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Source: Republic of Greece – Foreign Affairs

“As long as we strengthen international cooperation and establish peaceful relations among nations, solidarity will always prevail. Coupled with government accountability and democratic control, freedom and human rights will not be threatened even in the greatest crises”, stressed the Secretary General for International Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Board at the Enterprise Greece, Gregory Dimitriadis, in his remarks at the 20th UN Global Compact Leaders Summit.The Summit, which took place on June 15–16, 2020, was attended by major figures, such as António Guterres, Angela Merkel, Al Gore, heads of state and government, officials from around the world as well as representatives of the academic community, civil society and the business world. Under the theme of “Recover Better, Recover Stronger, Recover Together,” the Summit focused on the ways that the respect of human rights, the fight against social inequality and discrimination, sustainable development, climate change mitigation and environmental responsibility, as leading principles of entrepreneurship, can contribute to a post COVID-19 recovery.Mr. Dimitriadis delivered the closing remarks of the panel session “Due Your Diligence – Human Rights at the core of Sustainable Development” and emphasized that “in Greece, human rights are at the top of our agenda.”He also referred to the “Human Rights in Business” international virtual conference, which Greece is organizing on June 25.As he pointed out, “the event aims to initiate an open discussion on the issue of human rights in the workplace and the role of businesses in offering equal opportunities, inclusiveness and diversity. While the primary focus of this conference will be on LGBT+ rights, it will also touch upon related issues such as gender equality, and we will work towards organizing similar events for other issues concerning human rights.”Mr. Dimitriadis also explained that “with initiatives such as these, Greece hopes to send a message to citizens around the world that human rights should be emphasized even –if not especially- in the most challenging times.”Full text: “Crises test our values, confronting us with dilemmas and choices crucial to our democracies and communities. Crises of all kinds -whether they are economic or health-related (as it is today)- require quick and drastic answers to avoid the worst outcome.In the case of COVID-19, the restrictions imposed under the guidance of the scientific community, were accepted by all democratic societies, because they aimed to protect human life. They were, of course, temporary. In Greece, most restrictions have, already, been lifted and progressively we are all enjoying our freedom again.During the Greek Government’s fight against COVID-19, I realized the importance of universal values in my effort to procure the necessary medical materials for our healthcare system. And, I have to say, I am optimistic for the future.As long as we strengthen international cooperation and establish peaceful relations among nations, solidarity will always prevail. Coupled with government accountability and democratic control, freedom and human rights will not be threatened even in the greatest crises.This is why in Greece, human rights are at the top of our agenda.The Greek Government, assuming the Presidency of the Council of Europe, is organizing on June 25th, an international virtual conference on “Human Rights in Business”; everyone is welcome and invited to attend via live-streaming.The event aims to initiate an open discussion on the issue of human rights in the workplace and the role of businesses in offering equal opportunities, inclusiveness and diversity. While the primary focus of this conference will be on LGBT+ rights, it will also touch upon related issues such as gender equality, and we will work towards organizing similar events for other issues concerning human rights.The objective is to serve as fertile ground for the enhancement of meaningful cooperation between states, international organizations, the business sector and the civil society for effective human rights promotion and protection. We expect the conference to conclude with a ‘call to action’ and the setup of working groups to explore issues further and propose concrete next steps.Working together will have a positive impact to the lives of thousands of people, who currently hide or face discrimination, and will improve the overall growth, well-being and cohesion of our societies. With initiatives such as these, Greece hopes to send a message to citizens around the world that human rights should be emphasized even –if not especially- in the most challenging times.”

MIL OSI Mediterranean News