A new kind of barbarism: the ‘non-people’ of Patras

In his latest column, Matt Carr looks at the brutal persecution of undocumented migrants in the Greek port-city of Patras, a continuum of violence that spans militarised law enforcement, the policing of protest, immigration control and the battlefields of the „war on terror“‚.

By Matt Carr

I have just read a copy of the so-far unpublished report by the German NGO Pro-Asyl and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) on police brutality towards undocumented migrants in the port-city of Patras in Greece. It makes grim and often sickening reading. Patras is one of the main exit points in Greece for migrants and asylum seekers trying to make their way to other European countries.

Every year hundreds of people from Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea and other Third World countries pass through the city, where they live in squats, makeshift shelters and fields while they try to get onto a truck or ferry to Italy.

As an outlying ‘border country’ between the European Union, Asia and the Middle East, Greece has been a major entry point for migrants and asylum seekers for some years now. But the country rarely grants refugee protection, and the debt crisis has reduced the limited opportunities that were once available for undocumented migrant workers looking for low-paid off-the-book work. (more on ceasefiremagazine.co.uk)