WHAT IS THE PRICE OF FREEDOM?

What Is the Price of Freedom? A debate. Thursday, October 3rd 2013, 7.00pm, Free Thinking Zone, Athens.

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A debate on “tolerance” at an interesting juncture: The leadership of Golden Dawn, Greece’s neonazi party that holds 18 seats in Parliament, has been arrested and charged with forming and participating in a criminal organization. This debate, set up before these recent developments, aims to address the issue of “tolerance”, framed within a liberal-democratic discourse. It will be challenging to see where recent events take us.

The speakers are: Nicos C. Alivizatos, professor of law; author, What Kind of Democracy After the Crisis? | Geoff Kidder, director, membership and events, Institute of Ideas; convenor, IoI Book Club; IoI’s resident expert in all sporting matters | Dr Theodoros Skylakakis, MEP; member, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe; president, Drasi | Nikos Sotirakopoulos, PhD student; assistant lecturer in environmental sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury | Dr George Sotiropoulos, lecturer, Department of Political Science, Democritean University of Thrace | Augustine Zenakos, head of editorial team, UNFOLLOW magazine. The debate will be chaired by Claire Fox, director, Institute of Ideas; panelist, BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze.

The debate will be in English, streamed live on the Free Thinking Zone channel. Twitter hashtag is #battleofideas.

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HUMAN RIGHTS? WHAT’S THAT?

Τhe National Commission for Human Rights is an independent body, founded in 1998 to advise on human rights issues. It functions under the supervision of the Prime Minister of Greece. It is internationally acknowledged, and assessed under the Paris Principles, adopted by the UN.

Greek Riot Police in action (photo via enet.gr)

Greek Riot Police in action (photo via enet.gr)

On December 21st 2012, NCHR sent a letter to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. This letter (the full Greek original, here), along with a description of the Commission’s function and responsibilities, included an unprecedented complaint, concerning the General Secretary of the Greek Government Takis Baltakos, who is directly responsible for the personnel and infrastructure of the NCHR. According to the letter, signed by the President and two Vice-Presidents of the NCHR, the General Secretary has met with them only once, on December 7th, and on that occasion treated them with disdain. Mr Baltakos declared to the NCHR that “he is not interested in the Commission’s work or human rights, or the country’s associated international obligations”. He added that he “consciously up to now has done nothing to facilitate the work of the Commission” and that he “does not intend to act in any way to address the serious functional problems faced by the Commission, or initiate any procedure within his field of responsibility, even if that means that the NCHR is left without any scientific personnel”.

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