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KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Anti-racism is pleased to announce that the hunger strike of the recognized refugees, in the space next to the Delegation offices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cyprus, ended yesterday Monday June 30th .The hunger strike began on June 2nd and lasted 29 whole days, while in the intermediate of it the hunger strikers also had stopped taking any liquids for 4 days.

The hunger strike ended once the recognized refugees received in writing the positive answers of  the Ministry of Interior to their submitted requests for acquisition of Cypriot citizenship, since they met all the requirements provided by the law. KISA considers it a very positive reassessment of the negative decision that was taken two weeks ago by the Director of the Civil Registry and Migration ( TAPM ) , Ms. Anny Siakalli, and at the same time congratulates the Minister of Interior , Mr. Socrates Hasikou, and the Deputy General Director of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Constantine Nicolaides , for the positive and very significant decision.[1]

On this occasion, KISA thanks all organized groups and individuals whom for over the past nine months have participated and / or supported the dynamic mobilizations of the recognized refugees, who thereby actively showed solidarity and support.

To conclude, KISA notes that the meeting of the just demands of the recognized refugees, highlights the fact that people with international protection who live and work in Cyprus may demand and obtain their rights through self – organization, methodical and coordinated mobilization.

KISA Steering Committee

Notes to Editor:

[1]  It is recalled that the recognized refugees were in a sit-in protest in front of the House of Representatives, from early September to late November 2013, calling for the immediate examination of their applications for granting of Cypriot citizenship and status followed their long-term residence-11 years- in Cyprus and met all the criteria which the Cypriot legislation provides.
Due to the fact that they did not receive any response from the authorities, namely the TAPM, since late November to early January, they went on a hunger strike in front of the Ministry of Interior for 52 whole days, and then during the last four days they even stopped taking any liquids. After intervention by the UNHCR Representation in Cyprus, the Minister of Interior had a meeting with the hunger strikers, during which they discussed the problems faced by the recognized refugees in Cyprus. Indeed, the Minister of Interior showed understanding to their legitimate demands and assured them that their submitted applications will directly be examined. Moreover, the Minister of Interior hinted that the recognized refugees have good reasons to expect a positive decision/outcome on their requests. On the basis of the above developments, recognized refugees decided to temporarily stop the hunger strike which they had held for nearly two whole months. However as they then made clear, if the competent authorities did not meet their commitments, then they will descend into even more vigorous measures of mobilizations.
Having spent five months without receiving any response from the TAPM, the recognized refugees decided to begin a new hunger strike, this time in front of the offices of the UNHCR Representation in Cyprus, asking either the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship or relocation in another country of the European Union. On June 5th, the General Director of TAPM dismissed the applications of the hunger strikers, using as a pretext the allegations that recognized refugees “have no ties connecting them to the country”, as well as “they stated that they do not intend to remain in Cyprus, since when they acquire Cypriot citizenship they will move abroad to find work. ”
However, during the discussion of the issue in the recent Parliamentary session the Minister of Interior on June 19, pledged to reassess the decision of the General Director of TAPM and will take special notice of the humanitarian aspect of the problem!
For more information, see.: 16.06.2014 (updated) – Recognized refugees demand access to their rights! Recognized refugees require access to their rights!

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