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Migration_Is_Not_A_Crime

The case that came to light yesterday regarding a migrant’s death is added to the long list of persons with a migrant background, whose lives have come to a tragic end under inhumane circumstances in less than a year. [1] Meanwhile, yesterday night, there was yet another suicide attempt by a migrant detainee at the Detention Centre in Mennogeia – a case that has not yet been made public – as it seems the echo of the cries of desperation of informal migrants being held in Mennogeia cannot be heard quite so easily in the public domain. [2]

Once again, KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism notes that these are not isolated incidents, with “no link to each other”, as competent politicians and state officials’ remark repeatedly, but rather they are the result and the tragic conclusion of the policies regarding migration and asylum adopted and implemented by the Republic of Cyprus. Furthermore, KISA would like to clarify that recent incidents – from suicides and repeated rapes of migrant detainees to the informal and illegal arrests and deportation of migrant workers, as well as the exclusion of these social groups from the policies of social security and social support infrastructures – must not be dealt with only as the aftermath of new data and adverse conditions brought by the economic downturn. Using the economic crisis as a pretext, the government’s policies and administrative practices regarding migration and asylum are equivalent to policies of extermination. The targeting being attempted against migrants and asylum seekers recently, through which they are systematically and purposely depicted as responsible for almost all the problems Cyprus is facing, is exclusively intended to coerce these people into leaving Cyprus. At the same time, this political targeting could not lead to anything other than the perpetuation and reinforcement of xenophobia, discrimination and racism.

Especially with regards to the case of the tragic death of the migrant mother of a 5 year old child yesterday, KISA notes the following:

  • The competent services of the Ministry of Work and Social Security could not have attempted and not managed to track down the family, as the child went to the neighbourhood’s public nursery.
  • The competent services of the Ministry of Health cannot possibly put the weight of blame on the dead migrant for the fact that she didn’t consent to receiving the necessary medical treatment, without taking into account the economic burden such a decision would carry and the lack of any form of care for her child, while she was treated at the hospital.
  • The staff of the public nursery cannot declare that the 5 year old did not seem to be facing any problems and did not need an educational psychologist, from the moment the child was still wearing diapers at this age.
  • The owner and the neighbours of the flat could not have been ignorant of the fact that this family lived without water and electricity, and in fact in conditions below the specified standards of living and hygiene.

Also, KISA remarks that a great part of the mass media are responsible for cultivating, to a lesser or greater extent, xenophobia, intolerance, and racism against migrants and asylum seekers over the immediately preceding years. [3]

KISA believes that political responsibility must be delegated immediately to:

1. Respectively, the competent ministries of Interior, Work and Social Securities, and Justice and Civic order, as over the past few months and through certain political decisions

i. The Minister of Interior has toughened the policies regarding migration and asylum even more,  thus encouraging the inhumane and unequal treatment of migrants and asylum seekers by the Civil Registry and Department of Migration. [4]

ii.  The Minister of Work and Social Securities countered and undermined the very role and responsibility of her Ministry and of the Social Welfare Services to support vulnerable groups in the population and to maintain social cohesion. [5]

iii.            The Minister of Justice and Civic Order refused to show a zero tolerance policy to the phenomena of racial targeting, of police violence and arbitrary measures for arrests, detention and/or imprisonment of migrants. [6]

2. The house of representatives because they ratified new legislative measures that lead the vulnerable social groups of migrants and asylum seekers to further exploitation, impoverishment and social exclusion. [7]

Taking into account the above, KISA believes that the competent services seem to have followed the new inhumane policies of unequal treatment of migrants and asylum seekers almost to the letter,  which were decided by the new government, ratified by the House of Representatives, and implemented by the competent ministries. KISA highlights that the sum and scale of the above measures were designed and implemented with the purpose of rendering the decent survival of these people in Cyprus impossible, so that they would be forced to leave the country. In this framework, the recent events are the collateral losses of this exhausting war.

Finally, KISA urges the government to proceed immediately with:

  1. The immediate conduction of an independent investigation, through which all the aspects of the above case shall be examined in depth without exception, not only with regards to the potential personal responsibility of civil servants, but mainly the real impact of the new policies on the topics of migration, asylum and social security.
  2. The radical review of the harsh and inhumane policies of migration and asylum, which lead precisely to the reinforcement of discrimination, the fostering of racism and the further impoverishment of vulnerable social groups.

Notes for editors:


[1] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Thursday, 18 April 2013. “Asylum Seeker Commits suicide – a result of the policies of the state leading to impoverishment!”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/asylum-seeker-commits-suicide-a-result-of-the-policies-of-the-state-leading-to-impoverishment/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Tuesday, 14 January 2014. “Migrants and prisons: “Collateral damages” and the “unknown” aspects of the prison system”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/14-01-2014-%ce%bc%ce%b5%cf%84%ce%b1%ce%bd%ce%ac%cf%83%cf%84%ce%b5%cf%82-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%b9-%cf%86%cf%85%ce%bb%ce%b1%ce%ba%ce%ad%cf%82-%ce%bf%ce%b9-%cf%80%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%ac%cf%80%ce%bb%ce%b5/

[2] Yesterday night, another prisoner in the Mennogeia Detention Center tried to commit suicide. Initially, the migrant was transferred to Larnaca General Hospital, then in Nicosia General Hospital and from there to Athalassa Hospital, where is being kept until now. Following up this new incident of a detained migrant trying to commit suicide, KISA calls the government to proceed immediately to stop immediately any criminalization of issues related to migration, as for example the residency status of migrants, as this inevitably leads to further misrecognition of the dignity and the life of these people, who the only “offense that they have committed” is moving into another country to seek for a safer and better future.

