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Urgent Interventions

Continuous acts of harassment against minority rights defenders

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CASE GRE 181116

Restrictions tofreedom of movement /

Entry ban / Arbitrary detention

TheInternational Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.

Description of the situation:

The International Secretariat of OMCT hasbeen informed by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) about continuous acts ofharassment against defenders and journalists working on the rights ofminorities in Greece, including the arbitrary restriction to freedom ofmovement of Mr. Slavko Mangovski, InternationalCoordinator of the Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI).

According to the information received, onOctober 24, 2016, Mr. Mangovski was travelling from Macedonia to Greece inorder to meet with Macedonian minority activists in the framework of his workfor MHRMI, inter alia. At the Niki/Medzitlija Macedonian-Greek border crossing,he was denied entrance to Greece and informed that he was, since June 4, 2013,listed on the national registry of persons not allowed entering the Greekterritory. The authorities provided him with a copy of the official documentpronouncing his ban; it was the first time Mr. Mangovski learned about theexistence of such ban against him, which prevented him from being able to usein a timely manner the available legal remedy to contest such measure soonafter it was imposed. Moreover, he was given no explanation either about thegrounds of the ban or the length of the measure.

The International Secretariat of OMCT isconcerned that such ban could be linked to Mr. Mangovski’s participation as aspeaker to the joint MHRMI and Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia(ARCAM) Gala Banquet on June 1, 2013, in Toronto, commemorating the 65thanniversary of the plight of the Detsa Begaltsi (Macedonian minority ChildrenRefugees from the Greek Civil War).

It is important to note that this is notthe first time that Mr. Mangovski is prevented from entering Greece, sinceanother ban had been issued against him on August 11, 2000. Such decision waslifted on August 11, 2010, two days after GHM intervened before the Greekauthorities on his behalf.

The International Secretariat of OMCT wouldlike to highlight that this measure echoes many other violations, particularly entrybans, arbitrary detentions and expulsions, suffered by minorities’ rightsdefenders in Greece in the past years.

The most recent case is the one of theTurkish defender Mr. Mustafa Kaymakçı,President of the organisation “Rhodes, Kos and the Dodecanese Turks Culture andSolidarity Association”, who was arbitrarily detained, expelled and banned fromthe Greek territory while he was conducting a fact finding mission aboutTurkish minorities in Greece[1].

Moreover, on November 8, 2014, the humanrights lawyer Ms. Trandaflika Sandevawas also declared persona non grataand banned from entering the Greek soil. She was heading towards Thessalonikito legally represent Macedonian families in cases involving their properties inGreece, which they had lost during the Greek Civil War, but at the Evzoniborder crossing she was handed a notice banning her from entering the country.

Furthermore, on June 3, 2013, twoMacedonian journalists Mr. GoranMomirovski and Ms. Ivana Kostovska werealso banned from entering Greece, after filming a documentary about the dailylife and struggles of the Macedonian minority in Greece. They were declared personae non grata, and were handedofficial documents describing them as "dangerous" and "enemiesof the state", for posing threats to the public and internal security ofthe country.

On August 19, 2012, Mr. Marin Mema, anAlbanian reporter was declared a “threat to national security” and therefore deniedentry to the country by the Greek authorities after he realised a documentaryabout the Çam community, an Albanian minority expelled from northern Greeceduring the Second World War and never allowed to return.

The International Secretariat of OMCT isconcerned about the pattern of restriction of movement, particularly entry inthe country, on the ground of posing threats to national security, against defendersand journalists working on the rights of minorities, which appears only to be aimedat sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities.

The International Secretariat of OMCT callsupon the Greek authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift such bansand more generally to put an end to all acts of harassment against all minorityrights defenders in Greece.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities inGreece, urging them to:

  1. Guarantee the freedom of movement of Mr. Slavko Mangovski, Ms. Trandaflika Sandeva, Mr. Goran Momirovski, Ms. Ivana Kostovska and Mr. Martin Mema by immediately and unconditionally lifting the prohibition to enter the country which was issued against them, as it only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;

  1. Put an end to all acts of harassment against all minority rights defenders in Greece;

  1. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1 and 12.2; and

  1. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Greece.


· Prime Minister ofGreece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, Email:

· AlternateMinister of Immigration Policy of Greece, Mr. Giannis Mouzalas, Fax: +30 213136 4418, Email:

· AlternateMinister for Citizens Protection of Greece, Mr. Nikolaos Toskas, Fax: +30 210692 9764, Email:

· Deputy PermanentRepresentative of Greece, Mr. Ioannis Tsaousis, First Counsellor, PermanentMission of Greece to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 73221 50; Email:

· Ambassador ofGreece, H.E. Eleftheria Galathianaki, Embassy of Greece in Brussels, Belgium,Fax: (+32) 2 545 5585, Email:

· PermanentRepresentative of Greece, H.E. Papastavrou Andreas, Permanent Representation tothe European Union (EU), Fax: +32 2 5515651, 5127912, Email:

Please also write to the diplomaticmission or embassy of Greece in your respective country.


Geneva, November 18, 2016

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

[1]For more details, see OMCT Urgent Appeal GRE 261016 of October 26, 2016:

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