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Annual Full-day Discussion on Women’s Human Rights

Wednesday, 05 June 2013

Annual Full-day Discussion on Women’s Human Rights
Statement by Greece
23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, 5 June 2013, 09: 00-12: 00

Thank you Mr. President,

Greece fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

We welcome the focus of this year’s discussion on the elimination of violence against women, an issue that affects all countries and all societies horizontally. This Council, since its inception, has been very active in tackling violence against women with numerous resolutions, dialogues and other activities.

Greece has already a strong legal framework regarding violence against women. Recently with a new law (4055/2012, article 28), the abolition of a 100 Euro fee has created better conditions to facilitate women’s access to justice. Let me also add that Greece has been one of the first thirteen countries to sign the European Convention for the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence and is now in the process of its ratification.

One of the difficult issues is the practical implementation of the various laws. Recognising the need for provision of legal aid services and sensitization about how to utilize available legal resources against discrimination, we have created 10 Counseling Centres (still 5 to come) which provide legal, psychosocial, employment and health information and counseling and operate in all the regions of the country. In collaboration with bar associations, they also provide free legal representation for women victims of violence. The access of migrant and handicapped women is also of great importance. For this purpose, all counselors are obliged to speak English and all information material of the Centers is available in other languages (English, French, Albanian, Turkish), and all centers and shelters are accessible to handicapped people.

We have also been training public officials (police officers, medical and nursing staff etc) to treat victims of gender-based violence, as well as lawyers of the bar associations. A 24-hour SOS helpline for immediate provision of assistance to women victims of violence is operational, offering its services both in Greek and in English. Finally, a campaign for prevention and awareness-raising regarding all forms of violence against women (such as domestic violence, sexual harassment and trafficking) is under way.

I would like to ask the panellists, given the current restraints in budgets, if they feel and maybe have already noticed, a possible downturn in efforts aimed at combating violence against women. What would be of absolute priority to you?

Thank you Mr. President

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