Lack of solidarity has failed Greece, says rights expert

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Alfred de Zayas. UN File Photo/Amanda Voisard

The Greek premier Alexis Tsipras has no option but to hold a referendum at the weekend, a leading rights expert said Friday.

The comments by Alfred de Zayas follow the international community's failure to help the debt-stricken nation.

Mr de Zayas, a UN Human Rights Council-appointed investigator on democracy and equity, said that reforms demanded by Greece's creditors won't help the country solve its debt crisis.

Daniel Johnson has more.

For Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, it's very clear who's in the wrong when it comes to the Greek debt crisis: "big money", and as he believes, unaccountable institutions, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

Over the last five years their demands on Greece have been "disastrous", de Zayas says, and it's about time they realised that more belt-tightening measures won't work.

De Zayas, who's an independent expert on democracy and equity appointed by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, is highly critical of the lack of international solidarity on Greece's predicament.

In short, the only option for Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is to ask the people what to do next, de Zayas says.

"I don't think that Tsipras has much of a choice…Whereas we can spend billions in wars here and there and everywhere and we can spend billions for building warships and building nuclear missiles and weapons, etc, when it comes to helping a nation, actually a friendly nation, a member of the European Union, you would think that the principles of human rights and solidarity within the European Union would necessarily lead to helping this country in trouble…"

Youth unemployment is currently at 60 per cent and the country's GDP has shrunk by a quarter.

For de Zayas, the stalemate in negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors is as he says, "one way to try to bring down" Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Whatever the outcome of Sunday's poll, de Zayas said that most Greeks do not want to leave the euro.

But he added there was some confusion about what a "no" vote actually meant.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’25″

 

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