Greece marginalizes gays, Rome marginalizes migrants – report

Greece must do more to tackle intolerance among its LGBTI and Roma communities as well as migrants, the Council of Europe said in a report on Thursday.

Despite a government plan to improve inclusion by 2025, the report found that Greece LGBTI The community continues to face intolerance and discrimination – even teachers making homophobic remarks in schools, the Council against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) commission report says.

“ECRI’s delegation heard shocking testimonies about statements made by some teachers to intersex students,” the report said, citing a study of young people that found the situation in Greek schools “deplorable”.

“The position and perception of Greek society towards intersex people oscillates between ignorance, (medical) pathologization and hostility,” the report says.

The commission said it had “credible accounts” of doctors advising abortion of unborn intersex children.

Homophobic attacks are not uncommon in Greece where the powerful Greek Orthodox Church officially frowns on same-sex relationships.

ECRI called for special training for teachers, doctors and other professionals to combat intolerance, and public opinion campaigns to target negative attitudes towards Roma and migrants.

Greek authorities registered 164 hate crime cases in 2018, up a quarter from the previous year, according to the report.

But only four cases resulted in convictions in 2018, compared to just six the previous year.

The UN-backed Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) recorded 521 incidents of racist violence between 2016 and 2020, ECRI added.

“A comprehensive monitoring system for incidents of hate speech, including online, should be put in place, accompanied by public awareness campaigns,” the report said.

He added that despite specific police training, specialist prosecutors and a 24-hour helpline, there was “little systematic collection” of data on hate speech by the police. .

The committee also noted that the Greek Ombudsman’s Office, the only organization promoting equality at all levels in Greece, did not have the legal power to bring discrimination cases to court.

“ECRI therefore recommends as a matter of priority that the authorities strengthen the support and litigation function of the Greek ombudsman,” the report states.