Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address via video-recorded message at the High Level Segment of the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (Geneva, 28.02.2022)

Mr. President,

While global challenges and tensions are on the rise, we are unfortunately backtracking from multilateralism and global solutions.

Unilateral actions affect not only countries, but first and foremost people.

One cannot but refer today to the most severe challenge the European continent is facing in Ukraine.

The military attacks clearly violate fundamental principles of international law and the UN Charter, mainly the principle of refraining from the threat or use of force. A principle which is blatantly and shamelessly disregarded from specific countries for some time now.

What is happening now has plunged Europe into an era where such actions have no place. International humanitarian law is seriously challenged. Attacks against all civilians in Ukraine must stop immediately.

I would like to refer particularly to the brutal attack against civilians in Sartana and Bugas towns near Mariupol, resulting to the death of 10 members of the Greek Community. It has also left many injured, including children.

Against this background, we stand ready to contribute to all efforts for de-escalation within regional and international fora. With the main aim to protect the civilian population and prevent a humanitarian disaster.  

A huge migration flow is now created mainly towards EU countries. We have to take action to protect their rights.

Mr. President,

When we talk about people, we should concentrate on their Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; which the United Nations and this particular forum have a mandate to protect and promote.

As mentioned already, thousands of people are losing their lives in conflict-afflicted areas every day.

Not to mention the millions of deaths worldwide from Covid-19.

However, the hope is alive, thanks to our joint effort.

Our societies’ coordinated response to the pandemic reveals how far humanity can accomplish to safeguard human life.

It has demonstrated that the welfare of every human being and the protection of the right to life is the heart of social conscience.

Therefore, we owe it to next generations to further upgrade, promote and rigorously protect the right to life for all.

The Human Rights Council can play a pivotal role in turning these values into a coherent policy implemented in real life, and Greece is ready to contribute towards achieving this end in the coming years.

Greece has built peaceful coexistence and cooperation on the basis of protecting and promoting human rights and freedoms.

This was evidenced by the outcome of Greece’s third Universal Periodic Review held last November.

Combating discrimination, alleviating social inequalities and biases are a must in our policy.

Greece has also done its utmost, through deeds and not words, to promote the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers. With an impressive record in saving lives, internationally acknowledged. This, despite the unfavorable environment of intended misleading information as well as ill-founded allegations.

Mr. President,

Another tangible proof of our commitment to human rights is our efforts to promote them within regional and international fora.

In this respect, Greece has actively contributed either as a penholder or as member of core group of countries in the Resolutions on:
    the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity;
    Return or Restitution of Cultural Property to the Countries of Origin;
    Sports and the Olympic Ideal;
    The Right to Work;
    Cultural Rights and the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

Greece, as has consistently done, will continue engaging with all partners on protecting and promoting human rights; We do all share, after all, one indisputable universal base:
the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

Thank you.