One of the darkest aspects of the combined effects that the refugee crisis and the financial default was revealed last week, as the Racist Violence Recording Network (www.rvrn.org) reported a spike on hate crime in Greece during 2015. The harrowing statistics are presented in the RVRN 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 (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex)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 and immigrants, or because of their anti-Semitic action. In five incidents sacred or symbolic spaces or spaces used by collectivities were targeted. Finally, for the first time one incident against a member of the Muslim community and two incidents against Roma children were documented.
The RVRN was established five years ago by the National Commission for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in Greece, in order to monitor human rights violation in Greece and contribute to effectively addressing the issue. 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. Commenting on the findings of the report, the representative of the Greek Forum of Migrants, Samsidin Indrisu, urged the Greek media to give the necessary publicity to incidents of racist violence.
As for violence against the members of the LGBT community, 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. From its side, the RVRN called the Greek government 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.