Cyprus: Solidarity campaign for Kurdish refugees wins victory!

Cypriot ministers promise to find solution for the 117 Kurdish refugees that faced life- threatening deportation to Syria.

Since October the CWI has been involved in a solidarity campaign to stop the threatening deportation of more then 100 Kurdish refugees from Cyprus. Most of them would be deported to Syria, where their lives would be in certain danger at the hands of the Syrian regime. The Cypriot asylum policy – that has a reputation for being dehumanising and that has earlier violated even basic human rights – was completely indifferent to the Kurds’ situation and asylum was denied to all of them!  

After two months of campaigning the Cypriot government seems to have made significant concessions!

Last weekend a Greek delegation of the solidarity campaign met with a Cypriot trade union federation, affiliated with AKEL (Cyprus’ ruling Communist Party) and with ministers of the Cypriot government. The latter gave assurances that no deportations would be made and that solutions would be found to grant legal stay permits to the Kurdish refugees. Dimitris Christofias the President of the Parliament and general secretary of AKEL – which is the biggest party in the Cypriot parliament – went as far as promising that his party will adopt the defense of the Kurdish refugees as a "party line". The delegation also met with N. Silikiotis, the Minister of the Interior (who is also an AKEL member) who said that he would ensure a legal solution for the Kurdish refugees to let them stay in Cyprus. In this way he confirmed the concessions made in an earlier meeting with the Cypriot Kurdish Friendship Association – the organisation that has brought together refugees, members of the CWI and other activists to struggle for the rights of Kurdish refugees (see report of 17 November 2006).

The Cypriot Kurdish Friendship Association will still attentively follow-up this issue and asks those who have been involved in the solidarity campaign to stand by in case new action might still be necessary.

However it is clear that these statements are a big victory for the campaign!

A more complete report of the visit will be published on this web-side within the next few days.

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December 2006