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TITLE:  GREECE HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Greece is a constitutional republic and parliamentary 
democracy.  In free and fair national parliamentary elections 
in October, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) won a 
comfortable majority, and its leader, Andreas Papandreou, 
became Prime Minister.  The defeated New Democracy Party of 
former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis assumed the role 
of the opposition.  President Constantine Karamanlis, the 
largely ceremonial Head of State, was chosen by Parliament in 
April 1990.

The police and security services are subject to a broad variety 
of legal and constitutional restraints.  The Greek Parliament, 
a vigorous free press, the judiciary, committees and deputies 
of the European Parliament, and Greek and international human 
rights organizations monitor their activities.  These 
institutions and groups brought to light cases of improper 
activities and pressed the Government to put a stop to such 

The National Intelligence Service in an internal report (which 
was leaked to the press in August) pointed to non-Greek 
Orthodox persons and organizations as potentially dangerous to 
Greece and monitored their activities and maintained dossiers 
on them.  The Mitsotakis Government stated that the report had 
been immediately withdrawn and that it did not represent its 
position (see Section 2.c.).  

The Greek economy has a very large state sector with a strong 
tradition of patronage.  To promote further economic 
development, Greece relies heavily on the European Community 
(EC) for subsidies and loans.  Political polarization and 
opposition from labor unions and other groups hamper government 
efforts to reduce the budget deficit and strengthen the private 

The Constitution protects, and the authorities generally 
respect, fundamental human rights.  There continued to be 
reports, investigated and mostly denied by the Government, of 
Greek border guards and military personnel abusing Albanian 
illegal aliens, resulting in the deaths of at least four 
Albanians.  A bilateral dispute with Albania in June and July 
led to mass roundups of Albanians working in Greece--most but 
not all of them illegally--and their summary expulsion to 

Other human rights problems in 1993 included prosecution of 
persons who dissented on sensitive foreign policy and minority 
issues or who "insulted authority," restrictions on religious 
practice, discrimination against Gypsies, and continued use of 
Article 19 of the Citizenship Code to revoke the citizenship of 
Greek citizens who are not ethnic Greeks, despite assurance by 
senior government officials in 1991 that Article 19 would be 


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Neither government forces nor legal opposition groups engaged 
in political killing.  In contrast to previous years, no lethal 
terrorist attacks occurred in 1993.  However, during 1993 there 
were allegations that Greek border guards and military 
personnel killed several Albanians who had illegally entered 
Greece.  The Army is conducting an investigation to determine 
whether to court-martial a soldier who fatally shot an Albanian 
immigrant on February 27.  In another case three Albanians 
reportedly fell over a cliff to their deaths when a Greek 
border patrol fired at them during a night chase through rugged 

As a result of the investigation into the case of accused drug 
dealer Suleyman Akyar, who was reportedly beaten to death in 
January 1991 while in official custody, the prosecutor proposed 
that three police officers be charged with using excessive 
force leading to death, a felony.  The three police officers 
were subsequently exonerated, however, and the official cause 
of death was ruled to be pneumonia.  

A German citizen, Ramon Joachim Schulz, died in a prison in 
Crete in August under questionable circumstances.  The official 
cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but there was 
strong evidence that he had suffered a severe beating while in 
detention.  The Ministry of Justice opened a further 
investigation into the case at the request of the German 

     b.  Disappearance

Amnesty International (AI) reported the disappearance of two 
ethnic Greeks with Albanian citizenship who were detained by 
police in Zagora on March 4 and never seen again.  

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution specifically forbids torture, and a 1984 law 
makes the use of torture an offense punishable by a sentence of 
from 3 years to life imprisonment.  This law has never been 
invoked.  Although reports of police abuse declined in 1993, 
defense attorneys and other sources continued to report that 
the police beat detainees in the initial arrest and 
investigative phase in order to extract information and 
confession, and then held detainees in harsh conditions in 
holding cells.  Allegations persisted that police and military 
personnel beat and otherwise abused illegal Albanian aliens in 
the process of deporting them, including credible reports of 
such beatings during the mass expulsions in July (see Section 

AI issued a report in 1992 describing incidents occurring in 
1990 and 1991 in which police and prison guards allegedly 
tortured or ill-treated individuals or groups of people in 
their custody.  An appendix, summarizing cases raised with the 
Greek authorities since 1986, included 54 alleged victims in 
1991.  According to the report, methods of ill-treatment 
included punching, kicking, and beating with sticks, clubs, or 
truncheons.  Beating on the soles of the feet was also 
reported.  The Government conducted its own internal reviews 
and reported in 1993 that police and guards in most instances 
had been exonerated.

Although concluding that most AI allegations were groundless, 
the Minister of Public Order, in public statements in 1992 
about terrorism, acknowledged shortcomings in police discipline 
and promised corrective action.  In further conversations about 
the AI report in September 1993, senior police officials 
stressed that they had instituted training programs to ensure 
that proper procedures are followed and that the human rights 
of detainees are respected.  They said that the Ministry had 
ordered police commanders to carry out serious investigations 
of reports of abuse, to inspect regularly conditions in police 
holding cells, and to punish officers who break the law.

In March a five-member delegation of the Council of Europe's 
(COE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or 
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, assisted by four 
professional consultants and COE staff, visited over 20 
prisons, police stations, and hospitals.  The Committee's 
confidential report to the Government was in preparation at 
year's end.  

The Ministry of Justice acknowledged that conditions in many 
prisons are deplorable.  Most prisons are severely overcrowded, 
particularly the Korydallos prison near Athens, and medical 
care is inadequate.  There were relatively few reports of 
physical abuse in Greek prisons.  According to one credible 
report, two Albanian prisoners who attempted to escape from a 
prison on the island of Kos were beaten severely after their 
recapture.  An official of the Ministry of Justice said the 
case was under investigation.  

Prison conditions for conscientious objectors, in both civilian 
and military prisons, have given rise to special concern in 
recent years.  The then minister of national defense 
acknowledged in a press interview in July that living 
conditions in the Avlona military prison, where most 
conscientious objectors formerly were held, were "objectionable 
and inadmissible."  Investigations and visits by deputies of 
the European Parliament and other groups resulted in much 
adverse publicity.  To begin correcting the situation, the 
Government transferred about 200 prisoners to the military 
prison at Sindos, which houses only conscientious objectors and 
where conditions are far better.  

However, Sindos prison has a maximum capacity of only 300 
prisoners, whereas the number of imprisoned conscientious 
objectors normally ranges between 350 and 400.  As of October, 
about 35 conscientious objectors were still being held at 
Avlona, and over 90 were in Kassandra agricultural prison, 
which consists of a central unit and several outlying stations.

