The president himself of a right-wing Greek party, “Elliniki Lisi” (“Greek Solution”, a party member of the ERC European group), Kyriakos Velopoulos, has tabled nothing less than a parliamentary question to the Greek government against EHF board member Panayote Dimitras, accused, in his capacity of spokesperson of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, of “contractually submitting an avalanche of complaints against members of Parliament, when they express positions different from his own. Greek Solution stands against Panayote Dimitras and his activities against Greeks, against free expression, against democracy.”
Free dissent is the essence of liberal democracy. The European Humanist Federation is appalled at this blatant intimidation of a private citizen, let alone a human rights defender, by the leader of a political party asking a European government to condemn the free exercise of political criticism. Criticising one’s own country policies for violating human rights or the rule of law, demanding the respect and implementation of the highest standards, is the best service citizens can render to their countries. At a time when human rights and the rule of law are threatened by populist politicians throughout our continent, initiatives like this remind us of a time when totalitarian regimes accused all political dissidents of being “traitors” to their homeland. Today we revere the memory of those citizens for voicing their opposition when almost everybody kept silent.