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UN rights expert warns Greece bailout measures compromising human rights

The conditions of Greece's bailout plan, put in place by its international lenders, have severely undercut the ability of Greek citizens to obtain a standard of living in line with international human rights standards, according to a report [press release] released Thursday by UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights [official website], Cephas Lumina [official profile]. According to Lumina, "more than ten percent of the population in Greece now lives in extreme poverty, and unemployment amongst youth has reached an unprecedented rate of 59.3 percent." He also voiced grave concern for the Greek health system finding that long term unemployment has left one third of the population without public health insurance. Lumina expressed support for newly created anti-racism police units and special prosecutor necessary to combat increased attacks on Greece's immigrant population by extremist groups. This is not the first time Lumina has come out in opposition of austerity measures in Greece. In 2012 Lumina warned [JURIST report] Greece that implementation of previous austerity measures to solve its economic crisis [BBC backgrounder] could result in serious violations of basic human rights. His final findings and his recommendations will be presented in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014

In January Greece's Hellenic Parliament [official website] approved [JURIST report] new tax legislation on so that the country can pay back loans so that it can continue receiving financial aid. In October The Council of Europe [official website] found [JURIST report] that two labor reforms adopted by Greece as part of wider efforts to curb the nation's financial crises were illegal. The Council's non-binding ruling [Reuters report] concerned two measures passed by the Greek .government in 2010 at the urging of the country's international creditors. In February 2012 The Greek Parliament approved [JURIST report] austerity measures securing a second bailout for the country to avoid bankruptcy amidst rioting and violence in downtown Athens.

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