In Defence of Human Rights and Democracy

dated November 5th, 2012

The Hellenic Canadian Academic Association of Ontario is committed to fostering interest in issues of importance to Hellenism worldwide by organizing educational activities and acting as an informed resource to other organizations and the community at large.

We are deeply concerned with the rise of ultra-nationalist and xenophobic political forces in several parts of Europe mainly due to an ever-deepening economic crisis and record levels of unemployment. The meteoric ascent of the Golden Dawn party in recent years in Greece is the most direct expression of that.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees are reporting an increasing number of human rights violations on immigrants and other minorities in Greece committed by members of the Golden Dawn party. Most worrisome is the compromised capacity of democratic institutions to defend the rights of those minorities and, more recently, attempts to intimidate journalists and restrict freedom of expression. This is of deep concern to us.

Recently, the Golden Dawn party established chapters in New York City and Montreal and it is likely that they will try to do the same in Toronto. Golden Dawn has capitalized on the disillusionment, despair and the ever-deepening crisis in Greece through a blame-evil-on-immigrants rhetoric. The activities of this party threaten the values that underpin democratic societies worldwide and their presence here should be a Canadian concern.

This association will continue to raise awareness in the community on the issues of defending human rights and democracy.