Annual Report 2015

Athens, 19 April 2016 – The Racist Violence Recording Network (www.rvrn.org ) presented its 2015 annual report, analyzing the quantitative and qualitative findings of racist violence and hate crime recordings by the organizations participating in the Network.

During the period of January – December 2015, the RVRN recorded, through interviews with the victims, 273 incidents of racist violence with more than 300 victims. In 75 incidents immigrants or refugees were targeted due to their national or ethnic origin, religion or colour. In 185 incidents LGBTQI persons were targeted. From the 185 incidents against LGBTQI people, in 10 incidents, the victims have been targeted as activists.  In 5 incidents, human rights defenders were targeted either because of their action in favour of refugees or/and immigrants, or because of their anti-Semitic action. In 5 incidents sacred or symbolic spaces or spaces used by collectivities were targeted. Finally, for the first time 1 incident against a member of the Muslim community and 2 incidents against Roma children were documented. The 2015 findings were presented by the Assistant Coordinator, Tina Stavrinaki.

In his openings remarks, the General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights, Kostis Papaioannou, presented the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights in the field of racism and racist violence. The General Secretary praised the RVRN as a good practice of coalition of civil society organisations and for drawing attention to racist violence. It is a noteworthy coincidence that the inaugural session of the recently established National Council against Racism and Intolerance will take place tomorrow.

On her side, Ellie Varchalama, Second Vice President of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), reminded that the RVRN was established 5 years ago by the NCHR and the UNHCR Office in Greece and expressed her satisfaction for the fact that in the present circumstances of multilevel crisis in Greece, its structure and consequent operation constitute a valuable contribution to human rights protection.

The UNHCR Assistant Representative Protection, Ann Maymann, stressed the importance of the RVRN for the protection of refugees and expressed her confidence that the RVRN with the support of the coordinators will remain vigilant for the evolution of the phenomenon in the context of refugee crisis. “Recordings in 2016 will be extremely important”, she stated.

The representative of the Greek Forum of Migrants, Samsidin Indrisu, expressed the experiential impact racist violence has on victims targeted due to their diversity, expressed his satisfaction for the RVRN operation and urged the journalists to give the necessary publicity to incidents of racist violence.

The President of Colour Youth-Athens LGBTQ Community, Filippos Paganis, explained that victims of violence due to sexual orientation or gender identity are often young persons depending from their family which does not provide them with the necessary support. For this reason it is extremely important that the LGBT organisations are empowered through their participation in the RVRN and so more victims surmount the obstacles and share their experiences.

The Attorney at Law of the Greek Council for Refugees, Vassilis Kerassiotis, pointed out that the majority of incidents of racist violence are not brought to justice and for this reason, the RVRN covers the gap between reality and judgments on racist crimes. However, he expressed the hope that the recent legislative measures will facilitate the investigation of racist motive and will lead to the increase of decisions on racist crimes.

The Press Conference was coordinated by Daphne Kapetanaki, UNHCR Protection Associate, who underlined the value of the RVRN methodology and expressed the wish that the RVRN capacity will continue to grow but the attacks will decrease.

The Racist Violence Recording Network called the State to intensify its efforts towards two concurrent ends. First, to adopt a set of measures aiming to put an end to impunity for racist attacks and to support in practice victims of racist attacks. Secondly, in light of current developments, the State must act preemptively by promoting actively tolerance and respect for diversity.

For any further information: Tina Stavrinaki, +30.210.7233216, racictviolence@nchr.gr

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*Photo copyright: UNHCR / Yorgos Kyvernitis

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