Cyprus Mail

Hunger strikers agree to resume drinking water after Hasikos promise

Children taking part in the demonstration to show solidarity with the group of recognised refugees

By Constantinos Psillides

THE four recognised political refugees who are on a hunger strike will receive their final answer on their request to be granted permanent residency in a week, said Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos yesterday.

Following a solidarity demonstration outside the House, demanding that the refugees are granted residency – some of them have been in Cyprus for over 10 years – Hasikos asked the hungers strikers to stop their strike so the competent authorities have enough time to respond to their demands.

The four hunger strikers escalated their protest on June 16, when they stopped taking any fluids. They agreed to at least take water again until they received their answer.

The refugees have been on hunger strike since June 5 outside UNCHR offices in Nicosia.

Hasikos did give a hint on the nature of the immigration services final response by saying before the House Interior Committee that “no matter how much goodwill we have, the law is there and it is binding.”

“Some legislation might change. But until it does we cannot break the law. The state has helped these people by providing them with large benefits. In a week they will get their final answer.”

The four refugees, who ended a 52-day hunger strike in January, said that they were prepared to die if necessary.

Around 100 people showed up to demonstrate outside parliament, carrying banners saying: “Save the life of the refugees” and “Respect refugees’ rights”.

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