In the last few days, society has been shaken by the inhuman and degrading treatments of the Syrian refugee woman Kawther Abdalaziz and her husband and two children, 1,5 and 3 years old, who were among the Syrian refugees pushed back to Lebanon by the Cypriot authorities, in blatant violation of international law. This treatment was discussed in the recent meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, which the Minister of Interior refused to attend because “illegal” KISA’s participation.
In addition to the illegal actions of the Cypriot authorities, the Cypriot society is also shocked by the ruthlessness and total absence of any sensitivity and humanity of the Minister of Interior in these issues, particularly as regards the rights of women and more so of those vulnerable, the right to family reunification and right of children not to be separated from their parents. This same minister who co-signed the Statement of EU Ministers of Home Affairs, dated 31/08/2021, on the situation in Afghanistan, which also includes, according to the chair of the extraordinary Council held for this purpose, that “the EU remains committed to support vulnerable Afghans, and in particular women and children”. The height of the chasm between political correctness and political praxis!
KISA is proud to be the organisation that, despite all persecution and adversity, first raised the case of this pushback and the multiple violations of international law and refugee law in particular, that from the beginning it has stood by the refugee woman and her family, representing them so as they claim their rights, and continuing to carry out the important work of supporting refugees and migrants, as well as to promote and advocate for human rights and equality of all people.
Denouncing the continuous defamation and undermining of its work by the Minister of Interior, KISA recalls that the organisation is registered in the Register of Companies, as shown in the Certificate of Incorporation.
Last March, when KISA’s legal status was even more questionable, the organisation was invited and participated, both through an oral intervention as well as a written submission, in a joint meeting of two Parliamentary Committees (on Human Rights and Legal Affairs) on the Istanbul Convention. It is noted that the chairs of the two Committees were DISY MPs. In our opinion, this clearly shows that the Minister of Interior is not really concerned about the legality of KISA but about how to silence it.
The Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights stated that she was not ready to attend the above meeting of the Parliamentary Committee and present her position on the issue. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise as the institution of the Commissioner of Administration has for some time now been put on hold.
We also regret to find that in this case too most media not only do they not recognise KISA’s role and work in this important issue but they also uncritically adopted and projected the untrue statements of the executive power, without giving the organisation the space to present its opinions.
On the basis of the above, KISA calls on –
- The Minister of Interior to retract and publically apologise to KISA for his statements which defame and undermine KISA and its members and obstruct its work.
- The President of the Republic to put the issues of the above-mentioned pushbacks and the reunification of Ms Abdalaziz’s family to the Council of Ministers.
- The Attorney General and the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police to proceed to the criminal investigation of the treatment of refugees that have been pushed back to Lebanon in general, and more particularly the cases of the separation of Ms Abdalaziz’s family, as well as of the refugee who attempted to escape by falling into the sea and who is still missing.