Resignation in Greek human rights body heats up debate in parliament

Resignation in Greek human rights body heats up debate in parliament

The parliamentary representative of the Democratic Alignment, Andreas Loverdos, called on the government on Thursday to remove the contentious provisions of a draft bill tabled by the government which led to the resignation of the head of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights (GNCHR), Giorgos Stavropoulos.

Stavropoulos resigned on Thursday accusing the government of attempting to alter the balance in the composition of the GNCHR’s committee.

In his resignation, he criticised the government's decision to add five members from the LGBTQI community and two more members from the Roma community to the body’s board, saying it violates “any principle of equality” in relation to the other members of the GNCHR who only have one vote in the committee.

Addressing Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, who submitted the legislation as minister of state (he is also government spokesperson), Loverdos said that the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) has sent a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in which he refers to a violation of the United Nations’s Paris Principles – the rules set out the minimum standards required by national human rights institutions to be considered credible and operate effectively.

Tzanakopoulos denied suggestions that the provisions violate the Paris Principles, arguing that the composition of the committee must be determined by constitutional or legislative provision to guarantee independence.

The provisions are included in a bill on the work of a committee that codifies legislation.

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