[3] For example, see: KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Wednesday, 13 November 2013. “Important conviction and fine for CYBC for xenophobic and racist statements”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/13-11-2013-%cf%83%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%b1%ce%bd%cf%84%ce%b9%ce%ba%ce%ae-%ce%ba%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%b1%ce%b4%ce%af%ce%ba%ce%b7-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%b9-%cf%87%cf%81%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%b9%ce%ba%cf%8c-%cf%80/

[4] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Friday, 30 May 2013. “Under the pretext of economic crisis, the most vulnerable social groups are targeted by demagoguery, racism and discrimination”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%83%CF%84%CF%8C%CF%87%CE%B1%CF%83%CF%84%CF%81%CE%BF-%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%B4%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%B3%CF%89%CE%B3%CE%AF%CE%B1%CF%82-%CF%84%CF%89%CE%BD-%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%BA/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Monday, 22 July 2013. “The public benefits of poverty and misery for asylum seekers and persons with humanitarian protection status in Cyprus”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/%cf%84%ce%b1-%ce%b4%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%bf%cf%83%ce%b9%ce%b1-%ce%b2%ce%bf%ce%b7%ce%b8%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%b1-%cf%84%ce%b7%cf%83-%cf%86%cf%84%cf%89%cf%87%ce%b5%ce%b9%ce%b1%cf%83-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%b9/

[5] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Friday, 30 May 2013. “Under the pretext of economic crisis, the most vulnerable social groups are targeted by demagoguery, racism and discrimination”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%83%CF%84%CF%8C%CF%87%CE%B1%CF%83%CF%84%CF%81%CE%BF-%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%B4%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%B3%CF%89%CE%B3%CE%AF%CE%B1%CF%82-%CF%84%CF%89%CE%BD-%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%BA/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Monday, 22 July 2013. “The public benefits of poverty and misery for asylum seekers and persons with humanitarian protection status in Cyprus”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/%cf%84%ce%b1-%ce%b4%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%bf%cf%83%ce%b9%ce%b1-%ce%b2%ce%bf%ce%b7%ce%b8%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%b1-%cf%84%ce%b7%cf%83-%cf%86%cf%84%cf%89%cf%87%ce%b5%ce%b9%ce%b1%cf%83-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%b9/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Friday, 29 November 2013. “Minister of Interior declares war on civil society and blows up social cohesion”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/minister-of-interior-declares-war-on-civil-society-and-blows-up-social-cohesion/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Thursday, 19 December 2013. “The Minister of Interior with new aggressive statements continues undermining the democratic dialogue and blowing up social cohesion”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/19-12-2013-%ce%bf-%cf%85%cf%80%ce%bf%cf%85%cf%81%ce%b3%cf%8c%cf%82-%ce%b5%cf%83%cf%89%cf%84%ce%b5%cf%81%ce%b9%ce%ba%cf%8e%ce%bd-%ce%bc%ce%b5-%ce%bd%ce%ad%ce%b5%cf%82-%ce%b5%ce%bc%cf%80%cf%81%ce%b7/

[6] On the issue of racial profiling and police violence, see:

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Wednesday, 27 November 2013. “Beating and racist violence against a recognised refugee by a member of ERU in broad daylight, in the centre of Nicosia!” Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/beating-and-racist-violence-against-a-recognised-refugee-by-a-member-of-eru-in-broad-daylight-in-the-centre-of-nicosia/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Sunday, 8 December 2013. “Resolution: Protest March Against Racial Profiling, Police Violence, Discrimination and Racism”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/08-12-2013-resolution-protest-march-against-racial-profiling-police-violence-discrimination-and-racism-%cf%88%ce%ae%cf%86%ce%b9%cf%83%ce%bc%ce%b1-%cf%80%ce%bf%cf%81%ce%b5%ce%af%ce%b1-%ce%b4/

On the issue of arbitrary arrest, detention and / or deportation of migrants, see:

