Greek lawyer latest to be assaulted by far right


On November 1, Evgenia Kouniaki stepped off an electric bus and headed towards the courthouse when she saw a mob of black-clad Golden Dawn members running in her direction.

Within moments, the men were pounding a fellow passenger with a club. When the Greek lawyer attempted to intervene and yell at the assailants, one punched her in the face several times.

She had been confronted by members of the neo-fascist party twice before, but on this occasion was sent into a state of shock as she was beaten.

Nearby, the party was on trial over allegations of being a criminal organisation.

The group had been passing out flyers to commemorate the deaths of two party members, who were allegedly killed by anti-fascists in 2013.

“I’m sure that I was attacked because I told them to stop … and I’m sure the fascist members of Golden Dawn recognised me from the court,” said Kouniaki, who is part of a legal team for a group of Egyptian fishermen attacked by a Golden Dawn squad in Perama, an area near Athens, in 2012.

Sitting in her office in Exarchia, a central Athens neighbourhood, Kouniaki recalled the attack.

“I saw they were trying to enter the [bus] to find a man … after a while, they started to enter, and I started to yell ‘stop, stop’,” she told Al Jazeera.

Although Kouniaki was puzzled by the attack – she did not hear the man provoke the far-rightists and he did not subsequently speak out in the media – she has since concluded that they “wanted to send a message”.

After the incident ended, the men walked off, passing the police without being stopped.

Kouniaki recognised her attackers as members of Golden Dawn’s Piraeus branch; she has since filed a complaint.

By the time of publication, the Greek police had not replied to Al Jazeera’s request for a comment.

In a statement published the following day, Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos said he “strongly condemn[s] every act of violence” without referencing the attack on Kouniaki.

It was the latest in a string of similar attacks in Greece, which have sparked fears of a resurgence in far-right violence.

Golden Dawn currently has 16 seats in the Hellenic Parliament and three in the European Parliament. While it is not the only far-right group, it has a reputation for carrying out vigilante attacks.


On November 26, a group of Greek football fans attacked Pakistani immigrants as they celebrated the birth of Prophet Muhammad in central Athens’ Omonia Square. Police fired tear gas and sound grenades to disperse the crowd.

Golden Dawn has 16 seats in Greece’s parliament [Aggelos Barai/SOOC/Al Jazeera]

Earlier this month, a far-right group targeted the house of Amir, an 11-year-old Afghan boy who had been blocked from carrying a Greek flag during a school parade in October.

A neo-Nazi vigilante organisation calling itself Crypteia, a reference to a group of ancient Spartans infamous for attacking slaves, claimed responsibility for the attack on the boy’s home.

Crypteia is believed to be a splinter group that broke away from the Golden Dawn, which has toned down its street-level violence in recent years owing to the ongoing trial of 69 of its members accused of operating a criminal organisation.

After smashing windows and throwing rocks and beer bottles at the home, they left behind a note that read: “Go back to your village. Leave.”

Last month, a group of men surrounded and attacked a pair of Pakistani migrant labourers in a field in Aspropyrgos, an industrial area near the Greek capital of Athens.

Vakas Hussein and Ashfak Mahmoud, the victims of that attack, were subsequently hospitalised for stab wounds and injuries sustained from blows with iron rods to their heads and bodies.

Speaking to Greek media, Mahmoud later recalled his attackers shouting racist taunts and threatening to set them ablaze. Speaking to Greece’s 24/7 News at the time, he said: “They said they would burn me alive.”


In March, a gang of Golden Dawn members brutally beat Alexis Lazaras, a 24-year-old university student, near the party headquarters in an Athens suburb.

Members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party have campaigned against Muslim refugees in Greece [Aggelos Barai/SOOC/Al Jazeera]

The attack is suspected to be retribution for an anti-fascist action that saw masked anarchists smash the windows of the party’s main headquarters earlier that day, though there has been no indication that Lazaras had any connection to that incident.

On November 8, a criminal court in Athens delivered a guilty verdict to Golden Dawn member Christos Zervos for causing serious bodily injury over the attack on Lazaras. His sentence was suspended pending appeal.

Far-right attacks on refugees and migrants on Greek islands, such as Chios and Samos, have also become part and parcel of life for asylum seekers since the mass influx of refugees to Europe started in 2015.

Seraphim Seferiades, a politics professor at the Panteion University in Athens, explained that the recent uptick should raise red flags.

He argued that the government, currently led by the leftist Syriza party, has failed to provide an alternative to growing xenophobia and disillusionment with the status quo.

“As long as there is no alternative from the left, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Golden Dawn sought to fill the void. We’ve been seeing it all over Europe,” he said.

Syriza came to power in January 2015 after campaigning on a left-wing programme, but it has drawn criticism for reneging on promises to end austerity and to support refugees and migrants uprooted by war and economic devastation.

