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A Wave Of Illegal Immigrants Floods Greece January 14, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Human rights, Human rights abuses, Yunanistan.
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Immigrants wait at a detention center in the village of Fylakio near the  the Greek-Turkish border. 

Immigrants wait at a detention center in the village of Fylakio near the the Greek-Turkish border. 

Already struggling with a massive debt crisis that is shrinking its economy, Greece is also facing a rising tide of illegal immigration.

The country’s land border with Turkey makes it a major gateway to the European Union, which says more than 90 percent of this year’s illegal immigrants entered through Greece.

Despite EU assistance, Greece is overwhelmed by the influx of migrants who believe the financially crippled nation still has more to offer than their home countries.

Detained But Not Deterred

On one cloudy morning outside the police station in Orestiada, officers lead seven young migrants — all men from Afghanistan and Pakistan — into an armored van.

One gives his name as Hamain. He’s a shy, skinny 17-year-old from a village near Kandahar.

He says he came from a poor family and wants an education. The police shut the van’s doors and drive away.

They’re taking Hamain to the Fylakio detention center, which lies amid cotton fields and acacia trees. Birds perch on the tall barbed-wire fence that surrounds the center. Hamain probably won’t stay for long; it’s so crowded at the center that police must release migrants right after they’re processed.

One migrant released on this day is Aoua Nasrudin, who’s 35 and from Sudan. “To work there and get money, it’s difficult,” he says. “And the life is also very worse. And there’s a war there, and people kill each other. That’s why we leave it. Because it’s not good for us.”

In the past, Nasrudin and other migrants would have crossed into Europe by sea. But improved coast guard patrols have cut off those routes, so now smugglers use the land border between Greece and Turkey. Illegal crossings at the border went up nearly 370 percent this year, according to Frontex, the European Union border agency.

Strangers In A Strange Land

“This is a really massive flow of migrants across the border,” Frontex spokesman Michal Parzyszek says. “I mean, people are asking what Greece could do. I cannot imagine any country to handle this issue alone.”

A Frontex team from the European Union patrols in Orestiada, near the Greek-Turkish borders. 

EnlargeSakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty ImagesA Frontex team from the European Union patrols in Orestiada, near the Greek-Turkish borders. 

Frontex says fewer people have crossed since November, when the agency sent 175 officers to help the Greek police.

Eva Hatziagnidou is happy Frontex is there. She runs a kiosk in Nea Vyssa, a quiet village near the Turkish border. At night, she sees migrants walking through farm fields. In the morning, she sees them bathing in the stone fountain in the main square.

She asks: Who are these people? What do they want? You just don’t know, because they’re strangers.

The migrants travel without papers. Frontex says almost half claim false nationalities from war-torn countries to get asylum.

Getting into Greece can be dangerous, too. Many migrants have drowned crossing the nearby Evros River. The police bring the bodies to Mehmet Serif Damadoglou, the mufti in the mixed-Christian and Muslim region. He buries the dead on a hill near his village, but says he also worries about the living.

Without passports or money, he says, they’re falling into a trap.

A Land Of Little Opportunity

Most migrants released from detention centers must leave Greece within 30 days. But most only get as far as Athens. In a dreary courtyard in the city center, migrants line up for free food prepared by local churches.

Nidal Saker is a 40-year-old Palestinian who came from Gaza five months ago. He says he was beaten by anti-immigrant thugs. He limps on crutches.

“No house. No work. No money. No familia,” he says.

An Afghan woman who gives her name as Hasma is also in the food line. She’s a 30-year-old schoolteacher from Kabul with three young children.

“We don’t have money,” she says. “This country’s economy is very low. They don’t have this much economy to accept other immigration people.”

But migrants are still coming. Frontex expects more than 80,000 people to have entered Greece illegally by the end of the year.


Posted by Yilan in Human rights, Human rights abuses, Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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Melbourne, Australia and Toronto, Canada (30/4/2010) – The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) and Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) are issuing this statement in order to answer some questions that have arisen as a result of what appears to be a misinformation campaign orchestrated by Greek sources. It has been alleged that the Greek government has made a decision to return citizenship to Macedonian exiles who originate from Greece.

These false reports stemmed from an exchange of letters between the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Thomas Hammarberg and Greece’s Deputy Minister of Interior, Decentralization and e-Governance, Ms Theodora Tzakri.
Following his 2009 visit to Greece, Mr Hammarberg wrote to Greek authorities asking:

“Moreover, I would welcome further information on the restoration of Greek nationality for those persons who lost it on the basis of former Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Code. As mentioned in our meeting, these include stateless persons living in Greece and abroad. I would be grateful for any updated information you could provide on the number of former Greek citizens presently living as stateless persons in Greece and abroad, the extent to which they have been able to have their citizenship restored and any measures envisaged to facilitate the process of restoration of their Greek nationality.”