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Friday, 30 September 2013. “The authorities of the Republic of Cyprus trying to deceive the Committee for the Prevention of Torture”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/the-authorities-of-the-republic-of-cyprus-trying-to-deceive-the-committee-for-the-prevention-of-torture-%cf%80%cf%81%ce%bf%cf%83%cf%80%ce%ac%ce%b8%ce%b5%ce%b9%ce%b1-%ce%b5%ce%be%ce%b1%cf%80%ce%ac/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Friday, 18 October 2013. “KISA reports another arrest of a migrant under the pretext of a marriage of convenience and denounces his subjection to torture at the Detention Centre in Mennogeia”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/18102013-kisa-reports-another-arrest-of-a-migrant-under-the-pretext-of-a-marriage-of-convenience-and-denounces-his-subjection-to-torture-at-the-detention-centre-in-mennogeia-%ce%b7-%ce%ba%ce%b9/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Tuesday, 19 November 2013. “Inhuman treatment of a family of Afghan refugees”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/19-11-2013-inhuman-treatment-of-a-family-of-afghan-refugees/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Tuesday, 3 December 2013. “A 13 months old baby detained for crying continuously and asking for its mother!” Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/03-12-2013-a-13-months-old-baby-detained-for-crying-continuously-and-asking-for-its-mother-13-%ce%bc%ce%b7%ce%bd%cf%8e%ce%bd-%ce%b2%cf%81%ce%ad%cf%86%ce%bf%cf%82-%cf%83%cf%84%ce%b1-%ce%ba%cf%81/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Tuesday, 31 December 2013. “The non-accidental suicide of a Syrian Refugee in the Central Prison: Policies leading Syrian refugees to impoverishment and destitution!” Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/31-12-2013-%ce%b1%cf%85%cf%84%ce%bf%ce%ba%cf%84%ce%bf%ce%bd%ce%af%ce%b1-%cf%83%cf%8d%cf%81%ce%b9%ce%bf%cf%85-%cf%80%cf%81%cf%8c%cf%83%cf%86%cf%85%ce%b3%ce%b1-%cf%83%cf%84%ce%b9%cf%82-%ce%ba%ce%b5/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Thursday, 2 January 2014. “42 Syrian refugees are on hunger strike in the Mennogeia Detention Center for 6 whole days!” Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/02-01-2014-42-%cf%83%cf%8d%cf%81%ce%b9%ce%bf%ce%b9-%cf%80%cf%81%cf%8c%cf%83%cf%86%cf%85%ce%b3%ce%b5%cf%82-%ce%b2%cf%81%ce%af%cf%83%ce%ba%ce%bf%ce%bd%cf%84%ce%b1%ce%b9-%cf%83%ce%b5-%ce%b1%cf%80%ce%b5/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Monday, 13 January 2014. “A European national is now on a hunger strike outside the detention facility of Mennogeia, protesting against the arrest and detainment of her husband that is to lead to his deportation – yet another “virtual” hunger strike in the eyes of the competent authorities?” Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/13-01-2014-%ce%b5%cf%85%cf%81%cf%89%cf%80%ce%b1%ce%af%ce%b1-%cf%80%ce%bf%ce%bb%ce%af%cf%84%ce%b9%cf%83%cf%83%ce%b1-%cf%83%ce%b5-%ce%b1%cf%80%ce%b5%cf%81%ce%b3%ce%af%ce%b1-%cf%80%ce%b5%ce%af%ce%bd/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Wednesday, 15 January 2014. “Abuse of power by a Senior Lawyer of the Law Office of the Cyprus Republic and the Director of the Civil Registry and Migration Department over the illegal deportation of a migrant domestic worker”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/15-01-2014-%ce%ba%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%ac%cf%87%cf%81%ce%b7%cf%83%ce%b7-%ce%b5%ce%be%ce%bf%cf%85%cf%83%ce%af%ce%b1%cf%82-%ce%b1%cf%80%cf%8c-%ce%b1%ce%bd%cf%8e%cf%84%ce%b5%cf%81%ce%b7-%ce%b4%ce%b9%ce%ba/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Tuesday, 14 January 2014. “Migrants and prisons: “Collateral damages” and the “unknown” aspects of the prison system”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/14-01-2014-%ce%bc%ce%b5%cf%84%ce%b1%ce%bd%ce%ac%cf%83%cf%84%ce%b5%cf%82-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%b9-%cf%86%cf%85%ce%bb%ce%b1%ce%ba%ce%ad%cf%82-%ce%bf%ce%b9-%cf%80%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%ac%cf%80%ce%bb%ce%b5/

[7] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Friday, 30 May 2013. “Under the pretext of economic crisis, the most vulnerable social groups are targeted by demagoguery, racism and discrimination”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%83%CF%84%CF%8C%CF%87%CE%B1%CF%83%CF%84%CF%81%CE%BF-%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%B4%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%B3%CF%89%CE%B3%CE%AF%CE%B1%CF%82-%CF%84%CF%89%CE%BD-%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%BA/

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Monday, 22 July 2013. “The public benefits of poverty and misery for asylum seekers and persons with humanitarian protection status in Cyprus”. Access via: https://kisa.org.cy/%cf%84%ce%b1-%ce%b4%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%bf%cf%83%ce%b9%ce%b1-%ce%b2%ce%bf%ce%b7%ce%b8%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%b1-%cf%84%ce%b7%cf%83-%cf%86%cf%84%cf%89%cf%87%ce%b5%ce%b9%ce%b1%cf%83-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%b9/

 

Migrants_Under_The_Moon

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