The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Closing the Door

As I was making my way back home after my idyllic break to Kalamata, I took a bus through Omonia, an area in the centre of Athens where many immigrants live and work. I noticed a visible reduction in the amount of people gathered on the street. I wasn’t sure if I was just being over-sensitive given the latest clampdown in Patras and the talk of “getting tough” on undocumented people. This morning I read the following article and my suspicions seem to be confirmed. Has anybody else noticed this sudden “disappearance” of immigrants ? If anyone has more information, please post in the comments.

Full article from Human Rights Watch

It appears Greece is doing everything it can to close the door on persons who seek protection in Europe, no matter how vulnerable they are. The European Union must hold Greece accountable for acts contrary to international and European human rights and refugee law, and it needs to act fast, as the lives of many are at risk

Greek authorities are arresting large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in the country’s cities and islands and moving many of them to the north, raising fears of illegal expulsions to Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch received reports from a credible source that, in mid-July 2009, police transferred a group of Arabic-speaking people from Chios Island to the Evros border region, where they were secretly forced to cross the border into Turkey. On July 23, local human rights activists prevented authorities from transferring 63 migrants from Lesvos Island to the north by blocking access to the ferry. On July 25, the police took most of them to Athens under heavy police escort.

“These operations and transfers are very worrying,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch. “We fear that people are being prevented from seeking asylum, that children arriving alone are not being protected, and that migrants are kept in unacceptable detention conditions and possibly even being secretly expelled to Turkey.”

In another recent episode, in a large-scale police operation from July 16 to 18, police in Athens surrounded what appeared to be several hundred migrants and locked them inside an abandoned courthouse. The police arrested anyone who left the building. It is feared that some of them may have needed protection and did not have a chance to file a claim for asylum, the police prevented Human Rights Watch from speaking to the people held inside, and Human Rights Watch does not know the whereabouts of those who were arrested when they tried to leave.

In a November 2008 report, “Stuck in a Revolving Door: Iraqis and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants at the Greece/Turkey Entrance to the European Union,” Human Rights Watch documented how Greek authorities have systematically expelled migrants illegally across the Greece-Turkey border, in violation of many international legal obligations. These “pushbacks” typically occur at night from detention facilities in the northern part of the country, close to the Turkish border, and they involve considerable logistical preparation. Human Rights Watch at that time interviewed 41 asylum seekers and refugees – all privately and confidentially – in various locations in both Greece and Turkey, who gave consistent accounts of Greek authorities taking them to the Evros River at night and then forcing them across.

Human Rights Watch also documented how Greek authorities miscategorize unaccompanied children as adults and detain them for prolonged periods of time in conditions that could be considered inhumane and degrading. (See the December 2008 report, “Left to Survive: Systematic Failure to Protect Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Greece.”)

In yet another recent incident, on July 12, police destroyed a makeshift migrant camp in Patras, on the Peloponnese peninsula. In the days before the camp was destroyed, the police reportedly arrested large numbers of migrants there, and according to credible sources, transferred an unknown number to the northern part of the country. On July 17, Human Rights Watch met with several Afghans in Patras, including 12 unaccompanied migrant children now homeless as a result of this operation, who were in hiding in abysmal conditions out of fear of being arrested.

A 24-year-old man told Human Rights Watch: “We’re living like animals in the jungle … we can’t take a shower and we don’t have proper food … before I lived in the camp, but all of my things and clothes were burned. Now I have a shirt and a pair of pants, nothing else.”

A 14-year-old Afghan boy who arrived in Greece one year earlier said: “The worst situation during the past year is now, in Patras – now that I’m living in this forest …. There’s not enough food and we only eat bread with water.”

Human Rights Watch also observed on July 17 how more than 1,000 migrants lined up all night, largely in vain, trying to file asylum applications at Athens’ main police station. Greece recognizes as few as 0.05 percent of asylum seekers as refugees at their first interview and passed a law at the end of June that abolishes a meaningful appeals procedure, making it virtually impossible for anyone to obtain refugee status. It also extended the maximum length of administrative detention for migrants to 12 months – and under certain circumstances, up to 18 months – from previously 90 days.

“It appears Greece is doing everything it can to close the door on persons who seek protection in Europe, no matter how vulnerable they are,” said Frelick. “The European Union must hold Greece accountable for acts contrary to international and European human rights and refugee law, and it needs to act fast, as the lives of many are at risk.”

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12 Comments

  1. Xenos
    July 28, 2009    

    The same is happening in Italy: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8170187.stm

    The neofascist mentality of the Northern League is replicated in LAOS, and the malakes who run Greece at this time think that they are being clever by imitating Berlusconi and his disgraceful government.

    Of course, there is an issue about the legal status of immigrants in Greece and Italy: the fact that these two countries refuse to obey their own laws or international or European laws. The governments of Greece and Italy are out of control, and people should be really scared of it… not just the immigrants, but everyone. And don’t think that the buffoon who “leads” Pasok will be any better.

  2. Travlos Konstantinos
    July 28, 2009    

    Well from what I read the citizen patrols are going to be illegal according to the Northern League spokesman. But then again how trustworthy is that?

