NEWS - Archive for August 2000
August 2000 Headlines
Headlines August 29, 2000
Headlines August 25, 2000
Headlines August 22, 2000
Headlines August 18, 2000
Headlines August 15, 2000
Headlines August 11, 2000
Headlines August 1st, 2000
EIGHT KILLED IN A BOAT TRAGEDY (Greece)
Six people were rescued including the captain
At least eight people have been killed and 18
are still missing after a boat carrying illegal
immigrants capsized near the island of Kos in
The boat was sailing from Bodrum in Turkey
when it went down.
Six people were rescued including the captain,
but coastguards in Turkey say they have given
up hope of finding any more survivors.
The search was
launched after the
eight metre (26.4 foot)
long Turkish boat with
32 immigrants capsized
at about 0530 local
time (0230 GMT).
Cumhur Guven Tasbasi
told a TV station that
the immigrants on
board included 18
Iraqis, five Afghans, eight Iranians and a
woman of yet undetermined nationality.
One of the rescued immigrants, an Afghan
national, told reporters in Bodrum that they
had paid $1,000 per person to unidentified
human traffickers to be smuggled into Greece.
Accidents at sea have become commonplace in
the region, where hundreds of immigrants from
poor Asian countries have flocked in a bid to
sneak into Europe in search of a better life.
Entering Turkey illegally from its eastern
border, most immigrants then either set sail for
Europe on dilapidated ships or try to cross the
land border into Greece.
© BBC NEWS
IRELAND MOVES TO STEM RISING TIDE OF RACISM
government is planning a campaign to
promote racial tolerance after recent
xenophobic attacks which have sullied
Ireland"s modern image as a flourishing
and fun place to work and play.
violence has led to a bout of soul
searching as a country which prides itself
on its hospitality struggles to deal with
tensions prompted by a rise in the number of asylum
seekers and foreign workers heading for its shores.
Irish Times issued a stark warning on the perils which
Ireland faces as it develops into a multi-racial society after
generations of mass emigration during which its own people
often suffered discrimination and abuse.
"Unless there is a
concerted and urgent national response, the poisons of
racism and xenophobia are set to spread through this
society," the paper said in an editorial.
"Irish people of
mixed race, or whose families have come from abroad,
confirm that they now encounter hostility which was not
there three or four years ago," it added.
leader Gerry Adams recently urged Prime Minister Bertie
Ahern to make a public stand against racism.
"He is in a
position to bring together...the political and church leaders,
trade union and community networks, media personalities
and music, cultural and sporting heroes in a public event
declaring our united stand against racism," the Sinn Fein
leader wrote in Ireland"s tabloid Star newspaper.
government is expected to announce a public awareness
campaign next month.
The first of its kind in Ireland, it will
seek to preach a message of tolerance through television
and billboard advertising.
Drawing on similar campaigns in
Canada and Australia, the initiative will also target schools
and the workplace as it seeks to dispel the fear and
ignorance which commentators believe are at the root of
RACE ATTACKS HIGHLIGHT PROBLEM
Widely publicised attacks on foreign exchange students and
tourists have highlighted the race issue in Ireland. In one of
the most serious incidents, Englishman David Richardson
was badly wounded after he was stabbed in Dublin in June.
Richardson, who is white, was attacked as he walked along
a city centre street with his black wife.
The couple were
visiting their son Christian, who was working in Ireland.
Christian subsequently quit his job and return to England
after he was chased by a gang shouting racial abuse.
Watt, director of Ireland"s National Consultative Committee
on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), says such cases
have forced the Irish to face up to the race question.
"Racism has been highlighted in a way that has never been
done before. Until recent years, racism wasn"t considered
an issue," Watt told Reuters, adding, however, that black
Irish people and the country"s nomadic "traveller"
community had long been victims of discrimination.
believes the authorities are starting to take the problem
seriously. "It has the potential to damage Ireland"s image
abroad, if it"s not handled well," he said.
"But I think that
the government are beginning to take strong leadership on
this issue." Watt said he would be pressing the government
to introduce tougher sentences for racially motivated
assaults. "We will be advising the (justice) minister to look
at our criminal legislation to see if it"s adequate to tackle
such crime and to consider bringing in, as you have in
Britain and America, so-called higher tariffs for hate
crimes," he said.
He bemoans the fact that there are no
reliable figures for the size of the ethnic minority population
in Ireland, estimating that the best guess for the figure is
probably around two percent, including travellers.
figure is set to rise as foreign workers come in to fill the
gaps created by a buoyant labour market.
Ireland has seen generations of its
sons and daughters leave its shores to seek their fortunes
overseas but history is being reversed as a flourishing,
hi-tech economy creates great job opportunities at home.
Irish politicians and business leaders estimate the country
will need up to 200,000 workers to keep the boom going
over the next seven years or so.
It is seeking to lure
emigrants back home but has also streamlined immigration
procedures to allow non-EU citizens to take up jobs in
nursing, construction and the IT sector.
director of social policy at the Irish employers" group IBEC,
says an influx of foreign workers and their dependants will
have profound social consequences.
"You are looking at a
changing society and it"s going to come on us really
quickly," he said.
IBEC is working closely with trade unions
to promote racial equality and the groups plan a week-long
initiative in November to combat racism in the workplace.
The "Celtic Tiger" economy has also led to a rapid rise in
the number of asylum seekers coming to Ireland.
asylum policies in larger European countries have also
driven more people to seek entry into the European Union
via Ireland. The system has struggled to keep pace with as
many as 1,000 people a month seeking asylum, many from
Nigeria and Romania. There are now some 12,500 foreign
nationals waiting to learn their fate.
Many of the asylum
seekers settle in the poorer parts of Dublin, prompting
friction with local people in what remains one of Europe"s
least ethnically mixed countries. Attempts to disperse some
of the asylum seekers around the country prompted initial
opposition in the chosen locations amid scare stories about
disease and crime.
However, the NCCRI"s Watt said that
feedback was now more positive from the provincial towns
involved. "There was strong opposition in about six of the
26 places they were located to. But the latest information
we"re getting is that a lot of people are now rowing in to
support the new arrivals," he said.
© ABC News
GERMANY'S SCHROEDER PLEDGES HARD LINE ON NEO-NAZIS
Schroeder said on Sunday right-wing
extremism was plaguing all of Germany
and vowed his government would fight
neo-Nazis with all available means.
Schroeder said he would not allow a
relatively small number of extremists to
darken Germany"s reputation that has
been painstakingly been rebuilt over the
last half century.
"Right-wing extremism and racism is not a
problem limited to eastern Germany," Schroeder said of the
formerly communist region where many of the recent
attacks on foreigners have occurred.
"It is a problem in
Germany, but there is more to our nation... Germany is
open to the world and welcomes its guests."
In an interview
with ZDF television, Schroeder said the government would
launch a three-pronged campaign against the right-wing
extremists. "We have to be tough and decisive against
those who use violence," he said.
"We have to give young
people perspectives for training and jobs, and we have to
have more civilian courage." Germany"s Nazi past has left
the country acutely sensitive to racism and xenophobic
violence, said to have claimed 30 lives since 1990 despite
tough laws against it. Foreign rights groups have said more
than 100 have been killed.
Schroeder, halfway through his
four-year term, said the neo-Nazi problem was also a risk
to the country"s image abroad. It was important, he said,
that foreign customers and investors had confidence the
government was on top of the problem. "I want the
government to be tough in fighting it and ending it,"
CONCERN ESCALATES AFTER
German concern about the
far-right has escalated since a Mozambican father was
kicked to death in June by three neo-Nazis in the eastern
town of Dessau. Police said he was attacked because he
About 100 neo-Nazis marched through Halle, a
town south of Berlin where the three are on trial for
murder, on Saturday ahead of a verdict expected on
They were accompanied by 1,000 riot police
and hundreds of counter-demonstrators. A bomb blast
which injured 10 people, including six Jews, earlier this
month also heightened fears of racism.
Rau said on Sunday that Germany must do more to protect
foreigners from racist attacks and make far-right groups
less appealing to youths.
"We absolutely have to do
something against this trend," Rau told Der Spiegel
newsweekly. "Even though there have been more incidents
reported in the east, no one should believe that it is a purely
We have a lot of work to do."
Nearly 10 percent of Germany"s total 82 million population
is foreign-born. But in the formerly communist east, where
unemployment is near 20 percent and many attacks happen,
less than two percent of the population is foreign. The
violence has stained the country"s reputation abroad,
although most Germans embrace or at least welcome the
diversity foreigners bring to the country.
top-selling newspaper, Bild, has run dozens of profiles of
foreigners who say they enjoy living in Germany. But
Roland Koch, arch conservative CDU state premier of
Hesse, said the issue was being blown out of proportion.
"We need to take a more relaxed approach to the
right-wing extremists. They aren"t going to destabilize the
© ABC News
SIX ARRESTED AFTER RACIST ATTACK ON SLOVAK GYPSIES (Slovakia)
Slovak police arrested six men for a racist
attack on a family of Roma Gypsies that
came days after the brutal murder of a
Roma woman, SITA news agency
reported on Friday.
It quoted police as
saying two family members required
hospital treatment after the assault late on
The six men, ranging in age
from 21 to 24, shouted racial abuse during the attack, the
report added. Police were not immediately available to
confirm the report. The funeral of Roma woman Anastazia
Balazova was due to took place later on Friday.
beaten to death on Sunday as she tried to defend her
children from assailants wielding baseball bats.
has triggered national outrage, but police have hesitated to
say the killing was racially motivated, noting that no arrests
have been made and there are several versions of what
happened during the attack.
Prime Minister Mikulas
Dzurinda has said he will personally ensure the case is
Over 500 mourners were expected
at Balazova"s funeral, which was to be guarded by police.
Racial attacks are not uncommon in Slovakia.
population, estimated at hundreds of thousands in this
country of five million, suffers from high unemployment,
poor education, and squalid living conditions.
months, an increasing number of Roma have sought
political asylum abroad, which has led to a review of visa
policy for Slovak citizens in some Western European
Earlier on Friday, a United Nations human rights
body urged Slovakia"s neighbour the Czech Republic to
amend its laws to end pervasive discrimination against
gypsies in housing, education and employment.
© ABC News
HOME SECRETARY CONFRONTED OVER REFUGEE STANCE (UK)
Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe has been
trapped in a taxi and surrounded by protesters enraged by
her stance on allowing refugees into the UK.
The incident happened as she left an event in Edinburgh
where she had been reading from her novel at the
Edinburgh Book Festival.
As she left a marquee in Charlotte Square by a back
entrance accompanied by police officers and security
staff, waiting protesters spotted her and quickly
surrounded her group as it tried to get to a waiting taxi.
Miss Widdecombe was able to get into the vehicle without
incident but as it drove off it only got some 30 yards before
it had to come to a halt because of a traffic jam.
The protesters quickly surrounded the vehicle. Some
struck it with placards and others thumped the windows
and door panels.
Police officers tried to restore order but struggled to get
other vehicles out of the taxi's way. They eventually
managed to clear a route and some protesters were
detained by police.
TORRY WOMEN ACCUSED OF DISCRIMINATION (UK)
Tory London mayor candidate Steve Norris has launched
an attack on the party's blue-rinse brigade, accusing
elderly Conservative women of stopping gays, ethnic
minorities and other women becoming Parliamentary
Mr Norris, who is now the Tory vice-chairman responsible
for trying to attract young and ethnic minority recruits to the
party, said he detected "a polite form of racism and
homophobia" amongst some Tory supporters.
He said the time had come to consider again all-women
shortlists for some Parliamentary seats and quotas for
ethnic minority candidates.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Norris said:
"We have to decide whether we are a national, inclusive
party or not. No party can be a national party which
excludes one in 10 because they are from an ethnic
minority or one in 10 because they are gay."
Mr Norris blamed the Tory women over 50 who dominated
selection panels - the so-called blue-rinse brigade - for the
"The party overwhelmingly selects white, heterosexual,
middle-aged, male professional people as its
parliamentary candidates, and the people doing the
selecting are likely to be female and more than 50.
"It's always been a great irony that it's women who select
men and who say to the women 'What will your husband
do if you're not there to make his dinner?' ."
He said: "They are looking for a husband for their daughter
and they don't particularly want to vote for Asian
candidates or gay candidates or black candidates. This is
something we have to deal with."
Mr Norris has clashed in the past with the groups of elderly
Tory women. He was labelled unfit for public office during
the London mayor campaign by some women in his old
constituency of Epping Forest after being labelled the
five-mistress minister during his time in office under John
He has previously condemned his critics as part of a
"monstrous regime of harpies" in the party.
AROUND 25,000 GYPSIES GATHER IN FRANCE FOR ANNUAL "CONVENTION"
Between 25,000 and 30,000 gypsies
gathered here for an annual meeting beginning Thursday which has raised the
hackles of local authorities at a time of strained racial tolerance across Europe.
"Most of the participants have now arrived, though more are still probably on
their way," said pastor Joseph Charpentier of the evangelical Life and Light
association, which organised the event in this northern French town.
More than 130 hectares (320 acres) of land around a former NATO airbase in
Chambley have been cordoned off for the gypsy gathering.
But the fact that the meeting has taken place without incident in previous years
has not prevented local authorities from reacting angrily to the four-day event,
which runs until Sunday.
In protest at the gathering, around 40 mayors in the region have refused to
organise a referendum on changes to the French constitution that would shorten
the presidential term from seven to five years, and tight security measures have
been put in place.
"It is the community of travelling people which they are rejecting, not the
gathering," Charpentier said.
