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Migrants in Greece “feel like home” on International Migrants Day January 6, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Yunanistan.
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Migrants from Afghanistan celebrate the International Migrants Day in Athens, Greece, on Dec. 18, 2009. Migrants from all over the world living in Greece celebrated on Friday the International Migrants Day in a festival that debuted in a central Athens square, with " Feels like home" as its main slogan. Migrants presented delicacies, folklore artworks and music from their countries of origin. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos) Migrants from Afghanistan celebrate the International Migrants Day in Athens, Greece, on Dec. 18, 2009. Migrants from all over the world living in Greece celebrated on Friday the International Migrants Day in a festival that debuted in a central Athens square, with ” Feels like home” as its main slogan. Migrants presented delicacies, folklore artworks and music from their countries of origin.

ATHENS, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) — Migrants from all over the world living in Greece celebrated on Friday the International Migrants Day in a festival that debuted in a central Athens square, with “Feels like home” as its main slogan.

For the first time in Greece, the Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and e-Government organized such an event, aimed at promoting the concept of multiculturalism, diversity and strengthening harmonious coexistence.

That is the essence of the new government’s policy for the integration of immigrants in the country, said Andreas Takis, General-Secretary of Immigration Affairs.

As migrants from Albania to Georgia and South Africa to Afghanistan presented delicacies, folklore artworks and music from their countries of origin, issues of protection and integration of migrants still await solutions.

The creation of a General-Secretary of Immigration Affairs post itself is a proof of the importance the Greek government attaches to the phenomenon, and the new concept on immigration policy focused on the protection of fundamental human rights first of all, Takis stressed.

A young migrant writes on the wall welcoming words welcoming guests to a festival held in central Athens on the occasion of the International Migrants Day, Greece, on Dec. 18, 2009.(Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
A young migrant writes on the wall welcoming words welcoming guests to a festival held in central Athens on the occasion of the International Migrants Day, Greece, on Dec. 18, 2009.

Meanwhile, Giannis Ragkousis, Minister of Interior, Decentralization and e-Government, repeated the government’s intention to grant voting rights in the 2010 local elections to legal migrants and Greek nationality to children born, brought up and educated in Greece.

“We seal our borders (to illegal immigration and human trafficking), we open our hearts to migrants” is the general idea of the new approach to the issue, said Ragkousis.

According to the latest estimate by Eurostat, the legal immigrants in Greece in 2008 reached 8.1 percent of the total population of the country, which equals around 906,000 people.

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