Report of the Human Rights Council UN, published 07/03/2014 Site to UN, criticizes…

in the most descriptive way the Greek government for the methodical violation of human rights, individual, policies, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development and progress.

Indeed, the international UN Cephas Lumina expert deplores the lack of commitment by Greece to the mandate of the Human Rights Council to address the obvious challenges to the progressive implementation of economic, social and cultural rights of Greek citizens.

He also criticized the Greek Government for the brutal trampling of constitutional and international human rights commitments. UN report says:

"The Constitution of Greece sets a series of human rights obligations in the State. Το άρθρο 2(1), underlines that "respect for and protection of the value of human beings are the primary obligation of the State". Part II of the Constitution expressly provides for a series of other obligations of the State, including the protection of property (Article 17) of the family, motherhood and childhood (Article 21.1) the special health care (art. 21 (2) and (3)), the evolution of working conditions (Article 22 (1)) and social security (Article 22 (5)). Various rights correspond to these obligations, including the rights to equality of all Greeks (Article 4), social, Economic and political participation (Article 5), the free movement of information (Article 5a), request (Article 10), of peaceful assembly (11 art.), free public education (Article 16 (2)), property (Article 17 (2)), Healthcare (Article 21 (3)), work (Article 22 (1)), the social security (Article 22 (5)) and freedom of Association (art. 23). Το άρθρο 21.4 States that "the acquisition of residence of those who lack or that housed is subject to special State care». Το άρθρο 25, paragraph 1 explicitly refers to the principle of the welfare State and stresses that all public institutions must ensure the effective implementation of these rights ".

These provisions set out by the standards laid down in a number of key international and regional human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on economic, Social and cultural rights and the European Social Charter, to which Greece is a party.

In accordance with the International Covenant on economic, Social and cultural rights, the Greece is obliged to recognize that these rights must be enshrined in this, enacting and implementing laws and policies aimed at achieving the improvement of universal access to basic goods and services, like healthcare, education, housing, social security and participation in cultural life. Ως εκ τούτου, has a duty to avoid at all times making decisions that may result in denial or violation of economic, social and cultural rights.

The same obligation, stresses the report by the UN Human Rights Council, both have non-State actors, including the international financial institutions, to ensure that policies and activities comply with international human rights standards. This obligation implies the duty to refrain from formulating, the approval, Finance, the promotion and implementation of policies and programmes which directly or indirectly impede the enjoyment of human rights.

It is also well documented, the report emphasises, that Member States must respect their obligations under international law when they act through international bodies. Additional, an important element of the duty of international cooperation, as reflected in the Charter of the United Nations and binding international human rights treaties, is that the Contracting States, either individually or through their participation in international organizations, should not adopt or promote policies or to engage in practices that jeopardize the enjoyment of human rights.

The report also refers to the predatory raid against 15.000 Greek debenture holders, who were included in the PSI initiative, without their consent (so illegally), resulting in losing most of the 70% the nominal value of the bond, but also in the adjustment programme, that applies strict austerity measures. In addition to the increases in the rate of value added tax, the measures include reduction of jobs in the public sector in 150.000 έως το 2015, a freeze on recruitment in the public sector, reducing public sector wages, raising the retirement age, cuts in social benefits amounting 1,5 per cent of GDP (abolition of retirement gifts, nominal pension freeze and the introduction of means of control for unemployment benefits), Elimination of bonuses and allowances, and reducing investment costs. The Government is committed to further expenditure cuts during the budget period 2013/14.

A key element of the adjustment programme, the report says, is the sale of State companies and assets, in order to help reduce debt and expressed concern that many of the companies targeted for privatisation provide basic public services, as the water supply and sanitation, transport and energy, and that there is a likelihood of a substantial increase of user charges for the services offered by these entities after privatisation the, with potential negative implications for the exercise of fundamental rights. Moreover, If the intent is to raise funds to pay debt, the decision to privatize the Greek national lottery, one of the most profitable in the world, can be questioned.

Even the European Committee on social rights of the Council of Europe, UN report highlights, considered that the reduction of minimum wages for a worker under 25 years infringes the right to a fair remuneration in article 4 (1) of the European Social Charter, providing salary below the poverty threshold.

