A group of some 200 prominent academics, politicians, media personalities and other campaigners in Greece and abroad have issued a call for an audit of the Greek debt by an independent and international public commission.

Among the signatories of the petition are such notable figures as Noam Chomsky, Prof. Robin Blackburn, ex-MP Tony Benn, two former Ecuadorian ministers, New Left Review author Tariq Ali and Greek politicians such as Alekos Alavanos, Panagiotis Lafazanis, Sofia Sakorafa and Nikos Hountis.

In a press release on Thursday, campaigners said that such a Commission would "examine the legality and legitimacy of those debts, with a view to negotiating better terms and holding those responsible for unjust debts to account".

Noting that debt audits have been used across the world to hold those responsible to account, campaigners said they were angry at the way Greece's debt has mushroomed since the financial crisis in 2008 and believed that Greece's levels of debt are unsustainable. They also opposed austerity measures that they said were forcing the poorest in society to pay for the economic problems caused by the financial collapse in 2008.

“Greece has been at the forefront of EU rescue programmes, but the Greek people have been kept in the dark regarding the composition and terms of public debt. The lack of information represents a fundamental failure of the democratic process. The people who are called upon to bear the costs of EU programmes have a democratic right to receive full information on public debt. An Audit Commission can begin to redress this deficiency,” they said in a call launched in Athens at noon on Thursday.