    The problem is that a narrative has been created that if illegal immigration ends (which it will not as we don’t have a nice big ocean between Europe and Asia)the economy will pick up. It won’t. Not with the quasi-feudal system Greece has, and not with the anti-growth mentality of the Bundesbank and ECB.

    But it is a powerful narrative and people buy it. And it is not helped by the fact that there is no real debate between the various sides, since they start from different worldviews.

  3. July 28, 2009    

    I agree that Pasok won’t be any better. The Italian citizen patrol idea is really frightening. What sort of people will apply to be part of that?! I am beginning to despair of Europe and its definite swing to the far right.

  4. Xenos
    July 29, 2009    

    Someone should ask the Minister of Public Order if he is trying to get Greece into the international courts for human rights abuses. It is reaching the point where this could happen: presumably, everyone knows of the suit against the UK government for allowing use of UK territory for Bush’s Extraordinary Renditions. Someone needs to take similar legal action against the Greek criminals running this country.

    For info on their latest criminal acts, the Crete Forum for Migrants has a blog posting: http://fmkritis.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/sos-?????????-?????????-???-????????-??/

  5. Post Disagreement
    July 29, 2009    

    I do not think Canada’s experience with immigration should be used as a model for Greece because it has a completely different scale and even there it is out of hand so it does not really eliminate the economic migrants.

    Someone should prosecute Turkey for not take stiffer action against people smugglers. If they did Greece would not have all these people here in the first place…although that does not fit into turkey’s desire to cause trouble for Greece..in fact I am sure turkish authorities actually assist the smugglers.

  6. Xenos
    July 29, 2009    

    People smuggling into Greece is carried out mostly through the Greek police, and is rarely detected. There is also collaboration of Greeks in the River Evros area for border crossings there. The only smuggling where Greeks are not involved is the arrival in small boats across the Aegean — and, surpise surprise, this is the smuggling that Greeks wax indignant about. After all, they are not taking a cut.

    In Turkey, much of the smuggling is organised by Kurdish and other groups, as it is in Greece. If anything, the Turkish police seem to be less corrupted than the Greeks.

    So, PD, stop swallowing the political propaganda that you are being fed by the criminals who run Greece. Open your eyes and see what is really going on in your country.

  7. Nemesist
    July 30, 2009    

    So, what should we do now? Pehaps call these nice uncorrupted Turkish policemen to lead our country out of the problems, Xenos might suggest!

    He gets to be pretty funny from times to times.

    I must say, things are starting to go towards the right direction in anti-immigration policy. Karatzaferi’s uprising in votes, scared the newdemocrat cretins and forced them to take some measures, at last.

    When LAOS convinces the parliament that apart from illegal immigrants, all foreigners residing in Greece that express opinions against national ideology and national cohesion, should also be deported, a better day will be dawning for Greece..

  8. Post Disagreement
    July 30, 2009    

    Mr. Xenos wrote:

    People smuggling into Greece is carried out mostly through the Greek police, and is rarely detected.

    >>if its rarely detected how do you know that is the case.
    >> I mean I am sure there are corrupt Greeks involved along the way as well…but do not give me this crap that the Turks are less corrupt..thats a laugh.

    >>> There is also collaboration of Greeks in the River Evros >>area for border crossings there. The only smuggling where >>>Greeks are not involved is the arrival in small boats across >>the Aegean — and, surpise surprise, this is the smuggling that >>>Greeks wax indignant about. After all, they are not taking a >>>cut.

    Ha…we are indignant about it because its illegal immigration and its being facilitated by our enemy Turkey…

    There you go again with your attitude..my friend most Greeks dislike nay hate illegal immigration and are indignant about it regardless of source or border it came from…but a lot as of late is Turkey’s doing.

    ***In Turkey, much of the smuggling is organised by Kurdish and other groups, as it is in Greece. If anything, the Turkish police seem to be less corrupted than the Greeks.
    ***

    and you know this because how and why?

    *****
    So, PD, stop swallowing the political propaganda that you are being fed by the criminals who run Greece. Open your eyes and see what is really going on in your country.
    ***

    So Xenos, stop pushing your alternate propagande making Turkey into innocent angels who are better than the Greeks…if they were so much better…why dont they as Muslims help their own coreligionist instead of smuggling them into Greece? to undermine Greece thats why.

    To me Turkey is like Nazi Germany..the difference is that the Nazis lost the war and Germany was punished.. Turkey murdered her Armenians and Greeks and got away with it.

    So I do not care how corrupt Greece is, Turkey is our arch arrogant enemy and I would put nothing past them.

    That does not mean there are not corrupt Greeks involved. but do not try to sell me your crap about how this is again the fault of the Greeks.

    You know to be perfectly blunt while I do not advocate the following the fact remains if Greeks were really so much more corrupt and evil than other countries as soon as those boats or immigrants try to cross they would just shoot them…that would stop the flow of migrants for sure.

    Do i think thats the way to handle the problem NO.

