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Media advisories Special Procedures

UN human rights expert to visit Greece to assess situation of human rights defenders

10 June 2022

Geneva (10 June 2022) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, will conduct an official visit to Greece from 13 to 22 June 2022, to examine the situation of human rights defenders in the country and assess the government’s efforts towards creating an enabling environment for those seeking to protect and promote human rights.

The Special Rapporteur will assess the situation for human rights defenders supporting migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and will also examine other issues, including the situation of defenders working on women’s rights, LGBTI rights and the environment. “I look forward to meeting human rights activists, government representatives and other relevant stakeholders to assess the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in the country and Greece’s efforts to implement international human rights law standards relating to human rights defenders,” Lawlor added.

Lawlor intends to hold meetings in Athens, Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Thessaloniki. She will meet with national and local government officials, local and international civil society representatives and representatives of international organizations during her visit.

The Special Rapporteur will present her preliminary observations during a press conference to be held on 22 June 2022 at 15:00 local time in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Athens. Attendance will be strictly limited to journalists.

Special Rapporteur Lawlor will present a report on the visit to the Human Rights Council in March 2023.

Ms. Mary Lawlor is the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. She is currently Associate Professor of Business and Human Rights at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) at Trinity College Dublin Business School. In 2001 she founded Front Line Defenders - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders to focus on human rights defenders at risk. As Executive Director between 2001 and 2016, Ms. Lawlor represented Front Line Defenders and played a key role in its development. Ms. Lawlor was previously Director of the Irish Office of Amnesty International from 1988 to 2000, after becoming a member of the Board of Directors in 1975 and being elected its President from 1983 to 1987.

The Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Greece

For more information and press inquiries, please contact Ms. Orsolya Toth ([email protected] / +41 79 526 8321) or write to [email protected]).

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