Τρίτη, 5 Απριλίου 2016

Η Έκθεση του ΟΗΕ που αποκρύπτουν... Report of the Independent Expert

Η ΕΚΘΕΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΟΗΕ ΠΟΥ ΑΠΟΚΡΥΠΤΟΥΝ... Report of the Independent Expert
O ειδικός εμπειρογνώμονας  του ΟΗΕ Pablo Juan  Bohoslavsky, επισκέφθηκε την Ελλάδα μεταξύ 30 Νοεμβρίου και 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2015 και στην έκθεσή του, που υποβλήθηκε στο Συμβούλιο Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων του ΟΗΕ, περιγράφει με κάθε λεπτομέρεια την υπάρχουσα οικονομική κατάσταση της Ελλάδας  επισημαίνοντας τις παραβιάσεις ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων που έχουν σημειωθεί...
 «οι δυσμενείς επιπτώσεις για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα δεν είναι αποτέλεσμα που επιβλήθηκε από ένα αόρατο χέρι  για το οποίο δεν ευθύνονται κράτη ή διεθνείς οργανισμοί καθώς και ιδιωτικά  και δημόσια χρηματοπιστωτικά ιδρύματα εντός και εκτός Ελλαδας. Κατ’αρχάς θα πρέπει να σημειωθεί ότι η ανευθυνότητα δανειστών και δανειοληπτών συνέβαλαν σημαντικά στην οικονομική κρίση στην Ελλάδα. Δεύτερον, τα μέτρα λιτότητας δεν εμβάθυναν  μόνο σημαντικά την οικονομική κρίση , αλλά μειώνοντας τις δαπάνες κοινωνικής προστασίας και δημόσιας υγείας υπονόμευσαν τα δικαιώματα στην κοινωνική ασφάλιση, την πρόνοια και την  υγεία.  Δόθηκε προτεραιότητα σε δραστικές οικονομικές μεταρρυθμίσεις με αμφίβολα αποτελέσματα ως προς την ανάπτυξη και οι οποίες εφαρμόστηκαν σε βάρος των  ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων».

Η έκθεση εκτιμά ότι από την αρχή του προγράμματος έχουν κλείσει 230.000 μικρές και μεσαίες επιχειρήσεις, πράγμα που σημαίνει 600.000 θέσεις εργασίας χαμένες. Ο δημόσιος τομέας έχει συρρικνωθεί (μέχρι τον περασμένο Νοέμβριο) κατά 26% με 235.000 περίπου λιγότερους υπαλλήλους. Η ανεργία δεν προβλέπεται να μειωθεί μέχρι το 2017.
Human Rights Council
Thirty-first session
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
               Report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights on his mission to Greece.
 Note by the Secretariat
The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Human Rights Council the report of the Independent Expert, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, on his mission to Greece from 30 November to 8 December 2015. In the present report, the Independent Expert assesses new developments since the visit of the previous mandate-holder in April 2013 to address human rights concerns arising out of the debt crisis and the economic structural adjustment
               Report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights on his mission to Greece.