Seferiades said Syriza’s about-face “has created a gap, and any demagogue who comes along and is backed up by considerable resources could fill that role”.


Thanasis Kampagiannis, a lawyer in the Golden Dawn trial, has monitored the far-right organisation and others like it for years. “Golden Dawn is a neo-Nazi organisation, and it models itself off Hitler’s battalions,” he told Al Jazeera.

In October 2012, the United Nations refugee agency said that 87 racist attacks had been recorded between January and September of that year. Often wearing Golden Dawn insignia, the attackers targeted refugees and undocumented migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Yet, the party was put on trial after one of its members killed anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013. Since then, the number of racist and far-right attacks in Greece has sharply decreased.

“The number of attacks decreasing is beyond doubt… and this shows that the racist attacks we experienced in 2012 and 2013 were organised by Golden Dawn,” he argued.

“But this doesn’t mean we don’t still have fascist attacks, and this mainly has to do with the fact that Golden Dawn is not capable of reform. It cannot stop [carrying out attacks], even if it needs to decrease its violence.”

Back in her office, Kouniaki said she expected violence from Golden Dawn but was nonetheless stunned by the attack.

“I was shocked because the reality is that I didn’t believe it could happen outside of the court where they are on trial,” she said.

She was first threatened by Golden Dawn supporters in 2010 in Agios Panteleimonas, an area in Athens. After she arrived in the neighbourhood to find a group of Afghan refugees sitting bloodied on the road after being attacked, a throng of party supporters hurled threats in her direction.

Two years later, while making her way home after a political rally, she encountered a group of men she suspects were Golden Dawn members beating a Bangladeshi immigrant at a metro station. When she tried to intervene, they dragged her off and threw her to the pavement.

For her part, Kouniaki said she will not be deterred by violence or threats.

“This is what Golden Dawn wants in society: People to fear expressing their ideas and to not stand with immigrants and refugees … But it is a political duty.”

SOURCE: Al-Jazeera News

Μαρία Γιαννακάκη και άλλοι περιφρονούν δικαστικές αποφάσεις ΟΗΕ για αποζημίωση Ρομά θυμάτων αστυνομικής βίας και έξωσης

Η Μαρία Γιαννακάκη απαξίωσε να απαντήσει στην ακόλουθη επιστολή (που προτοκλλήθκε από τη γραμματεία της με Αριθμό Πρωτοκόλλου 318-24/04/2017 και η Ελλάδα συνεχίζει να περιφρονεί την υποχρέωσή της να αποζημιώσει τους Ρομά θύματα αστυνομικής βίας και έξωσης σε εκτέλεση καταδικαστικών αποφάσεων του ΟΗΕ.

Τ.Θ. 60820, 15304 Γλυκά Νερά, Τηλ. 2103472259 Fax: 2106018760
email: ιστοσελίδα:

Κυρία Μαρία Γιαννακάκη
Γενική Γραμματέα Ανθρώπινων Δικαιωμάτων

 Θέμα: Χορήγηση αποζημίωσης για αποφάσεις Επιτροπής Ανθρώπινων Δικαιωμάτων ΟΗΕ

23 Απριλίου 2017

Κυρία Γενική Γραμματέα

Σας αποστέλλουμε συνημμένα τις τρεις αποφάσεις («Διαπιστώσεις») της Επιτροπής Ανθρώπινων Δικαιωμάτων ΟΗΕ στις προσφυγές Ρομά Κατσαρής κατά Ελλάδας, Καλαμιώτης κατά Ελλάδας και οικογένεια Γεωργόπουλου κατά Ελλάδας. Μετά τη διαπίστωση παραβιάσεων του Συμφώνου η Επιτροπή ζήτησε από την Ελλάδα να χορηγήσει «ικανοποιητική αποζημίωση» στα ζημιωθέντα άτομα, καθώς, όπως γνωρίζετε, αντίθετα με το ΕΔΔΑ, δεν έχει συμβατική αρμοδιότητα να καθορίζει το ύψος αυτών των αποζημιώσεων. Ζήτησε επίσης «να δημοσιεύσει τις Διαπιστώσεις».

Δυστυχώς, οι προηγούμενες κυβερνήσεις, προβάλλοντας απαράδεκτους προσχηματικούς λόγους, αρνούνταν να συμφωνήσουν στη χορήγηση αποζημιώσεων οι οποίες είχαμε προτείνει να είναι ανάλογες με εκείνες που έχει περιλάβει το ΕΔΔΑ σε αντίστοιχες αποφάσεις. Παράλληλα, οι Διαπιστώσεις για τις προσφυγές αυτές (όπως και για άλλες στο ίδιο όργανο) δεν υπάρχουν πουθενά δημοσιευμένες.

