Following a fact-finding mission (29.02.- 02.03.2012) the Greek Council for Refugees reported: “Complaints often concerned incidents where migrants were forced into the sea, with their clothes on and in freezing weather conditions, to stay in cold water up to their necks and then once out of the water were made to stand still for hours in their wet clothes, until they freeze (…). In addition, there were reports of migrants who were forced to stay on their hands and knees, while port authority officers would sit on them. In other cases, the victims were forced to take off their clothes, stand still with their legs extended, and beaten every time they moved. Furthermore, as we have been told, the authorities often destroy or confiscate migrants’ personal belongings – even food or their shoes. The port officers unleash their dogs, sometimes leading to serious injuries from dog bites or falls when migrants try to escape them.

From a report released by Pro-Asyl Foundation about the ill treatment of migrants and refugees in Greece.

A couple of things come to mind here:

Europeans and their outrage over Guantanamo Bay and the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib would do well to read about the ways that the European Union itself treats undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. 

When European media reports right wing violence in Greece, the issue is presented as the result of disillusioned fringe groups that should be brought to justice. That is obviously not the case and the involvement of both Greek government officials and Frontex employees proves otherwise. Just to give one more example, from the same report:

A public discourse exemplified by Minister Loverdos of the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, routinely refers to migrants in Greece as a “hygienic bomb”, a “threat to public health” and a “financial burden” on the health system.

There is nothing isolated in these incidents. They are part of a continent wide policy of exclusion and dehumanization. These supposed “fringe groups” taking matters on their own hands now are nothing more than the normalization of this violence.

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