Annual Report 2014

ANNUAL REPORT 2014

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Athens, 6 May, 2015 – Today, the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) presented its 2014 annual report, analyzing the quantitative and qualitative findings of racist violence and hate crime recordings by the organizations participating in the Network. The report also includes the RVRN’s positions regarding victims’ access to the police and the justice system. Furthermore, it includes specific recommendations to the State in order to combat hate crimes, as well as to tackle racially motivated police violence.

During the period of January – December 2014, the RVRN recorded, through interviews with the victims, 81 incidents of racist violence with more than 100 victims[1]. In 46 incidents, immigrants or refugees were targeted because of their ethnic origin or skin color, while 32 incidents were committed against LGBTQI persons[2] (in three of these cases the victims were foreigners). Finally in 3 anti-Semitic attacks sacred places and symbols were desecrated.

The RVRN observes indications of Greek society’s familiarity with violence and the targeting of people because of their different ethnic origin, skin color, religion, race, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This finding is based on the three basic qualitative trends that were documented by the RVRN.

First, despite the criminal investigation of racially motivated criminal acts following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, attacks against refugees and immigrants continue to represent the majority of the recordings. Even though the intensity of the attacks appears reduced, the pattern of organized attacks by groups of people and physical assaults has not stopped.

Second, widespread diffusion of violence against LGBTQI persons is observed. Many attacks against LGBTQI persons and same-sex couples have been recorded, with the obvious intention of degrading treatment. Furthermore, particularly violent attacks have been recorded in cases where the victim was targeted on the grounds of gender identity.

Third, the involvement of law enforcement officials in incidents of racist violence remains particularly alarming. The failure to effectively tackle cases where lawfulness is not respected is exacerbated by the absence of an independent mechanism for investigating complaints of police arbitrariness. Consequently, efforts made by the Greek State to tackle racist crimes are, to a large extent, undermined.

In 2014, the comparison between the incidents that were recorded and the incidents for which a complaint was filed shows a slight increase in the complaints filed by victims who are refugees and immigrants. Therefore, one can infer that the police and judicial investigations into the activities of extremist groups through cases linked to Golden Dawn, has contributed positively to the empowerment of the victims. Through their testimonies, it is also evident that every indication of tangible solidarity and respect for legality by eyewitnesses empowers the victim and helps him/her to take every necessary action for the incident to be investigated.

Last year, the RVRN welcomed the adoption of legislative regulations regarding the protection of victims and essential witnesses. However, it stresses the fact that the State must guarantee the victims’ substantive access to police and judicial authorities, apart from the formal one. In the same spirit, the RVRN will carefully observe the practices of the competent authorities regarding the obligation to investigate racial motive, following the introduction of the general aggravating circumstance for crimes with racial motive (article 81A of the Criminal Code).

Following the aforementioned conclusions, the Racist Violence Recording Network calls to the State, to not only stay alert and active, but to also intensify its efforts in order to limit the spreading of racially motivated violent incidents. This presupposes the adoption of a set of measures aiming to protect each and every particular group of victims. Concurrently, in light of current developments regarding the increased refugee flows, the State must act preemptively and send a clear message of zero tolerance towards racist violence to society as a whole.

 Annual Report Report_2014eng

 

For any further information:

Tina Stavrinaki, racictviolence@nchr.gr , +30.210.7233216

[1] It should be noted, that the RVRN records incidents of racist violence on the basis of the victim’s testimony. Some cases involve several victims that cannot always be counted with accuracy. It should also be pointed out that some incidents of homophobic violence are directed against couples. In these cases, each incident is recorded as one but both victims are counted and taken into account.

[2] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex persons.

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