Greece Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

The situation for human rights in Greece is generally good. Abbreviated as GRC by Abbreviationfinder, the country of Greece is governed under democratic forms, several parties can operate freely, there is compulsory voting rights and freedom of expression and press are respected. However, corruption in the justice system and public administration is a widespread problem.

According to judges, the parliamentary elections are held in the correct form and the electoral law is fair. Non-governmental organizations can operate without hindrance from the authorities while the freedom of assembly and association is protected in the legislation.

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There are no laws that prevent women from engaging politically. Women are politically active, although they still make up a significantly smaller proportion of MPs than men (close to 20 percent after the 2015 election). In 2018, a new law was passed which meant that political parties must have at least 40 percent women as well as men among their candidates in local and regional elections. The Muslim minority in Thrace, which is the only officially recognized minority group (see Population and Languages), is represented in Parliament.

Despite the fact that respect for political and civil rights and democratic institutions on the whole works well, there is widespread distrust of politicians (see, among other things, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ report on human rights 2018). The prolonged economic crisis and corruption have contributed to this mistrust, which has also been shown by a low turnout.
Greece has been criticized by human rights organizations and the UN for shortcomings in refugee and asylum cases. In part, this can be explained by a marked increase in refugee flows to Greece in recent years. Not least, the substandard conditions and overcrowding in the country’s migrant camps are criticized.

In recent years, human rights organizations have also reported on how migrants, immigrants and people of ethnic origin other than Greek have been physically attacked, sometimes severely abused, by xenophobic or racist individuals and groups. Even members of Golden Dawn (see Political system) have been convicted of such crimes.

The country has also been criticized for discriminating against religious and ethnic minorities.

Freedom of expression and media

The Greek constitution guarantees freedom of press and expression. The debate climate in society is open, but a law against slander is being used by politicians who want to prevent the media from scrutinizing information on corruption and nepotism within political circles and authorities.

Imprisonment for up to five years can be the result of the editor being dropped. Although sentenced punishments are rarely enforced, the threat of prosecution is inhibiting for journalists. Greece’s relations with Turkey are sensitive and can put media that addresses the issue under political pressure.

In connection with the widespread protests against financial austerity in the first years of the 2010s, the police were accused of attacking journalists and press photographers who monitored the events. During the economic crisis, Greece fell into the organization Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, from 18 out of 160 countries in 2005 to 91 out of 179 countries ten years later. Since then, however, the investment has steadily improved and from 2018, when Greece was 74, the country climbed nine places to 65 in 2019 (see Reporters Without Borders list here).

In addition to police violence directed at media workers, Greece is attracted by a large concentration of ownership in the media world which increases the risk of nepotism (friendship corruption) and corruption.


Corruption is a social problem in Greece. Among other things, employees within the country’s tax authorities have been involved in tax fraud. There are still insufficient resources to fight corruption, but in recent years some progress has been made according to analysts. Corruption also occurs in public procurement and government sales. High-ranking government officials have been involved in bribery. In the spring of 2018, for example, 17 people, including employees of the Ministry of Defense, were sentenced to imprisonment of up to 16 years for receiving bribes in connection with purchases of the defense.

In 2019, Greece ranked 67 out of 180 states according to Transparency International’s review of perceived corruption in the world (see here).

Judicial system and legal security

The independence of the courts is enshrined in the legislation and is also respected in practice. Trials are public. The judiciary is considered to be working slowly and the police are sometimes accused of using force unnecessarily. However, there is corruption.

The conditions in prisons and detention are poor. There are problems with both overcrowding and poor security. In the spring of 2020, the Council of Europe strongly criticized the Greek government for the situation in the country’s prisons and called for immediate measures to overcome overcrowding and staff shortages. In addition, in its report, the Council of Europe said that prison staff failed to investigate and report to police whether prisoners were treated poorly, while there were major shortcomings in hygiene and access to health care in some facilities.

The death penalty does not exist; In 1972, the last execution was executed.

Greece Crime Rate & Statistics



Manifestation becomes violent

There will be a riot between police and protesters in Athens and in Thessaloniki on the anniversary of the police killing shot against a 15-year-old in connection with government hostile riots. The protests also target the growing unemployment and the severe economic crisis (see Finance).


Pasok wins new election

The Social Democratic Party The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) receives almost 44 percent of the vote in the new parliamentary elections, while the Liberal Conservative Party New Democracy receives 33.5 percent. The result means that Pasok gets its own majority in the legislative assembly.