World Bulletin / News Desk
The Greek Cypriot administration is facing heavy scrutiny for its poor treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.
Unlike other Mediterranean islands located on the European Union's outskirts besides troubled countries in the Middle-East and North Africa, the island of Cyprus has not seen as great an influx of migrants as places such as Malta.
A reason could be because of a lack of policy to integrate migrants in the Greek Cypriot-controlled zone. “It comes from the fact that we have no policy of integration in Cyprus — it is trying to remain a dead end,” Nicoletta Charalambidou, a lawyer specializing in immigration, told the Times of Israel.
Immigrants in the Greek Cypriot south have complained of the near-impossibility of ever being granted asylum, with only 10% of those who try being offered protection, according to the latest Eurostat figures.
The Greek Cypriot administration only allows migrants to stay up to four years unless they are given special permission. Such special permission is given in cases where a migrant may be married to a Greek Cypriot citizen. However, in cases of divorce or losing a job, migrants face being deported within a month.
The island is already host to many Syrian migrants who arrived before Syria's civil war started in 2011. Since the war started, around 1,380 have sought refuge from the Greek Cypriot government, but only a few have been given asylum.
Pointing out 15 Syrians who have remained detained along with other migrants deemed a 'threat' to society at the Menoyia facility for five months, Amnesty International also jumped on the bandwagon of critics, calling the administration's prison-like handling of migrants unable to be deported 'shameful.'
The Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, also condemned the Greek Cypriot authorities for separating detained mothers from their children.
Doros Polykarpou, head of Kisa, a support organisation for immigrants, also told the Times of Israel, “the message given to would-be migrants, especially Syrians, is clear: if you come, you might get arrested.”
As well as Syrians, the Greek Cypriot south of the island is also home to many migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Palestine, Iran, Vietnam, the Philippines, Ghana and Nigeria to name a few.Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Mayıs 2014, 18:21