Greece

On December 6th, the UN Human Rights Committee announced their decision on the case of conscientious objector Lazaros Petromelidis from Greece. The Committee found violations of the articles 9(1), 12(2), 14(7), and 18(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and asked Greece to take necessary measures addressing these violations.

As the organisations signing this statement, we welcome this decision of the Human Rights Committee.

Ahead of the hearing before the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, of the case of Charis Vasileiou, a conscientious objector whose application has been rejected by the Deputy Minister of National Defence, Amnesty International, Connection e.V., the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO-BEOC), the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and War Resisters’ International (WRI) call on the Greek authorities to annul the decision of rejection

64 organisations from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey published a statement calling for an end to fossil fuel explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean which fuel the militarisation in the region. The statement calls on the actors to take action for climate justice rather than conflicting over fossil fuel reserves. Read the full statement here.

In March 2021, War Resisters’ International has submitted a report in the context of the 3rd Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of Greece by the UN Human Rights Council.

The report details numerous violations of human rights of conscientious objectors in Greece, including:

The conscientious objector K.K., whose 2003 application for CO status and to perform an extremely punitive alternative civilian service of 30 months (instead of 12 months of military service) had been rejected by the Minister of National Defence, as well as his appeal by the highest administrative court, and who was facing trial by military court at the age of 45 for insubordination, was finally acquitted.

A 45-year-old conscientious objector who, 17 years ago, had applied and was denied to perform an alternative civilian service of 30 months (instead of 12 months of military service), is summoned to trial by a military court on October 26th, 2020.

K.K. had applied for CO status for ideological reasons and to perform the then extremely punitive alternative civilian service, back in 2003. His application was rejected in 2004 by the Greek Minister of National Defence, after recommendation of a 5-membered special committee which by that time included 2 military officers.

The Omega Research Foundation has identified a range of different “less lethal” weapons being used by Greek authorities – including potentially lethal tear gas - being used against migrants by Greek security forces at the Turkish/Greek border.

Subscribe to Greece