Γνωρίζοντας τις ευαισθησίες σας στα θέματα της εκτέλεσης των διεθνών (ημι-)δικαστικών αποφάσεων καθώς στα δικαιώματα των Ρομά (τους δύο από τους οποίους –Κατσαρή και Καλαμιώτη- κατοίκους του καταυλισμού Χαλανδρίου έχετε άλλωστε άμεσα υποστηρίξει και ενώπιον της δικαιοσύνης), παρακαλούμε να κάνετε τις απαραίτητες ενέργειες ώστε να χορηγηθούν «ικανοποιητικές αποζημιώσεις» για το ύψος των οποίων είμαστε σίγουροι πως εύκολα θα συμφωνήσουμε. Επίσης, παρακαλούμε να φροντίσετε για άμεση δημοσίευση των Διαπιστώσεων από το Νομικό Συμβούλιο του Κράτους (όπως έκανε στο παρελθόν αλλά στη συνέχεια σταμάτησε να το κάνει) ή/και από τον ιστότοπο του Υπουργείου Δικαιοσύνης.

Προκειμένου να ενημερώσουμε την Επιτροπή Ανθρώπινων Δικαιωμάτων ΟΗΕ παρακαλούμε να έχουμε την απάντησή σας μέχρι τις 30 Μαΐου 2017.

Με τιμή


Παναγιώτης Δημητράς
Εκπρόσωπος ΕΠΣΕ

HRC Views_Katsaris_30-7-2012_greek


georgopoulos v greece views 2010 greek

Briefing Committee of Ministers on Bekir-Ousta and others group v Greece


Greek, Russian and Ukrainian cases
presented at latest EIN briefing on implementation

28 November 2017

On 24 November 2017, the European Implementation Network convened a quarterly civil society briefing on cases of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) scheduled for review at the 1302nd Human Rights Meeting (DH) of the Committee of Ministers’ (CM) Deputies on 5-7 December 2017. The meeting was held at the Palais de l’Europe and attended by representatives of over twenty delegations, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This was the fourth briefing undertaken in 2017, following previous briefings on different cases held in February, May and September respectively. The following cases were discussed at the briefing: Bekir-Ousta and others group v GreeceOAO Neftyanaya Kompaniya Yukos v Russian FederationKaverzin, Afanasyev groups, Karabet and Others, and Belousov v Ukraine, and Nevmerzhitsky, Yakovenko, Logvinenko, Isayev and Melnik groups v Ukraine. summary of points in the form of 3-5 recommendations made by all presenters on their respective cases can be found here and further information on the discussions at the briefing is provided below.

Bekir-Ousta and others group v Greece (Appl. No. 35151/05)

This group of cases concern the refusal by domestic courts to register associations on the grounds that their aim was to promote the idea that an ethnic Turkish minority existed in Greece. In 2008 the ECtHR found a violation of Article 11 of the Convention; however, none of the applicant organisations have been registered or re-registered to date. A similar judgment was made in 2015 in the case of a Macedonian minority organisation in Greece House of Macedonian Civilization and others v Greece.

Panayote Dimitras, Spokesperson of the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), provided an overview of the recent developments related to the recognition of Turkish and Macedonian minorities in Greece. He drew the CM’s attention to the fact that Greek courts continue to refuse registration of the associations. As stated by the Greek courts in 2017 in the cases of the Cultural Association of Turkish Women in the Prefecture of Xanthi and the House of Macedonian Civilization, there is no “structured Turkish minority” and no Macedonian nation, no Macedonian culture, no Macedonian language, and no Macedonian minority”. Mr. Dimitras also gave his assessment of the recent legislative amendments allowing the reopening of the cases adjudicated by the ECtHR and adopted by Parliament on 13 October 2017.

The GHM memo can be found here. The four submissions of the GHM to the Department for Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights pursuant to Rule 9.2 of the CM’s Rules for the Supervision of the Execution of Judgments can be found hereherehere and here.

24/11/2017: Presentation to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on the execution of Bekir-Ousta and others group of cases against Greece and of House of Macedonian Civilization and others against Greece

ddress: P.O. Box 60820, GR-15304 Glyka Nera
Telephone: (+30) 2103472259 Fax: (+30) 2106018760
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Presentation to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on the execution of
Bekir-Ousta and others group of cases against Greece (Application No. 35151/05)
and of
House of Macedonian Civilization and others against Greece (Application No. 1295/10)

24 November 2017

DPY-_vzXcAAS3HAGreek Helsinki Monitor‘s Panayote Dimitras (in the middle) making the presentation, with Kevin Steeves on his right and Piers Gardner and Vitalia Lebid on his left


1. Summary

Greece’s failure to execute the ECtHR judgments finding violations of the freedom of association of three ethnic Turkish and one ethnic Macedonian associations reflects the fact that Greece is the only European country whose administrative and judicial authorities do not recognize (or even simply acknowledge) the existence of the ethno-national (Turkish and Macedonian) minorities. If these associations, or other Turkish or Macedonian associations, (re-)register as a measure of execution of these judgments, this will be tantamount to a recognition (or acknowledgment) of the existence of these two ethno-national (Turkish and Macedonian) minorities, and hence of reversal of Greek policy.

