Greek governmental ill-treatment of refugees


This is a shocking video about ill-treatment of refugees by Greek authorities. The video is by Deutsche Welle from Germany.

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Afghan refugees say Greek government killed our children


This video, recorded in France, says about itself:

Afghan refugees in Paris speak out

19 Dec 2011

Homeless Afghan asylum seekers discuss their dangerous journeys to Europe and their desperate struggle for survival.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 27 January 2014

AFGHAN REFUGEES CLAIM THEIR BOAT WAS RAMMED BY GREEK COASTGUARD!

THREE Afghan refugees who survived last Monday’s wreckage of their boat off the Greek island of Farmakonisi in the eastern Aegean, emphatically and repeatedly accused the Greek Coast Guard patrol boat of ramming their boat so as to drown its passengers.

At an open air Press Conference on the pavement opposite the Vouli (Greek parliament) last Saturday, the three men, Abdul Sabur Azizi who lost his wife and child, Fada Mohammed Akhmadi, who lost his wife and three children, and Ekhsada Soufi, who lost his wife and four children, narrated the barbaric actions against them of the Greek Coast Guards that resulted in three women and nine children being drowned.

‘We were 26 persons in the boat, 23 Afghans and three Syrians. We are refugees from Afghanistan where war is fought for the last 38 years.

‘We sailed from the Turkish coast towards the Greek islands but our boat’s engine failed close to an island.

‘The Greek patrol boat appeared and we were glad that we were saved, but they did not want to save us.

‘They started shooting in the air and the Coast Guard patrol boat started ramming our boat to sink it.

‘Two Coast Guards jumped on our boat and put their guns against our necks shouting, “We will kill you! Fuck you, fuck you!” and tied a rope; they started towing us at high speed back to the Turkish coast.

‘We shouted to stop, but they increased speed and sailing in zigzags to sink our boat. Water started flooding our boat. Women and children fell off the boat and the rope was cut.

‘Women shouted “please help us’ but the Coast Guards shouted ‘fuck you’. The patrol boat started ramming our boat once again. We threw ourselves into the sea and we tried to get on the patrol boat to save ourselves.

‘But the Coast Guards started hitting us to prevent us from going onboard. Those who were still on the sinking boat cried out for life-jackets but the Coast Guard men did not give them any life-jacket.

‘The Coast Guards hit a 16-year-old Syrian boy on the head because he threw a wood plank to a woman who was struggling in the water.

‘We men managed to get hold of the Coast Guard boat but the women couldn’t make it. We saw with our own eyes our wives and children being drowned.

‘Then two boats appeared sailing towards us from the Turkish shores and the Greek Coast Guards took us onboard, otherwise they would have drowned us too. They threatened us that if we say anything they will punish us.

‘When we reach the Greek island of Farmakonisi the Coast Guard passed us on to the police who were kicking us.

‘They took us to a luxurious restaurant to show that we were treated well. But we only stayed there for a while.

‘Then they pushed us into a prison without any food or drink and we were still wearing soaked clothes.

‘Next day they interrogated us one by one always with the wrong interpreter.

‘They forced us to sign papers that we did not understand what it was written on them.

‘When a UN representative came into the room they would stop.

‘For the last two days we have been to Athens and we live in a refugee hostel but every time we go out, the Greek police are picking us up and harassing us.

‘All we ask now is for the bodies of our families to be found.

‘The Greek Merchant navy Minister M Varvitsiotis says that the Coast Guards came to rescue us. No, this is a lie, they came to drown us!

‘Let them if they can bring anyone to challenge what we are saying.

‘They (Greek Coast Guard) now say that they brought us to Greece, but if that was the case, the bodies of the drowned women and children would have been found on the Greek shore.

‘Up to now, bodies have been found only on the Turkish shore. They are lying.

‘They (Greek Coast Guard) say that we thanked them for rescuing us! How can you thank those who killed our families?’

Several speakers representing SYRIZA (the Coalition of the Radical Left), ANTARSYA (the anti-capitalist formation), trades unions, migrant organisations and civil liberties committees, demanded that the surviving refugees been given asylum and that there should be an investigation and severe punishment for those responsible for such atrocities against the refugees.

They also demanded trade union action to stop such crimes against migrants and refugees and castigated the European Union policies on migrants and refugees.

The speaker from the Community of Afghan Refugees in Greece said that there have been hundreds of drownings, ‘the whole eastern Aegean between Greece and Turkey is a cemetery,’ he said.

Such barbaric crimes as those carried out by the Greek Coast Guards, as narrated by the Afghan refugees, are a direct consequence of the EU’s policies and of the Greek parliamentary junta’s counter-revolutionary attacks on Greek and migrant workers.