A Belgian human rights group which visited parts of the 
Kassandra prison reported in 1992 that in one station the 
dormitory was a stable; it was cold and virtually unheated in 
winter with holes throughout the building.  The group also 
reported abominable sanitary conditions, poor food, and limited 
and belated medical care of poor quality.  The Ministry of 
Justice acknowledged that conditions at Kassandra prison remain 
unsatisfactory but claimed that many conscientious objectors 
sought a transfer to Kassandra despite its bad conditions in 
order to be able to work and thereby reduce the length of their 
sentences.  The Ministry said it was instituting a similar 
system of reduced sentences in exchange for work at the Sindos 
prison, although the Jehovah's Witnesses reported in October 
that work was available at Sindos for only 65 of the 200 
conscientious objectors imprisoned there.

About 75 conscientious objectors are also held at the 
Kassevetia Volos agricultural prison.  The same Belgian human 
rights group described conditions at this prison as far 
better.  The conscientious objectors at Kassevetia Volos 
themselves described food and sanitary conditions, as well as 
medical facilities, as satisfactory.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution requires judicial warrants for all arrests 
except during the actual commission of a crime.  The legal 
system protects against arbitrary arrest orders.  Police must 
bring a person arrested on the basis of a warrant or while 
committing a crime before an examining magistrate within 24 
hours.  The magistrate must issue a detention warrant or order 
the release of the detainee within 3 days, unless special 
circumstances require a 2-day extension of this time limit.

Defendants brought to court before the end of the day following 
the commission of a charged offense may be tried immediately, 
under a "speedy procedure."  Although legal safeguards, 
including representation by counsel, apply in speedy procedure 
cases, the short period of time may inhibit the defendant's 
ability to present an adequate defense.  Defendants may ask for 
a delay to provide time to prepare their defense, but the court 
is not obliged to grant it.  The effective maximum duration of 
pretrial detention is 18 months for felonies and 9 months for 
misdemeanors.  A panel of judges may grant release pending 
trial, with or without bail.  A person convicted of a 
misdemeanor and sentenced to 2 years or less may, at the 
court's discretion, pay a fine in lieu of being imprisoned.

Despite these legal safeguards, both AI and the Lawyers 
Committee for Human Rights (LCHR) reported that actual practice 
frequently deviates from prescribed norms.  For example, 
lawyers informed AI that the police frequently interrogated 
suspects as witnesses, because witnesses do not have the right 
to legal representation during police questioning.  Statements 
made to the police in these circumstances may be used against 
these persons in court if they are later charged and brought to 
trial.  AI and the LCHR also reported that detainees are 
frequently not informed of their rights and that access to a 
lawyer is denied until after interrogation, which allegedly in 
some cases included torture or ill-treatment and the signing of 
a statement. 

Exile is unconstitutional.  However, Greek citizens not of 
ethnic Greek origin who travel outside the country may be 
deprived of their citizenship and refused readmittance to the 
country under Article 19 of the Citizenship Code (see Section 

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system is characterized by three levels of courts, 
appointed judges, an examining magistrate system, trial by 
judicial panel, and the right of appeal by both prosecution and 
defense.  The Constitution provides for the independence of the 
judiciary, but there are credible charges that judges sometimes 
allow political criteria, including the desire to obtain 
promotion, to influence their judgments.

The Constitution provides for public trials, and trial court 
sessions are open to the public, unless the court decides that 
privacy is required to protect victims and witnesses or 
national security matters.  The latter provision is not 
abused.  The defendant enjoys the presumption of innocence, the 
standard of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the right 
to present evidence and witnesses, the right of access to the 
prosecution's evidence, the right to cross-examine witnesses, 
and the right to counsel.  Lawyers are provided to defendants 
who are not able to afford legal counsel.  

The antiterrorism law, enacted in 1990, which also covers 
murder, kidnaping, and some other crimes, foreshortens trial 
procedures and provides for mandatory life sentences for these 
crimes.  The new Government announced its intention to repeal 
this law.  Parliament voted to repeal it on December 9. 

There are no political prisoners in Greece.  As noted above, 
however, there are at any given time from 350 to 400 persons 
imprisoned for refusing, mainly on religious grounds, to 
perform military service as Greek law requires (see Section 

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Constitution prohibits invasion of privacy and searches 
without warrants, and the law permits monitoring personal 
communications only under strict judicial controls.  Judicial 
warrants showing probable cause are required for home searches, 
and there are limits on conducting such searches at night.  
However, the variety of persons and groups subjected to 
government surveillance in 1993 raised questions about 
safeguards.  Targets included human rights monitors, 
non-Orthodox religious groups, and members of minority groups 
who meet with members of the diplomatic community.  In one 
case, the security forces interrogated the family of a 
controversial academic who writes independently on such topics.

In September, however, prosecutors indicted several persons, 
including a retired general who had served as national security 
advisor to the president of the New Democracy Party (the 
president of the party was also Prime Minister of Greece for 
part of the period in question) on charges of wiretapping 
political opponents from 1989 to 1991.  A Greek human rights 
monitor charged that a newspaper article, based apparently on a 
leaked police report of surveillance carried out against him 
and a visiting international human rights delegation, contained 
information that could only have been obtained by monitoring 
his telephone calls.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and press is provided for in the Constitution 
and generally respected in practice, but there are significant 
exceptions.  Some legal restrictions on free speech remain in 
force and have been invoked the last 2 years in five cases (see 
details below) concerning the politically sensitive topics of 
relations with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia and 
the question of ethnic minorities within Greece.  On these 
so-called national issues, under the previous government, the 
authorities gave clear evidence of their intolerance of 
political dissent; the charges the prosecutors brought in court 
were based on what the defendants said or wrote, not on violent 
acts or other criminal behavior.  In the main, however, Greece 
enjoys a tradition of outspoken public discourse and a vigorous 
free press.  Satirical and opposition newspapers do not 
hesitate to launch scathing and vituperative attacks on the 
highest state authorities.

The new Prime Minister, in his initial policy statement in 
Parliament, announced his Government's intention, as a matter 
of immediate priority, to repeal the laws that restrict freedom 
of speech and press.  The law that Parliament approved on 
December 9 repealed the antiterrorism law and the provision in 
the Criminal Code that forbade "insulting authority," and it 
definitively ended prosecutions of "offenses committed by or 
through the press."  As a result of these changes, a number of 
trials concerning restrictions on freedom of speech initiated 
under the previous government were terminated.

The Constitution allows for seizure (though not prior 
restraint), by order of the public prosecutor, of publications 
that insult the President, offend religious beliefs, contain 
obscene articles, advocate violent overthrow of the political 
system, or disclose military and defense information.  Seizures 
are rare, however, and did not occur in 1993.  

However, several Penal Code restrictions have been used to 
restrict free speech and press.  Article 141 of the Penal Code 
forbids "exposing the friendly relations of the Greek State 
with foreign states to danger of disturbance"; Article 181, 
repealed in December, forbade "insulting authority."  Article 
191 of the Code prohibits "spreading false information and 
rumors liable to create concern and fear among citizens and 
cause disturbances in the country's international relations and 
inciting citizens to rivalry and division, leading to 
disturbance of the peace."  People were arrested for 
distributing leaflets or booklets denouncing government policy 
on Macedonia and asserting the existence and mistreatment in 
Greece of Macedonian and other minorities.

