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IV. Greece’s Legal Obligations

Greece is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) , which

requires all state parties to ensure to all persons their fundamental rights without

distinction of any kind, including race, language, religion, national origin, or other

status. 121 The Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the ICCPR, has

made clear that states have a positive obligation to prevent and punish human rights

abuse by private actors. 122 Greece is also a party to the International Convention on the

Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) which obligates states to

guarantee everyone “without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic

origin…security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm,

whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual, group or institution.” 123

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), ratified by Greece in 1974, provides for

the equal enjoyment of all Convention rights without distinctions based on race, color,

religion, or national or social origin, among other grounds. 124 The Convention also imposes

positive obligations on states to protect individuals from attack, assault, or injury by

private individuals, in particular when combined with protection of the rights to life and

bodily integrity. 125

121 ICCPR, G.A. res 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N.GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into

force March 23, 1976, article 2(1); see also ibid., article 26 (equal protection under the law). Greece ratified the ICCPR on May

5, 1997.

122 Human Rights committee, General Comment 31, Nature of the General Legal Obligations on States Parties to the

Covenant, U.N. Doc CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13 (2004): “However the positive obligations on States Parties to ensure Covenant

rights will only be fully discharged if individuals are protected by the State, not just against violations of Covenant rights by

its agents, but also against acts committed by private persons or entities…There may be circumstances in which a failure to

ensure Covenant rights…would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties’ permitting

or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm

caused by such acts by private persons or entities,” para. 8.

123 ICERD, Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by the General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December

1965, entered into force January 4, 1969, article 5(b). Greece ratified ICERD on June 18, 1970.

124 European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe Treaty Series, No. 5, Rome November 4, 1950, ratified by

Greece on November 28, 1974.

125 ECHR articles 1, 2, and 3. See for example European Court of Human Rights cases A. v. The United Kingdom, judgment

September 23, 1998, para. 22: “The Court considers that the obligation on the High Contracting Parties under Article 1 of the

Convention to secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention, taken together

with Article 3, requires States to take measures designed to ensure that individuals within their jurisdiction are not subjected

to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment including such ill-treatment administered by private

individuals;” and Osman v. The United Kingdom, judgment of October 28, 1998, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1998-

VII, p. 3159, para 115: “The first sentence of Article 2§1 enjoins the State not only to refrain from the intentional and unlawful

taking of life, but also to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction…The State’s obligation

HATE ON THE STREETS 70

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