These crimes are parallel to the tortures carried out by the imperialist armies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and point out to Nazi concentration camps of mass extermination.

Following the Press Conference, over 1,000 workers, refugees, youth and unemployed marched through Athens city centre shouting, ‘Asylum to all refugees!’ ‘The Minister kills – he should resign now!’ ‘Immigrants are not the reason that we are going hungry – it’s the Prime Minister Samaras!’

and ‘Farmakonisi was not a tragedy – it was a premeditated murder by the government!’

A banner at the front of the march read ‘Fortress Europe kills even children – Locate the political and penal responsibilities now!’

While the Afghan refugees‘ press conference was on, a group of fascist Golden Dawn thugs carried out a provocation at the Keratsini working class district of the port of Piraeus.

With the police absent they attacked the offices of a left-wing organisation and tore down anti-racist and anti-fascist banners near the spot where rapper Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death by a Golden Dawn member last September.

A few hours later, hundreds of youth gathered to confront them but the fascists had disappeared.

Golden Dawn gang desecrates Fyssas memorial in Keratsini: here.

Migrants saved in Greek boat accident mourn relatives – and dispute claims. Survivors say coastguards refused to help them as vessel sank and stamped on hands of those clinging to Greek boat: here.

‘Greece’ (Human Rights Watch – World Report 2014): here.

Media interviews with asylum seekers on boats forced back to Indonesia by the Australian navy under the Abbott government’s “stop the boats” regime have confirmed earlier reports of physical assaults and abuse, with asylum seekers being beaten, pepper-sprayed and handcuffed: here.

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Greek minister doesn’t know refugees from terrorists


This video from Greece says about itself:

The survivors of Farmakonisi, Greece arrived in Athens

23 Jan 2014

11 women and kids drowned in this tragic incident. It happened when they were approaching the Greek shore; the coast guard tried to push them back to Turkey.

After Nelson Mandela being for decades on a United States government list of so-called “terrorists”, along with President Morales of Bolivia, the late US Senator Edward Kennedy, and a million people more

After the persecution of Egyptian archaeologist Hawass as a “terrorist” … the persecution of a little eight-year-old boy as a “terrorist” … the persecution as a “terrorist” in Britain for singing a song by punk rock band The Clash … after the British government persecuting journalism as “terrorism” … now, another NATO country: Greece. Greece, where refugees from wars in Afghanistan, Syria, etc. come; but the government does not want to know they are refugees.

From I Can’t Relax in Greece blog:

Public order minister links ‘illegal immigration’ to terrorism

Posted on 26/01/2014 by icantrelaxingreece

Nikos Dendias makes claims only days after Farmakonisi drowning disaster

In the same week that nine children and three women drown during a controversial coastguard operation, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias claims ‘terrorism is likely to exploit the issue of phenomenon of illegal immigration’.

Days after the drowning of twelve migrants, including nine children, in the eastern Aegean during a controversial coastguard operation, a government minister has sought to link the issue of “illegal immigration” with terrorism.

“Terrorism is likely to exploit the issue of phenomenon of illegal immigration,” Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said at a press conference following the conclusion of an informal meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers in Athens.

Dendias said that raised the issues of combating international terrorism, border management, immigration and illegal immigration at the meeting.

Meanwhile, another minister who alleged on Thursday that Europe’s human rights watchdog was trying to make a “political point” against Greece over the drowning tragedy near the islet Farmakonisi said that he was “shocked” at the incident.

“We are shocked at the Farmakonisi incident and at any loss of human life at sea,” Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told the same press conference.

He said the circumstances surrounding the accident would be investigated by prosecutors.

EnetEnglish, ANA-MPA

From Eleftherotypia’s English website, 24 January 2014.

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Refugees die, while Greek minister spouts racism


This video, in Greek, is about shipwrecked refugees arriving in Piraeus harbour.

From I Can’t Relax in Greece blog:

Outcry over the deaths in the Aegean sea

Posted on 24/01/2014 by icantrelaxingreece

Amnesty International calls on the Greek government to investigate all allegations of mistreatment and collective repulsions at the Greek-Turkish borders [and] in the Aegean [sea] and to prosecute the officials involved in such practices. At the same time, Varvitsiotis [Shipping Minister] washes his hands of the incident while hurling racist comments.

Amnesty International requests a thorough, transparent, and independent investigation into the death of immigrants in the sea close to Farmakonisi island, as well as the prosecution of those who are responsible.

In the meantime, Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis appeared to respond in an arrogant way to the international and local reactions triggered by the drowning of immigrants on Monday in the sea close to Farmakonisi:

“Such things should not become the subject of petty political political exploitation. I do not believe that there is anyone that really wants us to open our borders and let all immigrants enjoy asylum in our country”, he said in one of his racist comments, following the A. Georgiadis’s [Minister of Health] far-right delirium.

