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‘Humanitarian Crisis’: Migrants in Greece Face Rights Abuses

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 20, 2012 Last Updated: December 25, 2012
Related articles: World » Europe
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Immigrants hold placards in Athens on Dec. 15, 2012 during a European march for democracy against racism, antisemitism and neo-Nazism. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

Immigrants hold placards in Athens on Dec. 15, 2012 during a European march for democracy against racism, antisemitism and neo-Nazism. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

For migrants and asylum seekers hoping for a new life in Greece, especially those coming from the Middle East and Africa, be warned. 

A report from Amnesty International on Thursday found that Greece is “seriously failing” to protect the rights of migrants coming to the country, highlighting the country’s economic troubles, recent rise in xenophobic sentiment against immigrants, and even racist attacks.

Dalhuisen said the failure to tackle long-standing human rights issues is nearing a “humanitarian crisis” in the country.

Even though Greece has been forced to enact harsh austerity measures, and unemployment is relatively high, Amnesty stressed that should be no reason to treat immigrants unfairly.

Even though Greece has been forced to enact harsh austerity measures, and unemployment is relatively high, Amnesty stressed that should be no reason to treat immigrants unfairly.

Amnesty reported that an asylum center set up by Greece last year has not processed a single request, while only around 20 people successfully register their asylum applications at the Attika Aliens Police Directorate in Athens each week, on the one day the center is open.

People who fail to register—or who have simply given up on—their asylum claims can be detained in overcrowded detention centers for a year or more, the group said.

“The Greek authorities continue to systematically detain asylum seekers and irregular migrants including unaccompanied children in breach of international standards and seem to use detention—often in appalling conditions—as a deterrent,” said Dalhuisen.

“The situation of unaccompanied children, who are amongst the most vulnerable, is particularly worrying. We found several children detained among adults in very poor conditions during a recent visit at the Corinth detention center. If a place is not found at a reception center, they are released with no shelter being provided for them,” he added.

There have been cases of Syrian refugees and asylum seekers from other conflict-torn countries being turned away and forced back into Turkey, it said.

There has also been a spike in racially motivated attacks on migrants by police.

There has also been a spike in racially motivated attacks on migrants by police. Amnesty said Greek authorities need to step up investigations and prosecutions of offenders.

“Asylum-seekers, migrants, community centers, shops and mosques have been the target of such attacks, which have been reported on an almost daily basis since the summer” of 2012, according to Amnesty.

In one example during September, two men dressed in black entered a barbershop owned by a Pakistani man. The two men verbally assaulted a Greek customer and then stabbed him when he reacted. They then wrecked the shop and threw Molotov cocktails.

When police came to investigate, they arrested two Pakistani staff because they did not have documents.

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  • ByteMe

    “authorities continue to systematically detain asylum seekers
    and irregular migrants including unaccompanied children in breach of
    international standards”

    This is why Amnesty international has become a joke of extremists (like Peta). It frames illegal border violators as “victims” and persecutes native populations. Of course countries detain illegals. AI, unelected by anyone, have become a bunch of self-righteous basket cases that dictate morality to the whole planet.


   

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