2. Greek courts deny the existence of ethno-national Turkish and Macedonian minorities

Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) has documented this interpretation of the Greek courts’ stance, by submitting in 2017 to the Committee of Ministers (CM) two recent judgments of domestic courts rejecting registration of a new ethnic Turkish association, the Cultural Association of Turkish Women in the Prefecture of Xanthi, and of the, twice successful before the ECtHR, House of Macedonian Civilization. Their registration was rejected expressly because, according to the domestic courts, there is no “structured Turkish minority” and no Macedonian nation, no Macedonian culture, no Macedonian language, and no Macedonian minority.”

Additionally, in the September 2017 judgment for the House of Macedonian Civilization, the domestic court argued that the ECtHR judgments do not penetrate the Greek legal order and hence cannot annul the domestic court judgments. It added that the previous domestic judgments were issued not only because the aims of the association were a threat to public order and security but also “to protect the rights and freedoms of others, protected by Article 8 ECHR,” which rights, the Florina court claimed, were not taken into consideration by the ECtHR. The Florina court finally stated that the situation concerns a sensitive issue of cultural identity and is thus similar to the ban to wear the burqua that the ECtHR upheld in S.A.S. v. France.

The CM is requested to note that the Greek Government did not comment on the 16 September 2017 GHM submission on these cases and has to date not commented on the subsequent 5 November 2017 GHM submission, where the aforementioned arguments were first made by GHM.

3. The true value of the recently introduced “amendments” allowing the reopening of the cases

Great emphasis was put by Greece on the amendments allowing the reopening of the cases adjudicated by the ECtHR adopted by Parliament on 13 October 2017. In fact, of greater importance for that examination is the debate that preceded the adoption and the addition to those amendments of clauses that practically exclude the reopening of the cases on the associations of the ethno-national (Turksih and Macedonian) minorities after successful ECtHR judgments.

The CM is requested to compare the texts of the amendments finally adopted by the Greek Parliament on 13 October 2017 as submitted on 23 October 2017 to the CM by the Greek Government with the amendments initially tabled before the Greek Parliament but withdrawn because of widespread opposition as submitted on 11 September 2017 to the CM by the Greek Government. In the initial amendments, the admissibility of an application of revocation or amendment following an ECtHR judgment was binding for the domestic courts, which then had to examine the merits of the application. In the finally adopted legislative provisions, the admissibility of an application of revocation or amendment following an ECtHR judgment to be issued in the future is no longer binding but is “subject to the terms and restrictions provided in the relevant provisions of ECHR concerning the protection of national security, public order, the prevention of crime, the protection of health or morals and the protection of rights and freedoms of others.” Additionally, for ECtHR judgments issued in the past, such application has to also satisfy “the restrictions of article 11 par. 2. of the ECHR and the other provisions of ECHR, as well as international conventions.” [sic – they mean international treaties (συνθήκες) and imply the Treaty of Lausanne].

During the parliamentary debate, it had become clear that, except for the senior government partner SYRIZA, no other party was willing to vote for the initially tabled amendments unless the restrictions mentioned above were added. Then all major non-extremist political parties voted in favour of the amendments with the notable and historical first ever dissent from the party lines by all four “Muslim” (i.e. Turkish) minority MPs who voted against the amendments because they considered them ostensible pretexts.

The CM is aware that the restrictions introduced by the Greek legislator had been taken into consideration by the ECtHR when the latter issued the five judgments for the three Turkish and, twice, for the one Macedonian associations. The ECtHR had then rejected these restrictions which were included in the Greek Government’s observations. Now the Greek Government and the Greek Parliament introduced them in the legislation on the possible re-examination of these cases so that domestic courts, in addition to their persistent refusal to register Turkish and Macedonian minority associations, are empowered with a legal provision to consider inadmissible such applications for revocation.

The CM is therefore requested to reject the Greek Government’s conclusion: “Il s’agit d’une évolution importante de la législation interne qui répond aux demandes du Comité des Ministres (CM/Del/Dec(2017)1294/H46-12 et CM/Del/Dec(2017)1280/H46-13), dans la mesure où elle permet la réouverture devant les juridictions helléniques et l’examen à la lumière des constats de la CEDH des demandes d’enregistrement des associations des requérants.”

The CM is urged to conclude that, on the contrary, this development of the legislation does not respond to the demands of the CM as it effectively does not allow the re-examination by the Greek courts of the applications for registration of the applicants’ associations. The CM is also requested to recall that the Greek Government has failed to execute for 20 years the House of Macedonian Civilization judgments and for 10 years the three Turkish associations judgments in the Bekir Ousta group of cases. The CM is also requested to recall that 2 years ago the ECtHR decided not to examine new applications by the three Turkish associations as long as the CM is examining the (non-)execution of the corresponding 2008 judgments. Finally, the CM should take into consideration that during that 20-year period, several UN Treaty Bodies and Council of Europe institutions like the Commissioner for Human Rights and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have issued recommendations asking Greece to register these minority associations and/or recognize the corresponding ethnic Turkish and Macedonian minorities: Greece has opted to ignore all these recommendations.

4. Concluding recommendations

The CM is requested to consider that the Greek Government may be in effect violating Article 18 ECHR, after the introduction in domestic legislation of restrictions included in Article 11 ECHR that the ECtHR has ruled that they cannot apply in the cases of the minority associations, with the sole purpose to prevent the execution of the judgments. The abusive introduction in domestic legislation of these restrictions for reasons of state or to safeguard ethnic majority political tendencies against ethnic minority actors amounts to a destruction of the fundamental freedom of association. Since the CM does not have the competence to examine such claim and in view of the decades-long obstinacy of Greece not to execute these judgments, coupled only by its adamant refusal to recognize the existence of ethnic minorities in its territory, a unique case among Council of Europe member states, the CM is requested to: 

  1. join the examination of the Bekir Ousta group of cases with the House of Macedonian Civilization case, 
  1. ask Greece to provide explanations for the domestic court decisions not to register the new Cultural Association of Turkish Women in the Prefecture of Xanthi and, for a third time [!!], the House of Macedonian Civilization, 
  1. ask Greece to provide explanations for the amendments adopted with restrictions that appear to provide a legal basis to reject the reopening of the cases of the minority associations, 
  1. urge Greece to change the procedure for registration of associations so as not to depend on judgments by domestic courts that appear reluctant to register ethnic Turkish and Macedonian associations, and 
  1. serve formal notice on Greece of its intention, at a future meeting in 2018, to issue an interim resolution that Greece has failed to fulfil its obligation under Article 46§1 by non-registering these five minority associations, which is an indication of violation of Article 18 ECHR, in which resolution the CM will recommend appropriate actions.

Greece: As Winter Nears, Asylum Seekers Stuck in Tents on Islands

Greece: As Winter Nears, Asylum Seekers Stuck in Tents on Islands

Groups Press Greek Officials, EU States for Mainland Transfers, Improved Conditions

(Athens, November 22, 2017) – The Greek government, with the support of EU member states, should act now to end Greece’s “containment policy,” 20 human rights and aid groups said today. The policy forces asylum seekers arriving on the Greek islands to remain in overcrowded, unsafe facilities, an urgent concern with winter approaching.

Conditions on the Greek islands have continued to deteriorate in the month since 19 nongovernmental groups wrote an open letter  to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, calling on him to move asylum seekers to the mainland, where better conditions and services are available.

“This remains a matter of life and death,” said Jana Frey, the International Rescue Committee’s country director in Greece. “There is absolutely no excuse for the conditions on the islands right now – thousands of people crammed into overcrowded and desperately under-resourced facilities. We are in a race against time. Lives will be lost – again – this winter – unless people are allowed to move, in an organised and voluntary fashion, to the mainland.”

201710eca_greece_unhcrRefugee tents next to the Moria hotspot on Lesbos island, where thousands of people, including very young children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities, are trapped in abysmal conditions as winter sets in. © September 2017 Emina Cerimovic.

Members of the group recently asked to meet with Tsipras to discuss the most urgent needs on the islands and provide recommendations for addressing this increasingly dire situation. They have received no response.

Over the past month, the Greek government has transferred 2,000 people from Samos and Lesbos to the mainland as a one-time emergency measure. When the government announced this initiative in October, these islands were already 5,000 people over capacity. It was clear then that this measure, while helpful, would not suffice.

“Nothing can justify trapping people in these terrible conditions on the islands for another winter,” said Eva Cosse, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Greece and other European Union member states should act urgently to remove the obstacles to people getting the care and assistance they need on the Greek mainland.”

An asylum seeker looks from inside his tent at a makeshift camp on the Greek island of Samos, Greece. © October 2017 REUTERS/Costas Baltas

As of November 20, 2017, the hotspots on Lesbos, Samos, and Chios are hosting 7,000 over capacity: 10,925 people are staying in facilities with a capacity of just 3,924. Thousands, including single women, female heads of households, and very young children, are being forced to live in summer tents, essentially sleeping on the ground, as the weather worsens. Some women are forced to share tents with unrelated men, putting their privacy and safety at risk. This will be the second winter asylum seekers have had to spend in unsuitable facilities on the islands since the EU-Turkey Deal went into effect.

