Youths in Greece Stand Up for the Right to Citizenship

Try to imagine your life without the right to citizenship—without the right to vote, study, and work freely, in the country where you were born and raised.

Imagine no more. This is my story.

My name is Nikos, and I was born in Athens, Greece, 33 years ago to Nigerian parents. I attended a Greek school and shared the same experiences as my classmates: same neighborhood, same playground, same basketball court, same schoolyard.

At least that’s what I thought. But the reality was different.

As a teenager I was regularly stopped and questioned by the police. I did not have a Greek ID to show them, as I was never issued one. At 17, all my male friends were called by the Greek state for their compulsory military service, but I was never conscripted. You might say this was a good thing, but to me it was a signal that something was wrong.

I soon realized that not only did I not have Greek citizenship but that I was not even entitled to access it. The only way for me to continue living legally in the country I was born and raised in was to seek a residence permit. Even this, though, proved a rather challenging process, since there was no entry visa on my passport.

I’m not a Greek citizen—and I’m not the only one. Two hundred thousand of us, young people born or raised in Greece to migrant parents, do not have the citizenship of the country where we grew up, study, work, and live.

In my 20s, I decided I needed to act. I knew how extremely unfair it was to be unable to enjoy my rights only because of my migrant descent. We set up Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity to raise awareness of the situation for youths of migrant backgrounds in Greece and to fight for the rights of all of us.

Our multiethnic and interdisciplinary team represents the new generation of Greeks. Together we are developing cultural and educational actions to promote social change in Greece. Our campaign, Equal Citizens: Campaign for the Right to Citizenship, does exactly that.

We want to challenge the Greek government and the rest of Europe to legislate and recognize us as citizens. To date, you can only hold Greek nationality if you can prove your Greek descent. We stand up for our right to all be equal citizens of the country we call home. We stand up for our right to participate in the society to which we belong, with equality, security, and dignity.

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It's a basic Human right!!!!

I agree

great work guys!

I am ethnic Greek and I feel that Greece is their country as much as it is mine.

Greece needs to finally embrace it's own children.


In solidarity, from Hong Kong

Show the rest of the world that you alue ALL your people, Greece!

The world is now full of such persons in countries they only know n call home but the immigration laws do not recognise them.its a step worth taking.stand up and fight for ur rights.

I met a horrible person of Greek descent who never lived in Greece, and hated the country, and would only want citizenship because of EU regulations. These people honor Greece and yet they are not allowed 'in' this sad exclusive club? I am an ethnic Greek and I'm ashamed that the Greek state is treating its children thus.

i support your right to citizenship

All of you are the future leaders, so acting now for our future generations 'all are equals'. Thanks

I am in full support of the campaign. Its a pity I can't seem to open the link to signing the petition. The world stands with you.

Regards from South Africa


I support you and your requirements

Signing is affirmation.

It happens all over the world, in USA, in Europe, Italy doesn't give you any right even if sono of migrants, you were born there

Way to go guys! There are 4000 stateless persons in the USA and Senator Diane Feinstein wants to do nothing about it, she only cares about her own personal wealth. And there are judges like J Stephan Czuleger, of
hungarian decent, whom United Nations investigator found as "corrupt," who intentionally incarcerates people to deprive them of freedom to acquire citizenship, so they would be stateless for life, even though they haven't commited any crimes. Statelessness is a shame on civilized society!

Soludarity from Nepal. We too have similar issues here. Your movement will be an encouragement to the groups struggling for their rights to citizenship. Good luck.

Yes your cause is worth fighting for. It's good to know that you have stepped forward to claim your right. On the other part of the world, there's a lot more people who have been denied to even stay in their birthplace. Let's not forget the Rohingya in Burma. Not only the government denied their decades of existence, it also makes a new policy which requires the Rohingya to change ethnicity to Bengali as a condition to get citizenship. Otherwise, they need to leave.


As a proud first-generation Greek-American I would like to thank you for being a part of our homeland. You are just as worthy of Greek citizenship as are my "ethnic" Greek relatives. I applaud you for standing up for your rights.

The situation is the same for those born on Italian soil to non Italian citizen parents : what is the EU law and policy on this?? This is fundamentally unfair.

In other countries people get citizenship but in Greece those people demand ethnicity which is totally different. One has his ethnicity simply because he is born to parents of a specific ethnicity.
Citizenship refers to the place where one is born and not to his descend.
In Greece those children born to illegal immigrants demand to be given ethnicity status which is totally absurd since only nature gives one his ethnicity.
So a boy born in Greece from Nigerian parents has Nigerian ethnicity and what he would hope for is to get citizenship. But citizenship cannot be granted because his parents have committed the crime of trespassing a sovereign state therefore their claim is illegal.
Citizenship is given to children born to legal immigrants-the ones who have gone to their embassy and after meeting the criteria for migration get a visa to migrate to the desired sovereign state.
Greeks who have taken foreign citizenship have been born to legal immigrants who have presented the embassies with legal documents of their identity, educational status, health cerificate etc.
One might say what can be done about those children. This is an issue that ought to bother the governments of those countries that have destroyed those peoples places of origin. Greece has never colonised or taken part in any war other than defensive WWI and WWII.
At the present time 80% of illegal immigrants entering Europe are detained in Greece at the expense of the Greek people. The country does not have room for all those foreigners. The organisations that encourage illegal immigrant to flood Greece want to replace the Greeks with non-Greeks. Why?

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