Copyright © 2012 Human Rights Watch
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Cover design by Rafael Jimenez
issued July 2012 – read the full report
“” .. Since the early 2000s, Greece has become the major gateway into the European Union for undocumented migrants and asylum seekers from Asia and Africa. Years of mismanaged migration and asylum policies and, most recently, the deep economic crisis, have changed the demographics of the entire country. The center of Athens, in particular, has a large population of foreigners living in extreme poverty, occupying abandoned buildings, town squares and parks. While tourists are welcome, migrants and asylum seekers face a hostile environment, where they may be subject to detention in inhuman and degrading conditions, risk destitution, and xenophobic violence. .. “”
“” .. Mokhtar Azizi, a 25-year-old Iranian Kurd, is an asylum seeker who has been living in Greece since 2009. He was assaulted by three men near Omonia Square on April 4, 2011.
After they kicked and punched him, he managed to catch one of them while the other two escaped. According to Azizi, three police officers who arrived on the scene tried to mediate:
The police asked him [the assailant] to say that he will not hit migrants and refugees any more. The attacker apologized for what he did and said he wouldn’t do it again and the police said, ok, you can go. But I didn’t want an apology to the police; they didn’t ask me if I wanted to forgive him.
The police ended up taking both Azizi and the alleged attacker to the Omonia police station, where he was told he would need to pay 100 Euros to file an official complaint.
Although he asked, he was not allowed to call the NGO Doctors of the World, or a lawyer. He told us the police threatened to detain him if he attempted to speak on the phone. Without the money to pay, Azizi gave up. ..””