Leaders of professional associations and public bodies, uniformed, scientists, teachers, doctors, nurses. I would like to thank the leadership of the Ministry of Health, and congratulate the entities who helped organize this very important conference in Greece of the crisis, especially the Health Minister, Adonis Georgiadis and the EKEPY Governor, PanosEfstathiou.
The health sector is characterized, on the one hand, by its significant prospects for growth, innovation and demonstration of dynamism and, on the other hand, by the challenges it faces in terms of the economic and social sustainability and efficiency of health care systems, inter alia because of the aging population and of the progress made by medicine.
The sure is that our time is a period of inevitable and inevitable movement of people to foreign countries, especially to the European Union, in finding work and seeking better living conditions.
The cause of the work is to examine and present the current situation regarding the health of immigrants. What are the needs for care? Are they satisfied? What problems do they encounter if they find solutions or are driven to standstill. Are their rights to access to health protected by legislation? Within this framework, 6 thematic units are examined:
Equal access of immigrants to health services, which is examined in detail and presented without any gaps, is dealt with by separate sections referring to the current legislative framework, the right to health under the Constitution and the right to health under international law.
Protection of public health
Problems when entering the country
Reception and detention centres for illegal immigrants
Specific issues, where this module focuses on the rights to care for more vulnerable groups, such as women and children.
Expulsion of Immigrants
Thank you very much for your attention.
Ladies and gentlemen, secretaries-general, scientists, representatives of the academic community, doctors, nurses, and health employees.
We are very grateful to the organizing committee and especially to its President, Mr. PanosEfstathiou, for the invitation to be a speaker at this conference.
Greece has become a host country for a large number of immigrants and asylum seekers without simultaneously adopting a clear and coordinated immigration policy. Critical legal gaps and contradictions are faced by children born of foreign mothers who remain native up to the age of 18 and unaccompanied or unaccompanied asylum seekers who are “hosted” in various centres.
Based on the definition given by the United Nations, an immigrant is defined as a person who is away from the country of birth or from the country that has nationality for more than 12 months (www.ekem.gr, Sarras, 2005)
The person who is not a national of the country in which he resides or lives.
An economic immigrant is the person who emigrates to improve his / her economic situation.
Refugee is the person who moves because of persecution or violence (EKKE, 2008, p. 7) is described as a refugee. Also, according to Triantafyllidis, a refugee is defined as being forced or forced to leave his homeland or place of permanent residence and to reside in a foreign country or in the country of his or her national origin.
According to the United Nations, a refugee is a person who has serious fears of being persecuted for reasons of racial, religious, ethnicity, because he is part of a social group, or has a political position, is outside his country and cannot return because is at risk. The refugee leaves his country because he is in danger and threatened with persecution and cannot return safely to his country.
According to Pavlopoulos (2007), the repatriated person is the person who voluntarily returns to the country of origin.
It is the person who belongs to the same nation as the speaker (Kriaras, 1995, p.9999).
Then, reference is made to the effects of migration on the sending countries as well as on the host countries of migrants (countries that are members of the European Union) in order to make the concept of migratory phenomenon clearer.
After this brief reference to the significant social change and to the family changes that have been happening in Greece since the early 1990s, the policies aimed at the families and children living here are presented. As a result of the lack of a consistent family policy, the Greek family, despite its growing liquidity, remains the most important provider of social welfare services. Although the principle of the child’s interest goes through modernized legislation and approaches have been provided to support the particular needs and social rights of minorities, the policies implemented are not sufficiently effective.
The work focuses on the access of cultural differences to education, the country’s unique, clearly universal system of politics. It supports the urgent need to establish social and psychological services at all levels of education and frontline services – health, mental health, social care – with a view to implementing a social rights and advocacy strategy both within these services and in the networks that they will develop with families and local communities.
The Greek family and society have undergone widespread, multifaceted changes that challenge mental health professionals, educators and social scientists to constantly re-orientate-adapt the services offered and the research they are conducting in order to be able to respond to changing conditions and emerging needs.
