Press Release: the Oppression of Minorities within Greece

EFA Member Party DEB Partisi, the Western Thrace community, and the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers have called for Greece to ensure that 3 long-standing freedom of association cases are promptly dealt with by the Greek Court of Cassation, in compliance with the ECHR. 

The three cases concern Greece’s violation of Article 11 of the human rights convention (freedom of association). In the first two cases, the European Court of Human Rights ruled – in 2007 and 2008, respectively – that Greece had violated Article 11 of the human rights convention (freedom of association) by failing to register two associations on the grounds that they aimed to promote the idea that an ethnic minority existed in Greece, rather than a religious minority. In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights found a similar violation in the third case, concerning the dissolution of an association.

This particular case, in which Greek authorities attempted to actively hinder the progress of organisations that promote the rights of ethnic minorities in Greece, has struck a chord with our member party DEB Partisi. 

‘The Macedonian Mother Tongue Promotion Movement Organisation, “Krste Misirkov”, in the region of Edessa, which belongs to the Macedonian Minority, submitted a registration petition to the “Cultural Institutions Registry” of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and this petition was examined and accepted by the Ministry.’ DEB Partisi explains. 

‘Subsequently, the cancellation of the registration of the organisation at midnight, three days after the approval, not only damaged the democracy of the country, but also revealed the injustices done to the Western Thrace Muslim Turkish Minority associations were also done to other minorities.

In a multicultural country with different ethnicities, ignoring the fact that the multiculturality of a country will bring wealth, democracy and equality to the society in every aspect, and the implementation of policies in order to eliminate or ignore different ethnic identities will cause the communication gap to widen, the ignorance of the truth and most importantly causes damage to the democracy.’ 

EFA stands behind the minorities that are oppressed by the decisions of the Greek authorities, and urges the European Court of Human Rights to further emphasise their rulings and ensure it is implemented. A lack of respect for this ruling, and an inadequate response from the European Union, would provide a concrete example of the European Institutions failing to act within Member States, and would seriously undermine democracy across Europe.