As regards the alleged obligation of Government for full repayment and the cost of debt, the UN report stresses that:

"From the point of view of human rights, the assessment of IMF debt sustainability, inherent limitations. It is very tightly focused on debt repayment ability. Given that the independent expert has stressed in previous cases, debt sustainability analyses should include an assessment of the level of debt that a country can serve, without undermining its ability to fulfill its obligations on human rights».

In short, the report reaffirmed recent UN resolutions the importance of the survival of a people of repayment of a debt obligation and that neither Governments, but neither the international financial institutions are entitled to undermine basic human rights on the pretext of the external debt of a country.

The measures applicable in the context of adaptation, in particular, job cuts and cuts in salaries and pensions, have as overall effect compromising the standard of living of the population and the possibility for the exercise of human rights. According to the National Ombudsman, "the drastic adjustments imposed on the Greek economy and society as a whole had dramatic consequences for citizens, While vulnerable groups grow and multiply ". In the same spirit, the national human rights Commission observed a "rapid deterioration of living standards in conjunction with the dismantling of the welfare State and the adoption of measures, incompatible with social justice, which undermine the social cohesion and democracy».

And continues the UN report:

"One of the most profound consequences of the adjustment programme was the rapid increase in unemployment. According to the program, the Government has pledged to reduce 150.000 jobs in public sector (περίπου 22 percent of public employment) έως το 2015. About 80.000 έως 120.000 public sector workers, they had already lost their jobs at the time of the visit of the independent expert. As a result, unemployment rose from 7,3 percent in June 2008 με 27,9 percent in June 2013, the highest in the European Union. There are approximately 1,4 millions of unemployed in Greece. About 778.000 people have lost their jobs during the period 2010-2013 and only. Further layoffs in the public sector are planned. Youth unemployment has reached an unprecedented rate 64,9 percent in may 2013 (compared with average 24,4 in the euro area). So, the prospects of a significant part of the population to have access to the labour market and to ensure an adequate standard of living have come into question.

» Extra, labour market reforms under the adjustment programme, have undermined the realization of the right to work. Along with the successive wage cuts and tax increases, the reforms have failed to achieve the goal of promoting the safe development and employment. Unlike, have led to massive layoffs, deteriorating labour standards, on the generalization of employment insecurity, with Pro-flexible jobs underpaid, where women and young, they have a dominant position. The minimum wage has been pushed below the poverty line and has, to a large extent, lost its function as a tool for preventing poverty. Additional, most of 120.000 business – including doctors, engineers and scientists – have migrated from the 2010.

"It can be argued that this situation contrasts with the State's obligation in accordance with article 22 (1) the Constitution for the protection of the right to work and the creation of conditions of employment for all citizens ".

As regards the social security, the UN report stresses:

"Significant spending cuts under the adjustment programme impacted a number of benefits, including unemployment benefits, pensions and family allowances. To compound the problem, There are significant delays in retirement decisions, the payment of pensions and benefits and interpretive problems in the implementation of the new legislation on pensions. Due to the increase in long-term unemployment, only a fraction of the total number of registered unemployed receive benefits (27 percent as of February 2013). Additional, unemployment benefits expire after 12 μήνες, resulting in the loss of public health and insurance coverage. Many young people are not eligible for support, because they have never had a job and have not paid the required national insurance contributions '.

"Successive cuts have reduced pensions up to 60 percent (for higher pensions) and between 25 and 30 percent for lower. The total monthly income of pension exceeding € 1000 has fallen by 5 έως 15 percent, While Christmas, Easter and summer bonuses for retirees have been removed. These chondrokommenes pension cuts have pushed a large part of the population in poverty.

"The independent expert shares the view of the Committee on employment and Social Affairs. It “σωρευτικό αποτέλεσμααπό τις διάφορες νομοθεσίες που εισάγονται ως «μέτρα λιτότητας» στην Ελλάδα από τον Μάιο του 2010, the limitation and the reduction in both public and private retirement benefits, constitute a violation of the right to social security enshrined in article 12 (3) of the European Social Fund Article. Since the Commission noted, τελικά, πως οι περικοπές στις συντάξεις είναι πιθανό να προκαλέσουνσημαντική υποβάθμιση του βιοτικού επιπέδου και των συνθηκών διαβίωσης πολλών από των εν λόγω συνταξιούχων”. It is therefore crucial, the Government should make efforts to ensure an adequate level of protection for the most vulnerable groups of the population ".

