Europe’s human rights organization has prepared a report which said Greece has the authority to ban the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party that won 18 seats in Parliament last year and has been accused of leading assaults against immigrants and other violent actions, which it denied.
The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, compiled the report during a visit to Greece from Jan. 28-Feb. 1 and said he found disturbing evidence linking Golden Dawn to racially motivate crimes, the newspaper Kathimerini said.
Sources said the report links several incidents of racist violence and hate crimes to supporters, members and deputies of Golden Dawn, which has an anti-immigrant agenda aimed at emptying Greece of foreigners.
The report describes Golden Dawn as a “neo-Nazi and violent political party” that should be isolated under legally binding international human rights conventions signed by Greece, according to AP, which had an interview with Muiznieks.
The document reportedly said that legally binding treaties such as the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which have been ratified by Greece, give local authorities the right to curb or sanction individuals who support or engage in hate crimes.
Such action is also within the powers of existing Greek legislation, it added. Greek government officials have reportedly responded to the Council of Europe recommendations. In a note attached to the report, authorities said that parties voted into Parliament are covered by the Constitution. Golden Dawn, which currently polls at around 11 percent, was approved by the country’s Supreme Court before running for power.
In February Muiznieks called on Greece to do more to tackle offenses committed by Golden Dawn and its members, as well as apparent links between the far-right party and the police. The Latvian official also recommended that the government set up an independent body to investigate claims of police brutality.
Golden Dawn is led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, who delivers fiery speeches denouncing immigrants and the government for supporting austerity measures demanded by international lenders in return for $325 billion in two bailouts, and has espoused anti-Semitic and anti-Gay stances while taking an extremist ultra-religious stand demanding prosecution for what it perceives as blasphemy against the Greek Orthodox Church, including by playwrights.