in Words

Change4all is a node of information and content on Greece and the European struggles against austerity. News and opinions about a world that has to change.

 Despite the emotion and sadness, we refuse to give in to terror, we reject the society of fear, stigmatization and scapegoating. We affirm our determination to continue to circulate, to work, to entertain us, to hold meetings and fight freely.

 “France is at war,” we are told. But this is not our war: after the American disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan, the current French interventions in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Mali, Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, contribute to destabilize these regions and trigger the departure of migrants who face Fortress Europe and whose bodies are washed up on our beaches. Inequalities and predations tear societies, have them stand against each other.

  Al Qaeda or Daesh derive all their inhuman strength from these injustices. This war leads to no peace because there is no peace without justice. To end this war, our societies will have to do away with addictions to power, weapons, oil, rare metals, uranium ...

 Beyond the social and economic soil that nourishes despair and senseless acts, remains the “banality of evil”: humanity is never protected from the return or the introduction of barbarism when some decide to dispense with the respect of the human being as a human being.

 For what is within our reach, more than ever, we must fight against “humanitarian” imperialism, against destructive productivism, for a society that is sober, free and equal.

 We reject in advance any restriction on the right to protest and fight against this decaying world, in favour of the alternatives that peoples of the South and the North put forward together. From November 29 to December 12 in Paris on the occasion of the COP 21 and with our citizens’ mobilizations , we will show that another world is possible, necessary and urgent. 

You will find the statement of Attac France originally published Opens external link in new windowhere

 The winners of the elections in Turkey are the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, their party and all the nationalist and conservative people who wanted ‘security’ and ‘stability’. The race was not fair but they won anyway. They set the rules of the game and decided to play it alone.

 The minorities that were not killed in the run up to the elections led a heroic campaign. The survivors must be celebrated for their sound politics, their courage, their diligence, their ethics and their open heart. Too many people were hurt, and more are being crushed because the majority won.

 We all tried to be rational about the electoral process. We knew that it was a lie, but we tried to motivate ourselves despite daily news of arrests, people being fired, lynched and attacked. We practised suffering together as we were forced to watch peaceful people being killed, towns occupied and forests burned before our eyes.

 Some time ago, we noticed that we tended to step out from rational zones. At some point rumours, dramatic and pervert performances of violence, and big lies became serious data. These shifts started a little more than two years ago, and we have been on this strange collective trip since Gezi. We did not have a choice; we were forced on it. No more 24-hour time rules, and usually, it all starts with some sparkles.

 We lost control of time one week before the elections. We were just about to happily adapt to capitalist wintertime, but we did not. We started living at two times, one wrong but right, and the other right and false. We were told to do that for one week, because of the elections. Arbitrarily, some time after yet another victory of the political right in Turkey, time went back to normal, until further notice.

 In principle, allowing time to flow differently could be quite a pleasant and even liberating experience. However, having your time at the mercy of an important little man has irritating effects. In a blink, his human shape can turn into some undetermined creature with an edgy smile under its moustache.

 He looks awful in pink on those posters that celebrate female servitude and capital. And there is that voice in the background, repeating itself, saying nothing but leaving you with a feeling of outrage.

 Of course, you must have heard about the real winner. He likes it that the whole world is talking about him. He has the capacity to multiply things like buildings and money and people. He even pulled a palace out of a forest. He can change the places and names of things and rewrite history. A big cold wind spreads when he scolds the world.

 If you like living in fear of God, you might also like living in fear of him. Even if you know that he is brutal.

 But do not let fear take over. Take a deep breath, try to find your flow and settle back into your space. Listen to some soft music to reset the vibes, gently shake your organs and blow through the hair on your arms. You might start to relax, let your heart explode softly into little diamonds. Kind people really do exist.

 Behind the veils of this generous and transparent place, there is death. There is a lot of love here too. There is a constant traffic, some people who arrive in masses, people who can’t arrive, people who arrive too soon, and those who won’t go. It is an entire industry full of suffering, mutilated bodies, very little bodies, young smiling faces, old bodies and lungs in need of air.

 And suddenly, just like magic, no more potential bombs in the metro.

 Does this mean that we are safe now? Why is everything slowing down as they grow bigger all around? Is it because they have the licence to kill now? Who are all these people happy to see a woman’s dead body left naked in the street after being tortured? Will they kick that door in and step through your life with their boots? Do you have anything to hide? 