For the disenfranchisement of any constitutional right to care and health, the report says:

"The combination of cuts in spending on health-care under 6 percent of GDP (approximately € 12,4 billion in 2012) from approximately 10 percent over the last years, the job cuts in the public health sector, the increase of fees and payment entries, closing / merging hospitals and health infrastructure, the reduction in hospital beds and a growing number of people who lose public health insurance (mainly because of long-term unemployment), have undermined the availability and access to quality health care services, in particular for the poorest.

» From the 2010, the Greece has cut spending for health-care important, at levels below the average in the European Union. Public spending on health declined from 7,1 percent of GDP in 2010 in 5,8 percent in 2012, and is projected to decline to 5,3 percent in 2013, far below the 6,3% the average for countries of the European Union. Total, the health budget has been reduced by approximately 40 percent.

"The austerity policies also create ancillary problems serious health effects. For example, the cuts in spending on public health, result, It was believed that diseases have disappeared from the country from long, such as malaria, have resurface due to mosquito control programs and the cessation of aerial spraying.

"An increase of 52 percent of infections by the virus HIV reported 2010 – 2011. 66 reports indicate that, Although initially, they had blamed the sex workers and illegal immigrants, the boom is due mainly to unsafe injecting practices among addicts, as particularly desperate young Greeks faced unemployment, have turned to drugs.

"The independent expert fears, How to answer the above situation, the authorities issued a directive (Health Regulations Nos. GY/39A) in April 2012, which allowed the Ministry of health, to check any violence for some infectious diseases, including the flu, tuberculosis, polio, hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. The independent expert is also concerned that the regulation. GY/39Aapokatastathike at 26 June 2013 only a few months after having been previously removed.

"There was also an increase in mental health problems. Suicides have increased by 37 percent from the beginning of the debt crisis (από 677 in 2009 με 927 it 2011). According to some studies, the increase in suicides and suicide attempts at, to a large extent, be attributed to the economic and social pressure imposed on people by the economic crisis.

"Access to medicines has also become a problem. In February 2013, more from 200 medical products were in short supply at hospitals and pharmacies, including medicines for arthritis, hepatitis C and hypertension, cholesterol-lowering agents, antipsychotics and antibiotics. The introduction of participation has exacerbated the problem, Since many patients cannot afford, in the context of severe austerity, to pay for their medication».

For education the UN report stresses:

"The annual public spending on education fell from € 7.23 billion in 2009 in € 5,84 BN. Euro 2013, a reduction in 30 percent. The budget for education has been reduced by cutting back on State spending for human resources, as well as through active cuts in daily current operation and maintenance costs for schools, as well as the costs for purchasing educational material. These expenses decreased by 24 percent in 2011 and Furthermore 19 percent in 2012.

"In the context of austerity, between school years 2009-2010 and 2013-2014, περίπου 14,5 percent of all schools of primary education (including pre-school education) and 4 percent of schools of secondary education have been merged. School closures, σε ορισμένες περιπτώσεις, has greatly increased the distance to reach school children, and limited access, has-in the order of- cause, increasing school drop-out rates, particularly among Roma children and cause concern.

» Extra, the number of teachers in secondary education has been reduced, mainly through retirement and the restrictions placed on new recruits since mid 2010 and especially for the school year 2012-13 by about 11 percent. It is envisaged that 2.500 most teachers will be placed on mobility and may eventually be fired. Salaries of teachers in public schools have also truncated ".

The same deterioration describes and for housing:

"As a result of the recession and the adjustment programme, There was an increase in the number of homeless people from the 2009, estimated at 25 percent. Non-governmental organisations estimate that at least 20.000 people are now homeless. Many of the "neoastegoys", It is relatively well educated who have found in this situation because of financial difficulties resulting from the loss of work, and benefits.

"In the context of fiscal consolidation, Social Housing Organization, the only major institution that provided housing allowances, removed in February 2012 and the responsibilities of, came to the Greek Manpower Employment Organization. The Social Housing Organization, under some conditions, give inter alia, a rental subsidy, in almost 120.000 households and housing facilities in non-insured elderly people.

