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Socrates_Xasikos_Statements

 

In an announcement yesterday, the minister of Interior, Socratis Hasikos, attempted yet again to persuade the public that we are not facing any sort of problems in relation to the policies of migration and asylum that the Republic of Cyprus has been applying. This time, the minister of Interior absolutely rejected the findings of a new report by Amnesty International, [1] remarking that the international organisation for the protection of human rights makes inaccurate and generalising reports” that are the result of a one-sided stance without evidence to support it”[2]

KISA – Action for Equality, Support and Antiracism states that the declarations made by the minister of Interior are completely wrong, as the representatives of Amnesty International came to Cyprus and met with both the public authorities, specifically the Civil Registry and Migration Department  (CRMD) and the Asylum Service (AS), and with organisations in the civic community, including KISA. Furthermore, the representatives of Amnesty International personally visited the detention centre for informal migrants in Mennogeia and the police detention facilities of Nisou, where they had face to face interviews  with the people involved in the cases they investigated. Consequently, KISA declares that if the findings of the new report of Amnesty International are not to the liking of the minister of Interior then it is not due to the international organisation’s one-sided view of things, or due to receiving one-sided information from KISA or any other civic organisation, but rather due to the fact that the minister of Interior systematically refuses to see, hear, understand and to recognise even the most obvious things, with regards to the problematic dimensions of the policies of migration and asylum of the Republic of Cyprus.

According to the minister of Interior:

  • The increase in unemployment is not caused by the economic crisis but rather by “the illegal migrants who eat the bread of the Cypriot unemployed” [3] ·
  • The bad condition of the policies of migration and asylum followed and implemented by the Republic of Cyprus are not to blame for the critiques made against the Ministry of Interior and the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD) but rather these are due to the organisations of the civic community, which have gone too far and have turned from protective organisations to human rights production machines[4] ·
  • The work and sexual exploitation of migrants who live and work in the Republic of Cyprus is not fostered by illegal offices of finding employment and by owners of entertainment” venues (who the minister of interior could not only meet with and discuss their problems”, but he also had the kind disposition to promote their requests”), and not at all caused by the phenomena of corruption and abuses of power observed in public services, but rather by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the legal offices that support these persons and represent them in law”  [5] ·
  • The head of the CRMD and the  minister of Interior are not to blame for the disregard and disrespect shown towards the decisions of the Supreme Court, but they simply assume that the recent weighty ruling by the Supreme Court touches upon delicate legal matters, like for example the capacity of the Administration to re-examine a case and take a new decision after an issue of a habeas corpus” and so, of course “the Ministry of Interior is preparing to examine, in cooperation with the legal service of the Republic of Cyprus, the possibility of appeal against it[6] ·
  • The violations of basic human rights and the breach of the european acquis is not brought about by the competent authorities that arrest, detain and deport European citizens or members of their families but rather due to “the NGOs that are occupied with the issue of foreigners, who should be actively supporting these cases in order to secure their collaboration for voluntary departure from the Republic of Cyprus, for those who no longer have a right to reside here, so that the competent authorities do not need to employ drastic measures to remove them or to extend their period of detention due to their refusal to cooperate for departure, and whatever goes with it” [7] ·
  • The indiscreet, opaque, and abusive practices of the CRMD that issue illegal and spontaneous warrants for detention and deportation of women with young children are not to blame for the inhumane practices of unequal and humiliating handling of migrant mothers, as well as the subsequent break up of families and the separation of underage children from their detainee parents but rather are caused by “the inaccurate and generalising reports by organisations for human rights about issues regarding migration and the provision of international protection” that follow a “one-sided attitude without evidence to support it[8].

Yet again, KISA urges the minister of Interior to end immediately his polemic against civic organisations, as the humanitarian problem caused by the current policies of migration and asylum are real and extremely severe. As the head of the materially competent and responsible ministry, he shall have to play an essential role in the start of a transparent, democratic, and essential dialogue with the civic community, if he really wishes to contribute to the protection of democratic values, the reinforcement of the judicial system and the protection of human rights. Otherwise, KISA now calls the President of the Republic of Cyprus himself to take political responsibility for the inhumane, antidemocratic and intolerable stance repeatedly demonstrated by the Minister of Interior.

Notes for editors:


[1] Amnesty International, Press Release – Tuesday, 18 March 2014. “Cyprus: Abusive detention of migrants and asylum seekers flouts EU law

[2] Ministry of Interior. Announcement – Tuesday, 18 March 2014. “Reply of the minister of Interior, mr. Socratis Hassikos, to the announcement by Amnesty International

[3] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism/ Caritas Cyprus / CCMC – Cyprus Community Media Center / Future Worlds Center / ISS Institute of Sociopolitical Studies. Common Press Release – Friday, 29 November 2013 The Minister of Interior declares war on civil society and blows up social cohesion

[4] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Thursday, 19 December 2013.”The Minister of Interior with new inflammatory statements continues to undermine democratic dialogue and blowing up social cohesion

[5] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Thursday, 19 December 2013.”The Minister of Interior with new inflammatory statements continues to undermine democratic dialogue and blowing up social cohesion”

[7] KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release – Wednesday, 12 February 2014. KISA reports inhumane treatment of the family of a European citizen and an abuse of power from the Head of the Civil Registry and Migration Department

   KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release  – Friday, 22 February 2014. “New incident of abuse of power and of violation of the rights of the family of a European citizen by the Civil Registry and Migration Department

   Ministry of Interior. Announcement – Monday, 24 February 2014. “Minister of Interior responds to an article in the newspaper Phileleftheros

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Press Release –  Thursday, 6 March 2014. “The Cypriot state continues to persecute women with illegal arrests and detentions, separating them from their infants and underage children

Υπουργείο Εσωτερικών. Ανακοίνωση – Παρασκευή, 7 Μαρτίου 2014. «Απάντηση του Υπουργείου Εσωτερικών σε δημοσιεύματα για κράτηση μητέρων για σκοπούς απέλασης»

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism. Friday, 7 March 2014. “Report of the Ombudswoman regarding the detention – with a view to deportation – of the mother of an infant, and witness in a criminal case against police officers

[8] Ministry of Interior. Announcement – Tuesday, 18 March 2014. “Minister of Interior, mr. Socratis Hasikos, responds to an announcement by Amnesty International

Amnesty International, Press Release – Tuesday, 18 March 2014. “Cyprus: Abusive detention of migrants and asylum seekers flouts EU law

Amnesty_International

 

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