RVRN Annual Report 2018

Athens, 19.4.2019- The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) presented yesterday their annual report, which analyses findings of racist violence and hate crime across Greece in 2018, recorded by the 46 organizations participating in the Network.

From January to December 2018, the RVRN documented, through interviews with victims, 117 incidents of racist violence, with more than 130 victims. In 74 incidents the victims were migrants or refugees on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, colour, associations of third country nationals, human rights defenders due to their connection with refugees and migrants, as well as a memorial to the victims of shipwrecks. In six (6) incidents, Greek citizens were targeted due to their colour, foreign or ethnic origin. In nine (9) incidents, the targets were Jewish sacred or symbolic places and the Jewish community and in one (1) incident the target was a Greek citizen due to educational activity against anti-Semitism or perceived religion. In 27 incidents the targets were LGBTQI+ persons, including five (5) refugees, asylum-seekers and EU citizens. In 59 incidents more than one victim was targeted, whereas in 63 incidents the assault was committed by a group of at least two people.

The RVRN has documented that support for racist violence has increased, as attacks are carried out by groups which proudly profess their extreme xenophobic ideologies. Aggressive actions by citizens in everyday aspects of urban life have also been recorded. The RVRN stressed that the only way that the State can combat the reinforcement of racist trends, is through the dissemination of clear messages for the protection of human dignity across the country and urged the State to abstain from amending the Penal Code provision combatting racist crimes. The RVRN findings were presented by the RVRN Assistant Coordinator, Tina Stavrinaki.

In opening remarks, General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights, Maria Yannakaki, stressed that combatting racist violence remains high on the agenda of the General Secretariat and recalled the important initiatives taken in cooperation with international organisations and judicial authorities. She emphasized the importance of the cooperation between civil society actors within the National Council against Racism and Intolerance and agreed that combatting racism and racist violence is a constant battle.

Takis Zotos, attorney at the Golden Dawn trial and the Lukman trial, reminded  that a racist motive was recognized in just three cases and acknowledged the positive effect that the Circular of the Supreme Court Prosecution Office might have on the investigation of racist crime and the marking of the relevant files and emphasized the direct link between the message sent by the governmental authorities to judicial authorities and the Police.

Jackie Abhulimen, representative of Generation 2.0 RED stressed that despite positive steps related to citizenship, Greeks of different origin and/or colour are called upon to constantly prove “that they deserve to be Greek” and pointed out that their visibility should also imply recognition in practice. She presented incidents of “everyday” racism in public services, but also in the media and underlined that ignorance cannot justify Racism.

Marina Galanou, representative of the Transgender Support Association highlighted, through her personal experience, the difficulties and verbal violence faced by a transgender person in the process of legal recognition of gender identity and the protection gap created during this lengthy process. In addition, she stressed the necessity of training civil servants in order to combat stereotypes.

Kalliopi Stefanaki, Protection Officer at UNHCR, underlined the link between the absence of durable solutions for the reception and integration of refugees with racist attacks against them. She reiterated that the emphasis on the benefits of solidarity, finding realistic solutions and political will are the antidote to the toxicity in the public discourse. In this sense, the Global Compact for Refugees is also based on an international agreement aimed at making solidarity and responsibility-sharing a reality.

Roxani Fragkou, Legal Officer at the National Commission for Human Rights, analyzed, through examples, the role of the Commission in bridging the gap between the State and civil society and the mutually beneficial process of consultation with LGBTI organisations, labor anti-trafficking actors on the Manolada case and other representatives of civil society and authorities on the situation in the Eastern Aegean Islands Reception Centers.

The full report is available here


About RVRN

The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) was established in 2011 by the Greek National Commission for Human Rights and the Greek Office of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Today, RVRN consists of 46 non-governmental organizations and civil society actors, as well as the Greek Ombudsman and the Migrants’ Integration Council of the Municipality of Athens, as observers. The participating actors acknowledge and jointly pursue combating racist violence, as well as all racially-motivated acts on the grounds of race, colour, religion, descent, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics and disability.

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