Burning Injustice: The Dual Crisis Facing Asylum Seekers in Evros
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) voices profound apprehension for the ongoing organised racist violence and attacks against refugees and migrants in the Greek region of Evros – currently battling Europe’s deadliest fire of the summer.
ENAR expresses deep concern with the recent reports by the Racist Violence Recording Network, including ENAR member The Greek Forum of Migrants (GFM). The reports highlight the alarming incidents involving civilian groups violently targetting refugees and migrants as they try to escape the raging fires in the Evros region.
Trapped Between Flames and Racist Attacks
”An alarming incident unfolded in the Evros region, where citizens appeared to threaten and illegally detain a group of migrants and refugees inside a trailer, while using racist and derogatory language and inciting similar acts of violence.
The incident came to light through a relevant video and subsequent articles, which triggered numerous racist comments. These events coincide with the tragic news of discovering dead people, reportedly refugees and migrants, in the Evros region due to the fires.”– Racist Violence Recording Network
At the same time, Alarm Phone has reported that numerous groups of refugees and migrants in the Evros region were terrified of risking their lives in the flames, but were too afraid of being pushed back over the border to seek help from the authorities or citizens.
According to the Racist Violence Recording Network, migrants passing through Evros are not targeted merely by the Greek authorities, but also face racially-motivated attacks by para-militias made up of armed civilians. Insofar, all but one of the bodies recovered from the fires were thought to be asylum seekers.
Greek and European Authorities Must Combat the Anti-Migrant Sentiment
“We vehemently denounce the escalating political discourse targeting migrants by the members of the Greek parliament and the general public. We urgently call upon the Greek and European authorities to proactively combat the surging anti-migrant sentiment and the associated risks of violence against racialised migrants,”
– Emmanuel Achiri, Policy and Advocacy Advisor on Migration at ENAR.
In light of the incidents that have come to light, ENAR extends the concerns of Racist Violence Recording Network and our Greek members that these incidents are not isolated. They signify a broader climate of racist attitudes against refugees and migrants in Greece, which have only escalated amid the fire crisis.
This condemnation echoes ENAR’s stance against Europe’s racist migration policies, as detailed in our report on the New EU Pact on Migration: Racializing Migration to and in Europe.