In January 1992, a court sentenced six members of an 
organization to 6 1/2 months' imprisonment for putting up 
posters which read:  "No to Patriots.  Recognize 
Slav-Macedonia."  They appealed their conviction, and the 
appeals court set a date to hear the case in December 1995.  In 
April 1992, police in Athens arrested four students for 
distributing a leaflet entitled, "The Neighboring Peoples Are 
Not Our Enemies.  No to Nationalism and War."  The leaflet 
opposed the Government's domestic policy regarding Greece's 
ethnic minorities.  A court sentenced them in May to a fine and 
19 months in jail.  The charges were dropped due to the 
lifting, as noted above, of restrictions on freedom of speech 
and press.    

In May 1992, police arrested five members of a Trotskyite group 
for distributing a book about "working class" perspectives on 
Balkan issues, denouncing the rise of Greek nationalism and 
asserting the existence of a Macedonian minority in Greece.  A 
court acquitted them on May 7, 1993, after a week-long trial.  
The public prosecutor's office appealed the unanimous verdict, 
but the charges may be dropped due to the new law that ends 
prosecution of offenses "committed by or through the press."    
This is the only known case of the prosecution appealing an 
acquittal on such charges.

In December 1992, a court convicted a 17-year-old high school 
student on charges of attempting to incite citizens to 
divisions among themselves, disturbing the peace, and carrying 
a weapon.  He distributed a leaflet that decried excessive 
nationalism on the Macedonian issue and referred to Alexander 
the Great as a "war criminal."  The court sentenced him to a 
year in jail.  An international human rights organization noted 
that he was accused of carrying an iron bar but stated that "it 
was not found, and no evidence was produced in court to 
corroborate the weapons charge."  The student remains free 
pending appeal which is scheduled for November 1995.

In March 1993, a court convicted two minoritiy activists from 
Greek Macedonia for saying that they "feel Macedonian" and for 
claiming the existence of a Macedonian minority of 1 million in 
Greece.  This claim conflicts with official government policy, 
which denies the existence of any minorities other than the 
Muslim minority recognized in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.  The 
court sentenced them to 5 months in prison and a small fine.  
Both were free on appeal when the charges were dropped due to 
the changes in law discussed above.  

Police in September 1992 charged a leader of the Athens bus 
drivers' union with "insulting authority" because of remarks he 
made that questioned the independence of the Greek courts.  The 
charges were dropped when Article 181 was repealed.

In October 1992, three journalists with the newspaper O Locos 
were sentenced to jail terms of from 8 to 18 months, which 
could be satisfied by paying a fine, for insulting authority by 
suggesting that the Supreme Court improperly accepted guidance 
from the Government.  The journalists remained free on appeal; 
the prosecution of this case was terminated when Article 181 
was repealed.

On April 2, the publisher of the left-of-center Athens daily 
Ethnos and one of the paper's journalists were convicted of 
insulting authority for a column written by the journalist and 
published in the newspaper which stated that not all Thracians 
had pure Greek blood.  (Western Thrace is home to a substantial 
ethnic Turkish population.)  They were sentenced to 7 months' 
imprisonment but are free pending appeal.  Charges are expected 
to be dropped due to the repeal of Article 181.  

The antiterrorism law includes a section authorizing the 
Supreme Court prosecutor to prohibit publicizing specific 
statements by terrorist groups (specifically, groups acting in 
concert to commit certain serious felonies, including murder).  
In September 1992, six publishers and editors went on trial for 
violating this law in Athens.  The court convicted one 
defendant and sentenced him to a fine and 6 months in jail 
(which may be satisfied by paying another fine).  He appealed 
his conviction.  Prosecution in all six cases ended with the 
December repeal of the antiterrorism law.  

The 1975 Constitution says the State exercises "immediate 
control" over radio and television.  An independent, 
government-appointed body with the authority to enact rules 
governing private broadcasting established procedural 
regulations for radio several years ago.  In 1993 it did so for 
television as well, issuing licenses to six private stations.  
The Government has not instituted any policy for dealing with 
the large number of private radio and television stations that 
are operating without licenses.

The only government effort to control an unlicensed station 
occurred just prior to the October elections when the 
government television station jammed the signal of a new, 
opposition-oriented television station.  However, when the 
Council of State ruled that this was illegal, the former 
government ceased the jamming.  State-run stations tend to 
emphasize the Government's views and positions but also report 
objectively on other parties' programs and positions.  In June 
the governing board of ET, the state-owned television and radio 
network, resigned in a move widely seen by the press as a 
government effort to take full control of state-owned broadcast 
media prior to the fall elections.  The board, which resigned, 
had criticized government officials for attempting to run ET 
and was considered politically independent.  

Throughout much of western Thrace, Turkish-language satellite 
television broadcasts are available to those with access to 
satellite ground stations.  The mayors of two major towns in 
the region set up two such ground stations for their 
Turkish-speaking constituents.  Fifteen Turkish-language 
publications--10 weekly newspapers and 5 monthly magazines--are 
published and circulate locally in Thrace, while newspapers and 
other periodicals from Turkey are distributed only privately in 
small numbers when brought in by taxis and travelers.  

Academic freedoms are protected by democratically chosen 
faculty organizations, though such groups tend to be 
politicized.  It is widely believed that those who engage in 
public dissent, even in scholarly publications, on sensitive 
issues like Macedonia and minorities will find it very 
difficult to pursue an academic career since all universities 
are state institutions.  

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly.  Police 
permits are routinely issued for public demonstrations, and 
there were no reports that the permit requirement was abused.

The Constitution provides for the right of association, which 
is generally respected.  In 1991 a "Macedonian Cultural Center" 
in Florina, organized by Greeks of Slavic descent, lost an 
appeal of a lower court decision denying it registration 
because of the use in its title of the word "Macedonian," which 
the court held would cause "confusion."  Government policy 
holds that Greek citizens of Slavic descent who identify 
themselves as Macedonians do not constitute a minority (see 
Section 5).  The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, 
which has not yet heard the case.

Greek authorities, while recognizing a Muslim minority, do not 
recognize separately an ethnic Turkish minority (see Section 5).

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religious conscience, 
but it also limits religious practice by prohibiting 
proselytizing.  It establishes the Greek Orthodox Church, to 
which perhaps 95 percent of the population at least nominally 
adhere, as the "prevailing" religion but prohibits 
discrimination against religious minorities.  The Greek 
Orthodox Church wields significant influence through its 
relationship with the Ministry of Education and Religion.