The changes that characterize the modern family as a way of organizing private life express profound socio-cultural changes and have contributed to the formation of another family reality (Mussourou, 2004: 77-80), with traits of reducing fertility-demographic aging, divorces, unconventional family patterns, and single parent families. The most significant change has taken place in the position of the woman in the Greek society, the depiction of which within the family makes it fluid with the possibility of receiving varied and changing compositions. The tendency of many entities, scientists and professionals to characterize these changes as a “crisis” of the modern family with implicit perceptions of its pathologicalization (incapacitating, unworthy to adapt) and its rescue stances does not find us in agreement. Individuals and families often experience transitions, from one stage of development to another or from one life to another, by using their adaptation skills and the necessary resources (prevention, early intervention and benefits) available from their environment for that reason. Poverty and inadequacy of these resources are responsible for extending or complicating evolutionary transitions and diverting them to dead ends and “crises”, (Vergeti, 2009).
Significant component of social change is the growing presence of migrant families with a steadily increasing number of those entering sea borders. Also, the presence of children and families of second-generation repatriated from countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Gradually, Greece has evolved into a host country, with a multicultural composition and concern for the social inclusion of dissenters.
Migrant groups generate new needs for health, education, employment, social security and social care services, which are expected to be covered by existing health and social protection systems (Psimenos and Skamnakis, 2008: 306). The pressures on these systems are expected to bring about adjustments in the organization and delivery of services, both in its geographic dimension, with the equitable distribution of goods in the various geographic areas and islands, and in the economic dimension, i.e. the universal, equitable distribution of of social goods according to the needs of immigrants and not according to their reciprocity. Critical is the cultural dimension, the extent to which the difference is an obstacle to the process of providing services but also to the quality of efficiency and public speech – the support they receive in this process.
In Greece, the core of minority status and identity is national, linguistic or religious specificity (Tsitselikis and Christopoulos, 1997: 431), and many minority groups are characterized by their national identity or the status they acquire on the basis of their entry into the country, legal refugees, asylum seekers, refugees, passing through etc. In the present text the term “minority” is not addressed by its formal legal performance as a quality of endogenous relations of authority or representation, which identifies in relation to the state or as a collective consciousness of the minority group itself about the peculiarity that differentiates it and which it is interested in preserving, (Tsitselikis and Christopoulos, 1997: 431-2). Nor is it limited to the only officially recognized religious minority that the Muslims of Western Thrace with its triple Turks, Pomaks and Gypsies. The term minority is treated in the sense of a set of people who share some primary, empirically identifiable characteristics (ethnic origin, language, religion, tradition) that differentiate it from the rest of the population. One such group is the heterogeneous group of Roma who, according to the Hellenic Helsinki Monitor for the Rights of Minorities, amount to 300,000 (www.greekhelsinki.gr), most of them are permanently settled in agglomerations, which are based on the fringes of major cities.
Language and Immigration
Moving a person from one place to another (external migration) is equivalent to moving from a well-known social, economic, political and cultural system to a less known or – usually – unknown system. Automatically, the immigrant feels “foreign” in the levels of speech communities, insofar as they cannot understand and communicate in the dominant language. With the advent of the immigrant in the host country, the cultural and social capital he/she brings is underestimated. It is therefore useful for the immigrant to know the host country’s dominant and official language. An official language of a state can be defined as a language that has the legal status of a particular registered legal entity, such as a member or part of the state, and in which it serves as the language of the administration. (www.OECD.org)
The role of the host country’s language in the integration process of immigrants
Based on a Patras University survey, a percentage (61%) chose to be helped by attending Greek language courses. These individuals attended Greek classes on average for one year.
The reasons why they want to learn Greek vary: working (both for Greece and returning to their country of origin), reasons of understanding and communication in their daily contacts and access to public services. They also expressed reasons related to their independence, claiming their rights, finding a mate, even for pronunciation and improvement in writing.
Regarding the ease of finding the first residence and its effect on the partial knowledge of the Greek language, all respondents confirmed that they did not face difficulties either because a person from the friendly environment helped them either their employer or because their work environment was also their place of residence (internal exclusive assistant). Therefore, finding a job meant at the same time finding a home.
