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Cyprus

British bases face judicial review over treatment of migrants  

Migrants coming ashore at RAF Akrotiri. Photo MoD

Lawyers in the UK said they would be seeking a judicial review of the status of 114 migrants, who landed in the sovereign British bases (SBA) in Cyprus late last year, arguing that Britain was in violation of its obligations because it forced them to seek asylum in the Republic or face deportation.

Quoting Tessa Gregory of Leigh Day legal firm, which represents several of the families and individuals who landed in RAF Akrotiri in October, the Observer said there was a “clear breach” of British obligations towards the migrants and it was wrong to delegate their fate to the Republic.

“Since their arrival on British soil, the UK government has denied responsibility for the group and sought to outsource its obligations under international law to Cyprus,” she said. “After being detained and threatened with deportation, our clients have agreed under protest to have their asylum claims processed by the Cypriot authorities.”

Gregory argued that the migrants were the responsibility of the UK, which had to ensure their rights were safeguarded, according to the Observer.

“We believe such conduct is contrary to the letter and spirit of the convention and our clients will be seeking a judicial review of the government’s actions in January.”

Independent national charity Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants described the situation as shameful, the Observer said.

“Officials are coercing them to move to a third country, Cyprus, which is being paid by the UK to temporarily house them and process their claims,” the charity’s legal and policy director Chai Patel was quoted as saying.

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