Hunger strike of stateless Kurds from Syria

hunger-strike

Thirty years without identity is a long time Recognised Refugee Status for a life with dignity

Most Recent Developments

1st thirst strike dayKISA-Action for Equality, Support, Anti-Racism is pleased to announce that the struggle of the stateless Kurd’s from Syria, who had been camping in front of the Interior Ministry since October 2014 , has produced a positive outcome. The refugees’ protest lasted 10 months, and during that time the protestors started a hunger strike that lasted 58 whole days and refused to take on any liquids for 5 days. KISA Press Release

unnamed (2)During a meeting on 24/06/2015, between the strikers and the Acting Director of the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD), the hunger strikers were astonished to learn that their applications for citizenship have not been forwarded by the CRMD to the Interior Minister for a decision despite his explicit instructions that the applications be considered immediately. KISA Press Release.

cyprus-passportOn 22.05.2015, the stateless Kurds  have applied for citizenship following the recommendations of the General Director of the Ministry and the Minister of Interior.

In the afternoon, the Minister of Interior, visited the strikers and assured them that the Ministry will examine their citizenship applications during the coming week. After this development, the strikers decided to stop the thirst strike while they are determined to continue the hunger strike until there is a positive outcome to their demands.

kurds-on-hunger-strike-for-refugee-statusοn 22.05.2015, a doctor of the Red Cross, visited and examined the strikers today. According to the medical diagnosis, the health status of the first striker is critical while the health status of the second has shown very serious complications. The doctor assessed that if they continue the hunger and thirst strike for one more day then the damage that will be caused to both refugees will be irreversible.

unnamed (1)On 19.05.2015, the stateless Kurds from Syria entered the second day of a thirst strike and the 23rd day of a hunger strike. The condition of their health remains stable despite the obvious consequences of the strike on their health. In view of these developments, today, the General Director of the Interior Ministry visited the strikers and expressed the desire of the Ministry for not causing any further negative effects on the health of the strikers and assured that efforts for finding a solution to their problems are in progress. KISA Press Release DSC_0852A solidarity event with the stateless Kurds from Syria was successfully held on  14/5/2014, outside the House of Representatives. The refugees are asking the authorities to grant them the recognized refugee status instead of the subsidiary protection status. During the event, a delegation of NGOs that support the struggle of the strikers, together with the strikers themselves, met the Director General of the Parliament and delivered a joint statement, whereby they call on the Parliament to support the struggle of the refugees. FBcommon statement pfphot_11052015_ENG-1NGOs dealing with issues of asylum, in a meeting that took place on 05.05.2015, decided to release a Joint Statement, in which they express solidarity with the Hunger Strikers and call everyone to participate in a demonstration at the parliament on Thursday, 14.05.2015.   FULL CHRONOLOGY

Background Info and Goals

Two Kurdish refugees from Syria (Ajanib), decided to go on a hunger strike, having first  exhausted all the means they had at their disposal to persuade the Ministry of Interior (MoI), to re- examine its original decision and to grant them the recognized refugee status.  Ten years ago, in August 2005, the two refugees, were forced to leave from Syria because they were persecuted by the Assad regime and because of the continuous violations of our human rights that are suffered by all Ajanib Kurds in Syria.

In October 2014, they went on a strike in front of the Ministry of Interior with other Ajanib Kurds from Syria, in order to pressure the Cypriot government to proceed with the examination of our asylum applications. In December 2014, they received the decision of the Refugee Reviewing Authority to grant them the subsidiary protection status.

The disition of the MoI, it is unacceptable and unfair since subsidiary protection status entails refugees living without dignity and with permanent feelings of insecurity for some specific reasons:

  • it is possible to be revoked at any time with real risk of a possible refoulment,
  • it does not give immediate access to valid travelling documents while
  • it deprives the right to family reunification.

The hunger strike, as a form of struggle, aims, on the one hand, to inform the public about the refusal of the  MoI to grant them the recognized refugee status and, on the other, to press  the Cypriot state to meet its responsibilities as it continues to refuse to fulfill its obligations, despite the fact that these people meet all the statutory requirements for granting the specific status.

The Hunger Strike in the Media

The hunger strike and the demands of the strikers are getting much publicity both internationally and locally.

  • The Al Jazeera English published on its account on YouTube an interview of the refugees who are on strike. In this interview, which took place at the premises of the Ministry of Interior, the refugees say among other things that the subsidiary protection status that they have been granted by the authorities condemns them to precarity.
  • The Cyprus Mail produced a video (will be published soon) with the hunger strikers in which they are talking about their situation and their demands and explaining the reasons they are on hunger strike.
  • Simerini published an article headed “Kurdish Ajanibs on Hunger Strike”. (Simerini. pp 11- 04.05.2015) .
  • Simerini about the solidarity event.
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