Theoretically, Greek law prohibits proselytism by anyone, but 
it apparently is not applied to those spreading the Orthodox 
faith.  The Mormons, who have an active missionary program in 
Greece, report only occasional harassment by local police.  In 
June, however, police arrested four Mormons in Thessaloniki for 
proselytizing and jailed them overnight.  The following day, 
the court found them not guilty and released them immediately.

The Greek Jehovah's Witnesses organization reported that, as of 
late June, police had arrested 24 members for proselytizing.  
Police had detained, warned, and harangued others but released 
them within a few hours.  Of those formally arrested for 
proselytism, 17 were tried and 4 were convicted and sentenced 
to between 10 and 15 months' imprisonment plus fines.  The 
courts postponed the trials of the others charged with 
proselytism.  All Jehovah's Witnesses were free while they 
appealed their sentences.  They also had the option of paying a 
fine of less than $10 per day in lieu of serving their 

In May the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the 1986 
conviction for proselytism of Minos Kokkinakis, a Greek 
Jehovah's Witness, violated the European Convention on Human 
Rights.  The Court overturned his conviction and 4-month 
sentence.  It ordered the Government to pay him 400,000 
drachmas (about $1,818) in damages and 2,789,500 drachmas 
(about $12,700) in costs and expenses.  The Government paid the 
money within the time limit specified by the Court.  

All Greek men, irrespective of religion, are subject to the 
military draft; the law does not provide for nonmilitary 
alternative service.  (Noncombatant alternative military 
service has been available since 1977, but the Defense Ministry 
said in 1992 that no one had ever requested that option.)  The 
courts sentence conscientious objectors, almost all Jehovah's 
Witnesses, to prison, usually for 4 years (the normal term of 
military service is from 15 to 23 months), for refusal to 
perform any kind of military service.  As noted in Section 
l.c., as of October about 400 conscientious objectors were in 
Greek prisons.  The European Parliament, in a human rights 
resolution of March 11, 1993, stated that it "condemns, in 
particular, the practice in Greece which treats conscientious 
objectors as criminals and condemns them to long periods of 
imprisonment in military prisons."

The previous government considered introducing nonmilitary 
alternative service in 1988 and 1991.  However, it claimed it 
found no legal way to do so without amending the Constitution, 
which declares that "every Greek capable of bearing arms is 
obliged to contribute to the defense of the fatherland as 
provided by law."  It relied on the legal counsel of an 
advisory legal body.  

In its March 1993 report on conscientious objectors in Greece, 
AI asserted that this legal body was not an independent 
authority and its impartiality was not guaranteed; its opinions 
were not binding on the Government or the courts; and the 
Minister of Defense was under no procedural obligation to 
consult it.  AI cited other legal counsel and referred to the 
constitutional provision that "freedom of religious conscience 
is inviolable."

Traditionally, Jehovah's Witnesses ministers were not granted 
the exemption from military service accorded under Greek law to 
clergy of "known religions" and thus served prison sentences 
for refusing military service.  Since 1990-91, the Council of 
State, the Supreme Court dealing with civil and adminstrative 
matters whose opinions are binding on the Government, has ruled 
that the Jehovah's Witnesses were a "known religion" and has 
ordered the release of ministers who had refused induction.  
However, the recruiting service of the armed forces regarded 
these rulings as applying only to individual appellants, not as 
binding precedents for subsequent Jehovah's Witnesses' 
ministers who were called up.  It thus continued to rely, in 
the first instance, on the opinion of the Ministry of Education 
and Religions, which in turn accepted the view of the Greek 
Orthodox Church that the Jehovah's Witnesses are not a "known 
religion."  As a consequence, for the past few years, ministers 
of the Jehovah's Witnesses have been called up for military 
service and prosecuted for refusal; only after conviction could 
they appeal to the Council of State for exemptions as ministers 
of a "known religion."  In practice, these ministers have spent 
periods of a few months to over a year in jail while appealing 
their cases to the Council of State.

The situation appears to have improved in 1993.  The first 
Jehovah's Witnesses minister called up was able, on an informal 
basis, to obtain a stay of his induction date until his appeal 
could be heard.  A second such case was pending as the previous 
government was leaving office in mid-October.  The Ministry of 
Defense confirmed that the Ministry informally has sought to 
suspend such callups for 2 months to allow for appeals to the 
Council of State.  It is not clear that this informal 
arrangement will provide enough time to prevent future 
imprisonment of ministers.

Each house of worship in Greece requires the local Orthodox 
bishop's permission to open and operate.  It is not uncommon 
for such permission to be delayed or even, at times, withheld, 
though some denominations are able to open and operate churches 
in the guise of cultural centers.  However, in 1993 a court 
sentenced three Jehovah's Witnesses to 1 month each for 
operating a house of worship without permission.  After losing 
appeals to the Supreme Court over the closure of two houses of 
worship, the Jehovah's Witnesses appealed to the European Court 
of Human Rights, seeking to overturn both the particular 
decisions of the Greek courts and the law requiring permission 
of the local Orthodox bishop for a non-Orthodox denomination or 
religion to open a house of worship.

Several denominations report difficulties in getting residence 
permits for foreign members of their faiths who come to Greece 
to perform missionary or charity work.  One denomination filed 
a suit in court to obtain the permits.  Some denominations are 
also considering bringing only nationals of other EC countries 
to work in Greece, rather than Americans or other foreigners, 
since EC regulations would facilitate their ability to stay and 
work in the country.

Mosques and other Muslim religious institutions operate in 
western Thrace, where most Greek citizens of the Muslim faith 
reside.  Some Muslims claim that Greek law weakens the 
financial autonomy of the "wakfs," community funds used for 
maintaining mosques and for charitable works, by placing the 
wakfs under the administration of appointed muftis (Islamic 
judges and religious leaders).  The Treaty of Lausanne contains 
language allowing minorities to control their charitable 

In accordance with a 1990 presidential decree, the State 
appoints the three muftis in Greece, all resident in western 
Thrace.  According to government policy, muftis must be 
appointed because, in addition to their religious duties, they 
perform judicial functions in many civil and domestic matters, 
for which the State pays them.  The selection process includes 
formal consultations with local Muslim leaders.  The Muslim 
minority is divided on the mufti selection issue.  Some Muslims 
accept the authority of the appointed muftis while others 
insist on their right to elect the muftis who will serve their 
communities.  In February four muftis from Turkey were expelled 
for preaching in western Thrace without the permission of the 
Greek Government or the muftis appointed by it.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution protects freedom of movement within the 
country, foreign travel, and emigration.  Ethnic Greeks 
intending to emigrate, and emigrants who return to Greece, 
experience no discrimination with respect to freedom of 
movement.  However, Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code 
distinguishes between Greek citizens who are ethnic Greeks and 
those who are not.  Greek citizens who are not ethnic Greeks 
may be deprived of citizenship if it is determined that they 
left Greece with the apparent intent not to return.  However, 
immigrants who are ethnic Greeks are normally recognized as 
Greek citizens and accorded full rights, despite years or even 
generations of absence from Greece.  Most Article 19 cases 
involve primarily ethnic Turks from western Thrace.