"At the same time, reductions in the budgets of social services have seriously affect the capability of support services for helping the homeless at a time that already struggle to meet the growing need for. For example, in November 2010, 61 from the 85 members of the staff of the city of Athens in the Homeless Foundation laid off, significantly reducing the services that could be provided.

» 2009, the Government has taken measures to protect low and middle income homeowners, who were unable to service their housing loans and protected them from foreclosures by banks. For this purpose, the Government imposed a ban on banks to make seizures at major houses worth up to € 200.000. The independent expert understands, ωστόσο, that State's international lenders are pressing the Government to lift the ban. He calls these lenders to avoid prescribing policy actions that may undermine the international human rights obligations in Greece, including the right to adequate housing.

"The independent expert shares the concern of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to non-discrimination. Στο πλαίσιο αυτό, the housing subsidies, changes in the legal protection against evictions and foreclosures and the temporary property tax had negative effects on the realization of the right to adequate housing for the poorest and most marginalized sections of society. He calls on the Greek authorities to adopt an integrated, dependent on the income of housing benefit, targeted at poor and families, to close the gap of social protection in housing, which deteriorated from the dissolution of workers ' housing Organization. It should be noted that housing, as the employment, an important guarantor of human dignity ".

Poverty and social exclusion, says:

"Although Greece already had the highest poverty rate in the euro area prior to the 2009, austerity measures, especially layoffs and job cuts and cuts in salaries and allowances, have pushed more people into poverty. About 11 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. These levels of poverty have contributed to increasing inequality and social exclusion.

"According to a study by the Athens University of Economics and business and the University of Essex, the rate of relative poverty (namely, the percentage of people who have less than 60 percent of the median income at their disposal) increased from 20 percent in 2009 in 21,29 percent in 2012. Specific, unemployed (relative poverty rate by 41.08 percent) and many children (26,75 percent) have dropped below the relative poverty threshold. The data from the Hellenic statistical authority for the 2011 indicates that the 44 percent of all unemployed have fallen below the poverty line and confirm this trend. It should be noted that the single parent households with children face similar risk of poverty (ποσοστό 43,2 percent).

"Income inequality has also increased. Total, the Gini index, getting values from 0 (absolute equality) έως 1 (overall inequality), moved by the 0,3449 it 2009 έως 0,3678 it 2012. Despite the fact that the austerity measures include parameters so that there is greater participation by more affluent, However the adjustment has further lower income groups of the population that was already at the bottom of the income distribution 2009, thus aggravating their poverty. People in the lowest decile, they had lost income 24,2 percent compared to before the crisis, and between 2009 and 2012. If the income deciles are adjusted on the basis of income distribution 2012, the loss of the income of the poorest 10 percent of the population stands at an alarming 56,5 percent.

"It is difficult to isolate the distributive effects of the austerity policies of the wider recession, as both are closely linked. Experts, ωστόσο, arrive at the conclusion that the 63,3 percent of the population was under the poverty line in 2010 and 2011, found there as a result of austerity policies and only – that means that can be directly assigned the changes imposed on taxation, salaries and social benefits cuts. Also note that the sharp increase in poverty and inequality was mainly due to a big drop in income share of the poorest 10 percent of population ".

The same apocalyptic is exposure and democratic and trade union rights:

"The negative effects of the adjustment programme extends to civil and political rights. For example, the mass protests of citizens held against harsh austerity measures, reportedly encountered with a clumsy manner from the beginning. In may 2013, the Government invoked the national emergency legislation, which allows to force public sector employees, in order to work and to ban a planned strike by the Trade Union of secondary education against austerity measures, during the examinations for the University. The Government argued that the measure was necessary to avoid a serious disruption in social and economic life of the country.

"The independent expert considers, ωστόσο, that such reactions are disproportionate and may infringe on freedoms of Assembly and Association, which are also guaranteed by the Constitution ".

And leads the UN report on the following recommendations to the Greek Government and international lenders:

"Conclusions and recommendations

The adjustment programme and, in particular, the overly rigid austerity measures implemented since may 2010 have caused significant economic and social costs for the Greek population. The program has pushed the economy into recession, the standard of living of the majority of the population and generally undermined the exercise of human rights in Greece. A large percentage of rescue loans have been used to repay banks that lent money unwisely in Greece, While increased the country's debt. Δυστυχώς, the role of the State as a provider of accessible public services is depend on the increasingly elusive goal of restoration of a viable public budget. Based on the findings contained in this report, the independent expert makes the following recommendations.