“The EU-Turkey Deal is condemning refugees and migrants to a second winter in squalor on the Greek islands. Instead of trying to maintain the deal at all cost, European countries and Greece should urgently work together and move asylum seekers off the islands,” said Gabriel Sakellaridis, director of Amnesty International in Greece.

Moria-Lesvos, Nov 2017, credits Giorgos MoutafisMigrants and asylum seekers gathering around a fire, inside the Moria hotspot on Lesbos island, Greece. Thousands are living under terrible conditions, in overcrowded tents and containers, as the weather worsens. © November 2017 Giorgos Moutafis

EU and Greek officials have cited the EU-Turkey Deal as a justification for the containment policy. However, forcing asylum seekers to remain in conditions that violate their rights and are harmful to their well-being, health, and dignity cannot be justified, the organisations said. As such, the groups have also written to EU member state ambassadors to Greece urging them to immediately call on the Greek government to suspend, the containment policy.

The groups urged Prime Minister Tsipras to protect the human rights of asylum seekers trapped on the islands by ending the containment policy, immediately transferring people to improved conditions on the mainland, and making a commitment to ensure that no one is forced to sleep in a tent.

Because the “containment policy” is being implemented in response to the EU-Turkey deal, the organizations highlighted the responsibility of the European Commission and the EU member states to address the situation on the Greek islands and to press the Greek government to reverse the policy. EU member states should support the Greek government’s efforts to ensure the safety and dignity of asylum seekers in EU territory, including by expanding safe accommodation and access to services on the mainland.

201711eca_greece_samostentsAn asylum seeker is seen inside his tent at a makeshift camp on the Greek island of Samos, Greece. © October 2017 REUTERS/Costas Baltas

“In an effort to make the EU-Turkey deal work, the Greek islands have been transformed into places of indefinite confinement for asylum seekers who have risked their lives in search of safety and a better life in Europe,” said Nicola Bay, head of mission for Oxfam in Greece. “The EU and the Greek government need to start putting people’s lives ahead of politics and uphold Europe’s commitment to human rights.”

To read the joint letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, please visit:

Human Rights Watch

Internation al Rescue Committee


Advocates Abroad


Amnesty International



Caritas Hellas

Danish Refugee Council Greece

Greek Council for Refugees 

Greek Forum of Refugees

Greek Helsinki Monitor

Help Refugees

Jesuit Refugee Service

Lesbos Legal Center




Terre des hommes

Ελλάδα:  Αιτούντες άσυλο εγκλωβισμένοι σε σκηνές στα νησιά, ενώ ο χειμώνας πλησιάζει

Ελλάδα:  Αιτούντες άσυλο εγκλωβισμένοι σε σκηνές στα νησιά, ενώ ο χειμώνας πλησιάζει

Οι Οργανώσεις πιέζουν τους Έλληνες αξιωματούχους, τα Κράτη Μέλη της ΕΕ για μεταφορές στην Ηπειρωτική Ελλάδα, και βελτιωμένες συνθήκες

(Αθήνα, 22 Νοεμβρίου 2017) – Η Ελληνική Κυβέρνηση, με την υποστήριξη των Κρατών Μελών της ΕΕ, οφείλει να αναλάβει δράση άμεσα ώστε να τεθεί ένα τέλος στη λεγόμενη «πολιτική περιορισμού», δήλωσαν σήμερα 20 οργανώσεις για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα και μη κυβερνητικές ανθρωπιστικές οργανώσεις. Η εν λόγω πολιτική εξαναγκάζει τους αιτούντες άσυλο που καταφτάνουν στα ελληνικά νησιά να παραμένουν σε συνωστισμένες, μη ασφαλείς εγκαταστάσεις, γεγονός που εγείρει επείγουσες ανησυχίες με τον χειμώνα προ των πυλών.

Οι συνθήκες στα ελληνικά νησιά συνέχισαν να επιδεινώνονται στο διάστημα αφότου 19 μη κυβερνητικές οργανώσεις απηύθυναν ανοιχτή επιστολή στον Έλληνα Πρωθυπουργό, Αλέξη Τσίπρα, καλώντας τον να μεταφέρει τους αιτούντες άσυλο στην ηπειρωτική χώρα όπου υπάρχουν καλύτερες συνθήκες και περισσότερες διαθέσιμες υπηρεσίες.