The Interior Ministry initiates proceedings under Article 19 on 
the basis of reports by local authorities in Greece or by Greek 
embassies or consulates abroad.  It holds a hearing at which 
the affected person is not present, nor is the affected person 
notified of the hearing.  Those who lose Greek citizenship as a 
result of such hearings sometimes learn of this loss only when 
they seek to reenter Greece.  According to the Foreign 
Ministry, 123 persons lost Greek citizenship under Article 19 
in 1993; 3 of them have filed administrative appeals which are 
still pending.

Despite the repeated assurances since 1991 of the previous 
government's senior officials that Article 19 would be 
abolished, the previous government did not introduce the 
requisite legislation in Parliament.  The new Government has 
not yet stated its intentions.

Persons who lose their Greek citizenship under Article 19 have 
the right of "administrative appeal" to the Interior Ministry 
and may also appeal to the Greek Council of State and to the 
Council of Europe.  Leaders of the Turkish-origin Greek 
community complain that the time and expense involved tend to 
discourage such appeals.

Greece maintains a restricted military zone along its northern 
border with Bulgaria, in areas where many Pomaks (Muslims who 
speak a Bulgarian dialect) reside.  Since entry into the zone 
is strictly controlled, even for local inhabitants, some 
residents of the area complain that their freedom of movement 
is restricted.  Foreign diplomats are allowed into the zone 
only under escort and with special authorization.

Greece frequently offers temporary asylum, though rarely 
permanent resettlement, to a growing number of refugees from 
Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  Greece is 
increasingly a transit country for economic migrants.   
Increasing numbers of Pakistanis and Iraqi Chaldeans and Kurds 
are attempting to enter Greece illegally.  Through June, Greece 
had received requests from 595 persons for asylum status.  It 
granted such status to 53 persons and denied it to 909 persons 
(a number of whom had applied prior to 1993).

Although a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status 
of Refugees, Greece reserved on the provision that would allow 
refugees to work.  Refugees may not enter the Greek labor 
market but may be self-employed.  A recently enacted Greek law, 
which lacks as yet the necessary implementing decree, would 
provide some professional rehabilitation and accommodations for 
refugees.  Several United Nations and Greek organizations 
assist refugees with shelter, food, medical care, education, 
and legal counseling, but the funding and level of assistance 
of these agencies is very limited.

Ethnic Greek immigrants, such as those who have come from the 
former Soviet Union since 1986 and those rescued from the civil 
war in Georgia, normally qualify for immediate citizenship and 
special assistance from the Government.  The 1,000 ethnic 
Greeks from Georgia were resettled in western Thrace, raising 
concerns among the ethnic Turkish minority that they would lose 
jobs to the newcomers.  Permanent resettlement in Greece is not 
usually available for nonethnic Greek refugees.

Chams, ethnic Albanians who were deported from northern Greece 
in the late 1940's, have requested reinstatement of their Greek 
citizenship and property confiscated at that time.  The 
Government expressed a willingness to discuss compensation for 
property but does not recognize their alleged historic claim to 

Following the Albanian Government's expulsion of a senior 
cleric of the Greek Orthodox Church, accused of meddling in 
Albanian internal affairs, a charge denied by both the Greek 
Government and the cleric, Greece responded with mass roundups 
and summary expulsions of Albanians working in Greece, most of 
them illegaly.  Credible reports suggest at least 10,000 were 
expelled.  (Other reports say as many as 25,000.)  Greek 
security forces reportedly beat some Albanians and gave them no 
chance to take their possessions with them.  There were also 
unconfirmed allegations that some had money taken from them 
during the process of expulsion.  

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Greece is a multiparty democracy in which the Constitution 
guarantees full political rights for all citizens.  (See 
Section 5 for allegations of limitations on the ability of some 
Gypsies to vote.)  Members of the unicameral 300-seat 
Parliament are elected to maximum 4-year terms by secret ballot.

The government headed by Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, 
leader of the New Democratic Party, lost its majority in 
Parliament in September and called new elections in October.  
The opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) won the 
free and fair elections and formed a new Government headed by 
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.  The transition was prompt, 
smooth, and orderly.  Parliament elects the President for a 
5-year term.  Universal suffrage for those over age 18 is 
compulsory and enforced by fines and administrative penalties.  
Opposition parties function freely and have broad access to the 

Under a 1990 electoral law, no candidate may be elected whose 
party does not receive 3 percent or more of the nationwide 
vote.  This law also applies to independent candidates.  As a 
result, neither of Greece's former independent Muslim members 
of Parliament, both of whom proclaim their Turkish ethnic 
identity, was reelected to Parliament in 1993.  A third Muslim 
running as a member of PASOK resigned from the party when it 
demanded he stop identifying himself as an ethnic Turk.  In the 
province of Rodopi, the Muslim independent candidate received 
more votes than any other parliamentary candidate and yet could 
not be seated because he did not receive 3 percent of the total 
national vote.  Although there was no lack of Muslim candidates 
in the ranks of the major parties in 1993 (10 altogether), no 
Muslim was elected.  In the October national elections in 
Greece, a "Macedonian" independent parliamentary candidate from 
Florina received 369 votes out of a total of 44,855 votes cast 
in the district.

There are no legal restrictions on the participation of women 
in government or politics.  Women's representation at the 
higher levels of Greek political life is increasing but remains 
low.  The head of the Communist party is a woman.  Women hold 3 
of the 45 ministerial and deputy ministerial seats in the 
Government that took office in October.  Women are represented, 
though not yet widely, in the leadership of the two largest 
parties (New Democracy and PASOK).

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Domestic human rights organizations are allowed to operate, 
although the Government monitors their activities and may or 
may not cooperate with them.  The Government did not obstruct 
human rights organizations' visits and investigations, although 
a delegation from Helsinki Watch did not come to a scheduled 
meeting in June with a deputy foreign minister once it became 
clear that a Greek associate of the delegation would be 
excluded from it.  The Greek security services monitored the 
activities of the Helsinki Watch delegation and its Greek 
associates.  Another international human rights group said that 
the Government was not forthcoming with information about cases 
of alleged police abuse of detainees the group raised.  

