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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-14

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Sunday, April 14, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] UNHCR slams government for its policy on illegals
  • [02] Turkey says Cyprus EU entry could cause crisis
  • [03] Bi-communal festival attracts thousands
  • [04] Man held after hack-saw attack
  • [05] Take your art to DC

  • [01] UNHCR slams government for its policy on illegals

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE government has come under fire from the UNHCR for its policies on illegal immigrants.

    At a Nicosia seminar yesterday, Elbertha Greve, head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Cyprus, criticised border control policies and the jailing of illegal immigrants.

    She also said the government should stop deporting refugees before examining their asylum claims.

    “The authorities have implemented strict border control measures to make sure that no immigrant boats reach Cyprus. It should be acknowledged, however, that these people are in need of international protection,” Greve said.

    “A number of boat people are jailed for illegal entry, a practice which is out of line with the Geneva Convention that Cyprus has ratified. How can they apply for asylum while in prison?”

    The seminar heard that the number of asylum applications to the government had doubled in 2001 in comparison with 2000. Records showed that 60 applications were made in 1997, 214 in 1998, 789 in 1999, 691 in 2000 and 1, 326 in 2001.

    Last January the Refugee Authority, a state department, became the decision- making body dealing with asylum seekers. Until then UNHCR had been responsible for examining such applications.

    While the Interior Ministry's permanent secretary, Kyriacos Triantafyllides, expressed concerns about the increase in asylum applications, Greve argued that the phenomenon should be addressed as a social instead of a legal matter.

    She said that many of the refugees on the island, usually given a four-year residence permit, would end up staying for much longer.

    Greve insisted that Cyprus should admit that it is a migration country and encourage the social integration of refugees “who must be seen as an enrichment to the society instead of as a threat”.

    On Friday, Doros Michael of the Immigrants Support Action Group (ISAG) accused the government of failing to draw up proper policies to deal with the influx of immigrants.

    “The EU has already slammed Cyprus in a report over this failure,” he said.

    Michael said there were around 30,000 legal immigrants in Cyprus and 10,000 illegal ones, making up 10 per cent of the country's working force.

    “Despite the island's low birth rate, the authorities insist on denying permanent residence to most immigrants because they oppose the development of a multicultural society,” he charged.

    “The government does not hesitate to violate international conventions it has signed on the protection of refugees as Cyprus becomes an impregnable fortress to prospective immigrants from Third World countries.”

    Michael said the law providing that a foreigner must secure a job in Cyprus before applying for residence created “conditions of slavery”.

    “This procedure gives too much power to the employers because foreign workers have to depend on them for their residence status,” he said.

    Employers often sacked immigrants without having to give adequate explanation, which resulted in their deportation, he said.

    “An immigrant automatically loses his residence permit if he leaves his job or gets sacked,” Michael said, adding that this procedure had led to countless cases of human rights violations, ill-treatment and sexual harassment of foreign workers.

    Michael suggested that the government create the necessary mechanisms to enable immigrants to file complaints against their employers without leading to their deportation.

    Immigration Department director George Theodorou admitted in his speech on Friday that there had been an increase in complaints filed by immigrants against their employers regarding sexual harassment, contract violation and maltreatment.

    “Cabaret dancers and maids often face such problems,” he said. “But these cases are usually difficult to investigate.”

    Michael also said the non-permanent residence permit granted to foreigners caused inconvenience to businesses which might wish to keep employees for more than four years.

    The seminar on 'Migration and Asylum Law -- Policy and Practice -- Schengen and the EU Dimension' at Intercollege in Nicosia, was organised by the British High Commission, the British Council and ISAG. It started on Friday and finishes today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Turkey says Cyprus EU entry could cause crisis

    TURKEY said yesterday the pending entry of Cyprus into the European Union could trigger a crisis if a deal over the future of the island is not reached beforehand.

    In an interview published in the Greek weekly newspaper Ependytis, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said his country would act strongly if Nicosia joins the 15-nation bloc.

    "If there is no agreement, and if there is a one-sided accession of one part of the island representing the whole... then we will act strongly and energetically and that will cause problems for all of us," he was quoted as saying.

    Asked whether the current Cyprus talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the country's pending EU entry could cause a crisis, Cem said: "Yes, there is the potential for a crisis." He did not elaborate.

    The EU has said it favours a solution to the division prior to Cyprus' entry but that it will accept the island with or without a settlement.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Bi-communal festival attracts thousands

    MORE THAN 6,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriots attended a bi-communal festival yesterday at the Ledra Palace.

    The event was organised by AKEL youth branch EDON and the Turkish Cypriot United Democratic Youth Organisation.

    The programme included music and dance from both communities.

    There were also special meeting points to bring Greek and Turkish Cypriots from the same villages into contact.

    EDON secretary general George Loukaides said attendance at the festival had doubled compared to last year's event organised by the same groups.

    “I think it has to do with the ongoing talks on the Cyprus problem, and also with the fact that more people from both sides now want peaceful coexistence,” he said.

    Loukaides estimated that between 6,000 and 7,000 people participated in yesterday's event, up from 3,000 last year.

    “People from the two sides had the chance to meet each other and share their thoughts and concerns. Old friends were reunited and young people from the two communities made contact with each other,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Man held after hack-saw attack

    PAPHOS police arrested a 64-year-old man on Friday night after he was suspected of attacking a 39-year-old man, also from Paphos, with a hack- saw.

    The victim suffered injuries to his right arm and was taken to hospital. Police are investigating the incident.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Take your art to DC

    TEACHERS across Cyprus are being invited to nominate talented young artists to take part in a workshop in the US conducted by the International Child Art Foundation.

    The competition is open to 13- to 15-year-olds who can speak good English and possess Cypriot nationality. The all expenses paid workshop will last for three weeks and takes place in Washington, D.C., this summer. Applications must be submitted in person by April 26.

    Full details and conditions about the competition can be obtained from the website www.fulbright.org.cy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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