MEANS OF ACTION

In order to achieve its aims, the MFHR employs various means. The most important of these are the following:

I. Education in Human Rights

The MFHR attaches particular importance to the teaching of Human Rights to all age groups – to each by a different method – especially to children at a very early age. This is because, in our opinion, respect for Human Rights in practice is, above all, a life attitude to which one becomes accustomed.

For this reason, the MFHR has translated in Greek and distributed appropriately the principal educational books of international organisations on Human Rights education.

More specifically:

1. United Nations: About the United Nations... Learning about Human Rights, an educational handbook published by the UN Department of Public Information, 1992.

2. Council of Europe: (a) the Greek version of the publication and video cassette Stand Up NOW for Human Rights!, 1997; (b) brochure on the European Social Charter, Securing Social Rights Across Europe, 1999.

3. UNESCO: Democracy: 80 Questions and Answers, by Professors David Beetham and Kevin Boyle, 1996.

Furthermore, the MFHR published – in cooperation with the National Commission for Human Rights – and distributed free of chargeto school teachers a special volume against bullying entitled Collective Violence and Aggressiveness in Schools (A. Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos (ed.), sponsor: MFHR, ed. Nomiki Bibliothiki, Athens, 2010, 367 p.). This volume is freely accessible at this link

The MFHR, cooperating with schools and other educational actors, participates in awareness events and Human Rights campaigns. It also organises students and teachers visits to its headquarters so that they can be informed about the Foundation and its activities, as well as about current Human Rights issues.


II. Conferences, seminars, events, colloquies, book presentations

Another means very widely employed by the MFHR for the dissemination of information on Human Rights is the holding of seminars, lectures and conferences on special and topicalproblems – national or international – which have the effect of abolishing, prejudicing or shrinking the effective implementation of Human Rights.

The MFHR has been particularly concerned with the most vulnerable categories of society (women, children, refugees, migrants, the poor, detaineesin institutions of every kind).

In our more than 200 events held so far in Greece, as well as abroad, in cooperation with foreign Universities and Research Centres, we have always addressed burning issues concerning the respect and protection of Human Rights.

Some of these events are the following:

  1. We provided financial and academic support to the three-day celebration programme of the Georgetown University on the occasion of its two-hundredth anniversary, under the general theme: «International Human Rights and US Foreign Policy», Washington DC, 1988.
  1. We co-organized with the Washington College of Law of the American University, in collaboration with the International Human Rights Law Group and the «Watch» Committees, an international conference on «The protection of Human Rights in periods of transition to a democratic regime in Europe and Latin America», Washington DC, 1992.
  1. We co-organized with Yale University (Law and Medicine Faculty) an international conference on «Organ transplantation and Human Rights», New Haven, 1993.
  1. We co-organized with the European Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (University of Graz) and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna an international conference on «Anti-terrorist measures and Human Rights», Vienna, 2002 [see also the relevant special volume Anti-Terrorist Measures and Human Rights, A. Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos (MFHR), W. Benedek (European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Austria), A. Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos (ed.), Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden, 2004, 378 p. (in English)].
  1. We co-organized a one-day conference with the Minister of Justice and President of the National Mechanism for Women's Rights of the Republic of Cyprus, on the introduction into the Constitution of Cyprus of a provision corresponding to the new Article 116, para. 2 of the Greek Constitution (as revised in 2001), which established – – substantive gender equality and the implementation of affirmative action measures for that purpose, Nicosia, 2002.
  1. We co-organized with the Centre de recherche sur les droits de l' homme et le droit humanitaire of the Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) University an international conference on “La pauvreté, un défi pour les droits de l’homme”, Paris, 2008 [see also the relevant publication in our series: La pauvreté, un défi pour les droits de l'homme, E. Decaux, A. Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos (ed.), MFHR Series No. 14, A. Pedone, Paris, 2009, 281 p., (in French)].