The reaction of local officials flew in the face of recent laws passed in France
which recognised the cultural integrity of travelling people, the French Protestant
Federation said in a statement earlier this week.
Four hundred policemen will be present in and around the site, which will have
its own temporary police station. Emergency services have also set up a first aid
Local public services have provided electricity, drinking water and sanitary
services, essentially creating a temporary town at the Chambley air base.
The gypsy gathering takes place against a backdrop of strained racial
tolerance across Europe, with the rise of neo-Nazi activity in Germany, race riots
and attacks against North African immigrants in Spain, and anti-gypsy sentiments
emerging in eastern Europe.
In the northeastern French city of Strasbourg, Nazi swastikas and anti-Semitic
graffiti targeting the Jewish manager of the city's football club were daubed on
the stadium walls last weekend.
© The Tocqueville Connection
NESTLE PAYS $14.6 M FOR HOLOCAUST (Switzerland)
Food giant Nestle said Monday it is paying $14.6 million
toward a settlement with Holocaust survivors and Jewish organizations to meet possible
claims over the use of slave labor during World War II.
``It is either certain or it may be assumed that some corporations of the Nestle Group
that were active in countries controlled by the National Socialist (Nazi) regime employed
forced laborers,'' the group said in a statement.
It said it would contribute to a $1.25 billion settlement agreed upon by Switzerland's
two largest banks.
``Nestle expects this contribution to cover all possible legal claims that might be raised
against it both in Switzerland and abroad,'' the statement added.
Nestle companies operating in Germany and Austria will make voluntary contributions to
those countries' foundations to compensate slave laborers, it said, but did not specify
Some Swiss companies allegedly used slave labor in German subsidiaries or subsequently
took over implicated German companies. Nestle has said that it acquired a company in
1947 that was suspected of using forced labor during the Nazi era.
The two banks - Credit Suisse and UBS AG - reached their out-of-court settlement in
August 1998. This provided for the release of all claims not only against the two banks
but also against the Swiss government, the central bank, other commercial banks and
But when U.S. District Judge Edward Korman approved the settlement July 26, he said
that Swiss entities which seek releases from slave labor claims should identify
themselves within 30 days.
Switzerland's main employers' organization urged any company which might have used
forced labor to come forward.
Nestle said that in many instances, it did not own the corporations that used forced
labor at the time, and it was ``often not possible to exercise effective control'' over
those that it did.
``As the legal successor of such corporations, Nestle nevertheless accepts its moral
responsibility to help alleviate human suffering,'' the company said.
© Associated Press
POLICE POUNCE ON RING EXPOILTING ALBANIANS YOUTH AS STREET BEGGARS (Greece)
IN THE latest move to bring those who exploit children to justice, police yesterday raided two run-down homes in the neglected Athens district of Kolonos. Thirty-five young Albanian Gypsy street kids were taken into custody, together with 20 Gypsy men and women
identified as their parents.
Five of the adults - four women and a man - were brought before a court and given a suspended jail sentence of three months and 20 days. All of the children and adults were to be deported today.
Investigating authorities said that the children were being forced to beg at street corners and that they apparently earned an estimated total of 60,000 drachmas a day. Neighbours reported that the children were physically abused by their parents. The youngest child was three months old and the oldest 11.
Young boys and girls, many of them Albanian and Gypsies, can be seen at busy intersections around the capital cleaning car windshields for motorists stopped at traffic lights in exchange for a few drachmas. Many more youngsters in ragged, dirty clothing, often without shoes even in winter, beg on street corners or sell tissues and flowers at cafes and restaurants.
There are at least several thousand street kids who are driven to beg either by their parents or by so-called guardians. Many of the children are victims of abuse. Child smuggling from Albania to Greece is a thriving racket, according to local children rights group A Child's Smile.
"It is impossible to estimate how many children beg on the street," the president of A Child's Smile, Costas Yiannopoulos, told the Athens News yesterday. "But a large number of them are from Albania and they have been 'rented out' by their parents."
Based on the findings of a study carried out by the group in Thessaloniki, the majority of Greece's street kids are between the ages of eight and 14. Sixty percent of the children are from Albania and most have been separated from their parents, who remain in their native country.
These youngsters are brought to Greece by someone posing as their guardian or parent. In most cases, their biological parents, faced with mounting financial difficulties in Albania, agreed to send their child to Greece in exchange for a small percentage of their child's earnings each month.
© ATHENS NEWS
WHEN FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IS A CRIME (Turkey)
Charges against Turkish journalist Nadire Mater should be dropped
immediately, Amnesty International said today.
"If she is convicted she would be considered to be a prisoner of
Nadire Mater will stand trial on 24 August and could be sentenced to
several years in prison. Her publisher Semih Sökmen also faces a fine.
Her sole "crime" is to have conducted and published interviews with
former conscripts who were deployed in the region mainly inhabited by
Kurds and thus participated in the armed conflict there.
In her defence statement in the first trial session on 29 September
1999, Nadire Mater said: "Indeed, those who are being tried in this
court room are not myself and my publisher but the 42 veterans who for
the first time after 15 years of bloody fighting were provided a channel
to express themselves, their frustrations, fears and hopes.
have done, as a genuine journalist, is to hold a microphone for these
young men and reflect their words truthfully. The indictment is ironic
in the sense that not even a single word of mine is presented as an
evidence for my 'guilt'."
Nadire Mater has been charged with having insulted and vilified the
Turkish military with the publication of her book Mehmedin Kitab -
Mehmet's book ("Mehmet" stands for the Turkish soldiers).
intended to look at the armed conflict in southeastern Turkey from the
perspective of its participants and to present a picture of what the
For this purpose, she conducted a total of 42
interviews with young men who did their military service in the region
under emergency rule between 1984 and 1998, and with two relatives of
soldiers. She took special care to include in her sample the different
ethnic, religious, confessional and cultural groups, rightists as well
as leftists, nationalists as well as Islamists, supporters and opponents
of the conflict.
The indictment refers solely to the interviews, not to her own
The quotes from the book with which the author
allegedly insulted the army contain references to deliberate
intimidation of civilians; accounts or criticism of human rights
violations; war crimes and extreme brutality against PKK militants;
brutality of senior soldiers against conscripts; allegations of drug
abuse or smuggling; and the existence of Islamists in the army.
Amnesty International urges the Turkish authorities to conduct a
thorough review of Turkish law and the constitution in order to lift any
restrictions on the right to express opinions peacefully.
"Charges like those against Nadire Mater and her publisher should be
dropped," Amnesty International said. "All prisoners of conscience
should be immediately and unconditionally released."
© Balkan Human Rights Web Pages
GERMAN SKINHEADS DENY INTENT TO KILL MOZAMBICAN
Three German skinheads have denied
they intended to kill a Mozambican man
although they have admitted the brutal
attack that led to his death three days
later, court officials said on Wednesday.
Two 16-year-olds, Frank Mietbauer and
Christian Richter, and Enrico Hiltricht,
24, went on trial on Tuesday for the
racist murder of 39-year-old Alberto Adriano, who died
on June 14, three days after they allegedly beat him
The three youths admitted that they had
attacked Adriano, saying they had been drunk at the time,
but told the court they had not intended to kill him, a court
spokesman said on Wednesday.
After the charges were
read out on Tuesday, the proceedings were closed to the
public as two of the accused are minors.
A judgment is
expected as early as next Monday.
A murder conviction
carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in
Germany, but prosecutors will have to prove intention to
kill and the defence is expected to argue the men were
The charge sheet says the three skinheads
were walking through the centre of the eastern town of
Dessau late at night on June 11 singing neo-Nazi songs
when they crossed paths with Adriano, who was on his
way home after visiting friends.
It says they shouted racist
slogans at Adriano and blocked his way. Adriano tried to
pacify the youths, telling them he had lived in Germany for
years and had a family, but to no avail.
The three beat the
Mozambican to the ground and kicked him repeatedly
with their lace-up army-style boots before stripping him
naked. Hiltricht is accused of stamping on Adriano"s head
at least 10 times. The youths then dragged his inert body
about 40 metres (130 feet) before continuing the attack.
They stopped only when they heard police arriving, and
tried to flee, but were apprehended near the scene.
Adriano"s murder, as well as a mystery bomb attack last
month in Duesseldorf that injured 10 immigrants including
six Jews, has prompted a new wave of soul-searching
about persistent extremist violence in a country still
haunted by its Nazi past.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder,
currently on a meet-the-people tour of impoverished east
Germany, where the far right has found many new recruits
with unemployment twice as high as in the west, has said
he is sick of racist attacks and the harm they do to
Germany"s international image.
© ABC News
BRITAIN CRITICISES U.N. REPORT ON RACISM
said on Wednesday that the United
Nations" human rights watchdog was
"grossly lacking in courtesy" after it
expressed concerns at continuing racist
attacks and treatment of asylum seekers.
Home Secretary Jack Straw said the
U.N. Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination announced its
findings without giving a copy of its report to the British
"I am profoundly concerned about the way
this matter has been handled," Straw told BBC radio,
saying he had only seen a two-page press summary of the
committee"s report. "It seems to me, at best, grossly
lacking in courtesy to issue a press notice of a major
report to a member state where the member state itself
has complied fully with reporting obligations."
said the U.N. committee had ignored some steps Britain
had taken to toughen up laws against racist attacks. The
committee expressed concern on Tuesday about what it
called continuing racist attacks in Britain and urged it to do
more to protect asylum-seekers.
Ethnic minorities in
Britain felt increasingly vulnerable, it said. The issue came
to the fore in Britain last year when an inquiry concluded
that institutional racism had led to the failure of police
officers to convict the killers of black teenager Stephen
Lawrence, murdered by a gang of white youths.
political row over record numbers of asylum seekers last
year also fuelled a public backlash against immigrants.
Straw said Britain provided the committee with "massively
comprehensive" information on its battle against racism,
while other European nations and the United States
submitted no information at all.
The committee"s reports
were little use unless they could help countries compare
their records with other states, he said.
"It seems to me to
be an abnegation of the responsibilities of this committee if
they are saying "All we are doing is looking at the situation
in one country"," Straw said. Straw insisted race relations
were his "first priority" and that overall Britain had a better
record than most countries in Europe and North America.
He said the rise in reported racist incidents was due to
increased confidence in police to follow them up.
against racist attacks had been toughened and legislation
to strengthen laws on race relations had been put before
parliament. "People can"t have it both ways.
fact of the matter is that the number of people seeking
asylum in this country is at the moment in numerical terms
higher than quite a number of other European countries,"
"Insofar as those people are concerned, they
reckon there is something they seek here which is not
© ABC News
MAIL POLICE BIASED OVER HATE MAIL PROBE (UK)
A Sikh police officer who was sacked after being
accused of sending racist hate mail was himself
racially discriminated against by the Metropolitan
Police, an employment tribunal has found.
There was no evidence to show that Sergeant Gurpal
Virdi was responsible for racist letters distributed within
the Ealing division of the Metropolitan Police in
December 1997 and January 1998, the tribunal said.
It found that Sgt Virdi was the subject of racial
discrimination by the police force during its
investigation of him.
Mr Virdi was dismissed after a four-week internal
disciplinary hearing earlier this year in which it was
alleged that he sent racist hate mail to 13 of the 15
non-white officers, including himself, in the Ealing
division on December 24, 1997.
The letters, delivered by the Met's internal mail system,
carried a message telling the officers to leave the force
and were signed with the initials of the National Front.
Six more letters were received by civilian workers on
January 19, 1998 which carried a similar message and
were again accompanied by the initials of the National
Mr Virdi had given evidence on racism in the
Metropolitan Police force to the Stephen Lawrence
inquiry and had 16 years unblemished service in the
It was suggested that he had been turned down for
promotion and was planning a claim of racial
discrimination against the force.
Some of the messages were allegedly linked to his
computer. In April 1998 his home was searched by
police investigators looking for more evidence and he
SPAIN POLICE ARREST 164 WOULD-BE IMMIGRANTS
Police have detained 164 would-be immigrants who
tried to enter Spain illegally by sea.
The detentions brings to nearly 600 the number of
African citizens caught entering southern Spain illegally
by boat over the past week.
In separate operations between midnight and dawn,
police found most of the would-be immigrants aboard
open boats in the Strait of Gibraltar, off the southern
coast of Spain.
In one incident, 31 of the would-be immigrants had to
be rescued from the sea after their single-motor, open
boat had capsized, said a police spokeswoman in the
nearby provincial capital of Cadiz.
Sixty-two men and women were picked up on the road
outside the southern coastal town of Tarifa shortly after
they had arrived by boat, said the spokeswoman.
The detained were mostly from Morocco although more
than 50 appeared to be from other African countries,
Each year, especially in summer, thousands of Africans
pay relatively large sums of money to be taken across
the Strait by night in the hope of entering Spain, and
Europe, illegally to find work.
Many are known to die making the hazardous journey.
Once the men and women are identified, police look to
deport them back to their respective countries. The
matter is often complicated as many of the would-be
immigrants come without identity papers.
Police say they have arrested some 7,000 illegal
immigrants trying to reach Spain's coasts so far this
DUTCH POLICE MAKE MORE DOVER DEATHS ARRESTS
Dutch police investigating the deaths of 58 Chinese
illegal immigrants whose bodies were found in a
refrigeration truck at Dover docks have arrested three
Gerard de Haas, of the Unit of Alien Smuggling, said
arrests were made in Rotterdam. The transport
company which shipped the immigrants across the
English Channel operated out of the Dutch port.
