Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture : Greece. 05/08/2001.
A/56/44,paras.83-88. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Twenty-sixth session
30 April - 18 May 2001


Greece

83. The Committee considered the third periodic report of Greece (CAT/C/39/Add.3) at its 460th, 463rd and 469th meetings, held on 2, 3 and 8 May 2001 (CAT/C/SR.460, 463 and 469), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.


A. Introduction

84. The Committee welcomes the third periodic report of Greece, although it notes that the report, due in November 1997, was submitted with two years’ delay.

85. The report does not fully conform with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of State party periodic reports as it fails to include new relevant case law and details of complaints regarding alleged acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Committee nevertheless wishes to express its appreciation for the additional oral information given by the State party delegation.


B. Positive aspects

86. The Committee particularly welcomes the following:

(a) The existing legal framework and array of institutions in place for the protection against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(b) The adoption of Act 2298/95 establishing new institutions to guarantee the rights of prisoners;

(c) The use of specially trained personnel from outside the prison service, and under the supervision of the Public Prosecutor, to intervene in cases of serious disorder in prisons;

(d) The assurances received that the head of delegation will recommend the publication by the responsible State party authorities of the 1996 and 1997 reports of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on its visits to Greece;

(e) The State party’s ongoing contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture.


C. Subjects of concern


87. The Committee expresses concern that, although the domestic legislation provides a satisfactory framework for protecting human rights in general and of certain Convention rights in particular, difficulties in effective implementation, which may amount to a breach of the Convention remain, including the following:

(a) Evidence that the police sometimes use excessive or unjustifiable force in carrying out their duties, particularly when dealing with ethnic and national minorities and foreigners;

(b) The harsh conditions of detention in general and, in particular, the long-term detention of undocumented migrants and/or asylum-seekers awaiting deportation in police stations without adequate facilities;

(c) The severe overcrowding in prisons, which aggravates the already substandard material conditions and may contribute to inter-prisoner violence;

(d) The lack of comprehensive training of medical personnel and law-enforcement officers at all levels on the provisions of the Convention.


D. Recommendations

88. The Committee recommends that:

(a) Urgent measures be taken to improve conditions of detention in police stations and prisons and that undocumented migrants and/or asylum-seekers who have not been convicted of a criminal offence not be held for long periods in such institutions;

(b) Such measures as are necessary to prevent overcrowding of prisons should be taken as well as continuing steps to find alternative penalties to imprisonment and to ensure their effective implementation;

(c) Such measures as are necessary, including training, be taken to ensure that in the treatment of vulnerable groups, in particular foreigners and ethnic and national minorities, law enforcement officers do not resort to discriminatory practices;

(d) Steps be taken to prevent and punish trafficking of women and other forms of violence against women;

(e) Steps be taken to create detention facilities for undocumented migrants and/or asylum-seekers separate from prison or police institutions, and urges the State party to complete its proposed new building construction for aliens as a matter of urgency;

(f) The next report of the State party, due in November 2001, be submitted in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports and include, inter alia: (i) requested statistics disaggregated by gender, age and nationality; (ii) relevant case law; (iii) comprehensive information relating to articles 3, 4, 12, 13 and 16 of the Convention.


1996-2001
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland