On January 5, 2024 at dawn, the KISA offices were attacked by the planting of an explosive device by an unknown person or persons, which completely destroyed the glass panes of the premises, and almost all the electronic and office equipment of the organization. For us there is no doubt that the perpetrators of the bomb attack come from the ranks of racist and nationalist circles, nor what their target was.
This attack cannot, however, come as a surprise to the state and law enforcement authorities, whom we hold responsible and as the abettors of this attack
On 5 January 2024 at dawn, KISA’s offices were attacked by the throwing of an explosive device by an unknown person or persons, which completely destroyed the glass panes of the building and the property and archives of the organisation.
This attack cannot be considered a surprise to the state authorities, whom we hold fully responsible and as the abettors of this attack. The State has left a historic human rights organisation with 25 years of action at the mercy of criminal elements acting with racist and nationalist motives, given the threats to the organisation and its members from such organised groups or their members, instead of protecting it as its obligations under international and EU law.
The state authorities are fully responsible as they used all administrative and police measures at their disposal to create the conditions for the attack and to silence KISA, and more specifically –
- They deregistered KISA from the register of associations for formal reasons, adopting a narrative of “illegality” of the organisation and creating an atmosphere of ambiguity as to the legitimacy of the organisation’s action due to its consistent and dynamic stance and social intervention over the years in support of legality and the rule of law in relation to the human rights of migrants and refugees, against illegal policies.
- Even after its registration as a non-profit company until the issue of deregistration is settled, they create obstacles to maintaining the organization’s with instructions from above from another ministry.
- They have prosecuted and harassed in various ways in various cases in various cases individuals in connection with their activities as members of the organisation, seeking to intimidate and/or criminalise their activities in order to silence the organisation’s freedom of expression and action.
- With their illegal policies and racist, xenophobic and nationalist rhetoric on migration and refugee issues, they have created conditions for the fascistisation of society and the legitimisation of all racist rhetoric and hate crimes against migrants and refugees and their human rights defenders. They have armed the hand of anyone who espouses the above ideologies and views with explosive devices since they know that they will remain unpunished.
- They have failed to investigate dozens of complaints by KISA and its members of insults, harassment and death threats on Social Media and elsewhere, since to date no complaint has been investigated and no criminal charges have been brought against any person.
- They have allied with mass media that have targeted KISA and its members by reproducing false news and information reinforcing the demonization of KISA as the culprit for all migration issues, while the problem lies in the absence of legitimate migration and refugee policies that respect human rights and international obligations.
KISA will proceed to denounce once again the government and the competent authorities to all international and European organisations and institutions for the systematic attempt to eliminate the organisation and their deliberate failure to protect, through their actions and omissions, the organisation and its members from the threats they have been receiving for years, culminating in the attack with explosives at its offices.
The issue does not only concern KISA. It is about the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and the right of association, the bearers of which are civil society organisations, and in particular human rights organisations and their members.
KISA calls on all democratic citizens, civil society organisations and networks in Cyprus, Europe and the surrounding region to stand in solidarity and a bulwark against the attempts to silence every democratic and free voice, condemning this new attack and calling once again on the state to take effective actions to investigate the attack, identify the culprits and punish them, but also to protect KISA and its members.