         I.    Introduction
1.   Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 25/16, the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights conducted an official visit to Greece from 30 November to 8 December 2015, at the invitation of the Government. His visit was in follow-up to the visit of the previous mandate holder to Greece from 22-27 April 2013 assessing the impact of the debt crisis and the structural adjustment programmes on the enjoyment of human rights.[1] The main focus of the visit was to receive updated information on the situation in Greece, which is currently implementing a third adjustment programme, signed on 19 August 2015 between the Government of Greece and the European Commission on behalf of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
2.   During the visit, the Independent Expert met with the Deputy Prime Minister; the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism; the Minister of Health; the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity; and the Alternate Minister for Migration Policy. He also met with senior officials from the Ministries of Education, Economy, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, Justice, Transparency and Human Rights and the Presidents of the Supreme Court and of the Council of State, Members of Parliament and members of the former Truth Committee on Public Debt[2] His programme included meetings with representatives of the Central Bank of Greece, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Greek Ombudsman, the Greek National Commission for Human Rights, trade unions and employer organizations, civil society representatives, academic experts and officials from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
3.   The Independent Expert thanks the Government of Greece for extending an invitation to him and for its full cooperation throughout the visit. He wishes to express his appreciation to all of his interlocutors for taking time to meet him and engaging in an open and frank dialogue.
4.   In follow-up to his visit to Greece the Independent Expert intends to undertake an official visit to Institutions of the European Union during 2016.
        II.    Current context
5.   Since May 2010 the Government of Greece has been implementing an economic adjustment programme as a precondition for securing financing packages from the International Monetary Fund the European Commission and the European Central Bank, also known as the “Troika” or as the “Institutions”. On the European side, Eurozone countries have established the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and later the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) as vehicles through which financial support is provided. The programmes consist of stringent policy measures that entail deep public spending cuts, public sector job cuts, tax increases, the privatization of public enterprises and structural reforms, which are aimed at reducing the country’s fiscal deficit. As noted by the previous mandate holder and more recently by the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, past adjustment programmes had significant regressive impacts on in the enjoyment of human rights in Greece, in particular in the field of economic, social and cultural rights.[3] An updated overview of some of these adverse impacts is provided in Chapter V of the present report.
6.   A number of changes have taken place since the visit of the previous mandate holder in April 2013. In January 2015 a new Government was elected, largely on an agenda to end austerity. Not having completed the second programme, the fiscal space of the new Government was very limited, as all expenditures and debt service had to be financed domestically, limiting de facto the ability of the Government to undertake without consent of the institutions any major reform with fiscal implications without risking default.
7.   In an effort to mitigate the particularly harsh impacts of the economic crisis on certain rights-holders, the new Government introduced in March 2015 Law 4320/2015 which included certain “immediate measures to address the humanitarian crisis”. The law provided persons and families living in poverty free electricity supply up to 1.200 kwh/month, a housing benefit (limited to not more than 31.369 households), and a food stamps programme. The Independent Expert welcomes these measures, however there is consensus that with budgetary costs estimated at 0.1% of GDP[4] the measures will not be able to address in a holistic manner problems related to the affordability of the rights to housing or food for the increasing number of persons living in poverty in Greece.
8.   During the first half of 2015 an uneasy relationship between the Government of Greece and its Eurozone Partners evolved over how to deal with the ongoing financial and economic crisis. The Eurogroup largely insisted that Greece fully implements adjustment measures previous Greek Governments had agreed to without further delaying their implementation, ruling out any further debt cancellation. The Greek Government continued to stress the need for debt relief.
9.   No breakthrough could be reached in several rounds of negotiations while the financial situation in Greece became increasingly dramatic. In this context the Independent Expert issued a media statement on 2 June 2015 urging the European institutions, the IMF and Greece to show courage and reach an agreement, expressing his concern that without a compromise, Greece may sooner or later default, worsening the crisis. The Independent Expert noted that economic and social rights could be further undermined in Greece by lack of flexibility and courage to find a mutually beneficial deal that respects human rights. He stressed the need to find better solutions to prevent economic reform policies undermining the enjoyment of human rights and urged that the burden of adjustment must be shared in a fair manner, compliant with the obligations Greece and creditor States have assumed under the International Covenant of Social and Economic Rights, the European Social Charter and other international human rights standards.[5]
10. While efforts to secure a deal continued, Greece postponed on 5 June 2015 a 300 million debt repayment to the IMF to the end of the month, raising fears that the country was again close to insolvency. Neither the Euro Summit with Heads of States on 22 June 2015 nor subsequent discussions at Eurogroup level resulted in an agreement acceptable to all parties. On 26 June 2015 the Greek Government decided to announce a referendum asking for a yes or no vote on proposals made by the Institutions which included various adjustment measures and structural reforms, including further cuts to pensions and social welfare expenditure.
11. The referendum, held on 5 July 2015 resulted in 61.3% “no” to the bailout conditions offered earlier by the institutions with a voter turnout of 62.5%. At the same time Greek public opinion continued to show strong support for remaining in the European Monetary Union (EMU).
12. Following the referendum the Greek Government decided to continue negotiations to avoid default and a possible exit from the EMU. A new Government proposal for a bailout package was endorsed by the Greek Parliament and on 12 July 2015 agreement was reached between the Greek authorities and Eurozone leaders to negotiate a third Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the condition that the Greek Parliament adopts upfront certain “trust building measures”. The Independent Expert urged in this context Greece and European Institutions that further austerity measures should not come at the cost of human rights, expressing concern that some of them could be incompatible with international human rights law.[6]
13. The third economic reform programme includes additional loans of EUR 86 billion over the years 2015-2018 and detailed adjustment and structural reform measures outlined in the MoU.[7] However during the vote on the first set of measures (Law 4336/205) in Parliament the Government lost its majority and had to rely on opposition parties to get the package passed, reflecting a defection by a number of Syriza MPs who rejected the terms of the third MoU. A snap election was called for in 20 September 2015, resulting in a majority for the ruling Syriza-Independent Greek (ANEL) coalition Government.
14. The deal between the Eurozone States and Greece included a European Commission funded “Jobs and Growth Plan for Greece” to support Greece over the period 2014-2020 with 35 billion EUR through various European funds. About 3.9 billion EUR, or 11% of the entire package, are expected to be spent in on active labour market and social inclusion policies, including for the Youth Employment Initiative.
15. On top of the economic and social crisis Greece another humanitarian and human rights crisis has unfolded. Since January 2015 Greece is witnessing an unprecedented increase in the inflow of refugees and migrants to its territory, mainly from conflict-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Government information almost 950.000 refugees and migrants through Greek-Turkish sea borders in 2015, while more than 66.000 arrived in January 2016. At least 272 refugees died during the dangerous transit from Turkey to Aegean Islands in the territorial waters of Greece while more than 150 person were reported missing during 2015.[8] Greece made increased efforts to rescue refugees fleeing from war, crossing the Mediterranean See on unseaworthy boats and dinghies, including 2.500 search and rescue operations by the Hellenic Coast Guard. The Greek State has provided aid and encouraged solidarity and support by the local population. There have been also positive developments in relation to the Greek Government policy towards refugees and irregular migrants, including a reduction of administrative detention. However, owing to austerity and the economic crisis, the Greek State is in a difficult position to respond adequately to the refugee crisis without additional European and international aid.
  
