Although the issue of leaflets on the “History of human rights” may be commendable, at the end of the day the Police, like all of us, is judged by its actions. Regrettably, yesterday the Cyprus Police recorded a new record of violations instead of protecting human rights.
Yesterday, Saturday, 15/01/2022, an event aimed to intimidate refugees in Chloraka was staged outside the “St. Nicolas” building complex where they stay. The event was dominated by a strong presence of officials and fans of ELAM, the local branch of the criminal organisation Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), and with the participation of the leader of the local council and MPs from the governing party DISY, DIKO and ELAM.
During the “protest” there were racist and hate speech slogans against the refugees, who were verbally attacked as “terrorists”, “criminals”, “illegal immigrants” and “undesirable” to the community. Under-aged refugee children playing in the playground of the complex were photographed, as were also adult refugees gathered in the yard. Also, a member of KISA present there was sworn at and threatened. Before the event was over, there were two deafening explosions, followed by threats that “next time we’ll come with guns”.
The police present at the event, instead of taking all appropriate actions against the violations of the law by the demonstrators, entered the complex without permission and yelled at the gathered refugees to disperse.
A plainclothes policeman asked our member to leave the space where he was and to stop taking photographs because it was illegal. When our member mentioned that he had entered a private property without the owner’s permission, the policeman said that “the Police can go whenever they want”. He also asked our member to go to the police station after the event to be charged and if he did not he would issue a warrant for his arrest.
After the event, KISA’s member visited the Paphos Central Police Station in order to file a complaint about all that had taken place in the racist event. When, after waiting for quite a while, he was called to the complaints office, he found out that the policeman whom he had informed about the purpose of his visit, had already been given written instructions to charge him with “violation of the personal data law”.
When asked which article of the law he had violated, the policeman’s reply was that he did not know. Our member left the Police Station when he realised that the Police were trying unlawfully to seize and keep the camera and the audio-visual material, which he had already informed them he would submit to the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints Against the Police, where he intended to submit a complaint against the Police.
Once again, KISA condemns the biased stance of the Police and the new attempt to persecute human rights activists instead of investigating and prosecuting those who commit hate crime offences, public insult, threats and other offences.
We call on everyone to join the event of solidarity with the refugees, to take place tomorrow, Monday, 17/01/2022, at 11 in the morning, outside the Water Development Department in Paphos. We demand the immediate supply of drinking water to the tenants of the building complex as an effective compliance by the state with its obligation to ensure access to water to every person, as a basic element of fundamental human rights as those to life, prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment and respect of private life.