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Migrants in Greece arrested besed on their physical appearance

Source: Reuters, Blic

According to the international human rights organization – Human Rights Watch (HRW), during the suppression of illegal migration Greek police often arrest people based on their physical appearance, but later shows that only a small number of them illegally residing in Greece.

In a report of the Human Rights Watch from June 2013, it was stated that migrants caught by the police are sometimes physically abused and often detained for hours until they establish their identity.

Every year around 130,000 migrants, mostly from Africa and Asia, are trying to enter the EU through Greece's porous borders, but after they manage to enter the country they are facing the growing hostility on the streets of Greece, which is the result of six-year-long recession and record rate of unemployment that hit that country.

Since August 2012, Greek police have arrested thousands of suspected illegal migrants in an operation of "eliminating" of undocumented foreigners, called "Xenios Zeus" (refereeing to the Greek god Zeus, the protector of guests and travelers) that was launched by the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

- The police should base their operations "on the evidence and investigative activities and not on stereotypes", said Eva Kose, Greek expert from the international human rights organization – Human Rights Watch.

During the first seven months of the operation "Xenios Zeus" in police stations all over Greece were brought up to 85,000 foreigners in order to verify their migration status, but at the same time was determined that only six percent of them reside in Greece illegally, stated the report of Human Rights Watch.

Many of those who were detained believe that it was done on the basis of their appearance. 35% of the detainees had the residence permit to stay in Greece, because they applied for asylum or have been a legal foreigners in Greece or the Greek citizens of foreign origin.

The report also quoted a statement of a 19-year-old Guinean, who said that he and some African and Asian passengers were forced to leave the bus in Athens in February 2013.

"Police officers stood at the door and said: 'All Blacks out' ", he said.

The United Nations said that the racially motivated attacks in Greece reached alarming levels and that the Greek government does not do almost anything to solve that problem.

In November 2012, the U.S. Ambassador in Athens, Daniel Bennett Smith, warned about the increase of attacks on people who "due to the color of their skin" believed to be foreigners

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