I am a civil society actor living in Cyprus as an Asylum Seeker. I strongly condemn the recent violent attacks against asylum seekers and refugees by some Cypriots. We have to agree that the whole world is gradually becoming insecure. That the mother earth is in revolt, and unrest, discontent, killing and wars are rife everywhere and no one is safe.
With insecurity in many nations, people tend to search for a secure places, and Cyprus happens to be one of the safe places on the planet, that is why we are here. But recently, some groups of individuals decided to make life miserable for all asylum seekers and refugees in Cyprus and we are now afraid to move around or to work because of fear of the unknown.
I strongly condemn the recent violence against refugees in Chlorakas, Paphos and in Limassol, where asylum seekers were beaten, and their property destroyed and burned.
I will not deny the fact that there are more migrants than expected in Cyprus with a lot of negative consequences, but Cyprus has laws and the present government is doing everything possible to regulate the situation. Instead of Cypriots rallying behind the government, some tend to rub the image of this beautiful island in the mud.
Becoming a refugee is not a choice. No one chose to become a refugee but were forced in becoming one. Anybody at anytime can become a refugee. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the crisis in Cameroon, the military crisis in Sudan, Syria, and many others are living testimony that anyone at anytime can become a refugee.
Acting violently against migrants is an indirect way of saying that the government doesn’t know what to do. There is no single country on earth without migrants. The government of Cyprus is capable of managing the migrant crisis and is doing its best. It needs appreciation not more problems.
I am pleading with all Cypriots to allow the government to manage the migrant crisis, to stop taking the law into their own hands, to protest peacefully, to focus on the advantages of migrants, to have pity on migrants for we are just searching for safety, and to trust their government. To know that migrants are not enemies but vulnerable groups of people searching for safety. That we are not trouble-makers but human beings like you. There are many migrants with negative attitudes, and you have the right to report them to the authorities.
Cypriots, I am on my knees, support migrants by allowing us to stay and operate peacefully in Cyprus. Don’t instil fear in us.
An asylum seeker, Larnaca (name withheld)