200 years of independent Greece:Property protection in the early
Constitutions of the Greek Independence Revolution
Article by UIPI’s and Hellenic Property Federation’s (POMIDA) President, Mr Stratos I. Paradias, occasioned by the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Greek Revolution.
Immediately after the beginning of the armed struggle for the liberation of Greece from the 400 years of Turkish occupation, along with the Declaration of its Independence, the constitutional texts of the time began to record the theoretical references to what the Constitutional Charter of the new state would include. Among the Rights that belong to the hard core of the Citizens’ Rights to be guaranteed by the new State, was the Right to the protection of their individual property, as of equal value with Freedom, Equality, Life, Honor and Security of the citizens, and this is why it is worth of a brief mention in today’s important 200 years anniversary.
The first relevant reference is made in paragraph E of the “CITIZENS’ RIGHTS” of the early “LEGAL PROVISION OF EASTERN GREECE” voted by the “Arios Pagos” of the Senate of Eastern Greece (Salona, the 15.11.1821) and it is stated that “A Greek has both his life and his property safeguarded.” The second reference is included in the “PROVISIONAL STATE CONSTITUTION OF GREECE” voted by the National Assembly of Epidaurus on 15.1.1822, where in the section of Citizens’ Rights it is stated that “The property, honor and security of each Greek is under the protection of the Laws”. The third reference is found in Section B, Chapter B, par. B. of the Constitutional “LAW OF EPIDAVROS” (Epidavros, 1823), where it is stated that “The property, honor and security of every Greek, and of every human being, in the State territory, is under the protection of the Laws “. The fourth reference is made in Chapter B ‘par. 12 of the “POLITICAL CONSTITUTION OF GREECE” voted by the Third National Assembly of Troizina on 5.5.1827 which stipulates that “The life, honor and estates of each, within the State territory, is under the protection of the Laws “.
Moreover, in the “POLITICAL CONSTITUTION OF GREECE”, also known as “HEGEMONIKON” which was voted by the National Assembly in Nafplio on 15.3.1832, it was explicitly mentioned in article 32 that “The law secures and defends the personal freedom, life, honor and property of each of those within the State.” Finally, in the “CONSTITUTION OF GREECE” of 1844, the provision on the protection of property is found for the first time in its modern form: “No one is deprived of his property for public necessity, duly proven, when and as provided by law, and always with prior compensation.”
The Human Right defenders of today, even though Property is internationally recognised as a human right, are worried and concerned about all the other human rights except this one. They consider it as a somehow “second class” Human Right, disregarding its importance for the people and how inextricably linked it is both to the notion of freedom and human dignity, but also to the personal struggle of each of the citizens to both acquire and maintain it.