Friday, December 05, 2008

Greek government slammed over abuse of refugees


Photo: Chiara Tamburini, Brussels, all rights reserved

In a damning international report the Greek government was severely criticised for systematically denying refugees rights and turning a blind eye to abuse of those seeking asylum on its territory.

The German based PRO-ASYL (National Working Group for Refugees) report on the country claimed theat the situation was out of control and the the state had reneged on its international treaty obligations to treat asylum seeker humanely.

In the report published in October Karl Kopp, head of PRO - ASYL referred to a number of violations by the Greek government of refugee’s rights, including the summary deportation without hearing of thousands who had entered Greek territory from Turkey and the ill - treatment of other refugee by the police and border guards. One such example was given by A 34-year-old Iraqi Turkoman from Kirkuk who said that he made 10 attempts to cross into Greece before succeeding.

"One time I crossed the river into Greece and arrived in Komotini," he said. "They put us in jail for five days and then took us to the river and pushed us back. We were 60 persons. They put us in a small river boat with a motor in groups of 10. They did it in the middle of the night. It was raining hard, and the Greek police started beating us to make us move more quickly. I saw one man who tried to refuse to go on the boat, and they beat him and threw him in the river. They beat us with police clubs to get us to go on the boat."

Last year the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) also noted in its report considerable number of allegations of abuse by police officials of foreign nationals in custody including the case of a detainee allegedly tortured with pliers while in custody in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupoli.
It should be noted that the land crossing from Greece and its traditional rival Turkey is littered with anti-personnel mines and that between 1997 and 2006 61 people lost their lives due to land mines.

In addition the PRO - ASYL report outlined the unwillingness of Greek authorities to accept asylum seeker’s applications. In the first six months of 2008 the authorities issued 8,387 decisions concerning asylum applications of which all 8,387 were rejected. During the same period just 71 of 2,886 appeal decision resulted in the granting of refugee status under the Geneva Refugee Convention. In 2007 just eight of the 25,111 claims proved successful.

Also simply getting access to offices dealing with asylum applications can be a risky business. On 25th and 26th October 2008 one immigrant died in custody and several were hospitalised after 3000 desperate asylum seekers applying for papers at the Petrou Ralli police station in Athens clashed with police. The police station had ceased to accept applications from the 3rd October for an unspecified period of time according to the Greek ombudman so leaving those without documents with the possibility of arrest and deportation.

In addition refugees deported to Greece from other European Union countries under the Dublin II accord have also had their rights violated and sometimes face violence at the hands of the police according to human rights organisations. A joint report published in 2007 by the Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Greek Helsinki Monitor wrote of the case of Noori, an Afghan asylum seeker transferred from Austria to Greece in December 2007.

“The policemen hit my face and the back of my head until I began hitting myself to make them stop. I thought that it is the same everywhere, the police is as bad. I thought of throwing myself out of the window in order to end my life. “

The situation has gotten so bad that that the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees has recommended that no asylum seeker be deported back to Greece from within the EU. Indeed Germany and Norway have already suspended such deportations in some cases citing concerns over human rights violations.

In a recent article on immigration in Greece for Time, Greek officials argued that the small Balkan state can not handle what is a pan European problem, however, such claims have to be seen in the light of the state’s ability to suddenly find 28 billion euros to prop up the country’s banking system in the wake of the global credit crisis.

Despite all this the conservative New Democracy government is unlikely to act to ease the plight of refugees at a time of rising domestic unemployment and embroiled as it is in the latest finance and influence peddling scandal to hit the prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis’s administration since being re-elected in September 2007.

PS. I just came across this comment on the Al Jazeera video posted above.

"Giati de tous petane pisw sth 8alassa?
Arketa me tis oumanistikes malakies , de ginete o ka8e apovlitos apo th koloxora tou na erxete edw.
Gia th metanasteush yparxoun diakratikes simfonies opws px me th Voulgaria pou erxontai oi an8rwpoi kai mpainoun se doulies kanonika kai me kanonikous mis8ous.
H paranomh metanasteush prepei na timwrite me 8anato epi topou . "


"Why don't we throw them back in the sea? enough of this humanistic b#llshit. It's just not on for every scumbag from his f#cking country to come here. As far as immigration is concerned there are discreet agreements, such as the one with Bulgaria by whuch people come and get work normally at regular wages.Illegal immigration should be punished by death.. on the spot."

