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Faced With Migrant Wave, Cyprus Will Suspend Asylum Applications

November 11, 2021

NICOSIA – Cyprus will for now bar asylum hopes of migrants as the island is facing an incursion of more of them seeking sanctuary on the Greek-Cypriot side that is a member of the European Union.

Government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said the island, where Turkish-Cypriots have unlawfully occupied the northern third since two 1974 Turkish invasions, was facing “demographic change” and “acute socio-economic effects,” said Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah.

The report said that Cyprus wants the European Commission to act to deal with the growing numbers of migrants where the government said it has gotten the highest number of first-time asylum applications among all 27 EU members relative to its population of roughly one million.

Migrant flows recorded in 2021 were 38 percent higher than for all of last year, said Pelekanos, adding that in the first 10 months of the year, 10,868 irregular migrants arrived in Cyprus, the paper said.

That added to the more than 33,000 people already illegally residing in the country, he said. “The percentage of asylum seekers exceeds 4 percent of the population, when in the rest of the EU front-line countries it does not exceed one percent,” he also added.

He spoke after a series of measures aimed at slowing the flow of migrants, discussed at an emergency meeting led by President Nicos Anastasiades.

Cyprus expected “EU solidarity for the immediate relocation of asylum seekers to other member states, but also the repatriation of asylum seekers to their countries of origin,” he also said.

The government reported that 15,000 asylum applications have been rejected, leaving no recourse to those seeking sanctuary as the EU’s Dublin Regulation allows them to seek it only in the first country in which they arrive.
They are in limbo though as they can’t be deported either because there’s no procedure for doing that, the report said, Pelekanos asking for the EU to help deal with a “deteriorating siuation.”

RELATED

NICOSIA — Pope Francis on Friday denounced the “indifference” that the West shows migrants as the Vatican confirmed at least a dozen asylum-seekers would be transferred from Cyprus to Italy in a gesture of solidarity with countries that have borne the brunt of receiving would-be refugees.

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