 Will you get rid of the books or keep them, even the controversial ones? Do you have strong networks and smart connections since you can’t trust the laws? Did you clean up your computer, save your data and erase all your history, especially the sexy stuff? How will I fight back with these long skinny arms? Will you object consciously and disobey?

 Cagla Aykac has a Phd from the EHESS in Paris. She currently lives and teaches in Istanbul.


This article was first published by Opens external link in new windowRoaRmagazine



The undersigned researchers, faculty, staff and alumni of the European University Institute wish to express our outrage at the deaths of thousands of people on their journey to Europe. We call on the European Union and member states to act immediately on this humanitarian disaster, while also recognising the need for a change in longstanding Western policies in the Middle East and Africa, which are at the root of the current crisis. In doing so, we join the wave of popular solidarity that is sweeping Europe and call upon the EU states to take urgent and decisive measures to tackle this crisis.

The sheer scale of displacement is in itself shocking – some 4 million Syrians alone, of whom the majority have fled to neighbouring countries. Those attempting to reach Europe overland via Turkey, and from the North African coast are often fleeing violent conflict and its long-term consequences: poverty, civil war, deprivation, despotic governments. The foreign and immigration policies of the European Union have driven thousands to seek alternative and dangerous ways of gaining entry to Europe. The spectre of overcrowded, sinking vessels and drowned people washing up on European shores is inseparable from inhumane political and legal frameworks, which prevent their rescue and integration in EU countries.

Europe cannot be conceived of in isolation from its relationship with the rest of the world. It is clear that free movement within the Schengen zone is predicated on the tightening of external borders. As beneficiaries of a liberal, democratic, borderless Europe, it is crucial that we recognise that this cannot exist without a second enclosed, militarised and violent Fortress Europe. While the global South is forced to accept the removal of borders for Western capital, they are faced with borders for human beings. We stand against the foreign policies of Western governments which, in the short-term, have caused the displacement of millions across the Middle East and Africa, and which in the long-term have created political instability and economic underdevelopment. Moreover, the immediate response to the recent plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees has been inadequate at best, and disastrous at worst. At the same time, European governments have increased scaremongering and xenophobic tactics which preclude any reimagining of migration based on human dignity rather than economic exploitation.

To begin with, refugees should be allocated more fairly and evenly across member states. This means an EU-wide migration policy with binding obligations on states to host refugees according to their wealth and size. Under the current voluntary scheme, agreed to by the European Commission in May, governments have been able to shamefully evade their moral responsibilities. This has meant that some countries are leading the way in offering sanctuary, while others, such as the UK, have offered only repression or paltry mean-spirited gestures of support. According to some surveys, over two thirds of Europeans would support a shared EU migration policy making this a realistic and achievable short-term response to the unfolding crisis.

It is for these reasons that European states, and the European Union as a whole, must take responsibility for its contributions, present and historical, to the continuing devastation of human life in Africa and the Middle East. What we are calling for is both an immediate response to the present crisis and a long-term political project, which is not predicated on international warmongering and financial exploitation, but rather on the prioritisation of the basic needs of all human life.

On the basis of this assessment, we propose a set of concrete measures to address both the humanitarian and political crisis:

1. Provide food, shelter and medical assistance to the thousands of women, men and children currently arriving in Europe.

2. A common European hosting policy based on wealth and country size. National egotism cannot dictate EU policies.

3. Repeal immediately the “Dublin III Regulation” under which asylum seekers are forcefully deported to their point of entry. A principled policy should rest on shared responsibilities among all European parties.

4. Vigorously condemn all individual, group and state level acts of xenophobia, racism and violence. In particular, we address the Hungarian authorities directly by saying: “Mr. Orban tear down that wall of shame!”. Our Europe is not a walled fortress!

