Cyprus Mail

Good news for long-time Kurdish protesters  

Photo: KISA

KISA- Action for Equality, Support, Anti-Racism said on Tuesday that the struggle of the stateless Kurd’s from Syria, who had been camping in front of the interior ministry since October 2014 and had endured a 58-day hunger strike had been resolved.

The organisation said that on Monday the interior ministry informed the strikers that their applications for citizenship had been considered and that it had granted Cypriot citizenship to those who fulfilled the required period of uninterrupted stay in the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

For the remainder, the ministry decided to proceed immediately with the issuing of travel documents, allowing them to travel until such time as they also fulfilled the residence period in the Republic required for the granting of Cypriot citizenship.

“KISA appreciates the positive and especially significant intervention by Interior Minister Mr Socratis Hasikos and Deputy Director General of the Interior Ministry Mr Constantinos Nicolaides, especially at a time when the Civil Registry and Migration Department appeared to have an obstructive attitude towards considering the strikers’ applications for citizenship,” the organisation said in a statement.

“It is recalled that the strikers’ application for naturalisation had been submitted at the suggestion of the interior minister, in an attempt to overcome the deadlock that was created in relation to the refusal by the asylum authorities (Asylum Service and Refugees Review Authority) to satisfy the just demand for recognised refugee status.”
At the same time, KISA said it believes the root of the problem lay in what it called the inflexible approach and the wrong policy of the asylum authorities in the granting of subsidiary protection to those who are entitled to recognised refugee status.

“Regrettably, the current policy and practice of the specific authorities continues to apply, which may lead to new protests,” KISA said.
It also thanked the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for its contribution to the strikers’ struggle and at the same time hoped that the UNHCR would adopt a more decisive and combative approach and attitude.

“The vindication of the demands of the Kurdish strikers from Syria, like the vindication of the struggle by the recognised refugees in June 2014 for Cypriot citizenship, shows that people with international protection can collectively claim their rights and improve the conditions of their integration into society through methodical and coordinated actions and mobilizations.”

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