Τhe Ministry of Interior (MoI), in a statement to the press[i] seeks to justify its refusal to grant recognised refugee status, despite the fact that they meet all conditions required in the law, to the stateless Kurds from Syria (Ajanib), who are protesting in tents in front of the Ministry since last October, not only for the granting of this status but also for the long delay (over 7 years) for the non-examination of their applications.
According to the article, the MoI stated that “the subsidiary protection granted to them is not inferior to the recognized refugee status”. KISA considers that with this statement the Ministry misinforms and misleads both the refugees and public opinion in general as there are evidently significant differences between the two statuses. The recognised refugee status provides, among others, increased protection in the case of its being revoked by the authorities and any refoulment prohibited by the refugee law, immediate access to valid travelling documents and the right to family reunification. Besides, if the two statuses are the same, why does the MoI choose to grant subsidiary protection?
In addition, as the MoI claims in the article, “the Ajanib have no right to recognised refugee status because their human rights are not seriously violated by the Syrian authorities because of their statelessness”. Over and above the violation of the Ajanibs’ rights as stateless by the Syrian Authorities, which has been recorded both in the past and more recently by many international and European human rights organizations[ii], the Kurds are currently a major target of parastatal organisations such as the Islamic State[iii] .
KISA considers the Ministry’s assertion that “not all of the protesters belong to this social group (Ajanib)”, which in essence labels them as liars, to be unacceptable and offensive. KISA calls on the MoI to prove that even one of the protesting stateless Kurds from Syria does not belong to this group.
Finally, the MoI claims that “there was indeed naturalisation of these persons by the Syrian government” and that “it should be investigated whether they had access to this procedure in the Syrian Embassy in Cyprus”. KISA considers that this statement amounts in essence to the authorities’ admission that they had not made a comprehensive investigation before taking their decision for “subsidiary protection” and without taking into consideration that citizenship was given only to a portion of the Ajanib[iv], on the condition that they were residing in Syria at the time and were not dissidents since the latter have to go through security interviews with the secret services.
KISA calls on:
- The Ministry of Interior to re-examine its decision for refusing to grant recognized refugee status to the stateless Kurds from Syria, on the basis of a comprehensive investigation of the facts[v] about their persecution and violation of their rights, and
- The UNCHR in Cyprus to take a stand concerning the Ministry of Interior’s overall position on the matter, which seriously violates the rights of these people.
KISA Steering Committee
[i] Phileletheros newspaper, 28.02.2015, p. 21: MoI: International protection can be granted (Μπορεί να παραχωρηθεί διεθνής προστασία) https://digital.philenews.com/Modules/Subscription/Viewers/ViewIssue.aspx?eiId=rHXh1noTops%3d
[ii] ‘A wasted decade’-2010 Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria0710webwcover.pdf
‘Humans Rights Issues concerning Kurds in Syria’-2010 https://www.nyidanmark.dk/NR/rdonlyres/FF03AB63-10A5-4467-A038-20FE46B74CE8/0/Syrienrapport2010pdf.pdf , ‘Buried Alive’-2006 https://www.refintl.org/sites/default/files/BuriedAlive.pdf
[iv] Point 20.26 http://www.refworld.org/docid/523978404.html
[v] Points 3.17, 3.17.6 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310186/Syria_operational_guidance_2014.pdf
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