9 April 2015
Asylum seekers in Cyprus are being detained for longer periods than what is prescribed by law, according to a new AIDA report on Cyprus. The Future Worlds Center reports that since the end of 2014, asylum claims of people in detention ought to be processed within 30 days, with appeals taking no more than 15 days, following the introduction of a fast-track procedure. If the applicant is granted international protection or the decision is delayed, they must therefore be released. Latest monitoring by Future Worlds Center suggests that the prescribed time-limits are not being followed by the authorities.
Furthermore, Cyprus continues to detain asylum seekers for deportation purposes as soon as their protection claims have been refused at the first instance, without providing the opportunity to effectively exercise their right to appeal before the Supreme Court. Asylum seekers who are waiting for a final decision from the Supreme Court continue to risk deportation.
Asylum seekers returning to Cyprus under Dublin procedures pending a final decision on their application are not detained in practice, in a break away from the country’s previous detention policy.
The report also refers to the expansion of the Kofinou Reception Centre’s capacity to host 400 residents. Despite the increase in size, asylum seekers are reluctant to actually reside there given the location in a remote area with no easy access to the country’s urban areas. The majority of applicants therefore opt out from accommodation in Kofinou and are given no further state support. At the time of writing, Cyprus counted approximately 2,700 persons with a pending application for international protection, with only 122 residing at Kofinou.
The report also indicates that around 65% of the persons applying for international protection in Cyprus are granted subsidiary protection. Under current legislation beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status, mostly Syrians, are excluded from the right to family reunification. As a result, many Syrian families end up separated and in some instances children are left behind unaccompanied and liable to exploitation.
The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is an ECRE project mapping asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention in 16 EU countries.
For further information:
- Asylum Information Database (AIDA), Country Report Cyprus