The Government, in principle, respects the right of foreign 
diplomats to meet with Greek officials and other citizens, 
including critics of official policy, and such contacts 
normally take place without adverse reaction.  Occasionally, 
however, senior government officials make known their 
unhappiness over such meetings, particularly with activist 
members of minority groups or communities.  It is also clear 
that the security services closely monitor such contacts.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


There are broad constitutional and legal protections for women, 
including equal pay for equal work.  The General Secretariat 
for Equality of the Sexes, an independent government agency, 
charged that the law was not consistently enforced.  Official 
statistics show that the average wages of women in 
manufacturing establishments are 47 percent lower than those of 
men in comparable positions, and wages of women in wholesale 
trade are 24 percent lower that those of men in comparable 
positions.  Women are gradually entering traditionally 
male-dominated occupations, including the higher echelons of 
business.  The General Secretariat for Equality of the Sexes 
coordinates efforts to remove barriers.  Women's groups say 
that women in public service face a "glass ceiling" when 
considered for promotion.  The Government elected in October 
listed progress on women's issues as a high priority.  Muslim 
women in western Thrace have the option of Islamic or civil 
marriage and Islamic or civil jurisdiction in domestic disputes.

There is a strong cultural bias against reporting cases of 
rape, incest, or wife beating, and police and local authorities 
generally do not intervene in domestic conflicts.  Women's 
groups have identified violence against women as a significant 
problem.  As a result of pressure from these groups, a Center 
for Battered Women, run by the General Secretariat for Equality 
of the Sexes, started operating in Athens at the beginning of 
1993.  It is apparently the only such center in the country.  
It received 250 women in 1993.  

The highly cohesive Greek society and family structure tolerate 
a high degree of verbal confrontation but do not tolerate 
violence.  The level of physical violence, whether resulting 
from domestic conflict or common crime, is remarkably low.  
However, verbal abuse of women in Greece is common.  The 
General Secretariat for Equality of the Sexes claims that the 
courts are lenient when dealing with wife-beating cases, but 
the Secretariat expects that to change due to the increasing 
number of women who are entering the judiciary.  


Greece has legislation protecting children from all forms of 
maltreatment perpetrated by parents or others responsible for 
their care.  However, there is a strong cultural bias against 
reporting cases of domestic violence.  The State undertakes 
preventive and treatment programs for abused children and for 
children deprived of their family environment, ensuring that 
alternative family care or institutional placement is made 
available to them.  However, children's rights advocacy groups 
claim that protection of high-risk children in state 
residential care centers is inadequate and of low quality.

Immunization and vaccination of children against tetanus, 
measles, whooping cough, and other children's diseases is 
mandatory, free of charge, and provided for by specific 
legislation.  Polio and neonatal tetanus have been eradicated.  
The mortality rate for children under 5 years of age, which was 
64 per thousand in 1960, dropped to 11 per thousand in 1990.  
However, access of Gypsy children and illegal migrants to free 
state services, such as education and medical care, is very 
low, primarily due to their itinerant lifestyle.  

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

There are communities in Greece which identify themselves as 
Turks, Pomaks, Vlachs, Gypsies, and Macedonians.  Many are 
fully integrated into Greek society.  Of these, ethnic Turks 
form the largest group.  The only minority Greece formally 
recognizes is a "Muslim minority," which is referred to in the 
1923 Treaty of Lausanne.  The Government insists on the use of 
this rubric to refer to several different ethnic communities, 
most of which adhere to the Muslim faith.  The Muslim minority 
is comprised primarily of ethnic Turks or Turkish speakers in 
western Thrace, which the Government estimates at roughly 
120,000 persons.  In addition to people of Turkish origin, it 
includes Pomaks (Muslims who speak a language akin to 
Bulgarian) and Gypsies.  Many Greek Muslims, including Pomaks, 
identify themselves as Turks and say that the Muslim minority 
as a whole has a Turkish cultural consciousness.  The use of 
the word "tourkos" ("Turk") is prohibited in titles of 
organizations, though individuals may legally call themselves 
"tourkos."  To most Greeks, the word "tourkos" connotes Turkish 
citizenship and loyalties, and many object to its use by Greek 
citizens of Turkish origin.  Use of a similar adjective, 
"tourkoyennis" (of Turkish descent/affiliation/ethnicity), 
however, is allowed (see also Section 2.b.).

Northern Greece is home to an indeterminate number (estimates 
range from under 10,000 to 50,000 or more) of Greek citizens 
who are descended from Slavs.  Some still speak a Slavic 
dialect that some call Macedonian, particularly in the Florina 
district, where there is a substantial slavophone population.  
A small number of them consider themselves to be members of a 
distinct ethnic group which they identify as Macedonian, and 
assert their right to minority status.  One activist who 
identified himself as Macedonian was subject to a punitive job 
transfer in his civil service career as a result of his 
activism.  Organizations of self-identified Slavic Macedonians 
are not allowed to use the word "Macedonian" in their names.  
In 1991 the Thessaloniki appellate court upheld a ban against a 
cultural center in Florina on these grounds (see Section 
2.b.).  That organization appealed to the Supreme Court, which 
has not yet ruled on the case.  Individual citizens are free to 
speak the Slavic dialect in public and perform Slavic dances 
and music openly.  However, some Greeks of Slavic descent 
reportedly do not proclaim themselves Macedonian for fear of 
losing their jobs in the public sector or being penalized, 
e.g., through a punitive job transfer.

The Secretariat for Adult Education (a government agency) 
estimates the number of Gypsies in Greece is between 120,000 
and 150,000.  Gypsies (both Christian and Muslim) are scattered 
throughout the country.  Most Greek Gypsies are at least 
nominally Greek Orthodox, with Greek names, who speak Romany at 
home but Greek in public transactions.  In western Thrace, 
Gypsies tend to be Muslim, with Turkish names and some 
knowledge of the Turkish language.  The Government estimates 
the Muslim Gypsy population to be 22,000.  The official 
government policy is to encourage Gypsies to assimilate.  For 
those who do not, illiteracy, poverty, crime, and social 
prejudice continue to be significant problems.  Some 
municipalities attempt to prevent settlement by Gypsies, 
refusing to register them as citizens.  (All Greek citizens are 
required to be registered in a municipality.)  Without such 
registration, Gypsies are not allowed to vote, cannot obtain 
papers required to start a business, and are excluded from a 
range of government services.

Some Muslims also live on Greek islands near the Turkish coast 
or in Athens and other industrial areas.  Muslim villages 
usually elect Muslim-dominated local governments.  In Komotini 
and Xanthi, both Muslims and non-Muslims hold seats on the town 

Employment of Muslims in the public sector is much lower than 
the Muslim share of the population.  Some ethnic Turks claim 
that they are hired only in small numbers for lower level 
public sector employment and rarely, or not at all, at higher 
levels.  The Government cites their lack of fluency in Greek, 
as well as the need for a university degree for high-level 
positions, as factors limiting the number of Muslims eligible 
for public employment.

