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EUROPE > Greek police ignore rising attacks on migrants: HRW

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Immigrants claiming they was attacked by members of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, are seen at United Against Racism and Fascist Violence Movement office during a press conference in Athens, Thursday, June 21, 2012.  AP Photo

Immigrants claiming they was attacked by members of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, are seen at United Against Racism and Fascist Violence Movement office during a press conference in Athens, Thursday, June 21, 2012. AP Photo

Gangs of Greeks are regularly attacking immigrants with impunity across the country and authorities are ignoring or discouraging victims from filing complaints, advocacy group Human Rights Watch said in a report on Tuesday.
 
Greece is a major gateway into the European Union for undocumented migrants from Asia and Africa, and illegal immigration has become a hot-button issue as the country struggles through its worst economic crisis since World War Two.
 
A fifth straight year of recession and unemployment at a record high has helped fuel anti-immigrant sentiment, with migrants blamed for rising crime levels and accused of eating into a shrinking pot of subsidised services from the state.
 
"Migrants and asylum seekers spoke to Human Rights Watch of virtual no-go areas in Athens after dark because of fear of attacks by often black-clad groups of Greeks intent on violence," the report said.
 
"While tourists are welcome, migrants and asylum seekers face a hostile environment, where they may be subject to detention in inhuman and degrading conditions, risk destitution and xenophobic violence."

Human Rights Watch said the true extent of xenophobic violence in Greece was not clear given many victims do not report the crime and since government statistics are unreliable.
 
The group said it interviewed 59 people who suffered or escaped a racist incident between August 2009 and May this year. That included 51 serious attacks and two of the victims were pregnant women.
 
Most of the attacks take place at night in or near town squares and are committed by groups of attackers in dark clothing, their faces obscured with cloth or helmets, Human Rights Watch said. The perpetrators have been known to wield clubs or beer bottles or just their bare fists, it said.
 
The victims consistently told the group that police discouraged them from filing complaints and that some were even warned they would be detained if they insisted on an investigation.
 
Many victims gave up after being told an investigation would be pointless if they could not identify the attackers or being told either to accept an apology or fight back, the group said.

Human Rights Watch also said there was evidence to suggest the perpetrators were members or associated with local vigilante groups and Golden Dawn, an extreme-right party elected to parliament this year - the first such development since the fall of a military junta in 1974.
 
The group said it had found no evidence that violent attacks are directed by the party, which denies it is neo-Nazi, but that Golden Dawn members have been implicated in specific attacks.
 
It quoted residents and a police officer saying party members were involved in beatings of migrants, and noted allegations of collusion between police and Golden Dawn members.
 
Golden Dawn, which campaigned on a pledge to rid Greece of all immigrants, denies carrying out attacks.

July/10/2012

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READER COMMENTS

Notice on comments

Suhail Shafi

7/17/2012 9:35:54 PM

Racist attacks occur in every country, but what is unforgiveable is the way in which the Greek authorities are turning a blind eye towards these crimes. It makes the Greek police look institutionally incompetent. Greece's poor economy is not an excuse for this kind of treatment.

Chris Green

7/12/2012 6:18:49 PM

Mehmet bey, it was a disgrace that Greece came into the EU in the first place, whereas south Cyprus's entry was simply scandalous! I have commented before though that the porous border between Turkey and Greece does need urgent 'repair' together with the ejection of these 'illegals', many of them desirous of coming to the land they perceive as being paved with gold, the UK. Well it isn't and furthermore it is full!! Deportations should be managed and above all, humane.

kerem atan

7/10/2012 9:51:58 PM

@Mark Mark,theres no violent attacks against any minority or ethnicity in Turkey. u probably mistake it for greece. greeks cant stand any nations other than native greeks whether they are legal or illegal inhabitants.im afraid these assaults on immigrants will continue and worsen so long as extreme groups and xenophobia exist in greece.

Mark Mark

7/10/2012 2:09:41 PM

@Mistique Holland - two very different issues, dont confuse them. @Mehmet Hascan - if we apply your logic to Turkey then I am afriad to say her treatment of all minorities, who happen to be Turkish, makes Greece look like the garden of Eden. Turkey should have economic and political sanctions imposed upon her if you think Greece is bad.

Sparks

7/10/2012 2:05:42 PM

Remember: those immigrants are illegal and have to be chased back to their native countries. Beating them is wrong, but sending them back is the only right way. The border between Turkey and Greece is like a Swiss cheese, full of holes.

kerem atan

7/10/2012 2:05:01 PM

the thing is greeks consider the immigrants scapegoats as if they were the main reason of the greek crisis and they take out their anger on poor immigrants.greek people should question their tax dodgers and their corrupt policies in the first place rather than beating up the immigrants.greece is not even a safe place for the tourists. german tourists particularly avoid travelling to greece due to the anti-german campaign.

Mehmet Hascan

7/10/2012 12:17:34 PM

It is shameful the way the immigrants are treated in Greece. Greece should get chucked out of the EU in disgrace.

mistique holland

7/10/2012 11:56:49 AM

We as Europeans should STOP giving any money to Greece when they are acting out like this on other people!!!We should punish them by withholding any money untill they protect these people and punish the criminal right wing party. It were the Greek themselves who broke down their own country by not taking good financial care and misusing money. Now we have to pay them so they can mistreat innocent people???I hate this...
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