OPINION

Shifting people and problems

Recent police operations to evict illegal immigrants and drug addicts from dilapidated buildings in downtown Athens are not enough to prevent the so-called historic center of the capital from collapsing. It is of course unacceptable that a number of buildings in the area that lies within the triangle formed by Omonia, Syntagma and Monastiraki squares have been reduced to hotbeds of illegal activity and degeneration. However, by driving the homeless people out of those run-down structures and into the nearby streets, the police crackdown is simply shifting the problem, and does nothing to actually resolve it. Instead, the government should set up special social services which, aided by purpose-built buildings and experts, will be capable of lifting these people out of their misery. The state must safeguard these people’s rights by providing them with shelter and facilitating their integration into society. In the case of migrants who have failed to realize their dreams of a better life, the state should take steps to ensure that they return safely to their home country.