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HSH745 Health Program Evaluation

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Course Code: HSH745
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What Is The Positive Aspects Of Human Rights In Greece?


Human rights are the norms or moral principles describing standards of human behaviour and are guarded as legal rights in international law. They are perceived as unassailable fundamental rights to which an individual is inherently entitled as he is a human being. As per this notion, all individuals have the same rights irrespective of their location, language, ethnic origin, caste and religion. They are applied everywhere across the globe and in the sense of being universal (Donnelly 2013, p. 3). The United Nations (UN) is the intergovernmental organisation responsible for Accounting international collaboration and corporation for creating and maintaining international peace and order. This organisation has the objective of maintaining security and peace, promoting human rights and fostering economic and social development (Freeman 2017, p. 7). The present briefing report discusses the Human Rights in the country Greece which is a member of the UN. The briefing identifies the areas where the country is doing well as well as the issues faced by the country in relation to human rights. It highlights the particular issues, regions and groups in this context. Recommendations have been outlined that can bring improvement in the light of all aspects of human rights in the country. This report ends with a summative conclusion to the overall report.
Positive aspects of Human Rights in Greece
Greece is a constitutional republic of the European continent and a multiparty parliamentary democracy. The unicameral parliament upholds a legislative authority for the country. Human Rights in Greece are given prime importance by the government, and this is reflected in the fact that such rights are observed by a number of organisations in the country (Donnelly & Whelan 2017, p. 65). Greece is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. In addition, the Greek constitution upholds the basic human rights for all its citizens (Smith 2016). 
Greece amended the Criminal Code in 2014 to article 81A for strengthening the sentences imposed for offences that are hate-motivated and for the recognition of the absolute protection of material witnesses and victims of racist crimes. Further, Law No. 4198/2013 has been adopted for the prevention of trafficking of individuals, especially women. This law aims to protect the victims of human trafficking and other related provisions. The next domain where suitable legal regulations have been considered for implementation is racism and intolerance. Law No. 4356/2015 guides the setting up of the National Council against Racism and Intolerance which has been regarded as a significant measure to protect the victims of racism. Further, the relationship with the Racist Violence Recording Network has been enhanced in the recent past. This is a wing of non-governmental organisations for addressing incidents of racist violence (state.gov 2015). Social inclusion of Roma has to take been a concern for the government, leading to the adoption of the National Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma, 2012-2020. The adoption as well as the implementation of the National Action Plan on Human Rights, 2014-2016 is another beneficial approach of the government (ohchr.org 2017).
Greece has been doing well in relation to human rights in the area of unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of life. This is indicated by the fact that there have been no reports of any cases that the government or any of the government agents have committed arbitrary killings and any such unlawful acts. Further, there have been minimal reports of politically motivated disappearances. This draws attention of human rights advocates since politically motivated disappearances have increased in number in many other European countries in the recent past (Anthony 2016). Further, the law prohibits actions such as arbitrary interference with family, privacy and home. There have been fewer reports of the government failing to show respect to the mentioned prohibitions. The government and law uphold the freedom of press and speech. The political system and judiciary, along with independent press promote freedom of press and speech. The independent media is active to express different views on diverse topics without any stringent restrictions. Any publications offending any religion or political party are however seized. Restrictions are imposed on speech that provokes hatred, discrimination, and violence on the basis of colour, religion, descent, sexual orientation and race (Salomon & De Schutter 2015).
The Greece government has not been reported to provide disrupted or restricted access to the content available online. Another point of relief is that the government monitors private online communications when there is no legal authority.  The Greek constitution is known for freedom of assembly while respecting this basic human right. The freedom to take part in all of the major political processes of the country is by far the most significant adherence to human rights. The citizens can select their choice of government in a fair and justified manner. This selection is done on equal and universal suffrage (Buergenthal et al., 2017, p. 174-75). No cultural practices have been reported on prevention of women form taking part in political decisions. Lastly, different international human rights groups and domestic human rights groups can operate without the restriction of government and publish all significant findings regarding cases of human rights violation. Responsive nature of the government officials and their proactive nature to cooperate have always been appreciating (Tomuschat 2014, p. 532).