  III.    Human rights obligations in the context of economic adjustment
          A.     Obligations of Greece
16. When implementing structural adjustment measures, borrowing and lending States and lending institutions have obligations under international human rights law. Economic adjustment policies may raise important concerns regarding the protection of economic, social and cultural rights as they may be incompatible with the obligation to ensure that every individual enjoys essential minimum levels of fulfilment of such rights or incompatible with the obligation of States to ensure their progressive realization and to avoid deliberate retrogressive measures.
17. The Committee on the Economic Social and Cultural Rights has recognized that economic and financial crises impede the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights and can lead to retrogression in the enjoyment of those rights. With respect to austerity measures and other adjustment policies, the Committee underscored four requirements that any proposed policy change should meet. First, that the policy is temporary and limited to the period of crisis; second, the policy is necessary and proportionate; third, the policy is not discriminatory and encompasses all possible measures, including fiscal measures, to ensure the necessary measures to mitigate inequalities that may arise in times of crisis; and fourth, the policy identifies the minimum core content of the rights enshrined in the Covenant, or a social protection floor, as developed by the International Labour Organization, and ensures the protection of this core content at all times.[9] In addition, States bear the burden of establishing that austerity measures have been introduced only after the most careful consideration of all other less restrictive alternatives.[10]
18. The Guiding Principles on foreign debt and human rights also underscore that States should ensure that their rights and obligations arising from external debt agreements or arrangements do not hinder the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights.[11]
           B.     Obligations by European institutions, the IMF and Eurozone States
19. While Greece holds primary responsibility to ensure that human rights within its territory are protected, the obligation to protect, respect and fulfil human rights is also applicable to multilateral institutions, including international financial institutions, and States when deciding on conditionalities and adjustment measures attached to lending. States retain their international human rights law obligations when they participate in multilateral institutions or exercise effective control over lending institutions, such as the EFSF. International institutions, acting on behalf of members States such as the ESM, European Commission, ECB or IMF have, in the first instance, to ensure that their policies respect international human rights standards. The Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights capture the content of those obligations.
20. It is recognized that States acting alone, jointly with others or through international organizations have human rights obligations beyond their own borders. Extra-territorial human rights obligations have been reaffirmed by United Nations treaty bodies in their General Comments and in an increasing number of Concluding Observations[12] and in the Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights.
21. According to the Treaty of the European Union (TEU), the European Union and its institutions are committed “to the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities” (Article 2) and “shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child.” (Article 3 (3)). The institutions of the European Union, including the European Commission and the ECB are furthermore bound to comply with the requirements of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which includes among others the rights to fair and just working conditions, to social security and social assistance and to health care.[13]
22. While it should be noted that with the exception of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the European Union is not party to international human rights treaties of the United Nations, institutions of the European Union are nevertheless bound to comply with human rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or which are part of customary international law or reflect general principles of international law.
23. It is the view of the Independent Expert that the European Commission remains bound by the full extent of European Union laws, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and has to protect and respect human rights enumerated therein also when it acts on the basis of the treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).[14] In addition, the ESM itself has to protect and respect the human rights enumerated in the Charter of Fundamental Rights given that, despite having a legal basis separate from the treaties, it constitutes a vehicle for the exercise of public authority in the framework of the Eurozone as referred to in Art. 136 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of EU.[15]
24. The Independent Expert welcomes that EU regulation 472/2013 now provides that “budgetary consolidation efforts set out in the macroeconomic adjustment programme shall take into account the need to ensure sufficient means for fundamental policies, such as education and health care” (Article 7 (7) 2), however it should be noted that no explicit references to economic, social and cultural rights are made in the regulation except for the need to respect the right of collective action and bargaining in the design of an adjustment programme (Article 7 (1)).