Public offices in Thrace do their business in Greek; the courts 
provide interpreters as needed.  In the Komotini district in 
Thrace, where many members of the Muslim minority live, the 
office of the district governor ("nomarch") has interpreters 

The Treaty of Lausanne guarantees the Muslim minority the right 
to Turkish-language education, with a reciprocal entitlement 
for the Greek minority in Istanbul.  Western Thrace has both 
Koranic and secular Turkish-language schools.  Government 
disputes with Turkey over teachers and textbooks caused these 
secular schools serious problems in obtaining sufficient 
numbers and quality of faculty and teaching materials.  Over 
9,000 Muslim children attend Turkish-language primary schools.  
Around 650 attend Turkish-language secondary schools, and 
approximately 1,000 attend Greek-language secondary schools.  
Many Muslims reportedly go to high school in Turkey due to the 
limited number of places in the Turkish-language secondary 
schools, which are assigned by lottery.  Very few graduates of 
the Muslim secondary school system attend Greek universities.

To address some of these problems, the Greek Government issued 
new Turkish-language elementary texts, prepared in Greece, on a 
variety of subjects in early 1993.  Texts on mathematics, 
science, and other subjects were also received from the Turkish 
Government.  The Greek Government reviewed their content in 
time for the beginning of the school year in September.  It 
accepted 14 science and mathematics texts, returned 2 texts for 
requested changes, and rejected 2 others.  However, some 
Turkish-origin Greeks object to having their schools use 
teaching materials prepared in Greece and say the texts violate 
a 1968 Greek-Turkish educational protocol.  In the wake of 
unlawful seizures of these texts by Turkish activists, two 
activists received sentences of 21 months in prison and one 
received 15 months, but all had their convictions reversed on 
appeal; six persons were sentenced to 17 months in jail but are 
free pending their appeal; and one was acquitted in his 
original trial.  

Some Turkish-origin Greeks complain that it is difficult to 
obtain permission to bring in teachers from Turkey or to hire 
Turkish-speaking teachers locally, particularly for the secular 
Turkish-language middle schools in Xanthi and Komotini.  Under 
the 1968 educational protocol, Greece and Turkey may annually 
exchange up to 35 teachers each to serve, respectively, in 
Istanbul and western Thrace.  In 1992 Greece sent 16 teachers 
to Istanbul and admitted 16 of the 35 high school teachers whom 
Turkey nominated to teach in Thrace.  The Foreign Ministry 
reports that the 16 teachers from Turkey took part in February 
in a 1-week "Muslim" teachers' strike to protest the 
Turkish-language elementary textbooks that had been produced in 
Greece.  Negotiations for a Greek-Turkish teacher exchange for 
the 1993-94 school year are reportedly still under way.  

     Religious Minorities

Leaders of various non-Orthodox religious groups assert that 
their members face discrimination in reaching senior rank in 
government service, particularly in the security services.  
They allege that to avoid this glass ceiling some members of 
their faiths resort to declaring themselves Orthodox.  Senior 
government officials, when questioned about such allegations of 
discrimination, deny that it exists and point to certain 
persons not of the Orthodox faith who have had successful 
careers in government service.  There appears to be no 
scholarly research on this issue.

A number of Jehovah's Witnesses reported difficulties in 
employment.  An accountant who had earlier been imprisoned as a 
conscientious objector passed his accountancy examination, but 
the appropriate regulatory board did not certify him because he 
had a conviction on his record.  He took a factory job while 
awaiting the outcome of his 1989 appeal to the Council of State.

Several fully certified Jehovah's Witnesses teachers have also 
faced difficulties in gaining employment in recent years.  In 
one well-documented case that began in 1991, a middle-ranking 
official of the Ministry of Education, in a memorandum to a 
local educational official on the issuance of a teaching permit 
to a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Baha'i religion, 
stated that according to the Ministry's "legal 
was not permissible to endorse the appointment to Greek schools 
of educators who do not believe in the Greek Orthodox 
religion."  The local official in turn wrote the applicant, who 
wished to teach in a private school, that he could not have a 
teaching permit in accordance with the "attached document 
issued by the Ministry of Education and Religion."

A public school principal was demoted to teacher, and another 
Jehovah's Witness was denied permission to open a private 
school.  As a result of such difficulties, a total of six 
Jehovah's Witnesses have appeals pending with the Council of 

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on January 21 
which, inter alia, criticized the decision of the Greek 
Government to require that Greek citizens declare their 
religion on the bilingual identity cards that allow Greeks to 
travel freely within the European Community.  The resolution 
ascribed the decision to "pressure from the Orthodox clergy in 
particular" and referred to the "concern this decision has 
aroused among the Catholic and Jewish religious minorities."  
The resolution stated that the Parliament "disapproves of 
the...decision," termed it "a constraint on individual freedom" 
and called on the "Greek Government to revoke this decision."  
The Government in May sought the authority to drop this 
requirement, but the Parliament refused to grant it.

A sharp political controversy erupted in August when an 
opposition newspaper obtained a copy of, and printed excerpts 
from, an internal report of the National Intelligence Service 
about the dangers to Greece allegedly posed by non-Orthodox 
denominations.  The report argued that "any Greek who is not 
Greek Orthodox is not a genuine, incorruptible, pure Greek," 
and that the leaders and adherents of non-Orthodox 
organizations are characterized for the most part as having a 
"lessened national conscience."  The report suggested that "the 
State must take appropriate measures," specifically 
recommending steps to ensure that the "radio and television 
channels which are under the control of religious heretics will 
not be permitted to operate."

The report claimed "the Vatican has not renounced...its firm 
aspirations toward a Latinization of the Greek people" and also 
evinced strong suspicions of Protestants, Pentecostals, and 
Jehovah's Witnesses; a companion report leaked to the press 
showed that the Intelligence Service was keeping them under 
surveillance and maintaining dossiers on their activities.  The 
Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a strong letter of 
protest to the Prime Minister, denouncing the report's slurs on 
patriotic but non-Orthodox Greeks and asking that he disown the 
report of the Intelligence Service and the tactics it 

The former government replied that the report was undertaken by 
a low-ranking functionary, that it was withdrawn immediately 
when it came to the attention of higher authorities, and that 
it did not represent the official position of the Government.  
However, the press, both secular and Catholic, published a 
facsimile of a letter of commendation from the then director of 
the National Intelligence Service to the author of the report, 
stating that it was "thorough, detailed, and well documented."  

     People with Disabilities

Greece has specific legislation mandating hiring of disabled 
persons in public and private enterprises employing more than 
50 persons.  However, the law is inadequately enforced, 
particularly in the private sector.  The law provides that 
disabled persons should comprise 3 percent of staff in private 
enterprises.  In the civil service, 5 percent of administrative 
staff and 80 percent of telephone operator positions are 
reserved for disabled persons.

Physical access for disabled persons to all kinds of private 
and public buildings is provided by the construction code, but 
the law is poorly enforced.  In 1993 the Government started 
replacing old city buses with new ones with stairs specially 
designed for the disabled.

