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Group of Syrian migrants sent back to Lebanon, report Cyprus to ECHR

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A group of migrants sent back to Lebanon on Tuesday have filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights against the Republic of Cyprus, fearing some may be returned to Syria, migrant support NGO, Kisa said on Friday.

According to Kisa, it informed migrants on the boat sent back to Lebanon on September 8 about their rights under refugee laws and human rights laws.

Upon their return to Lebanon, a group of the migrants filed a complaint with the ECHR with a series of questions for the government relating to their return.

Migrants who arrived over the past week to Cyprus have been mainly from Lebanon, but there was a small number of Syrians among them.

The government said it would be sending a team to Lebanon to discuss the migration issue, after the recent influx in numbers that came following the devastating blast in Beirut last month.

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said at the time, it was difficult for Cyprus to accept further refugees, not to mention economic migrants.

In their statement on Friday, Kisa said the migrants who filed the complaint were afraid of their potential return to Syria from where they had originally fled.

“The Cypriot authorities did not make any individual assessment of the applicants… as to their needs and the reasons why they were on the shores of the Republic. They also did not provide the slightest access to the international protection procedure and did not take into account any of the legal requirements of refugee law, which are not affected by the fact of ‘illegal entry’,” the NGO said.

Groups that arrived over the past weekend and days were all sent back to Lebanon.

Speaking after an inter-ministerial meeting with the justice and defence ministers on Monday, Nouris said that in Lebanon the team would discuss ways to stop the flow.

“Cyprus is aware of Lebanon’s issue, and we stood by the people, but the goal now is to limit departures from Lebanon’s ports with illegal migrants towards Cyprus,” he said.

He also said Cyprus will be asking the EU to send Frontex vessel patrols to the area to help deal with the influx of migrant boats.

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