Mr de Haas said: "In the interests of the inquiry, this is
all we can say."
English and Dutch officials have made 13 arrests since
the immigrants were found in the back of a
Dutch-owned truck in June.
UN RIGHTS CHIEF WELCOMES FRENCH SOCCER CLUB'S MOVE AGAINST RACIST GRAFFITI
The UN's top human rights official Mary
Robinson welcomed here Tuesday a move by a French football club to take
legal action against some of its supporters for incitement to racial hatred.
The decision by Racing Club of Strasbourg is "particularly opportune in
drawing attention to the importance of mobilising support for the fight against
bias" ahead of the World Conference against Racism, the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.
The Conference is due to take place in South Africa from August 31 until
September 7 next year.
"The High Commissioner considers it deeply encouraging to see that the club
is receiving support from the authorities and from civil society organisations in
France," the statement said.
Following the club's defeat to Rennes on Saturday, the fourth defeat in four
matches, anti-semitic and Nazi graffiti insulting the team's trainer Claude Le Roy
was sprayed on a wall at the stadium.v
It sparked criticism from the French Youth and Sports Minister
Marie-George Buffet and the town's mayor Catherine Trautmann who has
lodged an official complaint.
© The Tocqueville Connection
UNITED NATIONS CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS TO IMPROVE THEIR TREATMENT OF ROMA "review and enact or amend legislation [...] to eliminate all forms of
racial discrimination against Roma;"
"take appropriate measures to secure to members of Roma communities
effective remedies and to ensure that justice is fully and promptly done in
cases concerning violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms;"
"adopt and implement national strategies and programmes and express
determined political will and moral leadership, with the view to improving
the situation of Roma and their protection against discrimination by state
bodies, as well as by any person or organisation;"
"develop and encourage […] dialogue between Roma […] and central and
"ensure that legislation regarding citizenship and naturalization does
not discriminate against members of Roma;"
"take all necessary measures […] to avoid any form of discrimination
against immigrants or asylum seekers of Roma origin;"
"acknowledge wrongs done during the Second World War to Roma communities
by deportation and extermination and consider ways of compensating for them;"
in the field of racial violence, "ensure protection of security and
integrity of Roma, without any discrimination by adopting measures for
preventing racially motivated acts of violence against them;" "ensure
prompt action by the police, the prosecutors and the judiciary for
investigating and punishing such acts and [...] that perpetrators, be they
public officials or private persons, do not enjoy any degree of impunity;"
"take measures to prevent use of illegal force by the police against Roma,
in particular in connection with arrest and detention;" "encourage [...]
communication and dialogue between the police and Roma;" "encourage
recruiting members of Roma [...] to the police and other law enforcement
in the field of education, "act with determination for eliminating any
discrimination or racial harassment of Roma students;" "prevent the
segregation of Roma students, while keeping open the possibility for
bilingual or mother tongue tuition;" "cooperate actively with Roma parents,
associations and local communities;" "include in text-books, at all
appropriate levels, chapters about history and culture of Roma;" "recruit
school personnel from among members of Roma [...] and [...] promote
in the field of employment, "adopt and make more effective legislation
prohibiting discrimination in employment, and all discriminatory practices
in the labour market affecting members of Roma [...] and [...] protect them
against such practices; take special measures for promoting employment of
Roma in public administration and institutions, as well as in private
in the field of housing, "develop and implement policies and projects
aimed at avoiding segregation of Roma [...] in housing;" "act firmly
against local measures of denying residence to, and unlawful expulsion of
Roma, and [...] refrain from placing Roma in camps outside populated areas,
isolated and without access to health care and other facilities;"
in the field of health care and social protection, "ensure equal access
of Roma to health care and to social security services and [...] eliminate
any discriminatory practices against them in this field;" "initiate and
implement programmes and projects in the field of health for Roma" and
"involve Roma associations and communities and their representatives,
mainly women, in designing and implementing health programmes and projects
concerning Roma groups;"
in the field of access to public accommodations, "prevent, eliminate and
adequately punish any discriminatory practices concerning access of members
of the Roma communities to all places and services intended for the use of
the general public, including restaurants, hotels, theatre and music halls,
discotheques and others;"
in the field of media, "act as appropriate for the elimination of any
ideas of racial or ethnic superiority, of racial hatred and incitement to
discrimination and violence against Roma in the media, in accordance with
the provisions of the Convention;" raise awareness among media
professionals "of the particular responsibility to not disseminate
prejudices and to avoid reporting incidents involving individual members of
Roma communities in a way which blames the community as a whole [and]
encourage methods of self-monitoring by the media, such as respect for a
code of conduct for media organisations, in order to avoid racial,
discriminatory or biased language;" "develop educational and media
campaigns and educate the public about Roma life, society and culture and
the importance of building an inclusive society [...] respecting their
human rights and their identity;" "encourage and facilitate Roma access to
media [...] and the establishment of their own media, as well as the
training and formation of Roma journalists;"
in the field of participation in political life and policy-making, "take
the necessary steps, including special measures, to secure equal
opportunities for the participation of Roma minorities or groups in all
central and local governmental bodies;" "develop modalities and structures
of consultation with Roma political parties, associations and
representatives, both at central and local levels, when considering issues
and adopting decisions on matters of concern to Roma;" "involve Roma […] at
the earliest stages in the development of Roma policies and programmes and
in their implementation and ensure [...] transparency about such policies
and programmes;" "organise training programmes for Roma public officials
and representatives, as well as for prospective candidates to such
PRESS STATEMENT 21 AUGUST, 2000
The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) welcomes the thematic discussion
held last week by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination (CERD) concerning racial discrimination against Roma.
release of the CERD's general recommendation at the conclusion of the
discussion, outlining a number of measures that governments should take to
improve the situation of the Roma, Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of
ERRC, stated, "This event properly underscores the international
community's concern about widespread government failure to combat racism
and discrimination against Roma.
The numerous shortcomings identified by
the Committee require urgent action by many European governments to bring
their legislation and practice into compliance with international law."
The CERD is a United Nations body charged with responsibility for
overseeing compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
It has been ratified by virtually
all European governments (the only exceptions are Andorra, Ireland, San
Marino and Turkey).
Composed of eighteen internationally-recognised
experts, the CERD reviews states' compliance with the Convention through a
reporting procedure which obliges governments to submit reports on a
The August session marks the first time in the Committee's
30-year-long history that it has held a discussion on a thematic issue and
adopted a general recommendation dedicated to a specific ethnic group.
According to Michael E. Sherifis, Chairman of the Committee, "during the
consideration of periodic reports of several contracting parties, it had
emerged that the Roma people were discriminated against in many countries
The standards of the Convention were not met and in fact many of its
provisions were directly and constantly violated." Among the specific
violations highlighted by Sherifis were "Roma children being placed in
special schools for mentally disabled pupils, depriving them of dignity and
opportunities for the future in terms of higher education and employment;"
"forced relocation of Roma" and "the existence of Roma settlements or camps
in isolated locations, sometimes close to rubbish deposits or contaminated
industrial sites, surrounded by walls or fences and lacking the very basic
sanitary facilities;" "excessive use of force by the police against Roma,
and physical violence by members of racist organisations against them," and
that "discriminatory acts against Roma often went unpunished."
Committee was "painfully aware" that "for centuries," the Roma had been
subjected to "ill-treatment, rejection, exclusion and discrimination of
various forms. [...] It was distressing to know that at the beginning of
the third millennium, the problem was still there," Sherifis said.
In its general recommendation addressed to states parties to the
Convention, the Committee called on governments to undertake a number of
specific measures, including the following:
The Committee further recommended that governments "include in their
periodic reports [...] data about the Roma communities within their
jurisdiction, including statistical data about Roma participation in
political life and about their economic, social and cultural situation,
including from a gender-perspective, and information about the
implementation of this General Recommendation."v
Finally, in three final recommendations not addressed to governments, the
Committee requested that:
"intergovernmental organisations address, in their projects of
cooperation and assistance to different States parties [...], the situation
of Roma communities and favour their economic, social and cultural
"the High Commissioner for Human Rights consider establishing a focal
point for Roma issues within the Office of the High Commissioner;"
"the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia
and Related Intolerance give due consideration to the above
recommendations, taking into account the place of the Roma communities
among those most disadvantaged and most subject to discrimination in the
ERRC and other non-governmental organisations contributed with written and
oral information to the Committee's thematic discussion. ERRC's written
submission, as well as other information concerning the human rights
conditions of Roma and the activities of ERRC, are available on the
Internet at http://errc.org or from ERRC upon request.
SCHRODER SHIELDED FROM SKINHEADS AND PITBULLS ON TOUR OF 'REAL' EAST (Germany)
It has become painfully clear in the decade since reunification that
there are in fact two Germanys, linked by language and currency but
with precious little mutual goodwill. Now, however, Gerhard
Schröder'simage makers have discovered that there are two East
Germanys as well.
Yesterday the Chancellor set off from the pretty spa town of Bad
Elster in the southern state of Saxony towards the beaches of the
Baltic coast. For 12 days he will be on the road, touring one
prosperous pocket after another. He wants to find out what
conditions in the East are really like, say the spin-doctors.
The map showing his planned stopovers has little relevance to
average German newspaper readers. They are more familiar with the
place names that figure in the daily dispatches, such as Potsdam,
Magdeburg or Eberswalde. These are the cities and towns where
foreigners are regularly beaten up or killed, and where blackshirts
with pit bulls patrol the drab concrete housing estates. These are
towns that Mr Schröder will not see.
In his defence, the Chancellor might say that the tour was drawn up
long before the latest far-right violence flared up. He will certainly be
calling in Dessau, the town where a Mozambican man, Alberto
Adriano, was kicked to death by neo-Nazis two months ago.
And he has not shirked from addressing the issue. "We will not allow
rightist thugs to destroy the reconstruction [of the East]," Mr Schröder
said yesterday at his first port of call.
Repeating his intention to ban the far-right National Democratic Party
(NPD), the Chancellor threatened neo-Nazis with the "force of the
state" and promised more help for the region's disadvantaged youth.
But in the setting of the splendid gardens surrounding Bad Elster's
bath house, such pronouncements seemed a little surreal.
Things are not likely to get much better. Critics say the Chancellor's
entourage will get the same treatment accorded to previous visiting
dignitaries - right down to the villages being given a swift makeover in
their honour. Whenever Erich Honecker, the last East German leader
with truly regal powers, was scheduled to visit, local officials would
temporarily fill the potholes in the streets and the empty shelves in the
shops. The same trick was played on Helmut Kohl, who was so
moved, that he promised a "flourishing landscape" within a few years.
This is the landscape Mr Schröder will now behold.
He will be taken to Wolfen, for instance, a town whosepopulation of
43,000 has shrunk by a quarter in the past decade. Or, to be precise,
he will visit a modern photographic laboratory in Wolfen employing 56
More characteristic of Wolfen, where one in four people is out of
work, are the empty warehouses and abandoned factories. About
40,000 jobs have disappeared in the region since reunification. The
Chancellor will not see the wreckage of this, nor will he travel to the
housing estates in the northern half of Wolfen, where nearly one in
five voted for neo-Nazis in the last elections. Two of Mr Adriano's
killers came from Wolfen.
Right at the end of the tour is the intriguing village of Eggesin, close to
the Polish border. Unlike all the "success stories" Mr Schröder will be
hearing along the journey, Eggesin has little to boast of and much to be
Two Vietnamese inhabitants were severely beaten up there last
summer by skinheads, with the locals looking on. Even today the
people of Eggesin are adamant that the Vietnamese had been in the
wrong, because they had no place at a "German" fête.
The Chancellor, however, will not be going into the village. He will
merely be visiting the Bundeswehr barracks 10 kilometres outside
Eggesin, where no Vietnamese in his right mind would venture.
Still, the trip, which at its conception had looked like an easy public
relations jaunt, threatens to turn into a nightmare. After his tax-cutting
budget and the suicidal antics of the opposition, the Chancellor and his
party are riding high in the polls. But all this could be lost if he is seen
to be spending too much time on photo opportunities, and not enough
fixing the country's problems.
Another flare-up of violence in one of the places left off Mr Schröder's
itinerary might give the impression that he is touring the wrong
© The Independent
YUGOSLAV SOLDIERS IN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT PLOT-MEDIA
Yugoslav army is investigating whether
two of its soldiers were involved in a plot
to smuggle a group of Chinese illegal
immigrants into Italy, Belgrade media
said on Monday.
Police in neighbouring
Montenegro arrested the two Yugoslav
soldiers -- Corporal Zeljko Modosan
and Captain Aleksandar Todorovic --
along with 25 Chinese people and another man in a van
on Saturday, the Blic daily reported.
police on Saturday night at the Stanisici (police)
checkpoint near Budva discovered in a Yugoslav army
van...a group of 25 Chinese citizens and a certain
Dragoljub Vlaovic, from Podgorica, who were being
transported for the purpose of an illegal transfer to Italy,"
the newspaper said. Vlaovic was the organiser of the
illegal transport scheme, it said.
The report said the two
Yugoslav soldiers were suspected of having forged travel
documents and putting military licence plates on the van
transporting the migrants.
"The Chinese were very
exhausted by the trip and had to be given immediate
medical assistance," the newspaper said, adding that the
group had paid 500 German marks each.
Todorovic have admitted that they transported the
Chinese group from Podgorica with the intention to bring
them to the coast, where a speedboat was supposed to
wait to transfer them to Italy," the report said.
