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Greece: Migrants Describe Fear on the Streets
Date: 13/07/2012 - 08:37
The Greek authorities are failing to tackle a rising wave of xenophobic violence that has left migrants afraid to walk the streets.
The 99-page report, “Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece,”documents the failure of the police and the judiciary to prevent and punish rising attacks on migrants. Despite clear patterns to the violence and evidence that it is increasing, the police have failed to respond effectively to protect victims and hold perpetrators to account, Human Rights Watch found. Authorities have yet to develop a preventive policing strategy, while victims are discouraged from filing official complaints. No one has been convicted under Greece’s 2008 hate crime statute.
“People coming from war zones are scared to go out at night in Athens for fear of being attacked,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The economic crisis and migration cannot excuse Greece’s failure to tackle violence that is tearing at its social fabric.”
In a country suffering a deep economic crisis, and after years of mismanaged migration and asylum policies, gangs of Greeks attack migrants and asylum seekers in central Athens and elsewhere in the country with frightening regularity, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 59 people who experienced or escaped a xenophobic incident, including 51 serious attacks, between August 2009 and May 2012. Victims of serious attacks included migrants and asylum seekers of nine nationalities and two pregnant women.
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