Syrian refugees at Mennogeia Detention Centre are on hunger strike for three days now for the following reasons:
- While by law they have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court against decisions of detention and deportation and to do so with legal support from the state, nevertheless not only are they are not informed about this right, but even if they are aware and ask to exercise it, they have no access to this right because, on the one hand, the Detention Centre authorities refuse to take them to the court and the Court Registrar is unable to go to the Centre to effect the sworn affidavit and other necessary court procedures for filing a complaining. They therefore have no access to justice either. At the same time, psychological violence and cruel treatment are used as leverage to make them agree and sign that they will return “voluntarily” to their homeland.
- While by law they have every right to apply for asylum while they are held in detention centres, this right is violated, since asylum applications are not provided at the detention centres, despite the fact that the Republic of Cyprus falsely informed the European Commission to the contrary. At the Mennogeia detention centre, the authorities refuse to take them to the Asylum Service or AIS (Aliens and Immigration Service of the Police) to apply for asylum, while the Asylum Service refuses to visit them as it is “not possible to cover” the travelling expenses involved.
- The detainees are subjected to continuous monitoring and punitive treatment, which includes being handcuffed as if they are criminals, even when they go to the toilet or during visits by their families. Also punitive is their Isolation for days in a separate room from the rest of the prisoners.
- Some detainees are also subjected to physical violence, along with several other methods, such as the interruption of phone signal to bar all communication with the outside world. Visits are conducted only with the visual and aural presence of the police, while non-governmental organizations require written approval by the Chief of the Police to visit the detainees.
- Their living conditions are unacceptable and insulting to the dignity, physical survival and health of the detainees. As the food is of very bad quality detainees are left without food for a whole day and survive only on water. There also problems with timely access to medical care. Those who need to see a doctor can wait up to two weeks after they ask to see a doctor. When taken to the doctor, they are not allowed to talk to him and the police officer accompanying does the talking for them.
KISA condemns the detention conditions at the Mennogeia Detention Centre, as well as the detention and deportation policies in place which are responsible for these conditions.
Also, KISA expresses its solidarity with the strikers and calls on the authorities to comply with their obligations and to respect the rights of migrants and refugees detained both at Mennogeia and other detention centres in order to deport them.