5. Call for an international conference, under the auspices of the U.N., to launch an integrated humanitarian and economic assistance programme in the countries of origin of the refugees and neighbouring areas, discriminating positively on the basis of their respective human rights records.
1.  Diego Acosta
2.  Siobhan Airey
3.  Guy Aitchison
4.  Daniela Alaattinoglu
5.  Matteo Albanese
6.  Xavi Alcalde
7.  Hannah al-Hassan Ali
8.  Francisco Alonso
9.  Chiara Altafin
10.  Argyrios Altiparmakis
11.  Brais Alvarez-Pereira
12.  Aurelie Andry
13.  Albert Arcarons
14.  Nicholas Barrett
15.  Laura Bartolini
16.  Emily Baughan
17.  Margot Béal
18.  María Inés Berniell
19.  Federiga Bindi
20.  Thibaud Boncourt
21.  Oscar Lema Bouza
22.  Dorit Brixius
23.  Jelle Bruinsma
24.  Luc Brunet
25.  Anita Buhin
26.  Kateryna Burkush
27.  Reto Bürgisser
28.  Pietro Castelli
29.  Semih Çelik
30.  Matteo Cernison
31.  Anna Elizabeth Chadwick
32.  Leiry Cornejo Chavez
33.  Daniela Chironi
34.  Lorenzo Cini
35.  Miguel Serra Coelho
36.  Iftah Cohen
37.  Chiara Ludovica Comolli
38.  Federica Copola
39.  Guillemette Crouzet
40.  Donagh Davis
41.  François Delerue
42.  Donatella Della Porta
43.  Chares Demetriou
44.  Koen Docter
45.  David Do Paço
46.  Alexis Drach
47.  Eliska Drapalova
48.  Vedran Duančić
49.  Konstantinos Eleftheriadis
50.  Miguel Palou Espinosa
51.  Irene Otero Fernandez
52.  Roel Frakking
53.  Caterina Froio
54.  Martín Portos García
55.  Grigol Gegelia
56.  Johanna Gereke
57.  Theresa Gessler
58.  Rosa Gilbert
59.  Tommaso Giordani
60.  Itzea Goicolea-Amiano
61.  Alexander Golovlev
62.  Christelle Gomis
63.  Pablo Gracia
64.  Ieva Grumbinaitė
65.  Lola Guyot
66.  Lucrecia Rubio Grundell
67.  Caterina Francesca Guidi
68.  Sandra Hagman
69.  Bogumila Hall
70.  Emily Hancox
71.  Mari Torsdotter Hauge
72.  John-Erik Hansson
73.  Dónal Hassett
74.  Florian Hertel
75.  Masaaki Higashijima
76.  Christine Hobden
77.  Bram Hoonhout
78.  Dr. Neil Howard
79.  Pavlina Hubkova
80.  Swen Hutter
81.  Haakon Andreas Ikonomou
82.  Ola Morris Innset
83.  Johannes Jüde
84.  Jennie Sejr Junghans
85.  Kirsten Kamphuis
86.  Anna Kandyla
87.  Marianna Karttunen
88.  Kateryna Kolesnyk
89.  Hara Kouki
90.  Johanne Kuebler
91.  Katharina Kuffner
92.  Matthijs Kuipers
93.  Joldon Kutmanaliev
94.  Joseph Lacey
95.  Hugo Leal
96.  Katharina Lenner
97.  Ludvig Lundstedt
98.  Sabrina Marchetti
99.  Kimon Markatos
100. Bruno Andre Casal Nunes Martinho
101. Tiago (Manuel) Matos
102. Alfredo Mazzamauro
103. Patrick McDonagh
104. Liam McHugh-Russell
105. Mariana Mendes
106. Elie Michel
107. Chiara Milan
108. Ismay Milford
109. Debora Milito
110. Pierre Monforte
111. Mayo Fuster Morell
112. Jotte Mulder
113. Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu
114. Emma Ní Niatháin
115. Frank O’Connor
116. Didem Oral
117. Stefano Osella
118. Virginia Passalacqua 
119. Marie Petersmann
120. Bilyana Petkova
121. Zane Rasnaca
122. Dieter Reinisch
123. Anna Subirats Ribas
124. Noelle Richardson
125. Marco Rizzi
126. Arturo Rodríguez
127. Jerome Roos
128. Julia Rone
129. Suzan Meryem Rosita
130. Jan Rybak
131. Julija Sardelić
132. Pablo Hernández Sau
133. Grazia Sciacchitano
134. Francesca Scrinzi
135. Frederico Ferreira da Silva
136. Nagwan Soliman
137. George Souvlis
138. Maja Spanu
139. Maria Luisa Stasi
140. Ivan Stefanovski 
141. Elias Steinhilper
142. Olivia Arigho Stiles
143. Trond Ove Tøllefsen 
144. Anna Triandafyllidou
145. Milla Vaha
146. Dimitri Van Der Meersche
147. Guido van Meersbergen
148. Sasa Vejzagic
149. Ilaria Vianello
150. Markos Vogiatzoglou
151. Esther Wahlen
152. Solongo Wandan
153. Patrice Wangen
154. Manès Weisskircher
155. Karin Westerbeek
156. Raphaële Xenidis
157. Olga Yakushenko
158. Musab Younis 
159. Lorenzo Zamponi 
160. Uros Zver


