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Abdel Alsattar

Tel: +357 99 990252


Mahmoud Hasan
Tel: + 357 99 270809



P.O. Box 22113, 1517 Nicosia, CYPRUS
Fax. +357 22 773039


Open letter

21st April 2015
His Excellency, Mr. António Guterres
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


Your Excellency,

Subject: If not drown, refugees in the Mediterranean die a slow and silent death on land

Refugees in the Mediterranean region die not only in the sea, but also on land, with the difference that the latter is a slow and silent death.

We are Abdel Alsatar and Mahmoud Hasan, stateless Kurds from Syria (Ajanib). Ten years ago, in August 2005, we were forced to leave from Syria because we 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, we started 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, we received the decision of the Refugee Reviewing Authority to grant us subsidiary protection.

For us, it is unacceptable and unfair that we were granted subsidiary protection instead of recognized refugee status, since this entails us living without dignity and with permanent feelings of insecurity, because:

  • Subsidiary protection does not guarantee a durable solution to our problems and leaves us in fear of a possible return to Syria and re-persecution
  • We do not have actual opportunities of integration and active participation in the society and as a result, we are excluded and marginalized, live under continuous discrimination and without being able to restart our lives here in Cyprus.
  • With this status, we are not provided with travel documents that are recognized from other countries and since we are stateless, we have no travel documents at all.
  • Subsidiary protection does not grant us the right to family reunification.
  • This status leaves us trapped in statelessness, because it does not allow us effective access to citizenship, especially taking into consideration the restrictive naturalization policies carried out by the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.

Furthermore, we consider this status that we were granted with as unfair, because it is contrary to both the international and EU law and it is not consistent to the respective asylum practices in other EU countries: in other EU countries, the stateless Kurds from Syria (Ajanib) are entitled to and therefore granted with recognized refugee status.

We have already spent a decade of our lives in a vacuum and we cannot continue living the slow death that the subsidiary protection status, which was unfairly granted to us, entails.

Under these circumstances, we decided to start a hunger strike, if until next Monday, April 27, 2015, there is no positive response to our just demands: reexamination of our asylum applications and granting us the recognized refugee status. If our demands are not met within 15 days of hunger strike, we are decided to proceed to a thirst strike as well.

Yours sincerely,


Abdel Alsatar                                                     Mahmoud Hasan
ARC no: 5546246                                               ARC no: 5532081




Mr. Sokratis Hasikos
Minister of Interior

Mr. Matthias Oel
Head of Unit, Asylum and Relations with EASO, DG Home Affairs, European Commission

Dr. Robert K. Visser
Executive Director of European Asylum Support Office

Mr. Chrystodoulos Tselepos
President of the Cyprus Refugee Reviewing Authority

Mr. Damtew Dessalegne
The UNHCR Representative in Cyprus

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