Golden Dawn submits draft bill 'to combat racism against Greeks'

Extreme right party seeks harsh punishment for immigrants who attack Greeks

As other political parties fail to agree on the content of a proposed antiracism bill, Golden Dawn has submitted a draft law outlining harsh punishments for undocumented immigrants who commit crimes against Greeks

At a time when most other parties are squabbling over how to toughen anti-racism laws and ban denial of Nazi crimes, Golden Dawn on Tuesday tabled draft legislation seeking harsher laws for offences committed by undocumented migrants in Greece.

The party – commonly referred to as Neonazi because of overtly aggressive stance against migrants and reverence of Nazi personalities in party pamphlets – is seeking to criminalise denial of "genocides of Greeks."

Turks are believed to have massacred ethnic Greeks in what used to be the Ottoman Empire.

The law "to combat racism against Greeks" is in response to the much-debated draft law by Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis which, Golden Dawn says, would make "Greeks a minority in their own country".

An explanatory memorandum to the draft bill says the law would "preserve the national memory".

Last week, non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch has urged the government to adopt measures to combat hate crimes and protect victims of racist violence, recommending amendments to improve the justice ministry's antiracism bill.

However, no fewer than four other draft antiracism bills are now being submitted – separately by New Democracy, Syriza and Independent Greeks, and a joint bill by Pasok and Democratic Left.

The original bill drafted by Roupakiotis, who is aligned to Democratic Left, was not supported by the main coalition party, New Democracy.

In a statement released last Thursday, Human Rights Watch slammed the government for not reaching an agreement on proposed antiracism legislation.

“With people being attacked on the streets, Greece urgently needs to beef up its criminal justice response to hate crimes,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This draft law contains some good provisions and should be improved in parliament rather than delayed further.”

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