“Εξακολουθεί να τίθεται θέμα ζωής και θανάτου”, επισήμανε η Jana Frey, διευθύντρια του International Rescue Committee στην Ελλάδα. «Δεν υπάρχει καμία απολύτως δικαιολογία για τις συνθήκες που επικρατούν σήμερα στα νησιά –χιλιάδες άνθρωποι στοιβαγμένοι σε συνωστισμένες και ανεπαρκείς, σε σημείο απελπισίας, εγκαταστάσεις.  Δίνουμε μάχη με το χρόνο. Θα χαθούν –ξανά- ζωές αυτό το χειμώνα, αν δεν επιτραπεί στους ανθρώπους να μετακινηθούν, εκουσίως και με οργανωμένο τρόπο προς την ενδοχώρα».

201710eca_greece_unhcrΣκηνές προσφύγων δίπλα στο hotspot της Μόριας στη Λέσβο, όπου χιλιάδες άτομα, περιλαμβανόμενων πολύ μικρών παιδιών, έγγυων γυναικών, και ατόμων με αναπηρίες είναι παγιδευμένοι σε τρισάθλιες συνθήκες καθώς έρχεται ο χειμώνας © Σεπτέμβριος 2017 Emina Cerimovic.

Μέλη της ομάδας αιτήθηκαν πρόσφατα συνάντηση με τον Πρωθυπουργό προκειμένου να συζητήσουν για τις πλέον επείγουσες ανάγκες στα νησιά και να παράσχουν συστάσεις για την αντιμετώπιση της ολοένα επιδεινούμενης κατάστασης. Ωστόσο, το αίτημά τους παραμένει αναπάντητο.

Τον τελευταίο μήνα, η ελληνική κυβέρνηση μετέφερε 2.000 ανθρώπους από τη Σάμο και τη Λέσβο προς την ηπειρωτική χώρα εν είδει εκτάκτου μέτρου αποσυμφόρησης. Όταν η κυβέρνηση ανακοίνωσε την εν λόγω πρωτοβουλία τον περασμένο Οκτώβριο, τα νησιά αυτά είχαν ξεπεράσει κατά 5.000 άτομα τη χωρητικότητά τους. Ήταν προφανές, λοιπόν, ότι αυτό το μέτρο –αν και χρήσιμο- δεν θα επαρκούσε.

« Τίποτα δεν δικαιολογεί τoν εγκλωβισμό ανθρώπων σε αυτές τις άθλιες συνθήκες στα νησιά, για άλλον έναν χειμώνα», επισήμανε η Eva Cossé, ερευνήτρια για την Ελλάδα στη Human Rights Watch. «Η Ελλάδα και τα υπόλοιπα Κράτη Μέλη της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης οφείλουν να δράσουν επειγόντως εξαλείφοντας κάθε εμπόδιο που δεν επιτρέπει στους ανθρώπους να λάβουν τη φροντίδα και τη βοήθεια που χρειάζονται στην ηπειρωτική Ελλάδα».

‘Ενας αιτών άσυλο κοιτάει έξω από τη σκηνή του σε έναν πρόχειρο καταυλσιμός στη Σάμο © Οκτώβριος 2017 REUTERS/Costas Baltas

Έως τις 20 Νοεμβρίου 2017, τα κέντρα υποδοχής και ταυτοποίησης (hotspots) στη Λέσβο, τη Σάμο και τη Χίο φιλοξενούσαν 7.000 άτομα πάνω από τη χωρητικότητά τους: 10.925 άτομα διαμένουν σε εγκαταστάσεις με χωρητικότητα μόλις 3.924 ατόμων. Χιλιάδες άνθρωποι, ανάμεσά τους γυναίκες μόνες, γυναίκες – αρχηγοί οικογενείας, και παιδιά πολύ μικρής ηλικίας, αναγκάζονται να ζουν σε καλοκαιρινά αντίσκηνα, ουσιαστικά να κοιμούνται στο χώμα, υπό επιδεινούμενες καιρικές συνθήκες. Πολλές γυναίκες αναγκάζονται να μοιράζονται το αντίσκηνό τους με ξένους άνδρες, διακινδυνεύοντας την ασφάλειά τους και τη στοιχειώδη ανάγκη για προσωπικό χώρο. Αυτός θα είναι ο δεύτερος χειμώνας από την έναρξη εφαρμογής της Δήλωσης ΕΕ-Τουρκίας τον οποίο οι αιτούντες άσυλο θα υποχρεωθούν να περάσουν μέσα σε ακατάλληλες εγκαταστάσεις στα νησιά.

“Η Συμφωνία ΕΕ-Τουρκίας καταδικάζει πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες σε έναν ακόμα χειμώνα εξαθλίωσης στα ελληνικά νησιά. Αντί να προσπαθούν να τηρήσουν τη Συμφωνία με κάθε κόστος, οι Ευρωπαϊκές χώρες και η Ελλάδα οφείλουν επειγόντως να συνεργαστούν με στόχο τη μετακίνηση των αιτούντων άσυλο από τα νησιά», δήλωσε ο Γαβριήλ Σακελλαρίδης, διευθυντής της Διεθνούς Αμνηστίας στην Ελλάδα.

