ECHR fines Greece over Manolada

Bangladeshi work­ers vin­di­cated by Euro­pean court over forced la­bor in 2013

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights (ECHR) has or­dered Greece to com­pen­sate 42 Bangladeshi na­tion­als to the tune of more than half a mil­lion eu­ros for es­sen­tially turn­ing a blind eye to their ex­ploita­tion on a straw­berry farm in south­west­ern Greece in 2013.

Chastis­ing Greek au­thor­i­ties for fail­ing to pro­tect the mi­grants, the ECHR or­dered Athens to pay each plain­tiff be­tween 12 and 16,000 eu­ros.

The work­ers were shot at while protest­ing over un­paid wages and forced la­bor on a straw­berry farm near the town of Manolada. The in­ci­dent led to about 20 for­eign work­ers sus­tain­ing in­juries.

The work­ers re­sorted to the ECHR af­ter a Greek court in 2014 ac­quit­ted the em­ploy­ers of the charge of forced la­bor, slap­ping them with mi­nor fines, to the dis­gust of unions and rights groups.

The ex­ploita­tion of for­eign work­ers, mostly un­doc­u­mented mi­grants, at straw­berry farms in the re­gion sur­round­ing Manolada was ram­pant be­fore the shots were fired.

Work­ers were re­port­edly forced to work 12-hour shifts and lived in ap­palling con­di­tions in makeshift huts with no toi­lets or run­ning wa­ter.

Em­ploy­ers at Manolada told work­ers they would only get paid if they con­tin­ued work­ing.

“The facts at is­sue, and par­tic­u­larly the ap­pli­cants’ work­ing con­di­tions, showed clearly that they amounted to hu­man traf­fick­ing and forced la­bor,” the EHCR said.

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