In a response dated 13 April 2010, Ms Tzakri replied to Mr Hammarberg and wrote:

“Finally, in regards to Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Code it has ceased to exist. Based upon the new legislation of the Greek Nationality Code persons who lost their citizenship are entitled to reapply in order to restore their Greek citizenship. Currently the Greek Government is in the process of evaluating a number of applicants who based on former Article 19 lost their Greek Nationality. Therefore to this extent the Greek Government has also been working to the direction of facilitating the process of persons wishing to reapply for citizenship based on the former Article 19.”

A scanned copy of the letter sent by Ms Tzakri to Mr Hammarberg can be found here:
https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1610 … ged=FFC679

In relation to the above mentioned letter, it needs to be emphasised that Macedonians did not lose their citizenship on the basis of the former Article 19. The majority of victims of this former Article were ethnic Turks from Western Thrace. In any case, Tzakri’s letter to the Human Rights Commissioner made a general point about facilitation and has no commitment by the Greek government to actually restore citizenship. The letter also fails to mention that the new Greek citizenship law has a “public security” clause, which could further complicate matters for this category of people. Finally, the new law specifies that refugees may have an application for citizenship considered if they lawfully reside in Greece and of course Macedonian exiles (especially those who are prevented from returning to their place of birth because of Greece’s discriminatory 1982 laws which only permit the return of individuals that are ethnic Greeks) do not fulfill this requirement.

The AMHRC and MHRMI believe that the spreading of the misinformation is a deliberate attempt to dissuade Macedonians from taking action to restore their citizenship and property rights by giving them a false hope that the matter will soon be resolved by the Greek state. It is regrettable that these reports were naively ‘applauded’ by certain individuals and reported by some media outlets which failed to check their accuracy.

As was announced on 23 April 2010, AMHRC/MHRMI, in cooperation with the Association of the Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia of Melbourne and Victoria, the Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia (ARCAM) in Canada and Macedonian refugee associations in the Republic of Macedonia have decided to launch a campaign for legal action against the Greek state to restore citizenship and property rights to Macedonians from Greece. All these organisations appeal once more to Macedonians from Greece who lost their citizenship to join this important action.

For more information, please click the following links to
AMHRC: http://www.macedonianhr.org.au/04news/8 … suite.html
MHRMI: http://mhrmi.org/news/2010/april23_e.asp


Established in 1984 the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that informs and advocates to governments, international institutions and broader communities about combating discrimination and promoting basic human rights. Our aspiration is to ensure that Macedonian communities and other excluded groups throughout the world are recognised, respected and afforded equitable treatment. For more information please visit http://www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at macedonian_rights@hotmail.com or via +61 3 93298960.

Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit http://www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

New Macedonian newspaper in Greece May 8, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Human rights, Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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Greece: Officer, soldier dismissed over racist slogans are military parade in Athens March 28, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Human rights, Human rights abuses, Macedonia, NATO, Turkey, Yunanistan.
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An officer and some of the soldiers, who were shouting racist slogans during the military parade in Athens on March 25, have been dismissed, Macedonian Kanal 5 reports.
During the celebration of the national holiday of Greece, a group of the diver’s unit with the coastal guards issued threats and insults, such as “They are Skopjans, they are Albanians; we will make clothes out of their skin”.
Kanal 5 comments the reaction of Greek Civil Protection Minister Michalis Hrisokoidis, who said that such behavior and death threats to the neighbors is not proper for people dressed in military uniform, who have sworn in the Constitution and the state laws.

Greece to punish coast guards over parade slogans March 28, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Human rights, Human rights abuses, Macedonia, NATO, Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Greek authorities are suspending an officer and pledging tough action against members of a coast guard unit accused of chanting racist slogans during a military parade in Athens.

Video from the parade posted on the Internet shows members of an elite coast guard divers’ unit chanting racist slogans against Albanians.

Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis is strongly condemning the incident, which took place at Thursday’s Independence Day celebrations, and ordering an investigation.

“These people have no place in the coast guard,” Chryssochoidis said Friday. “No brainless person has the right to tarnish his unit … with racist slogans that convey hatred and xenophobia.”

The ministry said further sanctions will follow the investigation.


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