10 February 1995

Doc. 7245

REPLY from the Committee of Ministers to Written Question No. 357

by Mr GÜNER, on minority rights in Greece

I.       Question (4 October 1994, Doc. 7167)

      Mr Güner,

1.       Thanking the Committee of Ministers for its reply to Written Question No. 356, but considering that the committee's conclusion that any person claiming to be a victim of a violation of his rights and freedoms recognised by the European Convention on Human Rights can lodge a complaint with the protection mechanisms of the aforesaid legal instrument is far from being satisfactory;

2.       Maintaining his opinion that Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Code, endorsing arbitrary deprivation of nationality based on ethnic origin, constitutes a derogation from the universal principle of "non-discrimination" and an obstacle to freedom of movement;

3.       Concerned on recent reports, particularly the one which appeared in the recent issue of "Le Nouvel Observateur" on 29 September 1994, to the effect that Greece, while defending passionately the Greek minorities in neighbouring countries, continues to deny the ethnic minorities living in its territory the right to exist on their ancestral lands;

4.       Convinced that Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Code is being used as a means to uproot the Turkish and Macedonian minorities in Greece and that the Committee of Ministers, as the ultimate guarantor of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe has a political responsibility to take a firm stand against this practice,

      To ask the Committee of Ministers:

      Whether or not it accepts its political responsibility to take action against discriminatory rules and practices still existing in Greece as a member of the Council of Europe and if so, what kind of action it deems to take in order to convince Greece to abolish Article 19 of its nationality law.

II.       Reply from the Committee of Ministers (26 January 1995)

      The Committee of Ministers has considered the Honourable Member's question. It notes that the question covers essentially the same issues as those raised in his previous question (No. 356), to which the Committee issued a reply at the 516th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies.

      The Committee of Ministers wishes to confirm the view taken in its reply to the previous question of the Honourable Member in which reference was made to the possibility of using the procedures laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights.

      The Committee of Ministers would like to assure the Honourable Member that it views very seriously the commitments to Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law accepted by member states under the Statute of the Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights and other legal instruments. It refers in this context to the Declaration on compliance with commitments accepted by member states of the Council of Europe, adopted on 10 November 1994, at its 95th Session.