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Immigrants will sue Greece for attacks by Golden Dawn

20 November 2012 / 21:11:33  GRReporter
4531 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Representatives of 20 immigrant organizations have announced their intention to sue Greece in the European Court of Human Rights. They have explained that they will resort to this decision if state authorities "continue to not take any actions against the racists and xenophobes of Golden Dawn, who threaten the security and lives of immigrants."

Immigrants from Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, Turkey, Madagascar, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Bangladesh have formed a common union, which aims to counter the perpetrators of racist attacks against members of their communities.

"To date, we have collected hundreds of complaints of attacks against immigrants. The police have not registered most of them. If our main problem before was to obtain documents and legal status, the most important thing for us now is to survive, as we do not know from which corner they will attack us, arrest and send us to a detention centre for immigrants, "said Saeed Aldogan, representative of the Kurdish and Turkish immigrants and political emigrants from Turkey.

He accused the Greek governments of deliberately not legalizing immigrants. "Since 1990, almost every government has voted a law, but none of them has solved the problems of immigrants."

As he pointed out, the legal texts deliberately contained impossible conditions for obtaining a residence and work permit. "In 2007, they said that the number of immigrants was 700,000. Of these, only 300,000 were able to renew their documents. To issue a new permit, we are required to prove 300 workdays a year. It is impossible in today's situation of unemployment." As representatives of other immigrant organizations have indicated, most of them work illegally because "there is no law that requires the employers to pay the social security contributions." The immigrants themselves are not able to purchase the required number of workdays alone and thus, people who previously had valid documents have suddenly become illegal.

Representatives of second-generation immigrants from Africa have denounced the decision of the State Council (one of the highest courts in Greece – author’s note) to declare unconstitutional the law on acquiring Greek citizenship, which had been voted in 2010. "The relationship between immigrants and Greek society can be obtained only through the children of immigrants who are born here. The court's decision is based on the right of blood. They do it in order to limit the cases of granting citizenship to immigrants. But they should know that second-generation immigrants have no intention either to leave here, or to make concessions in terms of their rights," said Nikodimos Maina Kiniua from the African organization ASANTE, which had welcomed the voting on the law two years ago.

According to him, around 6,000 of the 16,000 applications submitted were considered and only 3,000 of them were approved. "The majority of these 3,000 people come from Albania and other Balkan countries. Public authorities must pay attention to the fact that Greece is a country with negative population growth. Greeks have 1-2 children, while the situation with us, with immigrants, is traditionally different and we have more children," he said.

Immigrants have urged the Greek government and judicial authorities "to take their responsibility and to prevent the massacre against immigrants, to investigate all cases of attacks against them and to close all offices of racist and xenophobic organizations." They have called left parties to support them in this call, stressing that they have already established contacts with members of the European Parliament and other trade unions in other European countries.

According to them, the network for racist attacks has so far received 187 complaints from immigrant victims. "We will closely monitor the activities of state bodies and if we find that they continue to be inactive we will address the European Court of Human Rights', they repeated their warning in conclusion.

Tags: SocietyImmigrantsRacist attacksGolden DawnEuropean Court of Human Rights
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