Rights

HUMAN RIGHTS

The Greek Constitution contains a comprehensive set of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights and freedoms, similar to those incorporated in the most important international and regional human rights treaties. It proclaims that respect for and protection of human dignity constitutes a primary obligation of the State and guarantees the rights of persons as individuals.

Furthermore, Greece is a party to the major international human rights treaties concluded under the auspices of the U.N. and regularly submits periodic reports to the main human rights treaty bodies. The Concluding Observations of the relevant treaty bodies provide valuable guidance in the endeavor of the Greek authorities to fill any gaps in the national system of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is for this reason that Greece is a strong supporter of enhancing and strengthening the treaty bodies system and actively participates in the ongoing intergovernmental process.

Rights of persons with disabilities, elimination of violence against women, protection of journalists in armed conflicts and the fight against human trafficking are some of the topics that Greece is actively promoting in the UN fora. As a member of the Human Security Network, Greece favors a people-centered approach to tackle some of the pressing issues that the international community is called to deal with.

Having ratified the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) and its Optional Protocol, Greece continuously strives to devise policy that improves the lives of people with disabilities. At the core of these actions is the belief that the State has the obligation, to work, with and for, an equal and active participation of disabled persons in the economic, social and political life of our country.

Greece, in its capacity as Security Council member, has pioneered the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1738 in December 2006, which outright condemns attacks against journalists in conflict situations. Since then, Greece is in constant interaction with media representatives and civil society in order to enhance the protection of journalists who work in such dangerous conditions, and supports UNESCO in the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. In this context, Greece in 2013 took the initiative to present before the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly the Resolution “Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity” which was adopted by consensus and enjoyed broad co-sponsorship.

Greece has stepped up its efforts to combat trafficking through aggressive prosecution of the traffickers and the establishment of effective laws protecting the victims, as well as partnering with all relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations.

Furthermore, Greece has pledged to continue its contribution to the fight against racism, xenophobia, and discrimination based on race and related intolerances. To this end, awareness raising campaigns have been organized and a special division has been established in every police department that deals exclusively with hate crimes. 

Greece is a member of the NGO Committee of ECOSOC for the period 2015-2018. Given the increasing role of civil society and non-governmental organizations in the international system, Greece works in concert with these groups in order to take into account their views and agendas. One of the many ways Greece is doing so is by posting draft laws and government initiatives on the Web in a blog-like platform (www.opengov.gr) prior to their submission to Parliament, so that individuals and organizations can post their comments, suggestions and criticism. Furthermore, civil society was involved, in an open and transparent manner, in the preparation of Greece’s universal periodic review report, which was examined in May 2011

Greece has also submitted its candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2019-2021. Greece believes that the Human Rights Council has proven to be a unique forum for the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. 



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