Next month, anti-discrimination experts will publish their report on the treatment of minority groups in Greece.
The February analysis from the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) will be the fifth Council of Europe examination of the country’s efforts to strengthen social cohesion and fight xenophobia, anti-semitism and bigotry.
Anti-discrimination experts last reported on Greece in 2009. The new publication is set to cover a period marked by the country’s economic downturn and the rise of political extremism. These events have focussed international attention on the situation of Roma communities, ethnic minorities, migrants and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people in Greece
Last March, the Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks warned against a planned change to Greece’s revised immigration laws. In a Facebook post, Muižnieks wrote: “I am seriously concerned about the introduction by the government of the amendment to Article 19 of the draft immigration code which would allow deportation following the rejection of any migrant’s complaint that they have been victim of racist or other unlawful violence by law enforcement officers.”
Two months earlier, Nils Muižnieks urged Greece to end the collective expulsions of migrants.
In its 2009 report, the ECRI experts worried about the “ incitement to hatred against Jews, Roma and immigrants in the media and by politicians.”
The report added: “As concerns the situation of Roma, Muslims in Western Thrace and immigrants in the employment sector, these groups continue to lag behind and to be confronted with discrimination.
“Most Roma who live in settlements continue to earn their income from scrap and garbage collection and few are employed in the mainstream labour market due to discrimination and prejudice.
“A comprehensive long-term programme has not yet been established by the authorities to improve the integration of Muslims from Western Thrace into the labour market and reports indicated that they continue to be under-represented in the public sector and state owned corporations.”
The report also noted concerns regarding the “response given to asylum claims,” the inadequate access to interpretation and legal counselling offered to asylum seekers and the need to provide refugees with Greek language classes.
Information: ECRI report on Greece
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