Yugoslav army said it would undertake its own
investigation following the one conducted by police in
Montenegro, Serbia"s smaller sister republic in the
Army units in Montenegro controlled
by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and police
loyal to pro-Western Montenegrin President Milo
Djukanovic have over the past few weeks been involved
in a number of smuggling incidents.
© ABC News
SPAIN WAKES UP TO IMMIGRATION CHALLENGE
decades of seeing its workers leave in
droves for a better life elsewhere, Spain
is now encountering the problems of
being on the receiving end of the
conservative government is presiding
over rapid economic growth and closing
the gap with its richer European Union
Even if from northern Europe, Spanish salaries
still look modest, seen from North Africa, those same
salaries represent a fortune within reach for a growing
number of immigrants.
The rise in numbers -- and recent
outbreaks of race-related violence -- has prompted the
Spanish government to announce controversial plans to
tighten a newly approved immigration law.
percent unemployment rate is officially Europe"s highest
but the country is widely acknowledged to have a black
economy in which illegal immigrants can find a living. But
for those who attempt to do so, the price is high.
Coastguards almost daily haul corpses from the sea as
immigrants struggle to make it to Spanish shores.
first four months of this year, 120 people died trying to
cross the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco in makeshift
boats, according to the Dutch migrant support group
UNITED. Other estimates put the death toll higher.
Africans are now attempting the longer sea crossing from
the African mainland to Spain"s Canary Islands in the
Atlantic Ocean. The government says it wants to stem the
flow by making it harder to qualify for residence and
easier to expel illegal immigrants.
Bolstered by a new
parliamentary majority after a general election in March, it
plans to revise the immigration law which was introduced
earlier this year.
But trades unions, human rights experts
and economists say Spain could be wasting a chance to
boost the country"s poor birth rate, which is currently the
lowest in the world. More than 225,000 immigrants have
requested residency since an amnesty period was
launched in March, far more than expected.
175,000 are likely to qualify for residency. Another
50,000 immigrants who failed to register by the July
deadline now face expulsion.
"There"s no doubt that
Spain, with a low birth rate and high life expectancy rates,
will need people from outside," said Manuel Pimentel who
quit as labour minister this year, amid reported differences
with the government over immigration. Spain"s quota of
30,000 immigrant workers per year was "clearly not
enough," he told newspaper El Pais, adding that the
government saw immigrants as simply a law-and-order
THREAT OF LOW BIRTH RATE
birth rate of 1.07 children per woman threatens to stifle
Fewer workers will mean longer hours and
more wage pressure, with a knock-on effect for inflation
which is already among the highest in Europe.
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development has warned of a "significant deterioration" in
Spain"s generous social security system because of an
ageing population, and said higher pension contributions
threatened competitiveness. The Spanish savings bank
Caja de Catalunya has predicted that by 2011 the size of
Spain"s workforce will have fallen by 1.8 percent, helping
cut registered unemployment to five percent from about
10 percent to tighten the labour market.
was the European country which turned back most
foreigners in 1999 -- nearly one million. The number of
legal foreign residents in Spain remains small as a
percentage of its 40 million population -- 800,000 in 1999
compared with 600,000 in 1997, according to the Interior
But the flow of illegal immigrants is picking up. In
the southern Andalucia region, which is closest to Africa,
police have arrested about 7,000 would-be immigrants so
far this year compared to 5,500 in all of 1999 and 4,700
GOVT UNHAPPY WITH CURRENT LAW
Spain"s government opposed the existing version of the
immigration law which when it was pushed through
parliament by opposition and regional parties earlier this
year. But after winning its new majority, the government
made a tightening of the law one of its priorities and the
cabinet recently approved a series of changes to its text.
The reform will go to parliament in September.
government plans to introduce new criteria for admitting
workers based on their skills and willingness to work in
places where labour is in shortest supply, rather than
moving to areas where family members already live.
also be more difficult for families of immigrants already in
Spain to gain residency. But legal experts say parts of the
planned reform may be unconstitutional and the changes
to speed up expulsion do not respect basic human rights.
"We don"t want the current law changed...it"s flexible and
has been positively assessed by the European Union," said
Paloma Lopez, social affairs representative at Spain"s
biggest trade union Comisiones Obreras.
protests, the government has gone ahead.
Racism appears to be on the rise in this
country where only two to three percent of people in the
most-densely populated regions are foreign, one of
Europe"s lowest rates.
In particular, the growing number
of North Africans have trouble integrating, although there
is ample work for them picking fruit, sweeping streets and
doing other jobs that Spaniards no longer want. Gangs of
local men and North Africans fought pitched battles for
three days in the southern farming town of El Ejido earlier
this year after a Moroccan man who was believed to be
mentally disturbed stabbed a Spanish woman to death.
Last summer, there were race riots in a suburb of
Barcelona. Analysts say it could take a generation before
Spain gets used to the idea of a multicultural society.
have room for more people because there are fewer
immigrants here than in other countries.
But only when
people can come here with their children does the real
possibility of integration arise, through the second
generation," said BBVA economist Manuel Balmaseda.
© ABC News
STOP THE DEPORTATION OF AKUBUO (Germany)
Nigerian political activist Akubuo Anusonwu Chukwudi, prominent in the 'Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants' is facing imminent deportation.
Only the naive will believe that the decision of the German authorities to deport him, just after he had organised a very well publicised campaign about the diabolical conditions in the refugee camp where he lives, is unrelated.
This is not the first time that Akubuo has faced the vengeance of the German authorities. In Autumn 1998, immediately after the five week protest demonstration through 44 German cities by the 'Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants', Akubuo, who took part throughout this protest, was whisked into a deportation prison with obscene haste.
His deportation was prevented at the very last minute by energetic protests, which included an international fax campaign driven by publicity on the internet,
demonstrations and the intervention of Nigerian human rights activists.
This was possible because Akubuo had won the respect of many people because of his strong political commitment to fight for the rights of refugees and migrants in Germany and for justice and democracy in Nigeria.
A matter of hours before Akubuo was to be deported, the responsible Administrative Court in Schwerin decided to suspend his deportation and conceded that deportation of the political activist could endanger his life.
If they are successful in deporting Akubuo now, it is not only a massive blow to the 'Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants', it is also an attack on all those who oppose racism in Germany. We ask all those with an interest in justice to join this emergency campaign. More information in
different languages will be available on the internet.
Urgent and wide support is necessary to stop the deportation of Akubuo.
There is a full background to the case on NCADC's web site , which has many points that could be incorporated
into a letter.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST RACISM PLANNED (Ireland)
A Government-funded multi-million-pound anti-racism campaign
is due to start by early autumn.
The public awareness campaign will include anti-racism training
with statutory and State bodies, school programmes aimed at
promoting tolerance and extensive advertising and information
The campaign will be coordinated by the National Consultative
Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), set up
under the aegis of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law
The strategic plan for the campaign was delivered to the
Department by the NCCRI last month and will be considered at
next month's Cabinet meeting. The NCCRI's director, Mr Philip
Watt, said a very detailed evaluation of the proposed campaign
had been carried out, including consultation with relevant groups
and case studies of similar programmes in Canada and
The NCCRI has already drawn up an anti-racism protocol for
political parties, and Mr Watt said the campaign would highlight
the need to ensure major policy documents were produced.
He said the role of statutory bodies and State agencies and how
they interfaced with ethnic minorities would also be examined.
"Stronger action needs to be taken by companies, and also staff
need to be drawn from ethnic groups," he said.
"We need very strong leadership on this issue with a range of
different people involved at local community as well as national
level," Mr Watt added.
© The Irish Times
CZECH GYPSIES WARNED OFF (UK)
British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has
asked the Czech Government to stop gypsies from arriving in Britain.
In a meeting with President Havel near Prague, Mr Cook said that Britain
would not be a "soft touch" for gypsies arriving in Britain, hoping to live
on state benefit payments.
After his 45 minute meeting with the Czech President, Vaclav Havel, Mr Cook
emerged to say "Britain does not have an open door policy for those who
claim asylum and who can not then prove it."
He also said that Britain had no active plans to restore visa requirements
for travellers from the Czech republic, and urged the Czech authorities to
tackle internal problems which have left the gypsies as unrecognised
citizens in their own land.
The gypsies have been coming to Britain since a television programme
broadcast in the Czech republic claimed they would get more in social
security benefits in a week in Britain than they would in a month at home.
Many of the gypsies have been sent home. Others remain in detention whilst
their applications for asylum are checked. The Czech government has agreed
to provide one million crowns for repatriating them.
The gypsies claim they are discriminated against at home, and unemployment
in their communities is much higher than the Czech average.
Vaclav Havel has since appealed to Czechs to be more sympathetic to "latent
racism" in his country, and the plight of gypsies.
GYPSIES REPRESSED AND ATTAQUED IN EUROPE
Gypsies living in squalid conditions remain victims of racism and violence across Europe, a United Nations report said Tuesday. Rights groups, including Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), endorsed the report"s call for European governments to boost protection of the minority, known by various names including Roma, numbering eight to 10 million.
Persecution in Central and Eastern Europe is rife, including reprisal attacks on gypsies in Kosovo and raids on their slum settlements near Athens to clear space for facilities for the 2004 Olympic Games, the groups said.
They took the floor in Geneva at the start of a two-day debate on gypsy rights, the first of its kind, at the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
"Scarcely anything has been achieved and today Roma across the whole of Europe are still generally poor, uneducated, discriminated against in practically every sphere of activity," the report by South Korean jurist Yeung Sik Yuen said.
"They"re frequently subjected to persecution and are victims of open acts of racism. Many...live in constant fear of violence being perpetrated against them because they are Roma," it said. "The Roma are often barred from restaurants, swimming pools and discos and are often the victims of violent racist acts by skinheads...," the report said. In Kosovo, gypsies were accused of collaborating with Serb forces and suffer attacks by ethnic Albanians. They need "around the clock" protection from KFOR international peacekeeping troops, the Society for Threatened Peoples, based in Goettingen, Germany, said.
EVICTIONS OF GYPSIES FOR ATHENS OLYMPICS
Gypsies are also being evicted from their dwindling settlements near Athens to clear the way for sports facilities for the 2004 Olympic Games, according to two rights groups, the Greek Helsinki Monitor and Minority Rights Group-Greece. They accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis"s government of failing to live up to pledges on minority rights and reported five raids on Roma settlements in the Aspropyrgos and Ano Liosia settlements near Athens since 1996.
"Will the international community, including the International Olympic Committee, tolerate a cleansed, Roma-free Greater Athens as the host of these Games?," they asked. The Roma people, subjected to ill-treatment and discrimination for centuries, originated in northwest India.
Many still lack access to health care and education, although only 20 percent are regularly on the move, according to Yeung. Yeung submitted his report to the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights at its annual meeting in Geneva this month, and is one of its 26 independent experts.
"The health indicators are particularly alarming: maternal and infant mortality rates are very high, respectively eight and five times as high as those observed in the main populations; life expectancy is considerably shorter," said Paris-based Medecins du Monde, aiding Roma in France, Greece and Spain. Of the minority"s original 150,000 members in Kosovo, only 10,000 to 20,000 still remain there, the Society for Threatened Peoples said.
Greek Helsinki Monitor
GERMANY STEPS UP FIGHT AGAINST FAR-RIGHT
The German cabinet has approved additional
funds to combat far-right extremism following a
series of incidents this summer which has
raised concern about neo-Nazism and racist
The money will be added to the nearly
two-hundred million dollars already spent on
countering right-wing extremism, and in
particular go towards rooting out far-right
Meanwhile, a court in Berlin has banned a
march planned this weekend to mark the
anniversary of the death of Rudolf Hess, the
Nazi-era deputy leader. In an interview to be
published Thursday in the German newspaper,
Bild, the new Israeli President, Moshe Katzav
has called on Germany to do all it can to fight
He says the country has a special
responsibility to ensure that persecution of
Jews doesn't recur.
© BBC NEWS
RUSSIAN CHURCH DECRIES DEATH PENALTY
MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian Orthodox Church's highest body on Wednesday closed a
meeting highlighted by the decision to canonize Czar Nicholas II.
The Bishops' Council also adopted a social doctrine that denounces the use of force in
international affairs and that calls for the end of the death penalty, according to Russian
The church opposes the death penalty not only because it can make a judicial error
irreparable but also because the penalty causes controversy in society, according to the
ITAR-Tass news agency.
In the decision to confer the lowest level of sainthood on Nicholas, his wife Alexandra and
their five children, the bishops said the family died as martyrs to their faith when they were
executed by a Bolshevik firing squad on July 17, 1918.
© Associated Press
SEA CAPTAIN AND FOUR OFFICERS DETAINED FOR SMUGGLING IMMIGRANTS (Spain)
The Ukrainian captain of a ship and four of its
officers (three Ukrainians and a Russian) were
detained in Pasajes, in Guipúzcoa, last week, after
46 North African illegal immigrants were found to be
travelling on board.
As the vessel arrived in Pasajes
port, 45 of them threw themselves into the water,
although it is not known why they did so, and one
man remained on board.
Those in the sea were
rescued, and all were taken to San Sebastián,
where some needed medical treatment for
The immigrants were all from Morocco
and Algeria, and the adults are being deported while
those under the age of majority are being cared for
in special centres.
© Town Crier
FOOTBALLER FINED FOR RACIST ATTACK ON CABBIE (UK)
Oxford United defender Ross Weatherstone was fined
for his part in a terrifying racist attack on an Asian taxi
driver in which their cab overturned.
Taxi driver Zafran Naeem's passengers called him
"Bloody Paki" before kicking in the glass partition and
strangling him over a fare dispute.
Fearing for his life, Mr Naeem, who was driving the
second division footballer and his friends home, lost
consciousness as he was hauled into the back of the
taxi and the cab careered into a lamp-post.
The attack started when Mr Naeem, 22, turned his cab
around because they were hurling racial insults at him.
The driver - who suffered cuts and bruises to his neck -
said that when he came to, some young men were
kicking in his windscreen and shouting: "It was your
fault, you stupid bloody Paki. You caused the accident."
Magistrates in Reading ordered Weatherstone, 19, of
Hagbourne Close, Woodcote, Oxon, and two other
defendants to each pay a £500 fine and £200 costs.
The footballer and his student friends were convicted of
racially aggravated disorderly conduct.
The court earlier heard that the four friends, who had
been out drinking, hailed the cab at 3am at the railway
station on January 23.
Weatherstone denied hurling racist abuse at the driver
and claimed he only ever used the word "Paki" once in
his life when police questioned him about the aftermath
of the incident.
He told the officer: "All of a sudden - not being racist -
we were surrounded by a lot of Paki drivers."
The professional footballer claimed he only used the
racial slur under pressure after a night in the cells.
He added: "The use of racist abuse is not acceptable,
especially in my profession."
Weatherstone and Oxford United refused to comment
on his conviction.
GOING BY THE BOOK ON RACIST CRIMES (UK)
TAYSIDE POLICE have welcomed the introduction of a guidance manual to tackle
racist crime and hope to attract more minorities to the force and start a training
course dealing with the issue in the near future.
The manual was published by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland
and will provide the force with advice on recording and investigating racist crime
along with new training and recruitment measures.
Superintendent Jon Miller, of the community affairs department, welcomed the
manual, which was distributed to every police force in Scotland following the findings
of the MacPherson report into the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.
He praised the manual and admitted that it would help the existing strides that the
force was making to tackle racist crime across Tayside.
"We welcome this manual, which is a means of ensuring that all Scottish forces
treat allegations of a racial manner with the same degree of consistency," he said.
"It provides advice on a number of issues and sets out a standardised way of
recording and investigating racist crimes that will reassure the community and we
are delighted to have it.
"We are in the final stages of designing a course for officers related to racist crime
but we were already in the process of doing this before the manual was published,
but that can also help with specific issues.
"We also have a working group which meets monthly and includes the Assistant
Chief Constable and senior personnel support staff and all areas are working through
the recommendations of the MacPherson Report.
"We have also established an advisory group with input from people from every
minority community in Tayside to give us an external view of the situation.
"We hope that the new manual will not only help us respond to racist crimes more
sensitively and effectively but every form of crime in Tayside," he added.
Superintendent Miller was also buoyed by the number of minority residents who
attended a recent uniformed services recruitment day, wishing to become involved in
various sectors of Tayside Police.
"For several months we have been actively looking to attract minorities to the force
as the MacPherson report laid stress to a diverse recruiting practice and we were
delighted with the response," he added.
STABBING VICTIM'S SON LEAVES AFTER RACIST TAUNTS (Ireland)
A man whose father was stabbed and critically injured in a
attack in Dublin has left Ireland after a racist incident this week.
Mr Christian Richardson (24), originally from Bristol, handed
in his notice and left Ireland on Tuesday after the incident on
the same day at North Strand, just outside the city centre,
when he was challenged by a group of teenagers.
Mr Richardson's father, Mr David Richardson, was stabbed
seven times in June at Pearse Street as he walked with his wife
to his son's home in Ringsend after a meal in a city-centre
restaurant. A man has since been charged in connection with
The couple, on their first trip together to Dublin, had been
celebrating their wedding anniversary and their son's 24th
birthday. Mr Richardson is white and his wife and son are
He was stabbed three times in the chest, three times in the
back and once in the hand and at one point it was feared he
However, he has now returned to Bristol and is making a good
recovery, although doctors are concerned about his hand.
Mr Christian Richardson has been living in Dublin for almost a
year, and until the attack on his father it was "probably one of
the best years in my life". He said he had many friends in
Ireland and he believed those involved in racist attacks and
abuse were only a very small minority.
However, since the attack on his father, he had felt "a lot more
aware and scared, in a way" about attacks. On Tuesday, while
cycling to work at the Eastpoint Business Park, Clontarf, he
passed a group of teenagers - three youths and a teenage girl
pushing a pram - on the bridge over the railway at North
Speaking from his home in Bristol, he told RTÉ Radio's Today
With Pat Kenny that one of them said something to him as he
passed. "I didn't hear it and I looked back, because I thought I
might know him because I know a lot of people in Dublin
One of them shouted at him: "What are you staring at, black
bastard?" Mr Richardson said he started to pedal on and they
began to chase him. "If they had caught me they'd have given
me a hiding."
He decided there and then that "I'm off. I don't have to take
that from anybody". Later he gave in his notice at work, and
the company accepted his resignation with regret. The same
evening he flew home to Bristol.
Since arriving home he has felt "less tense and more relaxed
than in the last couple of weeks". Although he misses his
friends, he said he had been feeling "a bit scared" living in
Colleagues have expressed their regrets at his departure,
describing him as a good worker and very talented. Mr
Richardson has had several jobs, mainly in customer service
His girlfriend, Ms Emily Bermingham, is Irish and he had
decided to come to Ireland with her.
Mr Richardson said that in October they would be going for a
month's holiday in Thailand. After that he might consider
returning to Ireland.
SHOOTING AND BURNING, ROUGH JUSTICE FOR ROMA TEENAGERS (Bulgaria)
Police brutality continues to be reported in Bulgaria, often at the
expense of the country's 800,000 strong Roma community, Amnesty
International said today.
The organization is releasing reports
detailing two alleged incidents of brutality perpetrated against Roma
children by police officers (BULGARIA: Tsvetalin Perov, a 16-year-old
Roma boy, severely burned in police detention. AI Index EUR 15/003/00;
BULGARIA: The shooting of Atanas Djambazov, a 14-year-old Roma boy. AI
Index: EUR 15/004/00).
On 10 May 2000 in Sliven a slightly built 14-year-old Roma boy, Atanas
Djambazov, was shot in the head and arm by a police officer guarding a
wine factory bordering the town's Roma ghetto. Allegedly the police
officer then walked away from the unconscious teenager, leaving him
without assistance. Atanas was reportedly trying to escape from the
factory yard after he and some friends had taken wooden pallets from it
On 29 April 2000 in Vidin a 16-year-old Roma boy, Tsvetalin Perov,
suffered third degree burns to 15 per cent of his body in police
detention. Epileptic and with learning difficulties, Tsvetalin has often
been in trouble with the police, and was allegedly ill-treated by police
officers on several occasions.
On this occasion the police claim that
Tsvetalin set fire to himself, yet there are inconsistencies in their
account and crucial material evidence has vanished.
that a police officer beat him unconscious and that he was then awoken
by the pain of being on fire.
The reported difficulty in extinguishing
the fire and the severity of the burns make it probable that a fire
accelerant such as lighter fuel was doused on Tsvetalin beforehand.
"Thorough and impartial investigations should be carried out into these
incidents and any similar episodes," Amnesty International said. Given
the continuing frequency of reported police violence, the organization
is calling on the Bulgarian authorities to devise and implement a
national strategy to stamp out police brutality.
Impoverished and socially excluded during the last 10 years of
transition from Communism, the Roma community often finds itself drawn
into abrasive contact with the law enforcement agencies.
A 1999 survey
by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee showed that 60 per cent of Roma
convicts alleged they were beaten during arrest or interrogation.
GERMAN NEO-NAZIS HONOR HESS ANNIVERSARY
SCHWERIN, Germany (Reuters) -
Posters and flyers hailing Nazi Rudolf
Hess a "martyr of peace" appeared
around Germany on the 13th anniversary
of his death Thursday amid national
concern over the far-right movement.
Police broke up a torchlit procession by
some 60 neo-Nazis late Wednesday in the
east German port of Rostock. Three of
the marchers were charged with displaying symbols with
banned racist or Nazi content.
Hess, Adolf Hitler"s deputy,
was found hanged in Berlin"s Spandau prison in 1987. He
continues to exert a fascination for Germany"s small band
of neo-Nazis, many of them disaffected youths from the
depressed former communist east.
They believe he was
murdered by his British military captors.
Hess fell into
Allied hands in 1941 after parachuting into Scotland in an
apparent personal bid to broker peace with Britain.
and flyers hailing him as a "martyr of peace" were found in
Rostock and neighboring towns across the state of
Police detained a 14-year-old
youth caught in possession of 1,200 Hess stickers in the
eastern town of Jena, in Thuringia.
Police also confiscated
small numbers of similar posters in Baden-Wuerttemberg,
Hesse and Lower Saxony states in the former west
Germany, generally perceived to have less of a problem
with the far-right than the east. No incidents were reported
at his grave in the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel.
NEO-NAZIS ORDERED TO PAY UP
Also Thursday, a
court in Potsdam, near Berlin, ordered two neo-Nazi
skinheads convicted of a race hate attack on a black British
building worker to pay several hundred thousand dollars in
civil damages. This year"s anniversary of Hess"s death
comes amid a debate over the extent of far-right attitudes
and racist violence in a country still painfully conscious of
its Nazi past.
Media commentators were quick to point the
finger at the far-right after a bomb at a railway station in
Duesseldorf last month wounded 10 ex-Soviet immigrants,
including six Jews -- although the culprits and their motives
are still a mystery.
Despite almost daily media reports of
new racist attacks, there is little evidence to suggest a
wider increase in far-right violence in the decade since the
Berlin Wall fell.
German parliament speaker Wolfgang
Thierse said the annual commemoration of Hess"s death,
while not involving huge numbers of people, nonetheless
showed the wider problem with the far-right and
neo-Nazism was not likely to go away soon.
public debate, appeals by politicians and legal threats, the
activities of the far-right do not go away -- in fact it"s
almost as if they see it as a challenge and feel more
self-confident," he told South West German Radio.
Wednesday the government announced it would spend a
further $35 million over the next three years to combat
right-wing extremism with educational and social projects.
One state leader warned, however, the government could
not take the lead in the fight against the far-right and racist
violence if the population as a whole were not more
prepared to come forward and denounce the culprits.
"Individuals have got to show their teeth and stand up and
fight," said Bernhard Vogel, conservative leader of
© ABC News
RACE ATTACK BRITON WINS CLAIM AGAINST GERMAN THUGS
POTSDAM, Germany (Reuters) - A
black British construction worker
paralyzed from a racist attack by German
neo-Nazis, was awarded several hundred
thousand dollars in civil damages by a
court near Berlin Thursday.
Potsdam ordered Mario Poetter and
Sandro Ristau to pay Noel Martin from
Birmingham, England $234,000 now and
$467 a month for the rest of his life.
The two skinheads
were convicted four years ago of reckless driving and
causing grievous bodily harm for hurling a rock at Martin"s
car during a high-speed chase. The ruling comes at a
sensitive time amid an outcry in Germany over racist
violence, especially in the former Communist east around
The court said the racist motive was a factor in its
awarding what are, by German standards, heavy damages.
As the skinheads overtook Martin, then aged 36, on a
country road near Mahlow outside Berlin one hurled a rock
through his windshield, causing him to swerve into a tree.
He is paralyzed from the neck down. His passengers
escaped with minor injuries.
A lawyer for Martin, who was
not in court for the verdict, said the chances of Poetter and
Ristau, both in their 20s, being able to pay seemed small.
One is still serving an eight-year jail term, the other was
However, in a further ruling the court said
the insurers of the stolen car the two skinheads used to
pursue Martin and two British friends should also pay
compensation. How much was open to further negotiation.
The defendants can appeal.
© ABC News
CAR-MANUFACTURER OPEL FIGHTS XENOPHOBIA (Germany)
BERLIN - With an eye catching advertising campaign Opel cars and
footbalclub Bayern München have made a public stand against xenophobia.
full page advertisements in national newspapers, a picture of a
footbalfield with the text Ausländer raus? (foreigners out?) On the field
are only the 4 German players of Bayern. 'without people from other
cultures there's no decisive impulses,' according to the text. In an open
letter to brief chancellor Schröder Opel and Bayern München write they
want to contribute in this way to the discussion about violence against
foreigners and other minorities.
During the past few weeks government and
the top of German business life have expressed their concern about the acts
of violence by right extremist groups.
The advertisement emphasizes the fact that players from 13 different
nationalities play at multiple champion Bayern. At main sponsor people from
40 different countries work. 'Hatred against foreigners denies German
economy couldn't be successful without people from other countries.
Furthermore tolerance is an important condition for foreign investments in
Germany, which in turn contribute to creating new jobs,' according to Opel.
YAHOO! REPREIVE OVER NAZI AUCTIONS (France)
A French judge has ordered more technical advice before deciding whether to
force internet portal Yahoo! to block French users from the sites that
not enough money available to do anything
Border patrols complained that they often
detain the same people, trying again and again
to complete their journey to Europe.
The Turkish authorities say they are doing
everything they can, but they admit that they
do not have the resources to prevent
thousands of illegal migrant slipping through
People smuggling has become a massive
business controlled by powerful Mafia-type
A ship carrying more than 400 Kurds arrived in
southern Italy just over a week ago, prompting
the Italian Government protest to Ankara.
