End Arbitrary Detention in Cyprus
Summary of the project
Since September 2015, KISA started the implementation of the project “End Arbitrary Detention in Cyprus” , aiming to reduce migrant and asylum seekers’ detention in return procedures to a tool of last resort and only in accordance with EU and international human rights obligations of Cyprus by:
- raising awareness on detention and alternative means and influencing change in legislation government policies and practices;
- improving cooperation, networking and coordination of the relevant stakeholders;
- informing and empowering third country nationals in detention to have access to and claim their rights.
- encouraging active interventions by EU and other European institutions towards Cypriot authorities.
This project is funded by EPIM (European Programme for Integration and Migration). EPIM is an initiative of 13 European institutes which aims at strengthening the role of civil society in promoting constructive approaches to migration in Europe.
The beneficiaries and target groups of the project
The beneficiaries of the project are undocumented migrants in general and, in particular, undocumented migrants in detention, asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers in detention as well as potential returnees.
The main target groups are policy makers, including competent ministers and members of the House of Representatives, government administration, including the Immigration Police Unit, the judiciary, independent authorities such as the Ombudsman and Human Rights Commissioner, NGOs and other CSOs working in the field of detention, the media and the general public.
Activities of the project
The project will employ various means and actions, namely discussions and consultations with government officials and departments, the judiciary and House of Representatives, networking, knowledge sharing, exchanging and cooperating with other stakeholders, i.e. other NGOs, human rights and other independent institutions, mainstream and social media, strategic litigation, monitoring detention, empowering migrants in detention, and submission of reports and complaints to EU and international organisations so as to put pressure and convince the government that it is legally, socially, economically and politically wise and in its own interest to proceed to radical and effective changes.
The following are the proposed activities under each of the outcomes:
Raising awareness over detention policies and alternative means to detention and influence government policies
- A roundtable discussion on “detention as the last resort” with the active involvement of the Registry and Migration Department, Asylum Service and the Office of the Commissioner of Administration and Human Rights.
- A roundtable discussion on effective remedies against detention decisions with the active involvement of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, the Cyprus Bar Association and members of the Judiciary.
- Preparation of a commentary on the legislation establishing the first instance administrative courts currently on the way to be approved by the House of Parliament.
- Strategic litigation – take up at least two new cases additionally to M.A. vs Cyprus that involve issues of detention as the first resort, effectiveness of the available remedies and detention of vulnerable groups and which their result can have a wider impact on the current legal framework and policies followed. Publicity around the cases and the development of recommendations in the context of the cases is expected to promote at the same time institutional changes.
- Publicity and dissemination – press conferences, monthly press releases, the use of the social media, quarterly newsletters and radio discussions covering all the actions and activities of the project.
Improving cooperation, networking and coordination of the various stakeholders working in the area of detention.
- Three exchange and coordination meetings with NGOs and National Human Rights Independent Bodies to exchange information and coordinate action with the active participation of the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (CPT National focal Point)
- One capacity building, exchange and coordination workshop on the rights of detainees under the community law as well as the right to legal aid
Informing and empowering third-country nationals in detention to claim and have access to their rights.
- Monthly visits to detention centres for advice to detainees and monitoring their detention
- Flyers in various languages (English, Farsi, Arabic, French, Sinhalese, Vietnamese, Russian)
- Preparation of an on line guide for applications for legal aid and for judicial review of detention & deportation decisions
Encouraging that active interventions are undertaken by EU and other European institutions towards Cypriot authorities
- Provide information, exchange and engage in a dialogue with NGOs at European Union level (PICUM, IDC, Migreurope, EMHRN) on the issue
- Prepare two policy papers in cooperation with the above networks (one on detention as the last resort and one on effective remedies) with recommendations for the European Commission and European Parliament
- File complaints to the Commission about systemic violations of European union law by the Cypriot authorities
- Prepare a report on the failure of Cyprus to comply with the decision of the ECtHR in the case of M.A. v Cyprus to be submitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe which monitors compliance with the Court decisions
Round-table discussion i|Improving the existing framework of third country nationals' return||
In the framework of the project, KISA organised a round-table discussion on “Improving the existing framework of third country nationals’ return.”
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