Manolis - arrested, beaten and deported Greek Police arresting african street vendor in Thessaloniki

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sapphire said...

The british anti-greek propaganda is not something new!
British "interest" in Balkans and in Eastern Mediterrenian and in southeastern Europe in general are in contrast with the greek one, so british subjects like BBC or our "friend" Teacher dude behave like that

deviousdiva said...

Thank you for posting this. I can't do anything at the moment. Server problems!

The whole report is such an embarrassment to Greece but we knew that right ?

sapphire said...

I remind the british occupation in Cyprus and the acts of violance,the supposenly "civilazited" british troops burn alive greek cypriot heros
According to the "ungovermental organizations" it is known that in fact are slaves of economical or diplomatical interest!

sapphire said...

Mr...dude,look after first for your country which had slaved the 1/2 of the world and then speak for the others...Greece is a little country with many problems,we have already 1000000 imigrants (not refugees) we cannot accept others and is not only our problem but problem of all Europe.

teacher dude said...

BTW the sources I cite come from Greece, Germany, Norway, the UN and the EU so I don't think the problem is limited to Britain. Actually, there is not a single british reference.

But let's not let logic get in the way of a good rant, shall we?

sapphire said...

Your sources are not independent! Became for "ungovermental organisation" which are paid by some person like Soros or are supporting by govermental interest
28 billion are not from the national budget but from loans (are not real money,I cannot explain that right now.And yes,comparing to the billions of people of Asia and Africa our country is little...

sapphire said...

Of course the treaties are in use and we respect them (unlikly Turkey and Britain or Italy)and we try to behave to them as humanly as it gets.
Turkey try to insert in Greece as more immigrants as it gets...
Learn history,diplomacy and geopolitics first and then speak

sapphire said...

According to national researches greek people is most philanthropist people in the world, according to our population in serius dissasters we gave the biggest amount of money wolrldwide so stop to spaek about the greek people like that, you discribe us like english,our ancestors fight against nazis and we had the biggest amount of deaths in WW2,we didn't enslaved the 1/2 of the world like the british empire did!!!

teacher dude said...

Humanely? Deaths in custody, torturing detainess with pliers, puncturing rubber boats at sea, threats of rape? Strange definition of humane you have there.

These are not my accusation just stuff I've read in a number of reports concerning human rights in Greece by the Council of Europe and the United Nations. Not just NGOs.

teacher dude said...

BTW why does my nationality mean that what I say is invalid? I am the son of an immigrant myself, not that this particularly relevent to ill treatment of people here.

sapphire said...

Our civilazation found the humanistic ideals and a real christian orthodox people like us cannot behave like the way you discribe.Υour evidence are fake and they made them because Karamanli's goverment is the first greek goverment who had make made treaties with Russia and France,the first indipedence greek goverment not slave of USA or slave of the slave USA(Britain).So,here is the real explanation

teacher dude said...

Ok, when you get back from La la land give me a call.

sapphire said...

What???is Helsinki Monitor an UN organisation?I don't thing so... I remind the scandals of this organisation in many countries(financial corruption,spying and many others),this organisation is paid by the famous antigreek Soros!!!
Many position in UN are controlled by USAs willing so are not so independantly!
Be carefull about how you spaek about Greece and Greek people,you live here and you must respect the people which host you

teacher dude said...

Are you threatening me?

sapphire said...

And it's not your first antigreek article...I cannot understand why you hate us so much,if you have problem go back to your country and support your kill babys in Iraq and to protect hasis farming in Afganistan...Here in Greece are living 1500000 immigrants from all over the world and total of our population is 10000000,it is impossible to accept other,we will die all together!"Deaths in custody, torturing detainess with pliers, puncturing rubber boats at sea, threats of rape" ar not true,our forces done every day whatever is humanly possible to save them

sapphire said...

No,I am threating you I teach you to be polite Teacher!!!Greece was not,is not and will be not your colony like the 1/2 of the world,so be much more polite with us and don't be so arrogant British

sapphire said...

