‘Highly Questionable” Choice of Candidate GS Tells EU

News from Celtic Press

The General Secretary (GS) has called the appointment by the European Union of Stavros Lambrinidis as the new EU Special Representative for Human Rights “highly questionable”.

The GS, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, argues in his letter to the High Representative for the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Catherine Ashton, that Mr Lambrinidis is not someone who inspires trust among the peoples of Europe in consideration of his personal views about Turks and Macedonians in Greece and throughout the Balkins. In the letter the GS argues:

“When it is considered that Mr Lambrinidis does not support the protection of lesser used languages or the promotion of the peoples in his own state, it inspires little trust among the peoples of Europe who may want to appeal to the EU Representative for Human Rights for support on matters concerning their own lesser used languages and/or issues of identity protection and promotion.”

The full text of the letter to Ms Ashton can be found below:

08/09/12
Dear Ms Ashton

EU Special Representative for Human Rights

I am writing to you following the recent appointment of Mr Stavros Lambrinidis as the first EU Special Representative for Human Rights.

The Celtic league is aware that Mr Lambrinidis has previously denied the existence of minority groups within Greece and has been involved in using aggressive rhetoric towards smaller neighbouring states, in particular the Republic of Macedonia in relation to minority issues. Would it therefore not be correct to argue that Mr Lambrinidis has views on the protection and promotion of the civil liberties of the peoples of Europe that are askew to the kinds of views that should be expected from the institutions of the European Union and their representatives?

It is our opinion that the EU Special Representative for Human Rights needs to have a sound political and advocacy track record if people are to invest trust in them and their position to help resolve human rights issues that they come up against and want to appeal to the EU to protect. It is well known that Mr Lambrinidis stands by the position of successive Greek governments who deny the existence of the Turkish and Macedonian minorities in Greece and the Balkans. It is also well known that Mr Lambrinidis upholds the Greek policy of not ratifying the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and not signing the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. I have personally met Macedonians in Greece at international conferences who claim they have been imprisoned and tortured by the Greek authorities for attempting to promote their Macedonian identity through democratic political means, within the Greek state. Are these the kinds of action that Mr Lambrinidis has supported in the past and if so, would it not have been more appropriate to have selected a more favourable candidate?

When it is considered that Mr Lambrinidis does not support the protection of lesser used languages or the promotion of the peoples in his own state, it inspires little trust among the peoples of Europe who may want to appeal to the EU Representative for Human Rights for support on matters concerning their own lesser used languages and/or issues of identity protection and promotion. For these reasons alone I believe the appointment of Mr Lambrinidis to the position of EU Special Representative for Human Rights is highly questionable, even though we welcome the initiative of attempting to further promote human rights and democracy in the EU.

There a number of excellent human rights activists in Greece and throughout the EU and so we are bemused at your choice of representative to say the least.
Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary,
Celtic League
Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912
M: 0044 (0)7787318666
gensec@celticleague.net

The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
08/09/12

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

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