Amnesty International is concerned about reports that refugees, migrants, asylum-seekers and the homeless are being rounded up and detained as the Greek government mounts the biggest security operation in the history of the Olympic Games.
In this document Amnesty International expresses its concern that the Greek authorities, by evicting Roma from their settlement and failing to facilitate their move to alternative appropriate accommodation, are acting in violation of Article 1.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Athens has worked hard to present visitors of the Olympic Games 2004, and the world's media, with its best face. People living in the city have been rewarded with new sports facilities, railways and road junctions after months of dusty work on buildings and roads. However, all this has come at a price in terms of human rights.
Roma have been evicted, their homes demolished by the Greek authorities and attacks against Romani communities have not been investigated in Patras, Western Greece. Roma who have migrated from Albania have been particularly targeted. Amnesty International is seeking assurances from the Greek authorities that no further evictions or demolitions will be carried out until the organization's concerns are resolved, and procedures to safeguard the human rights of Roma of Greek and other nationalities are put in place.
This report considers that the ineffectiveness with which authorities have responded to migrants' needs has had a negative impact on the way in which 'foreigners' are perceived in Greece. For this reason, Amnesty International recommends that the reform of the current framework guiding the authorities' migration-related practice should be complemented by policies addressing the problems of discrimination, racism and xenophobia. This document looks at four areas of human rights violations: the legislative framework; detention and ill-treatment of migrants; violations of the ESC rights of the Roma; and, the invisibility of minorities.
Amnesty International's report, Out of the spotlight: The rights of foreigners and minorities are still a grey area,documents the failure of the Greek authorities to ensure that persons residing in Greece who are not members of the Greek majority group enjoy the human rights to which they are entitled, whether they be asylum-seekers, migrants or members of minorities. The report documents the mechanisms that contribute to this failure and makes a series of recommendations to remedy it.
At least 11 Roma families face forced eviction from their homes on a landfill site on the island of Lefkada in Greece, and have been subjected to other violations of their rights to adequate housing and health. The families have lived on the site with no access to electricity, sewerage and water connections for the past three years, following their forced eviction from another site close to Lefkada city, the capital of the island.
The present briefing paper focuses on Amnesty International's concerns in relation to specific areas of inadequate human rights protection in Bulgaria and Romania. The organization urges the European Union to continue to monitor the countries' adherence to universal human rights standards. In particular, Amnesty International is focusing on issues such as the treatment of persons with mental disabilities, discrimination against Roma communities, and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.