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Greece
In a report released in March, the UN independent expert on foreign debt and human rights warned that the impact of the austerity measures in Greece had been particularly severe on the most vulnerable. Golden Dawn established itself as the third most popular party in the country with 9.4 percent of the vote in May’s European Parliament elections.
Attacks on migrants and asylum seekers, and LGBT people continued, with a network of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) recording more than 400 incidents over the last three years.
A ministerial decree adopted in June introduced residence permits on humanitarian grounds for undocumented victims and witnesses of hate crimes. In September, an Egyptian migrant seriously injured in an attack in 2012 became the first person to receive such a permit.
In September, an anti-racism law improving state response to hate crimes and lifting barriers to justice for victims of racist attacks entered into force, but measures criminalizing speech falling short of incitement raised free expression concerns.
In April, two men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the January 2013 murder in Athens of a Pakistani worker. The court failed to classify the act as racially motivated.
The trial over the September 2013 murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by an alleged member of Golden Dawn was expected to start before the end of the year. At time of writing, criminal charges had been brought against 70 suspects, including all Golden Dawn members of parliament and several high-ranking party officials, for creation and participation in a criminal organization.
In July, two of the four men charged for the 2013 shooting of 28 migrant strawberry pickers were acquitted, including the farm’s owner. In October, the Supreme Court decided that the case should not be retried. The victims’ lawyers said they would appeal to the ECtHR.
Increased security along the land border with Turkey coincided with increasing numbers of migrants and asylum seekers, including Syrians, seeking access through Aegean Sea islands. In October, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned that the situation on the islands was becoming a crisis. Sea crossings were marked by at least 40 deaths. There were continuing allegations that Greek border guards engaged in collective expulsions and pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers at the borders with Turkey.
The CoE human rights commissioner raised concerns in August over the shelving of an incident in January 2013 in which 12 women and children died off the Greek island of Farmakonisi, in what survivors allege was a pushback operation in poor weather.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in June and FRA in December 2013 criticized abusive stops during police operation Xenios Zeus against irregular migrants. In July, the government launched police operation Theseus against drug users, sex workers, and irregular migrants in the center of Athens.
The ECtHR held Greece responsible for inhuman and degrading treatment in immigration detention in eight separate cases since December 2013. In May, an Athens court ruled that the government’s February decision to permit detention of migrants beyond the 18 months permitted by EU law violated national and international law.
In an October report, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) described as “totally unacceptable” the conditions in which irregular migrants are held in police stations for prolonged periods.
Despite improvements in the asylum system and significant increase in Greece’s protection rates, asylum seekers under the old system still face a backlog of anestimated 45,000 cases. Access to asylum outside Athens and in detention remained difficult.
In January, a man was sentenced to 10 months in jail, suspended for three years, for running a satirical Facebook profile making fun of a deceased Greek Orthodox monk.

Πηγή: Human Rights Watch • World Report 2015 (events in 2014) • p.237-239

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