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United States Intervention at the 11th Session of the UPR Working Group: Greece
May 9, 2011

The United States warmly welcomes the Greek delegation to the UPR Working Group. We have carefully reviewed the report and presentation, and would like to make a few observations and recommendations.


The United States commends Greece for its demonstrated commitment to human rights. Despite facing severe economic challenges, Greece has diligently attempted to address an overwhelming influx of undocumented migrants. We welcome the passage of a new asylum law, the ratification of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the passage comprehensive, victim-centered anti-trafficking legislation.

We share the concerns raised by many delegations this morning regarding the treatment of some undocumented migrants, particularly regarding conditions of detention and the detention and deportation of unaccompanied or separated immigrant minors, including asylum seekers. We also note overcrowding and difficult conditions in prisons. While the government made some positive steps to increase the enrollment of and acceptance of Romani children in schools, Roma continue to face serious impediments accessing education, employment, and social services. We congratulate the government on Athens’ selection to host the Special Olympics World Summer Games this summer and encourage Greece to make more progress in providing equal educational opportunities for children with disabilities and supporting increased economic and employment prospects for disabled persons.

We remain concerned about some incidents of anti-Semitism, including arson attacks at historic synagogues, reports of vandalism of Jewish monuments, and isolated expressions of anti-Semitism in the extremist press. We remain concerned about vandalism of Muslim sites throughout the country; the Greek government has appropriately condemned such acts when they occur.


Bearing in mind these concerns we offer the following recommendations:

  • The United States recommends that Greece increase its budget for migration detention centers and migrant care through intensified cooperation with EU partners.
  • The United States also recommends that Greece take measures to provide Roma with increased opportunities for education and employment.
  • The United States further recommends that Greece take additional measures to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings, and to protect victims and prosecute traffickers.
  • The United States also recommends that Greece continue to take measures to safeguard religious freedom and promote tolerance among its inhabitants.