D. The Government of Greece

The independent expert recommends that the Government:

(a) The application of the international financial obligations, including those subject to the adjustment programme, without resorting to further cuts in public spending and other austerity measures that may undermine the free exercise of economic, social and cultural rights in the country.

(b) Βεβαιωμένα να διατηρεί επαρκείς πόρους για να μπορέσει να τους χρησιμοποιήσει στο «Μέγιστο των δυνατοτήτων”, for the realization of all human rights and, in particular, to ensure the enjoyment of minimum necessary level, Economic and social rights, to the same extent as the financial obligations.

(γ) Conduct an independent, transparent and participatory audit of its debt, in order to determine its origin, be identified and held accountable those responsible for debt.

(I use bold font to the third recommendation, because for the first time in an official UN document placed under direct questioning the level of public debt of a country, and requires the identification and punishment of those policies that created it. Also of particular importance is the lack of confidence in the Greek courts and requires the conduct of an independent, transparent and participatory audit Greece's debt).

(δ) Conduct human rights impact assessment to identify possible negative effects of the adjustment programme and policies that are necessary to properly address.

(ε) Increased efforts to combat tax avoidance and evasion and, κυρίως, to improve the collection of overdue tax debts.

(στ) To allocate sufficient resources and urgency to close the gaps in social protection system.

((g)) To consider the extension of existing programmes aimed at tackling unemployment, especially among young people, through training and active employment policies.

(the) Raising the minimum wage (after taxes) as soon as possible to layers above the poverty threshold.

(i) Consider extending the pilot guaranteed minimum income system will be tested in two areas 2014, at the national level, in order to close the safety net of social welfare, in accordance with the ILO social protection Level Recommendation 2012 (#. 202).

(j) Urgently to abolish or adjust any austerity measures had a negative impact on income distribution.

((k)) To ensure affordable access to primary health care, without discrimination and to address the exclusion of people from the medical insurance due to long-term unemployment or other reasons.

((l)) Remove and Health Regulation No 2377/90 's urgency. GY/39A.

(m) To review the reform measures that had a negative impact on the right to education, in particular for members of vulnerable groups.

((n)) To enhance support for homeless people and to increase efforts to prevent the further spread of the phenomenon of homeless. To consider establishing a housing allowance for low-income households, which will fill the gap caused by the closure of social housing Organisation and to continue protecting homeowners with low incomes and their families who are not able to service their housing loans against possible eviction from their own homes.

((o)) Implementation of the recommendations of the Commissioner of the Council of Europe, for human rights, to curb the growth of racist and xenophobic violence attacks. Continue to take decisive measures to combat violent extremism, in accordance with international human rights law.

((p)) To reflect, the need to validate, basic international human rights treaties, in which the State is not yet a party, in particular, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on economic, Social and cultural rights.

B. With international Lenders

93 The independent expert urges the international lenders in the country:

(a) To avoid financial assistance under the Treaty embarrassing and burdensome policies, which can undermine the development prospects of the country and the exercise of all human rights.

b) To support the decision of the Government of Greece, to conduct an independent, polysymmetochiko and transparent auditing of public debt.

(γ) To consider further reduction of public debt in Greece, including a deletion of bonds held by the European Central Bank, to allow the country to reduce its debt to a more sustainable level, as defined in this report.

(δ) To include the reduction of unemployment and poverty as measurable goals at the current adjustment programme, and for regular monitoring of progress.

(ε) To ensure transparency in their relations with the Government of Greece in a manner that fully respects the rights of the people of Greece, including the right to public participation.

(στ) With particular regard to the IMF, to ensure that estimates for debt sustainability, take into account the other demands of the available resources of the Government, especially those that are necessary for social investment and the establishment of conditions for the full realization of all human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights.

((g)) To study the preparation of a new adjustment programme for Greece with better terms, που θα της επιτρέψουν να αντιμετωπίσει τα προβλήματα του ελλείμματος και του χρέους της, χωρίς να υπονομεύεται η άσκηση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων».


Report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, Cephas Lumina



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