Moria-Lesvos, Nov 2017, credits Giorgos MoutafisΜετανάστες και αιτούντες άσυλο μαζεμένοι γύρω από μια φωτιά, στο hotspot της Μόριας στη Λέσβο. Χιλιάδες ζουν σε τρομακτικές συνθήκες, σε υπερπλήρεις σκηνές και containers, καθώς ο καιρός χειροτερεύει. © Νοέμβριος 2017 Giorgos Moutafis

Αξιωματούχοι της ΕΕ και της Ελλάδας προβάλλουν τη Συμφωνία της ΕΕ-Τουρκίας ως δικαιολογία για την πολιτική περιορισμού. Ωστόσο, ο εξαναγκασμός των αιτούντων άσυλο να παραμένουν υπό συνθήκες που παραβιάζουν τα δικαιώματά τους και είναι επιζήμιες για την ευημερία, την υγεία και την αξιοπρέπειά τους είναι αδικαιολόγητος, δήλωσαν οι οργανώσεις. Ως εκ τούτου, οι οργανώσεις απηύθυναν επίσης επιστολές στους πρεσβευτές των κρατών μελών της ΕΕ στην Ελλάδα, προτρέποντας τους να καλέσουν άμεσα την ελληνική Κυβέρνηση να καταργήσει την πολιτική περιορισμού.

Οι οργανώσεις καλούν τον Πρωθυπουργό Αλέξη Τσίπρα να προστατεύσει τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα των αιτούντων άσυλο που βρίσκονται εγκλωβισμένοι στα νησιά θέτοντας τέλος στην πολιτική περιορισμού, μεταφέροντας άμεσα ανθρώπους σε βελτιωμένες συνθήκες στην ηπειρωτική χώρα, και αναλαμβάνοντας τη δέσμευση να διασφαλίσει ότι κανείς δεν θα εξαναγκαστεί να διανυκτερεύσει σε αντίσκηνο.

Καθώς η «πολιτική εγκλωβισμού» εφαρμόζεται στο πλαίσιο της Συμφωνίας ΕΕ-Τουρκίας, οι οργανώσεις τονίζουν την ευθύνη της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής και των κρατών-μελών της ΕΕ να αντιμετωπίσουν την κατάσταση στα ελληνικά νησιά και να ασκήσουν πίεση προς την Ελληνική Κυβέρνηση για την ανατροπή της πολιτικής περιορισμού. Τα κράτη-μέλη της ΕΕ θα πρέπει να συνδράμουν την Ελληνική Κυβέρνηση στην προσπάθειά της να εξασφαλίσει την ασφάλεια και την αξιοπρέπεια των αιτούντων άσυλο στο έδαφος της ΕΕ, μέσα και από την επέκταση ασφαλών συνθηκών διαμονής και πρόσβασης στις υπηρεσίες, στην ηπειρωτική χώρα.

201711eca_greece_samostentsΑιτών άσυλο στη σκηνή του σε πρόχειρο καταυλισμό στη Σάμο © Οκτώβριος 2017 REUTERS/Costas Baltas

«Στην προσπάθεια να λειτουργήσει η Συμφωνία ΕΕ-Τουρκίας, τα ελληνικά νησιά έχουν μετατραπεί σε χώρους επ’ αόριστον εγκλωβισμού των αιτούντων άσυλο, ανθρώπων που διακινδύνευσαν τη ζωή τους σε αναζήτηση ασφάλειας και μιας καλύτερης ζωής στην Ευρώπη», επισημαίνει ο Nicola Bay, αρχηγός αποστολής της Oxfam στην Ελλάδα. «Η ΕΕ και η Ελληνική Κυβέρνηση πρέπει να αρχίσουν να προτάσσουν τις ανθρώπινες ζωές έναντι των πολιτικών τους και να σέβονται τις δεσμεύσεις της Ευρώπης για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα»

Για να διαβάσετε την κοινή επιστολή στον Πρωθυπουργό Αλέξη Τσίπρα, επισκεφθείτε τον εξής σύνδεσμο:

Human Rights Watch

International Rescue Committee


Advocates Abroad


Διεθνής Αμνηστία


CARE International

Κάριτας Ελλάς

Danish Refugee Council Greece

Ελληνικό Συμβούλιο για τους Πρόσφυγες 

Ελληνικό Φόρουμ Προσφύγων

Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι

Help Refugees

Jesuit Refugee Service

Lesbos Legal Center




Terre des hommes

17/11/2017: GHM first communication to Council of Europe on Greek law enforcement officials’ violence


ghm on makaratzis with answer by greece 17-11-2017