                                           Image-  Human Rights Protection across the globe, Source- ourworldindata.org 2014
Human Rights issues in Greece
Greece has been in the news for a long time for its inability to abide by human rights policies outlined. The most significant human rights problems in Greece have emerged as a result of deplorable conditions and overcrowding. The lack of adequate potable water, sufficient food, the shelter has added to the issue. Poor conditions have aggravated the challenges, leading to societal discrimination (Harris et al. 2014, p. 271). The devastating economic crisis if deeply felt by the section of the society that is most vulnerable. Greece is on the frontline of challenges regarding migration and asylum in Europe.
According to Peroni and Timmer (2013, p. 1059), the problems about human rights in Greece mainly encompasses treatment of refugees and migrants, treatment of conscientious objectors to military service, and incapability to grant protection to the majority of the women victims of forced prostitution and domestic violence. The authors further highlight that Greece has reported certain cases of arbitrary arrests against the charges of ‘war on terror’, and cases of conviction by the European Court of Human Rights for the violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights by convicting an unofficial mufti for seizing the role of a minister of a religion that is known. Bantekas and Oette (2013, p. 564) in this regard have highlighted issues faced by Greece in relation to human rights. The authors state that Greece has been infamous for multiple cases of abuse which have been done by security forces, especially illegal immigrants. Moreover, undocumented migrants have been detained in squalid conditions. Prisoners have been made to withstand harsh and overcrowding conditions. The authors further highlight that members belonging to the community of non-Orthodox religions often have to encounter rigorous administrative challenges and restrictions.  Detention of separated and unaccompanied immigrant minors is a serious concern, grabbing the most of the attention of human rights proponents. It is to be noted that this group includes asylum seekers as well. The last, but no less important, is the issue of limits of the freedom of certain ethnic minority groups, such as Roma, to self-identity. Discrimination against this group is high as the individuals face social exclusion at different levels. Violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community is high along with  discrimination against certain creeds in occupation and employment on the strength of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, HIV-status and lastly, status of migration (amnesty.org 2017).

