FM Dendias: New Greek policy on migration respects human rights

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias reiterated Greece’s committment to “the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights”, speaking after the end of the high-level segment of the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva on Tuesday.

Dendias noted Greece’s “active presence in the UN fora is coherently linked with a national human rights policy,” but added that Greece also “works together with more than 40 different countries from all continents.”

These human rights initiatives aim to tackle important civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, said the minister, including the right to work, the enjoyment of cultural rights and the protection of cultural heritage. They also concern the safeguarding of the human rights of youth, the safety of journalists and the advancement of religious and cultural pluralism and peaceful coexistence.

Expanding on the country’s scope concerning social equality, Dendias underlined that in March 2019 Greece adopted the Law on the ‘Promotion of Substantive Gender Equality, Prevention and Combating of Gender Based Violence’, which “aims at mainstreaming gender in all sectors of private and public life.” He added that “Greece is currently drafting its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325.”

On the resurgence of the migration crisis, the minister said Greece continues to be confronted with the biggest migrant and refugee flows since World War II, as “we rank among the top four EU member states in asylum applications. We have one of the highest ratios of asylum seekers per capita,” yet, he added, “despite the disproportionate burden, we have managed to save thousands of lives at sea.”

Bearing in mind that the current capacity at the country’s reception and identification facilities “has unfortunately been surpassed, and keeping in mind the improvement of the migrants’ situation and the safeguarding of their human rights,” the minister said, the government proceeded to a series of decisions concerning the relocation of a number of migrants from the islands to the mainland, the adoption of a new law on the international protection of asylum seekers, and the establishment of a regulatory framework for the guardianship for unaccompanied minors and the recently announced national Acton Plan ‘No child alone.

“The initiative was launched by our Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself,” he noted.
Greece will continue to strongly support these goals, said the foreign affairs minister, and “we will do so by actively engaging with states, NGOs and all relevant actors.”