One of the biggest issues that has arisen in Greece over the past 20 years is the gradual transition to an increasingly multicultural society. Nearly 10% of the population now comes from other countries and continents. A very large number of students in Athens have a different religion as they carry other cultures, and the indigenous face this new assumption as a challenge.
In my turn, I believe that if certain conditions are met, it is at the same time a great opportunity that can lead to a fruitful and creative coexistence for the benefit of Greece. Diversity means pluralism and is proof of the ecumenical spirit of Hellenism over the centuries.
Effects of migration on Greece and Europe
Migration effects in the host country
Migration is a phenomenon that undoubtedly affects the host country in many areas, because it increases the number of social subjects taking part in the collective life. At the same time, these social subjects are confronted with the control of the processes of redistribution of material and symbolic goods. This results in a social process redefining the positions, roles and prestige of acquiring these positions and roles (KEMO, 2004, p. 183). The massive presence of immigrants in the host country affects the work sector, since migrants work and insurance, if they are legal workers and enjoy the right to insurance and health. Therefore, direct influence exists in the country’s economy.
At the same time, there is an impact on the social sector as well, since immigrants have settled in the country and are daily connected with the native population, the educator, if the second generation of immigrants participates in a certain level of education, or they attend classes themselves in an Educational Program (for example, language courses in the host country). The cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity of immigrants by their peers results in the coexistence and interaction of a variety of cultures on the territory of the host country and consequently the influence on the respective areas of religion, culture and language. A typical example of this interculturalism is cases of families made up of foreign and national members.
But how do all the above areas affect the presence of immigrants? Which way; Opinions are ambiguous. Some people blame and charge immigration for the host country’s economic downturn, falling wages, increasing crime and unemployment, and disrupting national homogeneity. For the part of the population that adopts this view, migration is undesirable and creates a multitude of problems. However, another share of the population faces migration as a new social wealth that it offers in various sectors of the country and is treated as a natural outcome that is desirable. They also consider that it does not create new problems but as a rule highlights the existing problems – characteristics of the social structures of the host countries (KEMO, 2004, p. 72).
So, what are the policies that have so far been formulated to understand the migration phenomenon? How does the state ultimately choose to manage the presence of these individuals on its territory? Does it want to assimilate or integrate them? These terms will be briefly discussed below.
Effects of migration on the European Union
But what is the role of migratory flows for the European Union? The reason why migration is positively addressed is because it can bring economic benefits to member states and ultimately to the Union as a whole. This attitude is evident in a plethora of documents. In particular, the Council of the European Union, which was held in Brussels in 2004, refers inter alia to:
“When the flow of immigrants is orderly and well-handled, Member States benefit. They are strengthening their economies, gaining greater social cohesion, increasing the sense of security, cultural diversity. These benefits, if taken into account and recorded for all Member States, promote the European project and strengthen the Union’s position in the world. Therefore, effective management of immigration by each Member State is a general interest “(Press Release, November 2004).
The general view of the Union, as mentioned above, is that the use of immigrants is positive for the overall economic development of the host countries. Moreover, the experience of modern immigration towards the developed capitalist countries has brought significant economic benefits for them (Naxakis&Chletsos, 2003, p. 242). In particular, on the basis of the developments observed in the period 1960-2000 (following a survey by the United Nations), it is noted that, at the immigration level, most developed countries received migrant profits from population inflows from less developed regions (Tsaousis, 2007, p. 233).
Low birth in the member countries of the European Union is now a fact and is one of the most serious problems that need to be tackled. In particular, the UN Population Committee report states that more than 100 million migrants must be admitted to the Union by 2025 in order to be able to maintain their workforce steadily. Respectively, research into the economically active population of the countries and their preservation concludes that around 20 million immigrants will have to flow from 2010 to 2030, according to the Green Bible (Kontiadis&Papatheodorou, 2007, p. 173).