first published by Analyze Greece Opens external link in new windowhere

 Turkey is increasingly drifting into a civil war. Politics of violence have escalated after the general elections of June 7 led by the AKP provisional government. Today, the peace and negotiation process between PKK and the Turkish state has come to a halt and war has started again.

  Just within the last month, severe clashes have taken place in many Kurdish cities such as Silopi, Lice, Şemdinli, Silvan, Yüksekova and Cizre where the civilian population has been targeted by state forces. Tens of civilians, guerillas and members of state security forces have died in the ensuing clashes. Since July 24, the AKP interim government has not been attacking ISIS, as it claims to be doing, but the Qandil Mountains in the territory of the Kurdistan Regional Government instead, as well as Kurds, democratic forces, democratic politics, civilians, women and the opposition as a whole in Turkey.

  The Turkish state and the provisional AKP government are implementing all sorts of oppressive measures such as forbidding entry into and departure from Kurdish cities against which it launches military operations, cutting off all communication including phone and internet lines, blocking off press and observers to prevent the truth about what is happening on the ground from reaching national and international public attention. A curfew has been in place in the province of Cizre for the past week where 21 civilians have been killed. The province of Cizre have been under siege for days where there is serious shortage of food, water, access to basic health services, preventative treatment of the wounded, and burial of those who have been killed by state security forces. Serious concerns regarding fears of civilian massacre in Cizre have been voiced by the elected members of the parliament and civil society organizations.

  In this very violent situation, HDP has also been targeted by AKP spokespersons and pro-AKP mass media. Almost every day, our party officials and especially our co-chairs are being put on the target for those “nationalist and patriotic” people. Many calls and statements of AKP officials have been signaling a call for war against HDP. As a result of this violent discourse of AKP, many of our buildings in several cities have been attacked by groups of people associated with racist and fascist groups. On September 8, they attacked our HQ in Ankara, setting fire to the building. Our party archives and records were targeted specifically. No one was injured in the attack but our HQ is now heavily damaged and unavailable for use.

  Until now, over 128 party buildings all over the country have been attacked. Moreover, the police and other security forces of the state did not do their job to prevent the attacks.

  We once again want to emphasize that HDP is not a part of these violence-based, war- oriented policies. As HDP, we did not take part in any decision-making process of the war. On the contrary, we are trying to push both PKK and the Turkish state to end this armed conflict. It should be known that it is the AKP who is insisting on war politics and implementing anti- democratic practices all over the country.

  In spite of these adverse developments, we call on all international communities, civil society organizations and the international media for solidarity and support to bring about an immediate cease-fire and the commencement of peace talks. Our call is also one for urgent action against increasing state violence, the violation of human rights and anti-democratic practices and measures ins Kurdish cities as well as the cities in the western regions of the country. We now need the support of the international public more than ever in order to achieve the realization of a lasting peace in the Middle East, Turkey and Kurdistan. In this context we invite all of our friends, political parties, associations, networks, civil society organizations and all peace-loving forces to act in solidarity with us. We call on all democratic international institutions and forces to take concrete steps against the Turkish state’s violent, anti-democratic actions against its own people and citizens.

 Foreign Affairs Commission of HDP 10 September 2015

 On the 26th of June, Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum in Greece for the 5th of July. The people of Greece were called to decide on their future. The question, even though frequently falsely cited, was whether the Greek people agreed to the counter-proposal made by the lenders. It demanded more austerity measures, more pension cuts, more taxes, more suffering for the people of Greece that have lived under savage austerity for more than 5 years.

For the record, the proposal made by the Greek government previous week and that initially appeared to be accepted by Greece's creditors, was rejected after all. 