25. The IMF is bound to act in compliance with general international law, including human rights. As a specialised agency of the UN, the IMF is as well bound to act in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which refers to the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms as one of the purposes of the Organization, to be achieved in particular through international economic and social cooperation.
          C.     Procedural obligations: human rights impact assessments and right to participation.
26. According to the Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights, “Lenders should not finance activities or projects that violate, or would foreseeably violate human rights in the Borrower States. To avoid this eventuality, it is incumbent upon lenders intending to finance specific activities or projects in Borrower States to conduct a credible Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) as a prerequisite to providing a new loan.”[16] Similarly the Guiding principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights require carrying out a human rights impact assessments and this obligation pertains as well to States implementing policy measures within their jurisdiction based on international agreements.[17]
27. In the context of the adjustment programmes implemented in Greece, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Independent Expert on foreign debt and the Greek National Commission for Human Rights had recommended to the Government of Greece and to the lending institutions to conduct human rights impact assessments.[18]
28. It should be noted that the European Commission has as well set out guidelines to undertake systematic human rights or social impact assessments of its own legislative proposals and developed methodologies for conducting human rights impact assessments of its external policies[19], but failed to undertake so far any meaningful human rights’ impact assessments when designing the adjustment programmes.
29. The adjustment programmes within Greece have also raised issues relating to human rights principles of transparency, participation and accountability.[20] For example the European Parliament denounced in a resolution the lack of transparency in the MoU negotiations; noting the need to evaluate whether formal documents were clearly communicated to and considered in due time by the national parliaments and the European Parliament and adequately discussed with the social partners. The Parliament also regretted the general “weak democratic accountability” of the Troika, noting that when consulted, national parliaments were faced with the choice between eventually defaulting on their debt or accepting Memoranda of Understanding negotiated between the Troika and national authorities, leaving thus only limited scope for public scrutiny, changing or improving adjustment programmes.[21]
30. It should be noted that EU regulation 472/2013 contains now an article requiring Member States undergoing adjustment to “seek the views of social partners as well of relevant civil society organizations when preparing its draft macroeconomic adjustment programmes, with a view to contributing to building consensus over its content” and recommends that “Member States shall involve society organisations in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of financial assistance programmes, in accordance with national rules and practice.” While the July 2015 referendum and the snap elections of September 2015 have to a certain extent allowed the general public in Greece to express their views, concerns about the lack of adequate consultation and participation have remained, as negotiations between the institutions and Government continue to take largely place behind closed doors. There is also a widely felt lack of ownership in the economic reforms implemented in Greece since 2010 as they are widely regarded as imposed from outside.
      IV.    Structural adjustment in motion
          A.     Excessive austerity
31. By slashing public expenditure and internal demand, the first and second structural adjustment programmes deepened the Greek economic crisis significantly. The GDP dropped by about 25% during 2008-2013 and growth rates have remained around 0% since 2014. According to latest economic forecasts a further drop of the GDP of 0.7% is expected in 2016 followed by a modest growth of 2.7% in 2017, based on the assumption that adjustment measures finally result in and desired positive economic impact.
32. The austerity packages of 2010 and 2012 saw unprecedented cuts in Government expenditure. According to latest available Eurostat data, General Government expenditure was reduced from 128 billion EUR to 108 billion EUR during 2009-2013, reflecting cuts of 15.7% significantly outnumbering reductions in other Eurozone countries undergoing adjustment, such as Ireland (-11.3%), Spain (-5.9%) or Portugal (-2.7%).
33. The Independent Expert is in particular concerned that social protection expenditure was not sheltered in any form when it was most needed for the protection of an increasing number of persons in situation of vulnerability. Instead, social protection expenditure witnessed cuts by 21.3% during 2009-2013 (see Table 1). This contrasts the overall trend in the Eurozone, which saw during the same period an increase of social protection expenditure by 8.4% (Portugal and Spain increased their social protection spending by 9.1 or 6.8% respectively).