The needs of the Union in the fields of technology, IT and industry in highly qualified and low-skilled staff are also covered by migrants. At the same time, the increased demand for unskilled labor due to the cultural and social aversion of the indigenous population towards employment of low status, difficult working conditions, low wages and seasonal nature, is necessarily to be addressed by the migrant population (Kontiadis&Papatheodorou, 2007, p. 176).
Additionally, it has been shown that migrants other than labor are also consumers. Even if they spend a very small part of their income on consumption in the country they work, they are part of active demand. Immigrants buy used products that the native population would not want (Naxakis&Chletsos, 2003, p. 27).
At the same time, another problem faced by the countries of the European Union is the aging of the native population. This aging, and in particular the workforce, has a significant impact on the social protection system and on production (Naxakis&Chletsos, 2003, p. 47). According to OECD surveys, the level of prosperity of the inhabitants will be reduced in the future. In particular, the per capita product will fall by 18% in the European Union and, in order to maintain its unchanged aging ratio, migration is required to be 13 million per year, based on the United Nations report in 2000 (Naxakis&Chletsos, 2003, p. 38). Turnout therefore seems necessary and is not treated as unwanted.
Consequently, immigration positively affects demographic developments, improves the proportion of active and inactive people in host countries and contributes to an increase in active labour.
It is obvious that the European Union’s response to the phenomenon of migration is almost exclusively structured around the economic factor.
The effects of immigration do not differ greatly in the case of Greece. Consequently, the consequences of the presence of the migrant population are presented in more detail below.
The treatment of immigration at national level varies according to the immigration policy that each state chooses to implement. The main forms of coping are assimilation, integration and integration. The first policy applied to the migration issue is that of digesting (the so-called melting pot) in the United States of America (Green, 2004, p.73).
Assimilation: The term was used to describe the absorption process of American immigrants in the predominant white civilization (Abercrombie & Hill & Turner, 1991). Assimilation is, therefore, the process that will result in the appropriation of the cultural model of the host society. According to Paul (2007), this is the most popular version of the treatment of immigrants in national states, as it is easier to manage at national level (Kontiadis&Papatheodorou, 2007, p. 304).
Assimilation was considered a one-dimensional and one-way process in that the cultural elements of the dominant culture are imposed on the migrant by abandoning his own culture. With this process, the migrant becomes as “more similar” to the host group as the host country (Vassiliou, 1992). It is possible to characterize not only the process but also the outcome of this process (UNESCO, 1972). At the same time, this concept was combined with nationalism, colonialism and imperialism (Schnapper, 2008, p.43).
The terms social inclusion has varied definitions and are often used as synonymous or complementary. Let’s look at some conceptual clarifications of the terms.
Social integration: At a theoretical level, there is no generally accepted definition of inclusion, whereas the use of the word “integration” itself is disputed as unclear (IMEPO, 2007, p. 10). Social inclusion is the process by which a society or system allows its members to hold positions and role players within the social organization in order to contribute to the functioning of the social system (according to the operational approach) ( Abercrombie& Hill & Turner, 1991). The integration of individuals shows how the elements of society maintain consistency and the process in which different ethnicities have close social, economic and political relationships (Abercrombie & Hill & Turner, 1988, p. 182). According to Ventura (2007), social integration does not mean going from one homogeneous unit to another (so it differs from the term “assimilation”), but transition from one heterogeneity arrangement to another, from a division of properties to another that converges more towards the dominant distribution in a population reference (Kontiadis&Papatheodorou, 2007). According to Dimoula, key factors of inclusion are those who relate to the person’s public life, such as the individual’s educational level, employment and housing. Finally, the inclusion of a person in a society is linked to the conditions for entry to it and equal access to public and social services as compared to the indigenous population (Baghavos&Papadopoulou, 2006).
Social Incorporation: Durkheim, in his book Suicide: A study in Sociology (1952), states that a group can be considered socially integrated to the extent that its members: 1) have social consciousness, share the same feelings, beliefs and practices (religious society); 2) They are interacting with each other (domestic society); and 3) They feel they have common goals (political society) (Schnapper, 2008, p. 67). This concept is the same as bringing together various parts of a community as a whole. The term, according to Makris (1991), is the term “integration”.