 Alexis Tsipras made the decision to call Greece's people to the ballots. This decision was for some light hearted, for the austerity hardliners in Europe immature and for some others even "antidemocratic".
The peoples of Europe, without exaggeration, considered this decision heroic.

 Over 250 demonstrations and solidarity actions worldwide were organized within hours. Thousands of solidarity messages, videos, photographs, songs. From the Irish taking up the streets to their own parliament demanding support for the Greeks, to the Spanish replacing European Union flags in Cordoba and Zaragoza with Greek ones and from the 50 mobilizations in Italy to the people of Poland and Georgia, the Greek referendum managed to unite the anti-austerity, anti-neoliberalism movement worldwide.

  Peoples all over the world finally managed to learn Greek and for a matter of fact it paid off. The most important word right now in Europe and the world, seems to be "OXI"(NO). OXI to austerity, OXI to financial governance, OXI to market-conform democracy, OXI to impoverishment of the many for the benefit of the few.

 Greeks decided today. Despite a week of pure terror by the markets, the closed banks, the corporate media and the lenders, people of Greece took a stand and said NO! No more. With a majority of over 61,5% they sent a message to the world and it reads: Remember who they answer to. Take your lives back!

 We have hard days coming ahead. We will not come to peace so fast and the struggle is not over. But today we celebrate! We celebrate and prepare for the struggles ahead! 

 United we stand and we will prevail!

 Ευχαριστούμε Ελλάδα!


We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and the Syriza-led government as they prepare for a referendum on July 5, 2015 on whether to accept the continuation of the program of neoliberal austerity or chart a new course free from the debilitating stranglehold of the “troika” — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.  

We support the call of Syriza for a 'no vote' as the only option for the people of Greece, especially the working classes, to assert sovereign control over the country's economy and their own future.

We condemn the “troika” and their allied political institutions, for forcing their policies of neoliberal austerity, privatization, deregulation, and savage cutbacks dismantling the public sector. We, therefore, hold the “troika” responsible for the massive unemployment, increased poverty, greater social inequality, and a severe economic depression now being experienced by Greece. The irony of it all is that the huge debts the “troika” is demanding for repayment did not go to Greece but were used to repay private sector creditors such as French and German banks. In other words, these are onerous and illegitimate debts.

We had welcomed the election of the Syriza-led government on a program committed to ending the neoliberal-austerity policies imposed by the EU creditors and we stand in solidarity with them as they struggle to implement an anti-austerity program.

The austerity program has been assessed as a colossal failure by leading economists worldwide. Despite this, the insistence of the EU creditors and their political and economic allies to resuscitate this failed program, can only be construed as a cynical political maneuver whose real aim is to bring down the Syriza government, the first anti-neoliberal, anti-austerity government to be popularly elected in Europe. 

Syriza was a product of the mass movements’ and working people’s struggles against neoliberal austerity promoted by unbridled capitalism. Similar political organizations have arisen across Europe, such as Podemos in Spain, a product of the anti-austerity 'indignados' movement. 

The specter that haunts the European capitalist class is a 'Syriza syndrome' spreading to other parts of Europe, particularly in Spain, with the election of an anti-neoliberal Podemos government. By bringing down the Syriza government, the capitalist hydra aims to strangle such a movement at its birth.

Peoples from all over the world, in both developing and developed countries, have been struggling for the past decades against the imposition of a whole range of neo-liberal measures - liberalization, deregulation, and privatization, including neoliberal austerity programs imposed by capitalist governments led by the US and its allies, through the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial institutions.  

There has also been a long history of struggles against debt repayments and for the cancellation of odious and illegitimate debts. The world has experienced how debt burdens and neo-liberal impositions have created havoc on economies, depleted natural resources, exacerbated inequalities, and impoverished peoples while siphoning off billions of dollars to global capitalist banks, giant corporations and imperialist governments.

We welcome the people of Greece into the struggle of peoples of the global South against neoliberalism, onerous debts and austerity.

Your struggle, is our struggle. Your victory, is our victory.

