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Ombudsman, Special Report: The phenomenon of racist violence in Greece and how it is combated, September 2013, Συνήγορος του Πολίτη, Ειδική Έκθεση για τη Ρατσιστική Βία: Το φαινόμενο της ρατσιστικής βίας στην Ελλάδα και η αντιμετώπισή της, Σεπτέμβριος 2013

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Type of publication


Geographical coverage


Area/location of interest

Not applicable - national level

Type of Institution

Human rights or equality body


Greek Ombudsman

Main Thematic Focus

Hate crime

Target Population

Muslims Migrants Right-wing extremists People with migrant background People of African descent & Black Europeans Refugees & asylum seekers LGBTI

Key findings

The Report highlights that the majority of racist attacks are never reported; are reported but not recorded; or are recorded but not as racist attacks. The inaction and reluctance exhibited by police officers, the officers’ refusal to arrest perpetrators or record incidents and, the victims’ very own fear that they may be arrested or stigmatized, together with their conviction that they will not be vindicated, resemble communicating vessels. Another main finding is the notable discrepancy between the formal and informal recording of incidents: Police records less than 1/3 of the incidents that the Greek Ombudsman has recorded and cross-checked as having taken place.

Methodology (Qualitative/Quantitative and exact type used, questionnaires etc)

The present report includes the findings of the Ombudsman after the Independent Authority’s thorough probe into complaints submitted to the Greek Ombudsman during a 16-month period (January 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013), a probe which was combined with a study on the phenomenon’s characteristics as those ensue from the grouping of racist violence incidents recorded during that same time period by the Hellenic Police, the Press, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The present report also takes into account the pertinent reports by international organizations and the proposals made by political bodies in response to a relevant invitation by the Greek Ombudsman.

Sample details and representativeness

The 281 complaints listed in 16 months and cross-checked with the mass media, the NGOs, and the Greek Ombudsman’s office, indicate that violence in the streets targeting those who are “different” on the basis of national or ethnic origin, race, colour, sexual orientation, and/or religion is a phenomenon that is palpable and
ever intensifying.

DISCLAIMERThe information presented here is collected under contract by the FRA's research network FRANET. The information and views contained do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA.