US State Dept expresses concern over rise in racism in Greece

Washington has expressed concern about continuing racially motivated attacks in Greece by right-wing extremist groups, including members of the neofascist Golden Dawn party.

The finding comes from the State Department’s release of its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013.

Other issues underscored in the report were the substandard conditions of prisons and migrant detention facilities, and discrimination against the Roma population.

“The most important human rights problems during the year involved unprovoked racist violence against migrants and individuals perceived to be foreigners; conditions in migrant detention centers and prisons; and discrimination against Roma and exploitation of Romani children,” it said.

The State Department also took issue with expressions of anti-Semitism, “particularly in the extremist press and certain blogs.” It made particular reference to the xenophobic, Holocaust-denying members of Golden Dawn.

The report finally mentioned restrictions on freedom of speech and religion, as well as “limits on the freedom of certain ethnic minority groups to self-identify, and discrimination against and social exclusion of the officially recognized ‘Muslim minority’ in Thrace.”