Initial signatories:

Eduardo C. Tadem, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines

Reihana Mohideen, Transform Asia Ric Reyes, Philippines 

Sonny Melencio, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) Philippines

Jean Enriquez, World March of Women Focus on the Global South

Mary Ann Manahan, Focus on the Global South, Philippines

Josua Mata, SENTRO, Philippines

Lidy Nacpil, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

Socialist Alliance, Australia

Manarishi Dhital, Nepal

Cora Valdez Fabros, STOP the War Coalition, Philippines

Isagani Serrano, President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)

Amado Mendoza Jr., PhD., Professor, University of the Philippines

Teresa Encarnacion Tadem, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines

Joseph Anthony Lim, Ph.D., Professor, Ateneo de Manila University

Jafar Suryomenggolo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Kyoto University

Socialist Aotearoa, New Zealand

Michael Treen, National Director, Unite Union of Aotearoa/New Zealand

Alab Katipunan, Philippines

Marcela Olivera, Red Vida, Bolivia

Benjamin Quinones, Jr., Ph.D., Executive Coordinator, Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS-Asia)

Fatima Gay Molina, Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP-Philippines)

Janus Isaac Nolasco, University Researcher, University of the Philippines

Aries Arugay, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of the Philippines

Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA)

Alternative ASEAN Network (ALTSEAN)

Krishna Kumar KK, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP-India)

Maria Luisa Torres, PhD., Professor, Ateneo de Manila University

Maria Dulce F. Natividad, Ph.D., University of the Philippines

Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan (LMK – Philippines)

Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, Ph.D., University of Tsukuba

George Aseniero, Dapitan, Philippines.

Fatima Gay Molina, Center for Disaster Preparedness, Philippines

Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan, Philippines

Awami Workers Party, Pakistan

Chris White, socialist, former Secretary of the United Trades & Labor Council of South Australia

Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance City Councillor for Fremantle, Western Australia

Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance City Councillor for Moreland, Victoria, Australia

Resistance, Young Socialist Alliance, Australia

Tim Gooden, Secretary, Geelong Trades Hall Council

Partai Rakyat Demokratik, Indonesia

Rudi Hartono, editor Berdikari Online Social Action for Change, Cambodia

This article was first published in Socialist Alliance Opens external link in new window

The UN Independent Experts on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, and on human rights and international solidarity, Virginia Dandan, stressed that there is much more at stake than debt repayment obligations, echoing a warning* issued earlier this month by the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky.

“All human rights institutions and mechanisms should welcome the Greek referendum as an eloquent expression of the self-determination of the Greek people in conformity with article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in pursuance of article 25 ICCPR on public participation. Indeed, a democratic and equitable international order requires participation by all concerned stakeholders in decision-making and respect for due process, which can best be achieved through international solidarity and a human rights approach to the solution of all problems, including financial crises.

It is disappointing that the IMF and the EU have failed to reach a solution that does not require additional retrogressive austerity measures. Some leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of holding a referendum in Greece. Why?  Referenda are in the best traditions of democratic governance.

No one can expect the Prime Minister of Greece to renounce the commitments he made to the people who elected him with a clear mandate to negotiate a fair solution that does not dismantle Greek democracy and lead to further unemployment and social misery. Capitulating to an ultimatum imposing further austerity measures on the Greek population would be incompatible with the democratic trust placed on the Greek Prime Minister by the electorate. By nature, every State has the responsibility to protect the welfare of all persons living under its jurisdiction. This encompasses fiscal and budgetary sovereignty and regulatory space which cannot be trumped by outside actors, whether States, inter-governmental organizations or creditors.

Article 103 of the UN Charter stipulates that the Charter provisions prevail over all other treaties, therefore no treaty or loan agreement can force a country to violate the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of its population, nor can a loan agreement negate the sovereignty of a State. Any agreement that would require such a violation of human rights and customary international law is contra bonos mores and hence null and void pursuant to Art. 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

A democratic and equitable international order requires a commercial and financial   regime that facilitates the realization of all human rights. Inter-governmental organizations must foster and under no conditions hinder the achievement of the plenitude of human rights.

Foreign debt is no excuse to derogate from or violate human rights or to cause retrogression in contravention of articles 2 and 5 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

In 2013, the Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights stated that the policy austerity measures adopted to secure additional financing from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank had pushed the Greek economy into recession and generally undermined the enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.

This is the moment for the international community to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Greece, to respect their democratic will as expressed in a referendum, to proactively help them out of this financial crisis, which finds a major cause in the financial meltdown of 2007-08, for which Greece bears no responsibility.

Indeed, democracy means self-determination, and self-determination often calls for referenda – also in Greece.”

This article was first published in UN Human Rights Opens external link in new window


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