According to Abercrombie & Hill & Turner (1991), integration refers to the channelling of the political and economic activity of the working class into existing institutions, instead of staying on the side-lines. This is so in order not to threaten the disruption of the class. From a sociological point of view, the term refers to the social mechanisms and functions through which the individual is associated with groups and society (Vassiliou, 1992). According to Kontis (2001), integration is the involvement of individuals in the host country ‘s socio – economic structures. More specifically, it is the process that characterizes the dynamic path towards a desirable situation, as well as the situation characterized by the lack of discrimination between comparable groups of nationals and foreigners in the host country (Amitsis& Lazaridis, 2001). According to Dimoula (2006), integration is part of the sphere of private life and the activities of the individual within it (Mavagavos&Papadopoulou, 2006, p. 247). Also, according to Papadopoulos (2008), when referring to integration, we are usually referring to the children of the second generation of immigrants, and it is a process that concerns all members of society and not just immigrants (Schnapper, 2008, p. 31). The term in some cases, like that of France, replaced the assimilation term (Green, 2004, p. 86).
Then reference is made to the terms “culture” and “de-culture”, which are not ways of dealing with the migratory phenomenon, but procedures observed in the person himself during his stay in the host country. These procedures concern the conscious or unconscious abandonment of the cultural identity (of the migrant) or the preservation of it with the simultaneous adoption of cultural elements of the host country.
Social change implies a lasting and vigorous flexibility in adapting society and social policy, developing primarily in the field of prevention and social care of the family and child and, at the same time, in the field of intervention and the treatment of risks. Ensuring basic service provision for all citizens requires adopting a holistic view that takes into account the need for survival together with those of well-being and promotes early intervention by providing support to the natural parental scheme in difficult transition phases and crisis situations.
The development of multidisciplinary interdisciplinary and, in terms of social work, interpersonal interventions in the field of cultural differences, family home, settlement, school, cultural centre, which allow for a complete picture of their difficulties and needs, as well as the dynamics of the system in which these difficulties and needs are “born” and reproduced. In addition, on-the-spot interventions favour the identification of skills, creative trends and talents, the exploitation of which enhances mental resilience and facilitates their adaptation.
There is a lack of will and an inability of actors and professionals to apply the modern institutional framework and to contribute to the decoding of social rights in their daily practice. The non-biased look and approach of “others” is the product of a mental-social process of identity and heterogeneity that takes place in the family, the social environment and the educational system. Reviewing policies’ approaches and constant reflection of professionals about their own attitudes and services to the different would lead to “evasion”, denial of fixed ways and tactical approach-understanding. It needs to discard those ways and habits that build up oppression and alliance, which are linked to the dynamics of discrimination and exclusion in Greece. The adoption of a human rights strategy, as suggested by Peter Tawnsent (2006) in addressing poverty, is becoming an urgent dimension.
The focus of this presentation on the absence of this human rights strategy in the field of education is justified by the fact that education along with language are important indicators of social inclusion in the current living conditions of a family (supplying the necessary social skills) the future of its members (prevention of social exclusion and preventive marginalization, limiting the factors that would favour anti-social behaviour, etc.). Also, from the fact that I have noted that in the arena of compulsory education “all” minors and their parents. There, it would be desirable to establish directly social and psychological services that will support the joint effort of intercultural education with the prospect of forming a multicultural society with equal members.
Applying a social rights and advocacy strategy is worthwhile and must precede, and work as a priority in your critical health-mental health, social care, and education areas.
Thank you very much ….
It is with great pleasure that our colleagues, friends and I personally welcome you today at the Cultural Centre of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens, which has given us the honour to host our today’s event, and for this we are very grateful and grateful to the members of the Board of Directors.
“The Exelixis Institute” is a non-profit organization operating at various levels with significant action in the field of immigrants who are in our country and whose main objective is the education of young immigrants in the cultural, historical, religious, social and political conditions in order to act as multipliers in their communities and to play a prominent role in developments with sufficient knowledge and experience from the increasingly multicultural reality the means in which they are invited to live, act and contribute fruitfully and constructively to the benefit of all.
