A report released by the Council of Europe says that Greece could legally ban the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, but Greece has rejected the idea.
The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, France and runs the European Court of Human Rights.
The 32-page was issued Tuesday by the council’s human rights commissioner Nils Mutinies, who said he was “seriously concerned by the increase in racist and other hate crimes in Greece,” and that “a number of the reported attacks have been linked to members or supporters, including MPs, of the neo-Nazi political party ‘Golden Dawn.’” The party has been linked to a number of violent, racist attacks and is openly anti-Zionist.
The reports said that under existing Greek legislation and under treaties signed by Athens, Greece had the legal means to take steps against Golden Dawn, including banning the party.
“The Commissioner calls on the Greek authorities to be highly vigilant and use all available means to combat all forms of hate speech and hate crime and to end impunity for these crimes,” the report added.
Golden Dawn emerged on the political scene last year, winning 7 percent of the vote or 18 seats in the 300-member Greek Parliament. Recent polls have indicated the party, which runs on a fiercely anti-immigrant platform, now has 14 to 18 percent of the population’s support.
A statement on the party’s website dismissed the report, saying the Council of Europe was a “Zionist institution.”
Greek media said the Greek government had sent the council a response indicating they were unlikely to ban Golden Dawn.