    You totally give Turkey a free pass in this regard.
    and our EU northern neighbors a free pass.. its all Greece fault and all Greeks or most are corrupt and involved anyway.

    Anyway Human rights issues are used by others powers to attempt to control other countries..I believe realpoltik rules the world.

    10% nonGreek in 20 years is enough we do not want our demographics change because the elites of the NWO order do not want any nation states…or prefer multi ethnic societies to better control states.

  9. Xenos
    July 30, 2009    

    PD: I take your comments as being in good faith, which is why I am replying.

    (1) I know a lot on this matter because I am an expert. It is my job to know. You might care to note that the Greek state employs exclusively advisors who are unqualified schoolteachers and suchlike, through political connections. There are, therefore, no Greek experts on this topic who advise the Greek state. Corruption and patronage are more important to you Greek than mere skills and expert knowledge.

    (2)You know perfectly well that everything in this country is illegal. I am bored to catalogue these things, because every Greek knows perfectly well that the corruption and illegality are out of control. The lack of legal migration opportunities in the recent past created a culture of illegality for migration, as with everyhing else in Greece. So why are Greeks so indignant about illegal migration? I already told you the answer: they are indignant only when they don’t take money from it.

    (3) I am not putting forward any propaganda about Turkey. All I am telling you is that their state bureaucracy seems to be more organised and less corrupt than the Greek one. Is that so hard for Greeks to believe?

    (4)Turkey has no interested in spending large amounts of money to clamp down on irregular migration. It did so in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when it thought it had to do these things to get into the EU. Now it is clear that it is blocked, it has lost interest. The Greek conspiracy theories about this are just childish and silly.

    (5) Turkey has not signed the Bellagio Protocol extending the right of asylum to non-European nationals. Therefore, Greece is still the first country where the Asian migrants are protected by the Geneva Conventions. As in point (4), why should Turkey agree to spend large amounts of its own money so that Greece doesn’t have a problem? It would be stupid, so they dont do it.

    (6) Both Greece and Turkey are signatories to the European Comvention on Human Rights, and both are continuously in trouble with the Court for their lack of respect of human rights. There is evidence that both countries are guilty of recent crimes against humanity with their treatment of irregular migrants-asylum seekers. This behaviour is more culpable in the case of Greece, since it has been a full EU member since 1981. It is hardly credible to most analysts, since it behaves like a renegade state similar to Turkey.

  10. Nemesist
    July 30, 2009    

    Even if we believe Xenos, according to his words, Greece has a LOT more important issues to deal with right now, than illegal immigration. Cleansing the public sector of illegalities and bad methods of conduct and bringing down the rotten two-pole political system are top priorities, along with dealing with the outside threats of our country’s enemies. Illegal immigration and third world asylum seekers are at the bottom of the priority list. These people who got so low as to leave their homelands and ask for our charity are to be thankfull for the detention centers that will hold them untill they get deported, instead of the Aegean fish that they would have fed, had we Greeks been really bad people. They should be thankfull for this situation and so should New World Order apologists like Xenos.

  11. Xenos
    July 31, 2009    

    Well, I agree that Greece has a lot of far more important issues to sort out. This is precisely why the politicians are focusing on immigrants, so that they can avoid discussion of their lack of attention to the real needs of Greeks.

    I don’t agree with your latter comments, though. Greece has legal obligations to behave in accordance with international and European laws: if you dont like them, then leave the EU and the international community, with the examples of Albania 1950-91 and North Korea now. You can also see the consequences of being excluded — mass poverty alongside elite corruption and nepotism.

  12. Travlos Konstantinos
    July 31, 2009    

    Xenos your continuous claim that all Greeks are thieves and criminals (which is essentially what saying they all accept crime), and use of Edmund as a sample (which only feeds his delusion of grandeur that he rules this country, and is the personification of the average Greek)is mildly insulting. I know, I know you don’t care. But just so we know were we stand eh.

    Illegal trafficking is a Turkish-Greek corporation in both the Aegean and Evros, with some military and police personnel in both sides, and civil servants and civilians taking part and making army. Not everyone is in it (certainly not the mass of Turkish and Greek conscripts that way to die the day Edmund and his ilk takes control of both countries) but enough are, that conscripts in Evros are advised to be “careful” at what they see and do (I have personnel experience of such recommendations).

    As for Turkey been less corrupt then Greece. Well Xenos since you like data according to Transparency International :http://www.transparency.org/

    1)Greece is number 57 in the corruption perception index with Turkey number 58(2008). SO Greeks and Turks have almost the same levels of corruption perception.(in 2007 Greece was 57, Turkey 64)
    http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2008/cpi2008/cpi_2008_table

    2)In the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer the average corruption perception score for Greece was 3.7 and Turkey 3.5.
    http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/gcb/2009

    So people in Turkey up to a year ago perceived corruption levels similar to Greece. The last year this has changed and personally I believe because Erdogan has launched a legal-war against the corrupt Kemalists.

    I am not sure if the differences are that big. Some sectors in Greece are less corrupt then Turkey(Army), while others are more corrupted (Universities).

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