Now there are warnings that another ship is on
its way from a Turkish port carrying another
cargo of would-be immigrants, who will claim
political asylum if they manage to reach the
© BBC NEWS
GERMAN JEWISH LEADER WANTS UNITED ACTION ON RACISM
of Germany"s Jewish community called on
Friday for a united front against right-wing
extremism after a media outcry over a
mystery bomb blast that hurt a group of
"It must be a joint
action so that everybody is reached," Paul
Spiegel said in an interview with
Germany"s SWR radio.
"This is not just
about people being persecuted. This doesn"t just hurt
foreigners, Jews, minorities. This hurts Germany and our
whole society," he said.
Spiegel welcomed the
soul-searching in Germany triggered by last week"s blast in
Duesseldorf, which injured 10 immigrants from the former
Soviet Union, six of them Jews.
Police say the bomb may
have been planted by extremists, although on Thursday they
released the only person detained so far and said they were
investigating in all directions.
Spiegel said: "The last few
days were not such a problem for me. More problematic
were the days before, when we had to watch each day as
foreigners were attacked and killed.
were vandalised weekly, and there were attacks on
synagogues. That is what worried us."
Police in the eastern
town of Wismar said on Friday they had detained a drunken
20-year-old right-winger suspected of setting fire to a
building used by the homeless. The fire caused minimal
damage and nobody was injured.
Last month, five young
extremists were arrested in the same town for killing a
homeless man. Wismar has been the scene of several
attacks on foreigners and Jews over the last year.
western town of Herne, police said they temporarily
detained 20 men between the ages of 20 and 30 who were
singing right-wing songs and shouting extremist slogans.
GERMANS MARCH AGAINST RIGHT-WING VIOLENCE
Over a thousand people took to the streets
in the western German city of
Duesseldorf on Saturday to protest against
right-wing violence following a bombing
that injured a group of Jewish immigrants.
Waving banners that read "Fight Fascism"
and "Stop the Nazi Terror," some 1,300
members of left-wing parties, the Jewish
community and organizations representing foreigners
marched to the site of the explosion where they held a
The blast in a commuter railway station,
which injured 10 immigrants, six of them Jewish, has led to
much soul-searching in a country still haunted by its Nazi
past, although the police have no firm evidence linking the
attack to the far right.
A spokeswoman said police were
continuing to investigate in all directions after releasing a
suspect on Friday.
Another man was released on Thursday.
Meanwhile, police detained around 100 neo-Nazis in the
eastern state of Thueringia on their way to a banned rally
organised by the far-right National Democratic Party.
Police in the southern town of Freilassing enforced a ban
on another far-right demonstration, turning back some 35
Organisers had expected some 300 participants to
turn up to show their support for Austrian far-right leader
Joerg Haider. Germany has seen a surge in anti-foreigner
attacks in recent years, particularly in the depressed former
NEW EXTREMIST ATTACKS Police
said three people were injured, two of them seriously, early
on Saturday when a group of skinheads turned on a young
man in the Bavarian village of Deggendorf, apparently
because he looked like a southern European.
In the eastern
town of Rostock, police briefly detained 36 young people
after they attacked an information stand against right-wing
extremism, injuring one person.
Angela Merkel, leader of
the conservative opposition Christian Democrats, called for
the establishment of a special police department to focus on
racist crimes. A spokesman for Interior Minister Otto
Schily told Reuters the government planned to boost the
efforts of regional police in the 16 states in fighting such
Schily told the Spiegel news weekly that
xenophobic and anti-Semitic violence was alarming and
shameful, but should not be exaggerated. "Germany today
has mostly become a country that is very open and
welcoming to foreigners," he said in an interview released
ahead of publication on Sunday.
21 'KOSOVARS' DETAINED AT HEATHROW (UK)
Police say they have detained 21 illegal immigrants,
including 10 children, found hidden in the back of a lorry
at Heathrow airport.
The group, believed to be from Kosovo, were found in
the airport's cargo area. The lorry had travelled to
Britain from Germany.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan police said the
group were being held at the asylum seekers' refuge at
WHITE ENGLISH FACE GROWING RACISM, WATCHDOG WARNS (UK)
White English men and woman are fighting a rising tide
of racism amid a growing fear of the consequences of
speaking out, the head of a racial equality watchdog
Whites of English origin living in Wales are
complaining of discrimination for the first time ever but
many choose to keep their identities secret.
Naz Malik, chairman of Swansea Bay Race Equality
Council, warned that racism against the English in
Wales risked developing into a major problem.
His comments come as the race equality watchdog
takes up the case of two female BBC Radio Wales
broadcasters who claim they are subject to racist
attitudes at the corporation.
The two women, one English and the other Asian, are
both claiming discrimination as a result of their
BBC Wales dismissed the claims and said any such
allegations were taken extremely seriously.
Mr Malik said: "The English who are on the wrong end
of this banter and abuse do not like it at all and feel very
uncomfortable with the situation.
"The BBC is not an isolated case. What we are seeing
at the moment are the first recorded cases of English
whites complaining about discrimination. Our records
suggest that in the 20 years since we have been in
existence we have certainly not come across that
"I have been telephoned by three officers working for
Welsh county councils who have complained of
discrimination because of who they are - they all
wanted to remain anonymous.
"What it shows is that English people are afraid to go
public because they feel afraid of retaliation. Unless we
take positive action now and stamp this problem out it
can only get worse. The message should be that
racism is everybody's problem - your nationality should
not come into it."
CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING ALBANIAN MIGRANTS HOSPITALIZED IN GREECE
THIRTEEN Albanians suffering from kidney failure yesterday became the first exception to a July 13 decision by the health and welfare ministry to bar undocumented migrants from receiving free medical treatment at state hospitals.
The patients will receive dialysis treatment three times a week at Hadjikosta hospital in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, the ministry stated.
"The hospital is very close to the [Greek-Albanian] border and we have treated thousands of Albanians crossing over the border," the hospital's chief administrator Costas Vranos told the Athens News. "If we do not help these 13 Albanians, they will die.
We have saved many lives. Two years ago, Albania honoured us with the Mother Teresa award because we have helped so many Albanians."
Referring to the health ministry's recent circular to all state hospitals notifying doctors about a new policy to limit hospital care for undocumented migrants to emergency situations only, Vranos said this was part of the government's wider effort to "put some order" into the National Health System (ESY).
As of last month, only migrants who reside legally in Greece are entitled to non-emergency medical care at state hospitals. The ministry's circular has been condemned by human rights groups in Greece as "inhuman".
In related news, the semi-official Athens News Agency reported yesterday that Albania's opposition leader and former president Sali Berisha told a press conference on Wednesday that Hadjikosta hospital had refused to treat 30 Albanian kidney patients because they are not Christians. Outraged by Berisha's "unfounded claims", Vranos said this could not be further from the truth.
"We have never turned our backs on Albanians who come here for treatment," Vranos said. "We have treated thousands. What Berisha said is just not true."
© ATHENS NEWS
ACTIVISTS PROTEST DECISION TO END FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGAL MIGRANTS (Greece)
A July 13 ministerial circular issued to all state hospitals calls for undocumented migrants to only be entitled to hospital care in emergency situations and until their condition is stable.
A RECENT decision by the health and welfare ministry to clamp down on undocumented migrants getting medical treatment for free has been condemned by human rights groups as "inhuman" and just one more example of the state's hardball immigration tactics. At a press conference last week, Health and Welfare Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, however, stressed that undocumented migrants cost the national health system (ESY) a whopping 50 billion drachmas in medical bills annually.
Based on a July 13 ministerial circular issued to all state hospitals, undocumented migrants will only be entitled to hospital care in emergency situations and until their condition is stable. The circular explicitly denies access for non-emergency health care.
And in all cases, the hospital officials will be responsible for notifying the proper authorities when an undocumented migrant seeks any kind of medical attention. According to the president of KASAPI-Hellas (Union of Filipino Migrant Workers in Greece) Joe Valencia, undocumented migrants will not seek any medical attention out of fear of being denied treatment or turned in by the doctors.
While this may serve to cut the health care costs, it also means that hundreds of thousands of foreigners living and working in Greece illegally may ignore their symptoms and end up with a worse health problem, or even pose a danger to public health.
"How can doctors refuse to treat someone who is sick?" said Valencia. "We live in a civilised society and to deny someone medical care because they do not have legal papers is inhuman.
This goes against the well-known Greek tradition of filoxenia - hospitality to foreigners who have knocked on your door and are in need of something."
The vice-president of the Greek branch of Doctors of the World, Iro Varsami, also described the health and welfare ministry's measures as "inhuman".
"If the hospitals do not accept these people who are in need," she said, "where will they go?"
The president of the Association of Hospital Doctors of Athens and Piraeus (EINAP), Stathis Tsoukalos, also characterised the decision to deny undocumented migrants with medical treatment, even if they are able to pay for it, as inhuman. He told the Athens News that "It is impossible to believe that any doctor would implement this measure.
It is impossible to believe that doctors would inform the police. I do not believe that this measure will be implemented by doctors."
© ATHENS NEWS
AFGHANS SEEK POLITICAL ASYLUM IN ICELAND
More details have emerged about the group of asylum seekers from Pakistan
and Afghanistan who turned up in Iceland last week.
Three Afghans and nine Pakistanis arrived in the country with papers
claiming that they were to join a ship which was on its way to Iceland from
Russia. When the ship failed to materialise, the authorities
The men's documents proved to
be falsified and the nine Pakistanis, who all carried
legal passports, were sent back to their starting point
in Oslo, Norway.
It later transpired that the men
were on their way to London where they had agreed
to pay USD 7,000 to the organisers of their journey
to be smuggled into the country.
The three Afghans, meanwhile, have sought political
asylum in Iceland and will remain in the country
while their application is examined by Immigration, a
process which could last six months.
According to the head of Immigration, an increasing
number of foreigners, from countries such as India,
Nigeria, Ghana and Mongolia, have been seeking
visas to Iceland in recent months.
GERMANY CLAMPS DOWN ON RACE ATTACKS
artikel hierThe Duesseldorf attack caused much soul-searching
The authorities in Germany have drafted plans
to curb right-wing violence following a series of
recent attacks on Jews and foreigners.
Public pressure for action has grown after a
bomb blast last week at a railway station in
Duesseldorf which injured 10 recent
immigrants, six of them Jews.
Politicians have warned
that such attacks
reputation and its
attractiveness as an
investment location at
a time when German
businesses are trying
to attract skilled
State and federal
interior ministry officials
say they agreed during a telephone conference
to concentrate their efforts on known neo-Nazi
organisations, as well as improving security at
They said this would include, where possible,
shutting down neo-Nazi sites on the internet,
which is being used to link different extremist
"The Internet is becoming - slowly but very
noticeably - a platform for right-wing agitating,
and one shouldn't just watch it and do nothing
any more," said parliamentary president
The officials said they
would also set up a
national database listing
people convicted of
racist offenses to help
the police concentrate
There have also been
demands for tougher
penalties for offenders.
Berlin's commissioner dealing with foreigners,
Barbara John, said that robbers and thieves
were often punished more severely than
someone convicted of causing bodily harm.
"Violence is made too easy, violence remains
practically unpunished or punished too little,"
However, the German Justice Minister, Herta
Daeubler-Gmelin, said that new laws were not
needed, but existing ones must be more
She said that anyone who committed an
anti-foreigner crime must know that they
would be severely punished.
Statistics released by the German Government
on Monday show an increase in anti-Semitic
offences in the past three months to 157,
compared with 110 cases during the same
period last year. Other offences by right-wing
extremists, generally against foreigners, also
The problem is particularly severe in eastern
Germany, which is still suffering from high
unemployment and the huge social changes
that followed the collapse of communism.
© BBC NEWS
ITALY SUMMONS TURKEY OVER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
Italy's Foreign Ministry has summoned Turkey's
ambassador to formally complain about the flow of
Europe-bound illegal immigrants from there.
The complaint was prompted by the weekend's arrival of
418 illegal immigrants on a ship that allegedly set sail from
a Turkish port.
The Foreign Ministry, at the instruction of Foreign Minster
Lamberto Dini, expressed "the strong hope that Turkish
authorities exercise their maximum efforts to prevent a
repeat of these types of episodes".
Ambassador Necati Utcan says his country is sensitive to
Italy's concern and open to full cooperation in the
campaign against people-smuggling.
Italy is a leading entry point for illegal immingrants seeking
jobs in Europe.
It has been pressing its neighbors, particularly Albania but
also Turkey, to improve policing at their ports to stop what
are frequent arrivals of entire ships full of illegal
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE SENT BACK TO FRANCE
A group of 22 Bangladeshi men have been deported to
France after they were caught entering the UK illegally by
hiding in the back of a lorry.
The men, aged between their late teens and early 40s,
were found with eight others in the vehicle following a
60-mile chase by police on Saturday.
Eight police cars pursued the lorry along the M20 towards
London and on to the A228 before the driver was forced
into a ditch. The hour-long chase started at the
cross-Channel ferry port at Dover.
Six of the illegal immigrants were returned to France on
Saturday, while the remaining two have claimed political
CHURCH PLANS OWN 'REFERENDUM'ON ID ISSUE (Greece)
DETERMINED to force a referendum over the issue of allowing citizens the
option of having their religious affiliation registered on new police-issued identity
cards, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece - following deliberations
yesterday by a high-ranking ecclesiastical committee - announced that as of
September 1, the church would begin collecting signatures in support of a petition
demanding that a recent government decision to drop reference to religion be
The decision infuriated Archbishop Christodoulos, and set the government of
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the country's powerful Orthodox Church on a
collision course that earlier in the summer saw mass rallies of the Orthodox
faithful demonstrating vociferously against the government in Thessaloniki and - a
week later - in Athens. Prominent clergymen also waged the church's campaign
from pulpits around the country as well as on its Piraeus-based radio station, while
Christodoulos will reportedly raise the issue one more time in a Feast of the
Transfiguration sermon on August 6.