Correction:between "am" and "threating" put a not.

sapphire said...

"I'm a teacher, originally from England, now living in Northern Greece teaching EFL".I remind that the other name of Nothern Greece is Macedonia and Thrace,don't forget that our friends in foreign lands

sapphire said...

"Ok, when you get back from La la land give me a call."...I must to confess that this comment is a very mature argument...propriate for an adult...

sapphire said...

Νεκρό ένα βρέφος
Επιχείρηση του Λιμενικού εντός των τουρκικών χωρικών υδάτων για τη διάσωση μεταναστών

Φωτογραφία αρχείου

Εντός των τουρκικών χωρικών υδάτων -στην περιοχή της Σάμου- εισήλθε σκάφος του Λιμενικού προκειμένου να παραλάβει οικονομικούς μετανάστες, το σκάφος των οποίων βυθίστηκε.

Το Ενιαίο Κέντρο Συντονισμού Έρευνας και Διάσωσης του ΥΕΝ επικοινώνησε με το αντίστοιχο Κέντρο στην Αγκυρα και κατόπιν συνεννόησης με το υπουργείο Εξωτερικών και το ΓΕΕΘΑ, το περιπολικό εισήλθε εντός των τουρκικών χωρικών υδάτων και ανέλαβε επιχείρηση έρευνας και διάσωσης.

Συνολικά περισυνέλεξε 25 αλλοδαπούς, μεταξύ αυτών τρεις γυναίκες και τρία παιδιά, ενώ ένα βρέφος βρήκε τραγικό θάνατο.

Προανάκριση διενεργείται από την οικεία Λιμενική Αρχή.

Newsroom ΔΟΛ
This is the best answer to you!!!We are in danger of a "warm" episode with Turkey to save this poor immigrants or refugees!!!

deviousdiva said...

Funny that there is outrage when foreigners comment about brutality against immigrants in Greece but nothing when we report about Greek teenagers being killed by Greek police. How one-sided can your views be? If you read a little more on our blogs and those of other "foreigners" you would see your diatribe repeated endlessly.

The sad case is that we are not the ones who hate Greece. We are the ones trying to help because we care. If we didn't, why would we bother writing about this small and (in the eyes of most of Europe) insignificant country? Enough with your rant against us and more on what is really going on here.

sapphire said...

Insignificant?!I don't think so...with the petroil of Aegean and our powerfull geopolitician position constantly more significant countries like the country of colonism England and others "interest" about us...
And of course you cannot characteriza insignificant the mother country of the western civilazation and not only!
According to the tragical accident I cannot say something right now before the justice decides...
With your articles (for an other times full of hate and propaganda against our nation) you embolden violence,but you are not the only one.
I am not in duty bound to comment to this propagandisticall blog.
The problem with you is that you don't respect us and you describe Greece like Zimbabue or our prime minister like Mougabe!Karamanlis' hardness and every other greek politician's is nothing in contrast with your Maggie(Thacher)...
And of course you accuse our goverment for cruelty and many others accuse us for dreadfull softness!
P.S. If you want to live your "socialistic" dream or "revolutionary" dream go to Cuba or Venezuela or North Vietnam,not here,because here we have a stable urban or (bourgeois) democracy.
In your country have still monarchy...You pay every day for an old ladies' caprices and only for her and for her all folk...And even more you still recognise nobilities privillages!!!

Anonymous said...

Simply because someone claims to be an Asylum seeker does not mean that they are one, they may be an economic migrant.

Greece went from being a mostly homogenous country to now hosting 1,500,000 immigrants. With the unemployment rate as it is this quite enough.

How much is enough for you? ANyone and everyone who gets into our shores gets to stay???

Thats ridiculous.

And why are British people lecturing us? Fix the Cyprus problem you guys caused were supposed to stop Turkey from invading according to the agreements..but did not. the UK is treacherous in its dealing with Greece. We sided with you against Hitler and Turkey remained neutral so your thanks was to give half of Cyprus to Turkey and island which is 82% Greek.

So if you want to turn London into Londinstan thats your business we do not want it.