21 January 2012

A bill that would ban homophobic incitement in Greece is shelved \ Un projet de loi qui interdirait l'incitation homophobe en Grèce est abandonné

The daily Kathimerini newspaper reports that, in order to avoid a government crisis, plans for a parliamentary debate of a new bill that would punish “serious manifestations of racism and xenophobia” are cancelled indefinitely. The bill would have punished those "who incite, provoke or promote violence or hatred against people or groups based on their race, color, religion, origins, nationality or sexual orientation” with a prison term of up to three years. The current legislation that dates from 1979 only includes race, religion and nationality to its list of protected categories. So far, fifteen european countries have adopted laws that ban incitement to hatred against homosexuals.

The bill was a project of the previous socialist government, that was replaced by a three-party coaltion last November in order to come to terms with the escalating fiscal crisis that plagues the country. The new government -led by former European Central Bank vice-president Loukas Papadimos- is supported by the socialist majority, the main conservative opposition party and the nationalist LAOS party, Its mandate is to negotiate a reduction of Greece’s debt with the country’s creditors before new elections are held in the spring.

The bill was supposed to be debated in the full house last week, after being approved in a parliamentary committee with the support of the socialists and a smaller leftist party. Last Thursday it was revealed that the bill will be shelved indefinitely in order to avoid friction between the three coalition parties, when the conservatives seemingly objected to an amendment on relieving overcrowding in prisons. The contents of the bill were for many months the target of angry reactions from nationalist right-wing opinion in the country.


Selon le quotidien grec Kathimerini, les plans d'un débat parlementaire sur un nouveau projet de loi qui punirait “des graves manifestations de racisme et de xénophobie" sont annulés indéfiniment afin d'éviter une crise gouvernementale. Le projet de loi aurait puni ceux qui «incitent, provoquent ou encouragent la violence ou la haine contre des personnes ou des groupes en fonction de leur race, couleur, religion, origines, nationalité ou orientation sexuelle» avec une peine d'emprisonnement allant jusqu'à trois ans. La législation actuelle qui date de 1979 ne comprend que la race, la religion et la nationalité à sa liste de catégories protégées. Jusqu'à présent, une quinzaine de pays européens ont adopté des lois interdisant l'incitation à la haine contre les homosexuels.

La nouvelle loi était un projet du précédent gouvernement socialiste qui a été remplacé par un Coaltion de trois parties en Novembre dernière, afin d’affronter l'escalade de la crise fiscale qui frappe le pays. Le nouveau gouvernement dirigé par l'ancien vice-président de la Banque centrale européenne Loukas Papadimos- est soutenu par la majorité socialiste, le principal parti d'opposition conservateur et le parti nationaliste LAOS. Son mandat est de négocier une réduction de la dette du pays avec ses créanciers, avant de nouvelles élections qui auront lieu au printemps.

Le projet de loi devait être débattu à la Chambre entière la semaine dernière, après avoir été approuvée en commission parlementaire avec le soutien des socialistes et un petit parti de gauche. Jeudi dernier, il a été révélé que le débat sera abandonné indéfiniment afin d'éviter les frictions entre les trois partis de la coalition. Le projet de loi a été décrié pendant plusieurs mois par les circles nationalistes du pays.


hiro said...

Dommage ... la liberté sexuelle en Grèce n'est pas encore gagnée !!

aizen999 said...

and as someone who lives in greece let me tell you this : such bills are shelved simply because the right racist wing has gotten stronger with the crisis-greek feel cornered and undervalued,and have trouble finding jobs.
so they create the perfect narcisisstic myth-the immigrant are to blame for the criminality,for the crisis,for the scarce job opportunities,and are infinitely inferior to us greeks.That way they can feel superior to somebody-including lgbtq people-and compensate for the loss of self esteem.
Compassion,of course,has long since gone down the drain.

gay super hero said...

When it comes to shelving the bill, I don't think we should be tempted to blame the "ignorant", frustrated man on the street who struggles to make it from one day to the next and actually showed very little interest in this debate.

Let's not forget it was the "sophisticated", educated "proponents of free speech" both from the neoliberal right and the left (the Syriza party actually said it considered voting against) that have in effect provided political cover to the propaganda of terrorist organisations like the far-right Golden Dawn by presenting it as a legitimate exercise in "free speech" that merits constitutional protection. They know very well who could be prosecuted under this bill. They understand very well whom they are protecting.

Let us also not forget that propaganda against immigrants can be prosecuted under the existing law that punishes hate speech based on race, religion and nationality. The new law would also include gender, sexual orientation and genocide denial. Of course, this is all a little theoretical considering that despite the existing law, a right-wing agitator who wrote a book about "shooting all the jews" was still acquitted, since many judges also belong to the "educated", "free speech" brigade. However right now it is sexual minorities, not immigrants, that remain without any legal protection.

What this means is that the law is powerless to intervene if say, a radical religious group working within immigrant communities calls for the murder of homosexuals or the genital mutilation of female children. Thanks to our enlightened legal scholars this too is considered "free speech".