Iranian asylum seekers on hunger strike in Greece

August 19, 2010 17:18

ATHENS, Greece — Iranian refugees in Athens have launched a hunger strike to demand that Greek authorities process their asylum applications, following what they say has been nine years of delay.

Rights activists say the protest highlights deficiencies in Greece's system of granting asylum to refugees — with only about 0.04 percent of all applications being accepted every year.Two of the five hunger strikers outside the United Nations refugee agency's offices have refused to eat for a month.

They said Thursday they have been waiting for up to nine years for an answer to their applications.

Semko Mohammadi, a member of the Union of Migrant Workers in Greece, says "they have lost the best years of their life in Greece," adding that the men faced persecution if they returned home.

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