While the government has remained adamant in its position that its ID-card
decision is purely a political matter falling within its own jurisdiction and
consequently should be seen as a ruling "rendering unto Caesar what belongs to
Caesar", the church resolutely disagrees. At one point a senior bishop called
Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos "an enemy of the Church".
At yesterday's Holy Synod meeting, Bishop Ierotheos of Nafpaktos stressed that
the signature-collecting procedure was legal, claiming that it was provided for b
Article 44 of the Greek constitution according to which a specific number of
signatures can lead to a referendum.
© ATHENS NEWS
GYPSIES REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST (Hungary)
Marking the 56th anniversary of the Nazi massacre of Gypsies,
a leader of the ethnic group said Wednesday that many of his people might leave Hungary
because of continuing discrimination.
``The desperation among the Roma is huge,'' Aladar Horvath said after ceremonies
commemorating the Porraymos, or ``the burning,'' as Roma describe the Holocaust. ``A
mass exodus cannot be ruled out.''
Hundreds of Gypsies, also known as Roma, turned out for the ceremonies before Hungary's
parliament to commemorate the Aug. 2-3, 1944, massacre of thousands of Gypsy inmates
at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
They had been confined to the camp under a 1916 Hungarian anti-vagrancy law.
``We cannot allow this to happen again. Our common home, Hungary, cannot let the Roma
suffer discrimination in education and job opportunities,'' Horvath told the gathering.
Gypsies complain of continuing bias in employment, housing and education, not only in
Hungary but in other eastern European countries. A Gypsy group has gone to Strasbourg,
France, to address their grievances to the European court of human rights.
Their spokesman, Jozsef Krasznai, returned to Hungary on Tuesday to organize another
group wishing to leave Hungary because of discrimination. Krasznai was quoted by the
Budapest daily Nepszava on Wednesday as saying that up to 300 will leave.
Krasznai's mother, Friderika Krasznai, survived incarceration at a detention camp in western
Hungary, but her father and grandparents perished in another Nazi camp, Dachau.
``I am ashamed that Hungarian Roma are in Strasbourg seeking redress for their
grievances, not trusting in the Hungarian legal system,'' said Budapest Mayor Gabor
Demszky, addressing the gathering.
As early as the mid-1930s in Germany, Gypsies were rounded up and taken to Dachau to be
subjected to medical experiments. In Hungary, the round up began in early 1944.
About 21,000 Gypsies died at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, according to Franciszek Piper
of the Auschwitz State Museum. Also, about 600,000 Jews living in Hungary perished during
© Associated Press
BRITAIN TO FINGERPRINT IMMIGRANTS AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
announced plans on Wednesday to take
and store fingerprints of asylum seekers
coming into the country, saying it was
"determined to clamp down on abuse" of
immigration rules. The Home Office
(interior ministry) said the new system,
under which automated fingerprinting
equipment will be set up at immigration
and asylum screening units, would allow information to be
shared with Britain"s European partners.
"The system will
allow for the electronic input, search and storage of
fingerprints taken from asylum seekers and other specific
categories of immigration applicants," the Home Office said
in a statement. It gave no details of the specific categories
included. The system is to be introduced in Britain in two
phases, the first scheduled to be complete by December
this year and the second by March 2001.
It will also feed
into Eurodac, a planned EU central database to contain
fingerprints of asylum applicants and certain other
Immigration has swept to the top of
British and EU political agendas after the horrific deaths of
58 Chinese illegal immigrants who were found dead in a
truck just arrived at the British port of Dover in June. The
Dutch-registered truck had travelled unchecked by ferry
from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge before reaching Dover.
It may have earlier passed through other European
countries. France, which currently holds the EU presidency,
pledged last week to make regulating and controlling
immigration into the bloc a top priority.
The Home Office
said the new fingerprinting system would force EU member
countries to take responsibility for illegal immigrants they
find and to discourage "asylum shopping" -- where potential
immigrants go from state to state trying to get in.
automated fingerprint identification system will help us to
cooperate with other European countries to tackle illegal
immigration effectively," said Immigration Minister Barbara
Roche as the plan was announced. She said Britain had "a
long tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing
persecution" but added: "We are determined to clamp down
on abuse of the system."
ASYLUM SEEKERS'S RETURN CASTS BOUBT ON OTHER CASES(Ireland)
Doubt has been cast on the validity of hundreds of deportation
orders served on failed asylum-seekers following a High Court
decision allowing the return to the State of a Romanian man who
was being deported.
Immigration officers deporting Mr Dimitru Popa to Romania
were forced to return him to the State after Mr Justice Herbert
ordered his appearance before the High Court.
By the time of the court hearing on Tuesday, Mr Popa (26) was
already en route to Amsterdam, from where gardaí with the
National Bureau of Immigration planned to bring him to
However, his lawyers contacted Aer Lingus officials at Dublin
Airport, who in turn contacted the pilot. When the aircraft
landed at Amsterdam, the pilot informed the gardaí of the order
and Mr Popa - who legally was still regarded as being on Irish
soil - was returned to Dublin. He spent last night in Mountjoy
The Department, which says it fully complied with legislative
requirements on deportation, is expected to contest vigorously
Mr Popa's application for a judicial review in the High Court
today. The Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, last night
declined to comment on the case, saying it was sub judice.
However, a spokesman said the Department's procedures had
been implemented fully in accordance with the provisions of the
Immigration Act. This allows for a deportation notice to be
either delivered to a person or sent by registered mail.
Mr Popa will tell the court that he never received notice of the
result of his asylum appeal, nor did he receive the deportation
order sent to him by registered mail in April. Both this letter, and
a copy sent to the Legal Aid Board solicitor handling his case,
were returned undelivered.
Detectives searching for another rejected asylum-seeker
arrested Mr Popa on Tuesday in Rathmines, Dublin, and
deported him immediately.
Mr Popa got a message to his brother, who contacted a solicitor,
Mr Con Pendred. Within an hour, Mr Pendred secured an order
of habeas corpus from the High Court.
Mr Popa came to the State from Romania two years ago
seeking political asylum. He claims to have suffered persecution
arising from his mother's involvement with the Communist party
during the Ceausescu era.
Last April, his application was refused and he travelled to
Britain. He later returned to the State and lived under a false
name. When arrested, he was carrying documentation claiming
he was Italian.
Mr Pendred said there were "serious consequences" for the
Government if it sent back an asylum-seeker without a proper
"If the deportation is to be effected, it's only fair proceedings
that the person involved should be notified and given the
opportunity to consult with lawyers."
He accused the Department of proceeding with the deportation
even though it knew court proceedings were afoot.
Departmental sources say it would be impractical to track down
every asylum-seeker to deliver deportation notices by hand.
The Supreme Court is currently examining the constitutionality
of new legislation that would give the authorities power to detain
intended deportees. This is not the first legal challenge to the
Department's deportation procedures. Last year, deportations
came to a halt after the Supreme Court ruled that part of the
Aliens Act was unconstitutional.
Mr O'Donoghue subsequently introduced new legislation that
restored the State's right to deport non-nationals.
So far this year, 473 deportation orders have been issued and 50
people have been deported. Last year, six people were deported.
© The Irish Times
'HYSTERICAL RAVING NEVER YET DID ANY GOOD AGAINST RACISM' (Germany)
In the wake of a series of xenophobic attacks, anti-Semitism researcher
Wolfgang Benz has accused German Interior Minister Otto Schily using nothing
more than "big speeches" to counter the challenge posed by right-wing extremism
Big words alone won't be enough to stop the country's growing problem with
right-wingers, Benz, a professor of anti-Semitism research at the Technical
University of Berlin, told the Frankfurter Rundschau on Monday. "A problem of
social orientation" that gets expressed in racist slogans can only be partially
addressed by the politics of law and order, said the director of the Berlin-based
Centre for Anti-Semitism Research.
The historian says the only term that occurs to him is "hysterical raving," as he
listens to the appeals issuing lately from Germany's parliament following this
week's bombing attack in the western city of Duesseldorf and a series of right-wing
attacks across the country.
"The whole hysteria starts up all over again, " said Benz, whenever "something
happens" - like the incident last weekend in eastern German Eisenach in which a
gang of right-wing extremists assaulted and chased two African asylum seekers
through the city.
When things die down again, however, instead of keeping up a constant battle
against extremism, "the politicians lean back" and take it easy except for
occasional demands for more police.
Benz has had his own share of experience with momentary excitement and not
knowing where to turn for fresh perspectives on a problem.
Just a year ago, his institute tried to get a research project off the ground to
observe the state of Brandenburg's mobile counselling team in their daily work
dealing with right-wing-oriented youths. As part of the project proposal, Benz asked
state politicians in Berlin and surrounding Brandenburg to provide him with a
position. He never got one.
Benz said the experience proved to him that it's not enough "to call the fire
department when it's burning somewhere." Instead, he said, it is more important
"not to forget fire prevention, and to keep democracy alive." Benz said he did not
believe that appeals to citizens to show more civil courage were very effective after
violence has already been committed.
Green Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer is the latest German politician to call on
the entire society to fight rightist extremism.
Fischer said at the weekend that last week's bombing in Duesseldorf in which
numerous people - including nine Jews from the Soviet Union - were injured showed
that the point had been reached at which the silent majority must finally break its
Benz certainly hears what these politicians are saying, but he questions their
seriousness, likening the demand for people to get more involved and shoulder
more civic responsibility to "a cry for help from babes lost in the woods."
with right-wing extremism wherever and whenever it occurs as well as "making
clear to adults how they should respond to these youths" are both much more
effective ways of combatting the problem, according to Benz. After all, he said, the
problem is going to be around for a long time to come.
Benz adamantly rejected interpretations that portray the right-wing scene as a
group of conspirators with a reliable network at their disposal that can shake the
very foundations of the republic. According to the historian, there is nothing new
about the kind of right-wing extremism Germany is experiencing.
What has changed, however, said Benz, is a basic outlook on life that has been
shaped to reflect radical, right-wing thought. Unlike the neo-Nazis, the average
person's view of the world is "no longer closed," said Benz. Instead, he stressed, it
has become "informed by racism", thus providing an outlet for "social frustration."
The director of Hesse state's publically-funded Centre for Political Education, Klaus
Boehme, is another leading figure who fails to see any kind of "new quality"
emerging in German extremism.
According to Boehme, since the 1980s it has been a well-known fact that 17 per
cent of the German population is sympathetic towards right-wing views.
Up to now, said Boehme, anyone referring to that statistic has been "a lone voice
in the wilderness," but he admits that the latest spate of right-wing violence has
made clear the need "to take the phenomenon more seriously."
© Frankfurter Rundschau
GYPSIES KILLED IN KOSOVO BOOBY TRAP
Peacekeepers rushed to the scene
Three Roma gypsies from the same family are
among six people to have been murdered by
gunmen in one night of violence in Kosovo.
Peacekeepers said the three - a father, his son
and his nephew - were killed on Wednesday
night by a booby-trap mortar outside their
house in the village of Mali Alas near the
Kosovan capital, Pristina. A second son was
In two later attacks, a
boy and an Albanian
couple were shot dead
The killings come just a
week after Kosovo
Albanian and Serb
leaders signed an
agreement in the
United States aimed at
putting an end to
inter-ethnic tensions in the province and
reintegrating its separate communities.
Correspondents say Gypsies are often accused
of participating in a Serb campaign of terror
against Albanians before and during last year's
Nato air strikes.
According to the K-For multinational force, a
patrol of Finnish peacekeepers investigating a
fire in Mali Alas found an unexploded mortar
bomb tied to a fence.
"They started to warn
off the people in the
area. Three Roma
individuals came out of
their house and were
walking towards the
Finnish patrol when the
device was detonated,"
K-For's Lieutenant Nick Mansfield said.
A UN police spokesman said the mortar bomb
appeared to have been detonated by a trip
Albanians 'to blame'
A relative of those killed in the blast, Xhemajl
Salihu, blamed local Albanians for planting the
"The wooden fence
around our house was
set on fire and we ran
into a booby trap when
we came out to put
out the flames.
"We've been attacked
before, we had our car
stolen, but that is
nothing compared to
the death of my
brother, cousin and his
son," he said.
"I don't know why Albanians have done this to
us knowing I was together with the other
villagers when Serb forces drove us out from
our homes. I'm the oldest left now in my
Mali Alas is a mixed Roma and Albanian village
in an area of Kosovo where Serbs, Roma and
ethnic Albanian communities live in close
proximity to each other.
© BBC NEWS
SPAIN TO TOUGHEN IMMIGRATION LAWS
The Spanish government is expected today
Friday to approve tougher immigration laws
which could lead to the expulsion of tens of
thousands of illegal immigrants.
The government said it would go ahead with
the changes in spite of fierce criticism from
opposition parties, trade unions and human
The legislation will take effect from January
next year; it will authorise the expulsion of
immigrants who are refused permission to stay
in Spain under a process of regularisation
that's been conducted in the last few months.
More than two-hundred-thousand immigrants
have applied; of a hundred-thousand cases
decided so far, more than twelve thousand
have been rejected.
© BBC NEWS
TURKEY CATCHES ILLEGAL MIGRANTS
Turkish security forces have detained 99
people trying to leave the country illegally and
gain entry to the European Union.
