Monday, July 27, 2009

Greek government's forced deportation provokes anger

Amidst protests by local human rights activists refugees on the Greek island of Chios were taken to detention centres on the Greek mainland in handcuffs. Around 60 recently arrived immigrants were taken by ferry from the island in the northern Aegeon to the the Greek - Turkish border region of Evros. Amongst those relocated were an 15 year old Somalian boy forced to leave behind his mother on the island.

According to Greek national daily, Eleutherotypia, attempts by a 17 year old Palestinian detainee to claim asylum during the transfer were ignored despite the presence of a lawyer whose repeated pleas that the teenager be given his rights under UN treaties signed by Greece were dismissed.

Unconfirmed reports on the news site claim that previous deportations on the 16th July ended up with the refugees being dumped near the Greek - Turkish border. It should be noted that the area is heavily mined and that every year tens of those attempting to cross into Greece from Turkey fall victims to the regions numerous minefields.

Greece has been repeatedly accused of violating international agreements concerning the handling of unaccompanied minors by organisations such as Amnesty International. In addition courts in Germany has refused to deport refugees back to Greece citing the country’s unwillingness to abide by EU and other international treaties concerning the treatment of undocumented immigrants under 16.

The recent upsurge in enforced deportations has followed in the wake of the ruling New Democracy’s poor showing in the the recent European parliamentary elections. In clamping down on illegal immigration in Athens and the Aegean islands prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis is seeking to stem the flow of votes to the far right LAOS party which sent two representatives to Brussels by adopting a get tough policy on protesters and undocumented immigrants.

However, the official policy of “cleaning up” immigrant neighbourhoods has also given rise to growing militant activity on the party of the country’s ultra - nationalist groups with several well - documented cases of the police turning a blind eye to racist groups attacking buildings and areas frequented by foreigners such as Agios Pantelimenos section in central Athens which has witnessed several incidents involving member of the neo nazi Chysi Aygi organisation.

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