Image-Sea arrivals at Greece in 2016, Source- data2.unhcr.org 2017
Mixed migratory flows draw a considerable amount of resources for combating the issues coming with it. Undocumented migrants who enter the country are detained for a period more than the maximum legal period of administrative detention. Together with this is the abscence of due process guarantees while the individuals are in detention in the country. The government is concerned about the low standards of identification and reception centres on the major islands of Greece. The chaotic situation has a disproportionate influence on the children and women, facing risks of violence. Insufficient access to asylum and immigration procedures, appropriate information passage among arrivals about the asylum procedures, and strenuous procedure for registering asylum seekers as well as migrants add to the issue. Guardianship system aiming to protect unaccompanied children is ineffective in the country. Children are not provided with appropriate accommodation. To add more to the issue, the practice, to all is to detain them with adults who are not related to them. Thousands of individuals who are asylum seekers, including women and children, are found to be trapped in conditions in EU-sponsored processing centers – so-called hotspots, that are worseining with each passing year. Similar other facilities are also present amid the new arrivals and what makes it problematic that the Greek government has a critically slow decision-making process. Female migration has become a significant occurrence since it is growing in volume. The detention of migrant pregnant women, is of a concern. Women are at times held in detention together with men who are not related to them. Female migrants and refugees are vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination, human trafficking and abuse. Single women who travel with their children or alone, nursing women, adolescent girls, pregnant women, and elderly women are more prone to unsafe environment and are in urgent need of effective and coordinated protection response system Marketing (Koutrolikou 2016, p. 181-83).
Labour discrimination in Greece also remains a major concern for human rights advocates. The working conditions of the migrant workers are considerably poor, characterised by a lack of coverage for social protection, extreme health and safety conditions, low incomes together with long working hours. These conditions are outrightly infringements to basic human rights (Rogan & Rogan 2017, p. 7).
Racism and hate crimes have been on the rise in the last one decade. The Golden Dawn party emerged in the year 2009 that primarily targets Muslims, Jews and Roma. The social media platforms and the mass media are not left behind. Xenophobic attacks and racist crimes have been exacerbated as a result of the economic crisis (Stoyanova 2016). Roma encounter obstacles and serious challenges in receiving the social services necessary for living. These include education, housing, employment and healthcare. Perseverance of incidents of forced evictions, unhealthy living conditions and educational segregation is severe.
The first step that the Greece government must take for bringing development to the present human rights scenario is to diversify the activities for data collection on victimisation, on the basis of self-identification and anonymity of individuals. This would provide an empirical foundation for policies and regulations that enhance the opportunity for all to enjoy equal rights in the country. Since a detailed and reliable socioeconomic information is needed for the monitoring of policies, the same is needed at the earliest. Secondly, although the government has the explanation that ethnic groups are not perceived and treated as minorities, there is a need of recognising ethnic groups of smaller sizes so that their identities and existence can be protected. In this context, the State party must consider recognising other groups which can be given the title of religious minorities and encourage implementation of major decisions taken by the European Court of Human Rights (Headley 2016, p. 165-66).
Since racism is a major issue in the country, State party of Greece must bring the legal framework for anti-racism in complete adherence with the requirements of article 4 of the Convention. It is also to be ensured that it is strictly followed. For strengthening the anti-racism provisions, increasing the financial, technical and human resources already allocated to enforcement authorities who are responsible for the investigation of racial crimes would work in favour of the country. Moreover, undertaking awareness-raising measures, such as in-service training among the prosecutors, police and lawyers, on the anti-discrimination aspect would serve the purpose (Goodhart 2016, p. 466).
The next human rights issue that comes into the limelight is the mixed flow of migrants. Refugees and asylum seekers have been putting a profound burden on the government. For ensuring that the rights of all migrant, asylum seekers and refugees are protected, initiatives are to be taken through a robust international cooperation with the countries of European Union (Douzinas 2013, p. 68).
Coming to the end of the report, it can be stated that human rights are a serious concern at the present world against the backdrop of growing conflicts among nations and within nations. Human rights have been regarded as the rule imposing the obligations on individuals to respect others as humans. The principle of human rights is known to be highly influential within international law and regional institutions. Debates have been long considered on the significant issue of the ability of Greece to promote and advocate human rights agendas. Though the country has some essence of positivity in certain areas of human rights, the challenges faced are more profound, having deep consequences on social life. The government has been open to periodic reports and suggestions that can lead to responses to the diverse range of concerns arising in the present time. Constructive and open dialogue with the delegation of the government and other political parties are always welcomed.
Amnesty.org. 2017. Greece 2016/2017. [online] Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/greece/report-greece/ [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].
Anthony, D., 2016. The Problematic Use of Human Rights Discourse in the Greek Crisis Debate.
Bantekas, I. &Oette, L., 2013. International human rights law and practice.Cambridge University Press.
Buergenthal, T., Shelton, D., Stewart, D. & Vazquez, C., 2017. International human rights in a nutshell. West Academic.
Data2.unhcr.org. 2017. Situation Mediterranean Situation. [online] Available at: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].
Donnelly, J. & Whelan, D.J., 2017. International human rights. Westview Press.
Donnelly, J., 2013. Universal human rights in theory and practice.Cornell University Press.
Douzinas, C., 2013. The paradoxes of Business rights. Constellations, 20(1), pp.51-67.
Freeman, M., 2017. Human rights.John Wiley & Sons.
Goodhart, M., 2016. Human rights: politics and practice. Oxford University Press.
Harris, D., O’Boyle, M., Bates, E.& Buckley, C., 2014. Harris, O’Boyle &Warbrick: Law of the European convention on human rights. Oxford University Press, USA.
Headley, J.M., 2016. The Europeanization of the world: On the origins of human rights and democracy. Princeton University Press.
Koutrolikou, P.P., 2016. Governmentalities of Urban Crises in Inner?city Athens, Greece. Antipode, 48(1), pp.172-192.
Ohchr.org. (2017). OHCHR | UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concludes his follow up country visit to Greece. [online] Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=19972&LangID [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].
Ourworldindata.org. 2014. Human Rights Protection. [online] Available at: https://ourworldindata.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/human-rights-protection-1.png [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].
Peroni, L. &Timmer, A., 2013. Vulnerable groups: The promise of an emerging concept in European Human Rights Convention law. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 11(4), pp.1056-1085.
Rogan, M. & Rogan, M., 2017. Human rights and correctional health policy: a view from Europe. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 13(1), pp.3-9.
Salomon, M.E. & De Schutter, O., 2015. Economic Policy Conditionality, Socio-Economic Rights and International Legal Responsibility: The Case of Greece 2010-2015.
Smith, R.K., 2016. Textbook on international human rights.Oxford University Press.
Stoyanova, V., 2016. LE v. Greece: Human Trafficking and the Scope of States’ Positive Obligations Under the ECHR. 
Tomuschat, C., 2014. Human rights: between idealism and realism. OUP Oxford.
www.state.gov. (2015). Greece 2015 Human Rights Report. [online] Available at: https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/253065.pdf [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].      

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