They were all detained near the Turkish border
with Greece where hundreds of arrests are
made every week.
The Italian Government has called on Turkey
and Greece to do more to prevent the
smuggling trade after more than 400 migrants
arrived by boat in southern Italy on Sunday.
This is the smuggling season when warm
weather and calm seas tempt thousands of
people to try their luck on the route to Europe.
Some try to wade across the Meric River which
separates Turkey and Greece, others clamber
into small boats which set off under cover of
darkness for the Greek islands.
Nearly all the would-be
migrants have paid
thousands of dollars to
The latest group to be
Palestinians - the
majority are probably
So far this year, more
than 5,000 people have been detained by the
Turkish security forces but no one knows how
many have evaded capture and made it into
the European Union.
The Italian Government wants Turkey and
Greece to tighten control over illegal
immigration but the Turkish authorities say
their forces are already stretched to the limit.
There is so much money to be made for the
smugglers and so many people willing to risk a
journey into the unknown to escape economic
hardship or political persecution.
There are no easy answers.
© BBC NEWS
PRISON RACISM COMPENSATION FAILURE(UK)
The judge was satisfied that some racist comments
A High Court compensation bid by four black
men who claimed they were subjected to a
racial abuse and bullying while on remand at a
'white man's prison', has been dismissed.
The four - Marnon Thomas, Nigel Johnson,
Hopeton Falconer and Patrick Campbell, all of
West Indian origin and who all live in
Birmingham - were among just five black men
at Swansea Prison in 1994.
The men that within hours of their arrival at
the jail, other inmates were making 'monkey
impersonations' and using derogatory language
while prison staff did nothing.
The court heard that
the racial tension
culminated in a 'general
melee' of violence in
which the four were
set upon by 20-30
white prisoners and
badly injured during an
The men were arrested
in Aberystwyth where
they had gone to
celebrate Mr Johnson's
They were later arrested in the town and
remanded in custody at Swansea jail in
October 1994. They were later released in
December when all charges against them were
dismissed by magistrates.
Mr Justice Buckley said evidence in the case
had "reached unacceptable extremes" and he
rejected as "unacceptable" the four's
description of their time in prison as a "living
The judge said: "Overall, and it may be some
small comfort to the claimants, I do not believe
that they have wholly invented their
allegations as was suggested on behalf of the
Assaulted and injured
"They satisfied me that some racist comments
were made by some inmates and that some of
those were probably heard by prison officers.
They had, on one occasion, "undoubtedly"
been assaulted and injured by other inmates
and that had left them "extremely annoyed and
upset" but the judge ruled the prison
authorities could not be held responsible for
The allegations made by the four were "at
times contradictory" and their complaints
about their treatment in prison had "escalated
as time has gone by," the judge added.
He said he was satisfied that the prison
governor's decision not to cancel an
association period at which the four were
assaulted had not been negligent.
To prove their claim of "misfeasance in public
office" against prison staff, the four would
have had to "establish abuse of power by
prison officers in bad faith."
During a trial spanning three weeks, the Home
Office had denied all the allegations levelled by
the four against the prison authorities.
© BBC NEWS
JUDGE ORDERS TESTS ON INTERNET SCREENING(France)
Yahoo could face daily fines of more than $150,000
A French judge has ordered a series of tests to
be carried out to help decide if one of the
world's leading internet service providers,
Yahoo, has the technical means to stop
internet users in France accessing sites that
are illegal in the country.
A ruling last month gave
Yahoo's French site
until 24 June to make it
impossible for people in
France to gain access
to auctions of Nazi
memorabilia - describing
them as an "offence to
the collective memory"
of French people.
The judge's call for the tests came during a
hearing on Monday into whether Yahoo had
complied with June's court order.
Witnesses called by the two sides disagreed on
the effectiveness of internet screening
systems and the judge adjourned the case
until next month while the tests are carried
The case was brought after a complaint from a
Paris-based group, the International League
Against Racism and anti-Semitism - known by
its French acronym Licra.
French law prohibits the exhibition or sale of
objects with racist overtones, and Yahoo could
face daily fines of more than $150,000 if the
high court finds that the US-based company
has failed to comply with last month's ruling.
blocked access to the
pages auctioning Nazi
memorabilia ahead of
But surfers can browse the same pages, which
routinely offer hundreds of real or imitation
Nazi artefacts every day, on the global site
If the judge rules against Yahoo, it will make
material in a foreign language and not
specifically aimed at the French population
actionable under French law just because it is
possible to access that material in France.
Attorneys for Yahoo argued that although
screening software exists, no existing
technology could effectively keep all French
users from seeing racist sites.
They also said that blocking certain keywords,
such as 'Nazi', would hinder free speech and
hurt people doing legitimate historical research.
"Imagine that we would
decide to implement
what's being asked of
us," said Philippe
executive for Yahoo's
"Tomorrow, a judge
from any country could
come to a Web
publisher from any
other country and ask
them to pull down such
and such because it's
unacceptable in that
"The web doesn't work that way," Mr
Guillanton said, "The web is based around the
concept of user responsibility."
Lawyers acting for Licra accused Yahoo of
acting in bad faith and said it should pay a
daily fine of $186,900 during the assessment
"We're demanding the hard disk be cleaned in
the name of morality and French law. If access
cannot be filtered, it should be suppressed,"
lawyer Stephane Lilti said.
Information technology company Infosplit was
called by the plaintiffs.
Infosplit argued that their technology could
keep 95% of surfers from a particular country
from a web site, and has set up a
demonstration at its site to illustrate its claim.
© BBC NEWS
THE RUNNING SORE OF BLOOD AND DISHONOUR (Germany)
Berlin - They campaign for the "Aryan nation" and a "national socialist revolution".
They organise concerts all over Germany for extreme right-wing bands and are
represented by their own delegations every time members of the right-wing German
National Party (NPD) march along the streets of German towns and cities. The
neo-Nazi network, "Blood and Honour", is among the most militant sections of the
neo-Nazi movement and boasts the best contacts with the rest of Europe.
The German arm of the network, "Blut und Ehre", uses its own website, a glossy
magazine and several distribution companies to supply its followers with dubious
CDs and other propaganda material.
It has also become common at concerts organised by the group for encouragement
and calls to be given for attacks upon the security forces. A recent concert in
Holvede near Hamburg proved to be no exception.
When the police tried to stop a concert being given in front of 400 skinheads by a
right-wing band from Magdeburg, Sperrfeuer ("Barrage"), the audience turned on
them and attacked the officers.
The following day, the Weser-Ems section of Blut Und Ehre threatened to exact
revenge claiming, "it is absolutely incomprehensible that some police still ask why
people such as Kay Diesner shoot police officers. They would be better off asking
why more people do not." The Berlin neo-Nazi Kay Diesner has been considered a
martyr by the right-wing cause since he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the
murder of a police officer.
Meanwhile, the neo-Nazi scene is no longer satisfied with
simply calling for people to follow his example. An announcement last year called
for neo-Nazis to help establish a so-called "brown underground". Wherever in
Germany this has happened, Blut und Ehre activists have been involved.
The most recent example were the "national revolutionary cells" in Berlin and
Brandenburg, uncovered by the authorities in the act of planning attacks against
members of the left-wing scene. Two of the neo-Nazis involved - including Carsten
S. who works undercover for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in
Brandenburg - organised concerts for Blut und Ehre in Brandenburg and were
responsible for maintaining connections with like-minded groups in Sweden and
A glance at the Swedish Blood and Honour group's website shows the close links
that exist between German neo-Nazis, the British fascist group "Combat 18" and
the Swedish "National Socialist Front" which was responsible for the murder of two
police officers. Further evidence was provided when around 200 neo-Nazis from
Germany, Britain, Norway, Sweden and Denmark gathered in the small southern
Swedish town of Klippan in June to celebrate midsummer.
"Master of ceremonies" at the event was Stephan L. from Berlin, regarded as the
head of Blut und Ehre in Germany and the driving force behind the group's
increasingly militant activities. The meeting in Sweden cheered the presence of a
prominent Bavarian neo-Nazi: Bernd P. from Bamberg, singer with the Blood and
Honour band "Hate Society" and considered one of the most important German
contacts for Combat 18. Members of the British neo-Nazi group travelled to
Bamberg several times over the last 12 months to take part in Blut und Ehre
The National Office for the Protection of the Constitution desribed the contact as
simply "the activities of individual leading activists" which in no way called for acts
of terrorism to be carried out in Germany. However, Stig Larsson, a Swedish expert
on the extreme right-wing scene, warns that these journeys abroad under the guise
of "concert visits" should not be underestimated. In conversation with the
Frankfurter Rundschau, he pointed out, "On the fringe, arrangements are made for
A similar meeting took place near Oslo in November 1999
between German, Swedish, British and Norwegian neo-Nazis with links to Blood
and Honour and Combat 18. The Germans issued a request for support for action
undertaken against political opponents in southern Lower Saxony. One month
later, the police in Lower Saxony warned the leadership of the Federation of
German Trades Unions in Goettingen and a number of left-wing housing
associations to be on the lookout for right-wing letter bombs.
The neo-Nazi message seems to be getting through to younger fans of Blood and
Honour bands - in Guben for example. Before driving an Algerian asylum seeker,
Farid Guendoul, to his death, his persecutors listened to a banned music cassette
"Republic of Rogues" by the Berlin band Landser ("Trooper") featuring the lyrics:
"What if an army of millions of the Third World's starving people overran us one
day. How would you stop them? With your arguments? Me, I'd get my gun out blow
them all away!"
© Frankfurter Rundschau
MORE MIGRANTS ARRIVING BY SHIP(Italy)
The latest ship carrying illegal immigrants for Europe - this time, 418 of
them - ran aground yesterday off southern Italy, prompting Italy to
complain its neighbours were failing to stop the flow, reports AP. Initial
inquiries showed the boat left a Turkish port and stopped at a Greek
port to resupply, officials said.
Police said the ship, which ran aground off Crotone, carried Kurds and
others from Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Senegal and
elsewhere. In Turin, meanwhile, police stopped 124 Kurds, including
about 60 children, in a train yesterday. They had requested political
asylum from Italy upon landing at Crotone, but immediately set out for
France when Italy released them, authorities said.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports a further 367 refugees reached
Calabria overnight from Albania. Officials said an average of 500
refugees per week had succeeded in crossing from Albania into Italy
© Refugees Daily
ACTION CALL OVER WORKPLACE RACISM(UK)
Black and Asian workers are facing "appalling" levels of
verbal and physical racist abuse ranging from unfair
sackings to death threats, according to a new report.
The TUC is calling for urgent action from the Government,
employers and unions after discovering "serious and
widespread" racism in workplaces across the country.
An analysis of 450 calls made to a special TUC telephone
hotline last month revealed a catalogue of incidents which
has forced some workers to take time off with sickness or
One of the calls was from a black communications
engineer from Manchester who faced racist comments
every day for months.
Work colleagues tried to set him alight and he received
death threats in the post, leaving him feeling suicidal.
Police were investigating his complaints.
A Chinese engineering machinist from Merseyside told
how he has been off work for several months with
depression after being "tormented" by racist names and
In another case, an Asian management consultant from
London was promoted to an area where he had no
experience - just before his firm submitted a report to the
Equal Opportunities Commission - and later sacked.
"Unfortunately, this is just the tip of an iceberg, but
everyone should remember that racial discrimination is
illegal and will not be tolerated by decent people," TUC
general secretary John Monks said.
"Employers, Government and unions must act in
partnership to end the shocking catalogue of suffering
faced by black and Asian workers."
The TUC is urging employers to train workers on resisting
racism and calling on the Government to introduce
mandatory ethnic monitoring.
TURKISH DEPUTY PM RULES OUT SPECIAL STATUS FOR KURDS
Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli said on
Saturday Turkey could not grant minority
status to Kurds as that would legitimate
the separatist war waged by Kurdish
rebels. Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah
Ocalan -- sentenced to hang for treason
last year -- has from his jail cell ordered
his fighters to cease fire and instead wage
a peaceful campaign for cultural rights for the country"s 12
The European Union has urged Turkish
authorities to ease restrictions on the use of Kurdish
language in education and broadcasting and improve its
chequered human rights record as a step towards EU
membership. Turkey has so far refused, saying Kurds
enjoy equal rights with Turks before the law.
non-Moslems have minority status in Turkey under the
1923 Lausanne Agreement and rights such as that of
education in their own languages. "It is impossible for us to
accept such an approach which on ethnic basis could
justify a terror movement... by producing a new minority
concept that goes beyond the minority description made
by the Lausanne Agreement," the nationalist Bahceli told
mainstream daily Hurriyet in an interview published on
Saturday. Bahceli"s conservative coalition partners appear
to take a softer line on Kurdish cultural rights.
Conservative Mesut Yilmaz, coordinator for Turkey"s EU
membership bid, said last week that now "terrorism" was
over Ankara could take unprecedented steps. Ocalan"s
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fought for self-rule in the
mountainous southeast for 15 years, in a conflict that cost
over 30,000 lives.
Fighting has now largely ended. Bahceli
said there was no ban on using Kurdish in daily life but he
opposed any further moves such as officially allowing
education in Kurdish.
"That would mean handing down
what the PKK has been seeking for years as middle term
goals in order to reach its final target," he was quoted as
saying by the daily.
The Nationalist Action Party leader
also objects to abolishing the death penalty, saying that
would save Ocalan"s neck. Scrapping it is a condition of