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Cyprus

Deputies want action on Oroklini migrants

migrants oroklini

The government was to blame for the high number of migrants on the island as it had created welcoming conditions for asylum seekers, the chairman of the House committee on demographics said on Tuesday.

Elam deputy Linos Papayiannis criticised the government after the committee’s meeting which discussed complaints about living and health conditions at an Oroklini building that was said to be hosting hundreds of asylum seekers.

Citing information provided by Oroklini community leader, Papayiannis said the relevant government bodies are “completely absent” and had no answers to the problems recorded in letters addressed to them by the community. The issues were raise more than a year ago, he said.

Among the complaints are violations of the penal code, the chairman said, illegal water transfer procedures and damage to buildings. Meanwhile, the state was paying benefits to the migrants to rent spaces in the illegal buildings.

“Cyprus is being invaded [by migrants] every day,” he added, noting that Turkey was behind this invasion.

He said the state has created the conditions that enable asylum seekers to settle in the country.

“Government is responsible for this,” he said, adding that in collaboration with some political parties, it has “made our country a hostage” to the situation. Asylum seekers made up six per cent of the country’s population, he added.

Disy deputy Prodromos Alambritis said that during the session, the committee heard several complaints about the illegal compound housing migrants in Oroklini and called on the authorities to act.

He said the community leader complained that the property manager owed money to the community council which was the reason the water supply had been cut off.

Consequently, he carries water in water trucks, while sewage from the complex is discharged into the Oroklini Lake causing health and environmental risks.

“We call on the relevant government departments and the police to enforce the law and do whatever is necessary to restore legality to the area,” Alambritis said.

The Oroklini complex was expected to close down following a decree by the Larnaca district officer in February.

In a letter, Deputy Minister for Social Welfare Anastasia Anthousi told the owner that unless the necessary repairs were made, the state will stop subsidising the asylum seekers’ rent.

Meanwhile, a similar situation has been recorded in a different complex in Chlorakas, where about 600 asylum seekers have been staying. The water supply was also cut off from parts of the complex in 2018 after financial disputes between the manager of the apartment complex and the Chlorakas community council.

The situation sparked protests by the asylum seekers demanding the water supply was reconnected while local residents demonstrated against the increase of irregular migrants in the area.

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