Anti-racism network warns of rising hostility in Greece against migrants, refugees

Far-right sentiments against migrants, refugees on rise as wildfires scorch northeastern Greece, even voiced in parliament, says statement by 55 groups

Ahmet Gencturk  | 25.08.2023 - Update : 26.08.2023
Anti-racism network warns of rising hostility in Greece against migrants, refugees


Migrants and refugees are facing increasing hostility in Greece, with far-right groups accusing them of sparking wildfires in the country's northeast, according to a joint statement issued by dozens of non-governmental organizations on Friday.

"The Network for Recording Incidents of Racist Violence unequivocally condemns the recent incidents of citizen-volunteer militias engaging in illegal acts of violence against refugees and migrants while expressing its strong concern at the escalating rhetoric targeting migrants and refugees in general, on the occasion of the fires raging in Evros," said a joint statement by the 55 groups that are part of the network.

Released through the UNHCR in Greece, the statement highlighted a recent video depicting a group of migrants and refugees in Evros facing threats and locked in a trailer.

It noted that the assailants used "racist and derogatory language" and sought to incite similar acts of violence in the video, which it said triggered a flood of racist comments on social media.

Welcoming an intervention by the Greek Supreme Court's on the matter, the statement stressed that victims of racist violence were particularly vulnerable and needed support from authorities to prevent recurring incidents and "ensure a framework for their protection in the with the Greek and European regulations."

"It is recalled that the network has already recorded in the past incidents in ​​Evros that were linked to attacks against asylum seekers by groups of citizens, armed with shotguns. These testimonies demonstrate that there is already a consistent practice of organized violence in the region by specific groups of self-appointed militiamen, in the distorted light of the defense of national sovereignty," it said.

The groups expressed particular concern over the deteriorating environment against refugees and immigrants in the country, "even expressed by party representatives of the Greek Parliament, on the occasion of the above incidents."

They called officials to take action both to address and prevent racist violence that against refugees and immigrants, regardless of origin, nationality, or religion.

On Wednesday, Greek Supreme Court Prosecutor Georgia Adeilini called for detailed inquiries into the causes of the catastrophic wildfires in Evros and the racist incident, which occurred after 19 people, believed to be asylum seekers, were found dead in Dadia Forest, located in the regional unit.

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