In this context, we organized today’s conference titled ” “Seeking Ways to Coexist with Those of Different Religion”, in order to inform, to reflect, to sensitize and ultimately to act as much as possible on issues of religious diversity, on the problems that arise from it and to highlight the positive which a fertile and creative coexistence can offer to Greece.
More specifically, the aim of this conference is to explore the problems, the challenges and the most possible solutions that arise from the coexistence of those of different religions in a metropolitan area, such as Athens, with the weaknesses and opportunities it offers. The main focus is on the points that facilitate the coexistence of religions as they arise based on each religion’s teaching.
The structure of the conference is based on two axes: a) Suggestions (15-20 minutes) of special scientists who, through their expertise, will delineate and develop academically the context of problematic: problems, challenges, solutions of religiously different. b) Suggestions (15-20 minutes) of religious officers from the main hetero-religious and heterodox communities that exist and are active in our country within the framework of the above problematic.
The discussion will moderate Mr. Alexandros Velios and Mr. Daniel Esdras.
Thank you very much for your participation, which gives us the courage to continue our efforts despite all the difficulties we face every day.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Solidarity of the Hellenic Republic, it is a great pleasure to attend this important initiative of the Greek-Pakistan Association in Athens, which I had the pleasure of working with him in the past.
The primary objective of the Minister of Health is to ensure that migrants, legal and otherwise, have easy and effective access to the health system, protecting public health.
He is not prepared, as he has already shown, to sacrifice the right of immigrants for care at the altar of the financial crisis that Greece is experiencing. Determined and always ready to fight for the common good, by taking care of the public high health good, he stamped his refusal to cut the health sector with his statement in the 16th European Health Forum Gastein: “There is no crisis, there is a new reality that we must face. We will never come back, so we should better reconcile with this idea. ”
With craving for work, ideas and fist, he reminds that migrants, whether they have the necessary legal papers or not, remain humans who need respect and equal treatment by doctors who have given the oath of Hippocrates.
With respect to human beings and the need for a dignified living, a conference on Migration Health, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is scheduled to be held in support of health and its supply throughout the world and the support of the National Health Management Centre.
Finally, I would like to confirm that support and assistance come effortlessly in difficult but also pleasant moments. It is our pleasure and honour to be invited to such beautiful and pioneering events, where we have the opportunity to tighten relationships.
I wish you a pleasant evening.
Thank you very much for your attention.
More than 70 people attended the 1st event of the Hellenic U.S. Alumni Association under the title “The refugee crisis: A multi-factor issue“ on Friday April 15 at ALBA Graduate Business School.
Four speakers Mr. Alexandros Zavos (President of the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute), Mr. Jean-Daniel Colombani (General Manager of WIN GROUP), Mr. AsefFarjam (Intercultural Mediator, NGO Doctors of the World) and Mr. George Koumoutsakos (Member of Greek Parliament, ex-Member of European Parliament and New Democracy spokesman) – all of them past participants of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) – discussed the current status of the refugee/migration crisis, its implications for Europe at a political and economic level, and the various effects the crisis has had, especially for people of Greece. The discussion was moderated by Konstantina Botsiou, Associate Professor of Modern History and International Politics at the University of the Peloponnese.
The Hellenic U.S. Alumni is a dynamic and interactive community for past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. It is one of many fantastic alumni groups within the International Exchange Alumni network.
Scientific Conference on “Sanitary Management of Moving Populations – Refugees” is organized today by the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, under the aegis of the Athens Medical Association.
The workshop will be held from 10am in the “Argyriadis Hall” of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (main building, 30 Panepistimiou str.).
During the workshop, the refugee phenomenon will be presented and will be analysed by specialists and academics, with the aim of raising awareness, informing and consulting the Local Authorities, as well as the Services responsible for the Public Health in order to approach and deal with these migratory populations in the best possible way in terms of health.