We list below some of the topical issues which we have dealt with at our events during the last years:

  • Rendering gender equality effective in practice at the international and national level;
  • Safeguarding internationally recognised Human Rights rules and principles against certain countries’ traditions and practices that contradict them;
  • Violations of migrants rights (especially migrant workers);
  • Dealing with racism and xenophobia;
  • Effective implementation of International Conventions for the protection of refugees;
  • Rendering the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its additional protocols effective in practice;
  • Problems of all types of detainees;
  • Implementation of the Convention against Torture (CAT, UN) and of the Convention for the Prevention of Torture (CPT, Council of Europe), together with efforts to introduce into CAT the system of periodic visits to places of detention that is successfully provided for by the CPT;
  • The constant spread of transnational organized crime and the – subsequent – increasing internationalization of measures against it;
  • Access to public goods;
  • Environmental protection;
  • LGBT rights.

At the turn of the millennium, we concerned ourselves particularly with the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration, its improvement and, above all, its implementation.

The increase in violence and aggressiveness among students in schools has also caused us particular concern. Furthermore, another causes of concern have been the danger from the use of nuclear energy in times of war and peace, as well aw the enormous exploitation of children, women and migrants which is facilitated by international trafficking.

In addition, regarding the implementation of the right to economic development, we are concerned with the promotion in Greece of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), provided for by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), especially with regard to the exploitation of subsea oil and gas.


III. MFHR publications

With reference to all the above-mentioned issues, the MFHR has produced over 80 publications so far in mainly Athens and Paris.

The Foundation has its own Series with the Pedone Publishing House (13, rue Soufflot, Paris). In our Series are published doctoral theses, proceedings of colloquies, as well as research material by one or more authors.


For the full list of publications see here

IV. Library open to the public

The MFHR has a constantly updated library, specialized in Human Rights – one of the most important Human Rights libraries in Europe – which is daily open to the public. The library has 4000 volumes and more than 80 journal titles (in English, French, Greek and German). For more information see here

V. Prizes and scholarships

In order to reinforce the interest of young graduates in Human Rights, the MFHR grants annual prizes to postgraduate students of Greek and Cypriot universities who submit the best research papers on three topical issues each year. In particular, it grants every year three scholarships in order to attend the Annual Study Session at the International Human Rights Institute in Strasbourg, where the MFHR holds its own Chair («Marangopoulos Chair»).

The MFHR also grants scholarships to Ph.D. students whose academic work is worth supporting.

In addition, the Foundation grants annually prizes to high school students of the Avlona’s Special Juvenile Detention Center.

VI. Free legal aid

The Foundation also provides pro bono legal aid, without discrimination, to anyone whose fundamental human rights are being infringed and who does not have the financial resources to hire a lawyer.

VII. Comments and proposals on legislative bills and administrative measures

The MFHR submits commentaries and proposals on legislative bills and administrative measures. It also submits its own proposals for legislative and administrative measures in relation to Human Rights. Such was the case of the drafting of the new Article 116, para. 2 of the Greek Constitution. The above article introduced substantive gender equality and affirmative action measures in order to achieve it and was broached and proposed by the MFHR with the approval of all women's organisations, resulting in a unanimous vote in 2001 by the Parliament holding a special session for the revision of the Constitution.

VIII. Consultative status with international organisations

The MFHR submits statements containing proposals and comments on draft resolutions to the following international organisations with which it holds a consultative status:

1. With the UN:

a) Special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and with the bodies under its auspices, such as the Human Rights Council in Geneva;

b) Special relation status with the UN Department of Public Information in New York.

2. With UNESCO: «Official relations» status.

3. With the Council of Europe: International NGO with participatory status. The Foundation has been granted the right to lodge collective complaints with the Committee of the European Social Charter concerning violations of its provisions (a right already successfully exercised by the MFHR in practice: see appeal No 30/2005, MFHR v. Greece).

4. With the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): The MFHR is a member of the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP), the Agency’s network of cooperation with civil society organizations which aims at bringing together all European civil society organizations active in the field of human rights.

5. With the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

IX. The MFHR at the National Commission for Human Rights

The MFHR serves as a founding member at the National Commission for Human Rights in Greece. Its President, Alice Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos, served as the first President of the Commission (June 2000 – October 2006, when she resigned). Subsequently, the MFHR's representative and former Director, Linos-Alexander Sicilianos, was its Vice-President from November 2006 to 2011, when he resigned, after being nominated by Greece and elected as judge at the European Court of Human Rights.

Today, the MFHR regular representative is Mr. G. Stavropoulos, former Minister and former Vice-President of the Supreme Administrative Court (Conseil d’Etat).