Μπορείτε να διαβάσετε ολόκληρη την έκθεση εδώ:
Επίσης και στην επίσημη σελίδα του ΟΗΕ: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx
 

1 σχόλιο:

  1. Σχόλιο από: Μαρία Νεγρεπόντη-Δελιβάνη
    Η, όντως, εξαιρετικά σημαντική αυτή απόφαση του ΟΗΕ, για την Ελλάδα, όχι μόνον δεν αξιοποιήθηκε, αλλά και αποκρύφτηκε. Και δεν είναι η μόνη, δυστυχώς, αφού μια σειρά από ενέργειες, αποφάσεις, παραλείψεις και ομολογίες που θα αποτελούσαν, σίγουρα, ισχυρότατα όπλα της Ελλάδας, στην αντιμετώπιση της εγκληματικής συμπεριφοράς των δανειστών έχουν απενεργοποιηθεί με τον έναν ή άλλον τρόπο.. Θα πρέπει, πια, να είναι σαφές ότι η τακτική αυτή των ελληνικών κυβερνήσεων της τελευταίας εξαετίας δεν είναι δυνατόν να εξηγηθεί μόνο με βάση ανικανότητα και δειλία. Αντιθέτως, είναι αδήριτη πια ανάγκη να εξεταστούν όλα όσα κρύβονται κάτω από αυτήν, γιατί η Ελλάδα χάνεται και αρνείται να σωθεί.

    Μαρία Νεγρεπόντη-Δελιβάνη

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