The Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights says Greece should consider banning the extreme right-wing group Golden Dawn which has 18 seats in the country's 300-member parliament, and urged authorities to take tougher measures to combat a surge in racist violence.

Nils Muiznieks told the AP in an interview Tuesday that Greece would be "fully within its rights" to ban the party from public office. The commissioner, who visited Greece from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, said in a 32-page report published by the Strasbourg, France-based organization Tuesday that he was "seriously concerned" by the increase in hate crimes targeting immigrants in Greece.

The report describes Golden Dawn as a "neo-Nazi and violent political party" that should be isolated under legally binding international human rights conventions signed by Greece.