TGEU Statement: Transgender women detained to improve city image reveals Greek Minister. Crack-down in Thessaloniki must Stop Immediately!
Greek Minister Citizen Protection Dendias (photo) justified recent systematic police harassment of transgender women in Thessaloniki as an action to “improve the image” of city areas. In a reply to questions from three parliamentarians he wrote the aim of the “Special Operational Action Plan” is to “tackle, among others, prostitution and exploitation of the sexual life of socially and economically vulnerable individuals, to enhance citizens’ feeling of safety and to improve the image of the above mentioned areas”.
Transgender women have been systematically subjected to arbitrary ID checks since end of May in Thessaloniki and often detained without legal basis. Lawyer E. Kourta was apprehended illegally when she tried speaking to her transgender client.
“We have seen forced HIV-testing being re-introduced last week. Now the Public Order Minister justifies illegal and discriminatory actions of police forces against transgender persons and sex workers in Thessaloniki. In the meantime the police harassment in Thessaloniki continues. These ‘cleansing efforts’ targeting vulnerable groups are by no means justifiable. The ongoing abuse by the police and mandatory HIV-testing pave the way for further human rights abuses against transgender persons, sex workers, drug users, persons living with HIV, migrants and other vulnerable social groups,” says TGEU co-chair Kemal Ördek.
“The Greek Ministry for Public Order must stop any police measures targeting transgender persons and sex workers. On the contrary, Greek authorities must listen to civil society and repeal the decree at once as it furthers the epidemic with more prejudices, stigmatisation, discrimination and more risks for public health.”
“A witch-hunt against those most vulnerable commissioned by the government recalls a dark chapter in Europe from 70 years back. It is shocking and incomprehensible how the mere presence of transgender persons is portrayed as dirty. The European community needs to react immediately and remind Greece that these discriminatory practices are incompatible with European values,” comments Richard Köhler, TGEU Policy Officer.
Transgender Europe demands an immediate stop of any harmful practices by Greek authorities towards transgender persons in Greece.
ABOUT TRANSGENDER EUROPE – TGEU:
TGEU is a European Human Rights Organization with membership in 36 countries working for equality and inclusion of all trans people, registered under Austrian law.