Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović has called on Greece to ensure that journalists and human rights defenders work safely and freely.
Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, issued a written statement to the Greek authorities, “publicly acknowledging the importance of the work they are doing by providing an enabling environment for human rights defenders and journalists to work comfortably in the country, demanding action and creating an atmosphere of trust.” .
According to the news carried by the official news agency AMNA, Mijatović’s written statement made the following statements:
“We are witnessing a hostile environment for the work of human rights defenders, NGO representatives and journalists in Greece. This incident has been a concern for several years.
Smear campaigns targeting human rights defenders, cumbersome NGO registration procedures, unjustified repression, and accusations against journalists have undermined human rights protection.
Part of this trend is the criminalization of those who assist refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and of activists who defend and support human rights in Greece.
I have observed similar cases in other member states of the Council of Europe.
As I emphasized in a letter to the Greek authorities in May 2021 and in the recommendation to end pushbacks in 2022, states have a duty to create a legal framework that protects human rights and to create an enabling environment for the work of human rights defenders and civil society.
Unfortunately, the trial of 24 volunteers from a non-governmental search and rescue organization and other human rights advocates such as Panayoti Dimitras, a longtime partner of my office, proves otherwise.
Targeting human rights defenders and individuals who take solidarity action is contrary to the international obligations of states and has a deterrent effect on human rights work.”
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