The “preliminary observations and recommendations” of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor must have come as quite a shock for those who insist on regurgitating and propagating the narrative spun by the Greek government, namely that Greece’s notorious handling of the refugee issue is a lie, deliberately cultivated by those that wish the country harm.
Unfortunately, the reality with which the UN Official was faced in Greece, as presented in her preliminary report, confirms all our worries, all our public, institutional warnings on the handling of these matters during the Mitsotakis administration.
Both the coordinated smear campaigns against human rights defenders (both individuals and civil society organizations), and the Mitsotakis-Mitarakis legislation severely constraining NGO operations in Greece, as well as the criminalization of Solidarity, central tenets, all, of this government’s far-right policies in the Refugee/Migrant issue, among others, did not escape the notice of the UN Official and so comprise the first items of what could become a severe list of accusations against the country.
In simple terms, today the bell tolls for Greece: The government can either continue down the dangerous and slippery slope of authoritarianism and the far-right notion of “deterrence” or switch policies and finally convince the international community that the Greek State remains a State under the Rule of Law, respectful of Human Rights and International Law.
The UN Official did not neglect to address the European Leadership, chastising it for its hypocritical stance: “The EU invokes the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and at the same time expects Greece to manage on its own, without asking for the involvement of more Member States. I find this hypocritical.”
Polished, compassionate rhetoric from both Athens and Brussels can no longer cover up the reality of an inhuman policy, applied by a government that is very close to irreparably damaging Greece’s international stature, and the reality of a European Hypocrisy that can only function to the detriment of our Greek National Interests.
As we have been maintaining from the start, in voicing our rejection of the provisions of the New Pact for Migration and Asylum, the interests of Greece lie with a Humane European Policy, with real Solidarity, with mandatory, fair and proportional relocation among all EU member states at its core, without the possibility of a buy-out.
As for the Mitsotakis Government, it should, in what little political time it has left, stop compromising Greece’s position further. It should take heed of the UN Official’s specific recommendations. And finally, it should lay the dangerous, bloodcurdling theories about the “internal enemy” to rest, instead of crudely attempting to revive them, and thus returning the country to the post-civil-war darkness of the State of the Right.