Migrants residing in Greece face a rising culture of discrimination and violence, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said in a report [text, PDF; press release] on Wednesday. The report, entitled "Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece," documents instances of abuse and discrimination against migrants who traveled Greece seeking refuge from war-torn homelands. The report notes that police frequently fail to investigate instances of violence against migrants, and migrants who report incidents are sometimes told they will be arrested if they pursue charges. Migrants living in Athens told HRW that parts of the city are too dangerous to travel through at night due to risk of attack. The report noted that there have been no convictions under Greece's hate crime statute since it's adoption in 2008. HRW recommended that Greek authorities condemn violence against migrants and immediately investigate reported attacks. The group also recommended that law enforcement adopt comprehensive policies to prevent and respond to violence and hate crimes in the country.
Laws and policies governing the treatment of migrants continue to raise international human rights concerns. Last month, Amnesty International (AI) said the Cyprus government's practice of detaining all illegal migrants seeking asylum in the island nation violates international law [JURIST report]. In January, the Israeli Knesset passed a bill that imposes harsher penalties on illegal migrants [JURIST report] in Israel, as well as on Israelis who help illegal migrants. AI criticized the bill as a violation of human rights. Last March, AI released a report documenting discrimination and human rights violations against Roma migrants [JURIST report] in Slovenia and urging the Slovenian government to protect Roma communities. In September 2010, the Global Migration Group (GMG) adopted a statement urging all governments to respect the human rights of migrants [JURIST report], who are more likely to face various forms of abuse as they lack proper legal status. The GMG stressed that every person, regardless of migration status, should enjoy the fundamental rights to life, liberty and all fundamental human rights.