Muiznieks [Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights] and several others want to create a political issue in Greece. Neither PASOK nor SYRIZA have so far asked to be briefed on the incident”.

THE VIDEO SPEAKS FOR ITSELF

Migrants said, when they arrived in Piraeus, that the coast guard officers did not throw any lifejackets to those who had fallen into the sea and prevented a father from trying to save his wife and child by pointing a gun at him. No state or other institutional official was present when the immigrants were taken to Piraeus.

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Greek government to put an end to the illegal practice of mass expulsions and said that this incident is the result of a “failed pushback attempt” which took place only one day after the allegations from UN High Commission for Refugees.

“According to survivors’ testimonies to UNHCR, the coast guard’s vessel was pulling their boat while moving towards the Turkish coast at high speed amid rough seas when the tragic incident took place. The testimonies also mention that the immigrants were crying for help, as there was a large number of children on the boat”, says the statement of UNHCR.

Pro Asyl organisation also intervened, just a short period after denouncing the Greek government, the border guard, and the coast guard as responsible for the torture and death of refugees.

In the meantime, the coast guard denies the immigrants’ allegations that appeared in the UNHCR’s announcement, according to which the immigrants’ boat was capsized.

The government’s denial of all responsibility makes the outcry even stronger.

“The recent deaths in the Aegean constitute another reminder of the dangerous journeys that immigrants and refugees have to make in order to reach Europe. Since August 2012 at least 136 refugees, most of them Syrians and Afghanis, have lost their lives in at least twelve incidents while trying to reach Greece by boat from Turkey. The EU and the member states have to ensure there is effective seach and rescue in the sea and focus their efforts on the saving of lives rather than on the protection of borders”, says Amnesty International’s announcement.

DEADLY UNWILLINGNESS

The EU states’ unwillingness to put an end to the tragedy of drowned immigrants in the waters of Mediterranean (from Lampedusa and Sicily to the Aegean and Evros river) seems to be endless. EU summits from Rome to Brussels to Athens only suggest more ‘Frontex style’ patrolling.

Antiracist and humanitarian organisations claim that the crime in the Mediterranean is being perpetuated.

The governments of Letta, Samaras, and Erdogan, and the EU in its entirety are trying to deal with such tragedies by perpetuating the absurdity of the closed borders and by calling immigrants ‘illegal’, while tragedies like the ones of Lampedusa and Farmakonisi are multiplied.

These conditions nourish the creation of groups of traffickers that take advantage of the ‘illegal’ status of immigrants. Immigrants, being ‘illegal’, try to evade Frontex’s patrolling by resorting to traffickers. This makes things even worse.

SYRIZA’s Rights Committee issued an announcement about the tragedy.

“They drown the refugees in Farmakonisi, just like they do in Lampedusa, while the EU ministers are continuing their racist criminal policy”, KEERFA says, while announcing a series of international antiracist initiatives and events and a European day of action on the 22nd of March.

SYRIZA’s announcement requests a thorough investigation to determine whether the coast guard has any responsibility for the overturning of the boat carrying the immigrants. According to the opposition party, the survivors’ testimonies raise questions about the actions of the coast guard in this incident that cost the lives of 12 refugees, including 9 children.

Unfortunately, SYRIZA says, Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis does not seem to take the events seriously, something evident in his recent statements about the tragedy. His statements demonstrated profound political insensitivity and disrespect for human life. It is time for the government to listen to the Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muizniek and to stop the “informal” pushbacks that put lives under threat and violate international law, SYRIZA says.

Translated from ‘Eleftherotypia’ newspaper.

The latest deaths of migrants seeking to enter “Fortress Europe” by boat occurred this week in the Aegean Sea: here.

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Greek governmental ill-treatment of refugees investigated


This video says about itself:

Rise of Nazi attacks on migrants and refugees in Greece

18 Jan 2013

The clips shows three activists who talk about the current situation of aggrevated Nazi attacks on refugees and migrants in Greece.

From Dawn of the Greeks blog:

Investigation into alleged Greek coastguard abuse of migrants

Posted on January 14, 2014 by dawnofthegreeks

Ministers tell Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, that investigations have been launched into claims that Greek coastguard officials ill-treated migrants last year

An internal investigation has been ordered into a number of cases of alleged ill-treatment of migrants by Greek coastguard officials last Autumn, the government has told Europe’s top human rights watchdog.

“The Hellenic Coastguard commandant has ordered the investigation of three distinct cases of alleged ill-treatment of third-country nationals by staff of the Hellenic Coastguard for the period between August and December 2013,” Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis informed Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, on January 10.