Greece has special centers, both government-funded and 
privately funded, for handicapped and disabled children and 
adults, which provide education and training designed to help 
them achieve self-reliance and lead a full life in society.  
However, the number of such centers as well as the total number 
of disabled persons in Greece is not available.  The Ministry 
of Health, Welfare, and Social Security and children's rights 
advocacy groups cite statistics showing a 93-percent increase 
of budgetary funds for welfare during the 1990-92 period, a 
53-percent increase in the number of disabled persons who 
attended vocational training programs, and a 28-percent 
increase in allowances to disabled persons.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution, and subsequent legislation passed in 1987 and 
1992, provide for the right of association.  All workers, with 
the exception of the military and the police, have the right to 
form or join unions.

Approximately 35 percent of Greek workers (nearly 1.5 million 
persons) were organized in unions in 1993.  Unions receive most 
of their funding from a Ministry of Labor organization, the 
Workers' Hearth, which distributes mandatory contributions from 
employees and employers.  Only the five most powerful public 
sector unions have dues-withholding provisions in their 
contracts, in addition to receiving Workers' Hearth subsidies.  
The International Labor Organization's (ILO) Committee of 
Experts acknowledged in 1993 that Act No. 1915 of 1990 seems to 
give effect to ILO recommendations that the Government end its 
financial interference in trade union affairs and in the 
collection of union dues.  

Over 4,000 unions are grouped into regional and sectoral 
federations and two umbrella confederations, one for civil 
servants and one for private sector employees.  Unions are 
highly politicized, and there are party-affiliated factions 
within the labor confederations, but they are not controlled by 
political parties or the Government in day-to-day operations.  
There are no restrictions on who may serve as a union 
official.  Greek unions maintain a variety of international 
affiliations and are free to join federations and 

Legislation passed in 1990 mandates a skeleton staff during 
strikes affecting public services, such as electricity, 
transportation, communications, and banking.  During strikes in 
June and July, skeleton staffs did not completely ensure that 
essential services continued uninterrupted; however, there were 
no repercussions against the unions.  The previous government's 
1992 lawsuit against the electric company workers' union, filed 
under the skeleton staff provision, is still pending in the 
courts.  In 1993 the ILO's Committee of Experts requested the 
Government to guarantee that workers' organizations participate 
in defining the minimum services to be maintained in the event 
of a strike.  

More than 200 strikes occurred in 1993, including a number in 
July and August by public utility workers protesting 
privatization legislation.  While numerous, electric company 
strikes did not prove as disruptive as in the past.  However, 
bus strikes in December and January in opposition to government 
moves to deprivatize the Athens bus system proved extremely 
disruptive and were marred by violence.  As of January 4, 1994, 
the dispute between the Government and bus drivers had not been 
resolved.  Major legal restrictions on strikes include a 
mandatory period of notice, which is 96 hours for public 
utilities and 24 hours for the private sector.  Public 
corporations, including utility companies, state-owned banks, 
the postal service, Olympic Airways and the railroads are also 
required to maintain a skeleton staff during strikes.  The size 
of the skeleton staff is determined by the Ministry of Labor in 
conjunction with the management of the particular public 

The courts have the power to declare strikes illegal, although 
such decisions are seldom enforced.  Unions complain, however, 
that this judicial power serves as a deterrent to some of their 
membership from participating in strikes.  The courts declared 
a majority of the strikes illegal for a variety of reasons, 
without any repercussions.  The Government may also declare 
"civil mobilization" of workers in case of danger to national 
security, life, or property, or the social and economic life of 
the country.  The ILO Committee of Experts has criticized this 
power as violating the standards of ILO Convention 29 on forced 
labor.  The Government did not resort to civil mobilization 
during 1993.

Two ILO bodies expressed hope in 1993 that counterinflationary 
legislation passed in 1992, suspending collective bargaining 
and wage increases in the public sector for the duration of the 
year, had lapsed.  In response to union complaints that most 
labor disputes ended in compulsory arbitration, legislative 
remedies were enacted in 1989 providing for mediation 
procedures, with compulsory arbitration as a last resort.  The 
legislation establishing a national mediation, reconciliation, 
and arbitration organization went into effect in January 1992 
and applies to the public sector and public corporations (the 
military and civil service excluded).  However, a government 
decree in early 1993 setting limits to wage and salary 
increases for public enterprises diminished the scope of the 
organization and was the basis for a complaint lodged with the 
ILO by the Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) for violation of 
ILO Conventions 98 and 87.  The complaint is still pending with 
the ILO.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Legislation passed in 1955 and amended in 1990 ensures the 
right to organize and bargain collectively in the private 
sector and in public corporations.  These rights are respected 
in practice.  There are no restrictions on collective 
bargaining for private sector employees.  Civil servants, who 
have no formal system of collective bargaining, collectively 
negotiate their demands with the Office of the Minister to the 
Prime Minister, with which the final decision rests.

Antiunion discrimination is prohibited.  The Labor Inspectorate 
or the courts investigate and work to resolve complaints of 
discrimination against union members or organizers.  Court 
rulings have mandated the reinstatement of improperly fired 
union organizers.

Greece has no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by the Constitution 
and is not practiced.  The Ministry of Justice enforces this 

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment in the industrial sector is 15, 
with higher limits for certain activities.  The minimum age is 
12 in family businesses, theaters, and the cinema.  These age 
limits are enforced by occasional Labor Inspectorate spot 
checks and are generally respected.  However, families engaged 
in agriculture, food service, or merchandising often have 
younger family members assisting them, at least part-time.  
Education is free and compulsory for all children through the 
ninth grade.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Collective bargaining between the GSEE and the employers' 
association determines a nationwide minimum wage.  The Ministry 
of Labor routinely ratifies this minimum wage, which has the 
force of law and applies to all Greek workers.  The minimum 
wage is sufficient for a decent standard of living for a worker 
and family.  The minimum daily wage is approximately $19; the 
minimum monthly salary is approximately $430.

The maximum legal workweek is 40 hours in the private sector 
and 37 1/2 hours in the public sector.  A law that took effect 
in 1992 significantly extended legal operating hours for retail 
establishments, provided that the average workweek did not 
exceed the legal maximum over a period of time.  The law 
provides for at least one 24-hour rest period per week, 
mandates paid vacation of 1 month per year, and sets limits on 

Legislation provides for minimum standards of occupational 
health and safety.  Although the GSEE characterizes health and 
safety legislation as satisfactory, it charges that 
enforcement, the responsibility of the Labor Inspectorate, is 
inadequate.  In 1992 GSEE cited statistics indicating a fairly 
high number of job-related accidents over the past two 
decades.  Inadequate inspection, failure to enforce 
regulations, outdated industrial plant and equipment, and poor 
safety training of employees contribute to the accident rate.  
Workers do not have the legal right to remove themselves from 
situations they believe endanger their health.  They have the 
right, however, to lodge a complaint with the Labor 
Inspectorate, and inspectors are prohibited from divulging the 
name of the worker who lodged the complaint.  Inspectors have 
the right to close down machinery or a process for a period of 
up to 5 days if they see a safety or health hazard they believe 
represents an imminent danger to the workers. 

[end of document]


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