The supervision of Greece is over, but “Manolada cases” remain

In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned our country for failing to protect land workers from forced labor and human trafficking. The incident that led Greece to the ECHR happened in 2013, in the area of ​​Nea Manolada, when land workers from Bangladesh, who demanded the wages of months that had not been paid by the employers, were shot by the farm supervisors and as a result, at least 30 people were seriously injured.

On the 3rd of September 2020, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which is responsible for supervising  the implementation of the Court’s decisions, decided to end its supervision of the case ‘’Chowdury and others vs Greece’’ because the compensations to the parties, which were litigans, were paid. The Commission, however, proceeded with this decision, without exercising further control over the situation in Manolada and the improvement or not of the relevant legislation in Greece.

We, as Generation 2.0 RED, believe that the judgement of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe came unjustified and at the most inappropriate moment.

It was unjustified, because from the regular inspections that we, as an organization conduct in Manolada since 2017, we are aware that nothing has effectively improved. Working and living conditions remain particularly difficult. At the same time, there has been no plan on behalf of the State, regarding the legal status of more than 7,000 land workers who work in the field of strawberry harvesting and as a result, most of them continue not having a type of residence permit and consequently, not being protected by Labor Law.

At the most inappropriate moment, because at this juncture and with the special circumstances due to COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for the protection of undocumented migrant land workers has been high on the public debate agenda all over Europe, while governments, such as Italy, Spain and Portugal, have already taken institutional progress in this direction.

Finally, such a decision which considers the case of Manolada as “closed”, simply because the compensations by the Greek State have been paid, acquires a further weight and negative tint for our country, since it coincides with the Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.