In November, a German-based human rights organisation produced a report that said refugees attempting to enter Greece through the Aegean were being systematically, illegally and, in cases, brutally pushed back by the Greek authorities, in contravention of international law and with the complicity of the European authorities. Amnesty International has also raised its concerns about the same issue.

Muižnieks, who raised the claims made in the reports last month in a letter (pdf) to Varvitsiotis and his public order colleague, Nikos Dendias, on Tuesday greeted the written replies from the ministers.

“I therefore welcome as a first positive step the Greek authorities’ ongoing investigations on push-backs and alleged ill-treatment of migrants, as well as their commitment to share with me the outcome of these investigations,” he said in a statement.

The human rights commissioner had told the ministers that Greece must end the practise of collectively expelling migrants, including Syrians fleeing war and violence in their country, and must investigate a number of incidents of alleged human rights violations on its border.

“The large number of reported collective expulsions by Greece of migrants, including a large number of Syrians fleeing war violence, and allegations of ill-treatment of migrants by members of the coastguard and of the border police raise serious human rights concerns,” he wrote in December.

He called on the two ministers “to carry out effective investigations into all recorded incidents and take all necessary measures in order to end and prevent recurrence of such practices”.

‘Professional ethics’

In his reply (pdf), Varvitsiotis also underlined the role that the coastguard play in providing “emergency humanitarian assistance” to migrants arriving by sea at eastern Aegean islands.

He said the practices and behaviours described in recent reports “run against the professional ethics and the internal orders of the Hellenic Coastguard and are in stark violation of national, union and international applicable legislation.

“Any report alleging misbehaviour or malpractice by or on behalf of a Hellenic Coastguard member against any citizen whatsoever is thoroughly and expeditiously investigated.”

In his comparatively vague response to the commissioner, Dendias said that “every such case” of “allegations for unproceed [sic] returns to Turkey through the Evros river (‘push backs’)” and “ill-treatment of intercepted illegal migrants” is being investigated by the Hellenic Police”, adding that if the investigations uncover any “substantial evidence”, then “appropriate penal and disciplinary measures will be imposed”.

He underlined that the “practices and procedures” recorded in the reports “are totally unacceptable and prohibited by the national legal framework, as well as the internal orders and the ethics of the Hellenic Police”.

Obligations

Publishing his letter and the ministers’ replies on Tuesday, Muižnieks said that while he noted the recent adoption of legislative measures aimed at protecting migrants’ – including minors’ – access to health and social care in initial reception centres, the “collective expulsions of foreign nationals violate international and European human rights law and raise very serious issues of compatibility with the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, enshrined in the UN refugee convention, by which Greece is bound”.

“In addition to being incompatible with international human rights and refugee law, collective expulsions of migrants are also ineffective, given that people facing desperate situations cannot really be prevented from migrating,” he added.

He said that if Greece is to uphold its human rights obligations, then it “has to radically change its migration policy and practice”.

“This is all the more necessary now that Greece has taken on additional responsibilities by holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union. I therefore welcome as a first positive step the Greek authorities’ ongoing investigations on push-backs and alleged ill-treatment of migrants, as well as their commitment to share with me the outcome of these investigations.”

Source: EnetEnglish.

Greek Golden Dawn nazis in banking scandal: here.

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Greek nazi bites off Iranian refugee’s ear


Iranian refugee with ear bitten off

From Dawn of the Greeks blog:

Iranian man describes how ear was bitten off in racist attack in Athens

Posted on January 10, 2014 by dawnofthegreeks

Young Iranian migrant who had his ear bitten off in a suspected racist attack says the experience shows him that there is ‘no culture, no love’ in Europe

A young migrant from Iran who says he was the target of a racist attack about two months ago in central Athens has described how one of his assailants bit his ear off. In a recorded video interview with a international humanitarian aid organisation, the man, who identifies himself as Shaid, said that he was set on by three men dressed in black

the colour of the uniforms of the paramilitary thugs of the nazi party Golden Dawn

as he was speaking on the phone near Metaxourgiou Square.

“They beat me. After one of them put his hand around my neck and got me in a headlock, he bit his teeth into my ear. I was bleeding and my ear fell to the ground,” he said in a recorded video interview with Médecins du Monde.

Shaid initially was not aware of what had been done to him. He was spotted by a friend, who came to his rescue and took him – and his severed ear – to hospital, where attempts to reattach the ear failed and doctors had to remove it. After he was discharged from hospital two weeks later, he approached Médecins du Monde, which has helped him come to terms with what has happened. “All I can say to immigrants who leave their county is that things might be better for them at home. I see no civilisation in Europe. No culture, no love,” he said.

source: enetenglish

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