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Cyprus

Migrant support NGO condemns court’s support for deregistration

supreme court

Migrant support NGO Kisa has censured a court decision that upheld its deregistration by the interior ministry, saying it had failed to examine or justify key aspects of violations of the constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights, among others.

The June 10 decision by the administrative court rejected Kisa’s appeal against its deregistration from the register of associations, the NGO said in a statement, in a decision with “serious omissions and failure to examine or justify critical aspects of the violations of the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other European and international human rights legal instruments regarding the human rights of association and assembly but also of the freedom of expression.”

Kisa said it has appealed the decision at the supreme court.

“In effect, with this decision, in contrast with independent officials and institutions of the UN and the Council of Europe, the AC [administrative court] considers that the Ministry of Interior legally deregistered an NGO active in the fields of migration and human rights for 23 years, simply because it did not inform the Registrar of Associations on time that its constitution was compatible with the Associations and Institutions Law (104(I)/2017),” Kisa said.

European agencies and bodies, such as the European Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and five OHCHR Special Rapporteurs of the UN, with a letter and joint communication to the Minister of Interior and the Cyprus government, respectively, had expressed concern over the deteriorating operational environment for NGOs in Cyprus and the deregistration of KISA and many other NGOs.

“They also consider deregistration as an extreme and disproportionate measure, which should “never be used to address minor infractions’” Kisa said.

The administrative court’s decision will allow the ministry of interior to conclude Kisa’s dissolution.

“A process that had already started unlawfully without the required … court decision, when in February 2021, the Minister of Interior issued an order to banks to freeze Kisa’s accounts, as well as those of other deregistered associations, with all the consequences this entails.”

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