Saturday, September 18, 2010

UNHCR expresses concern over increasing incidents of racist violence

Friday 17 September
Athens – UNHCR expresses deep concern over the increase in incidents of racist violence, targeting refugees and migrants, that in turn fuel social tension. Indicative is the case of Ayios Panteleimonas in Athens, where attacks against foreigners and clashes have created a critical environment of social unrest that also affects the local population.

According to a relevant UNHCR report, racism and xenophobia are often at the root of discrimination and intolerance against asylum-seekers and refugees that considerably limit the enjoyment of their fundamental rights and seriously hinder integration into the host society. The efficiency of mechanisms for the protection of human rights, in combination with policies that promote tolerance and respect for the “other”, are basic elements that can reverse a climate of xenophobia and racism – that become more acute in the context of an economic crisis. This is to the benefit of both migrants/refugees and the host society.

The UN Refugee Agency stresses the seriousness of the situation and asks the competent authorities to take all necessary steps in order to investigate the incidents as well as to prevent and deter similar incidents in the future. In this framework, UNHCR highlights the importance of interventions that counter exclusion, promote social policy measures and foresee information and awareness campaigns, while it stands ready to support such efforts.


For further information, please contact:

Ketty Kehayioylou, Public Information Officer, email:
Stella Nanou, Public Information Assistant, email:
website: (English)

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