Greece needs to work harder to combat intolerance of its LGBTI and Roma communities, as well as migrants, the Council of Europe said in a report Thursday.
Despite a government plan to improve inclusion by 2025, the report found that the Greek LGBTI community continues to experience intolerance and discrimination, with even teachers making homophobic remarks in schools, the council’s anti-racism commission report said. and intolerance (ECRI).
“The ECRI delegation heard shocking testimony about some teachers’ statements to intersex pupils,” the report said, pointing to a study on young people that found the situation in Greek schools “deplorable”.
“The position and perception of Greek society towards intersex people move between ignorance, (medical) pathology and hostility,” the report states.
The commission said it had “credible accounts” of doctors recommending the abortion of unborn intersex children.
Homophobic attacks are not uncommon in Greece, where the powerful Greek Orthodox Church officially disapproves of 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 recorded 164 cases of hate crime in 2018, a quarter more than the previous year, the report said.
But only four cases led to convictions in 2018, with only six the previous year.
The UN-backed Racist Violence Registration Network (RVRN) recorded 521 incidents of racist violence from 2016 to 2020, ECRI added.
“A comprehensive monitoring system for hate speech incidents, including online, accompanied by public awareness campaigns, should be established,” the report said.
He added that, despite specific police training, specialized prosecutors and a 24-hour hotline, there was a “small systematic collection” of police hate speech data.
The commission also noted that the Greek Ombudsman’s Office, the only organization promoting equality across the board in Greece, had no legal powers 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.