Greece makes progress in human rights

A report made public yesterday by the National Committee for Human Rights said the Greek government had taken positive action to protect human rights in 2002 but noted that new legislation was still needed to protect illegal immigrants in the country. Greece has signed practically all existing international treaties and protocols for the protection of human rights while «many countries – and indeed those which project themselves as protectors of democracy and human rights – have yet to ratify them,» according to the report which was delivered to Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis on Tuesday. The report noted that a total of 40,000 residence permits were issued to foreigners in Greece in 2002. Still to be resolved, however, are «the serious problems which have arisen in the process of recognizing the status of the refugee in Greece,» the report continued, adding that «the protection of the social and individual rights of foreigners, especially of women, who are victims of the problems of the international human trafficking and organized crime affecting Greece,» merits equal attention from legislators. Legislation passed in 2001 to combat organized crime comprises the country’s fulfillment of its obligations following its ratification of an international treaty against organized crime – which covers the trafficking of people, drugs and arms as well as terrorist attacks, the report added. (ANA)