Die Zahl der in Zypern einen Asylantrag stellenden Migrant*innen und Geflüchteten ist in den vergangen beiden Jahren stark gestiegen. Waren es Anfang 2017 noch 730 Antragsteller*innen, stieg die Zahl bis Anfang 2019 auf 3.015. Auch wenn die absolute Zahl der Anlandungen immer noch weit niedriger ist als Italien oder Griechenland, hat die Republik Zypern relativ zu ihrer Bevölkerung damit die höchste Ankunftsrate von Migrant*innen und Geflüchteten.
Dass Zypern von Migrant*innen und Geflüchteten zum Migrationsziel wird, liegt an den sich zunehmend verschlechternden Lebensbedingungen für Eingewanderte in der Türkei und dem Libanon. Erst gestern berichtete FFM über die türkische Ankündigung, dass Syrer*innen, die illegalisiert in Istanbul leben, bis zum 20. August in die Provinzen zurückkehren müssen, in denen sie registriert sind. Menschen ohne Papiere sollen direkt nach Syrien deportiert werden. Omar, 33-Jähriger syrischer Flüchtling, erklärt in einem Artikel veröffentlicht auf France24, dass man es als Syrer*in vorziehe auf dem Meer zu sterben statt in Syrien. Deswegen habe auch er die Überfahrt aus einem libanesischen Flüchtlingslager nach Zypern gewagt.
Der zyprische Innenminister Constantinos Petrides betonte die steigenden Zahlen auf dem Treffen der europäischen Innenminister in Helsinki vom 18. – 19. Juli 2019 und „called on EU partners to use practical means to help Cyprus handle the influx” (in-cyprus). Wie diese Unterstützung aussehen kann, zeigte sich bereits am 23. Juli in altbekannter europäischer Manier: Griechenland sichert Zypern seine Unterstützung bei der Bekämpfung irregulärer Migration zu. Nach einem Treffen mit Giorgos Koumoutsakos, griechischer Europaparlamentsabgeordneter, sagte Petrides, „that the migrants return policy is a major issue for the European Union“ (Cyprus Mail).
Abschreckung und Deportationen scheinen damit auch in Zypern längst zum europäischen Alltag geworden zu sein. Erst am Dienstag, 23. Juli waren 50 Menschen im Abschiebegefängnis Menoyia in Hungerstreik getreten, um sowohl die Bedingungen der Haft als auch das gesamte korrupte System anzuprangern. Auch von Selbstmordversuchen wird berichtet. Bereits in der Vergangeheit kam es zu Aufständen und Suizidversuchen in den Haftanstalten.
Cyprus new route for migrants prepared to ‚die at sea‘
[…] In two years, the number of first-time asylum applications in Cyprus has more than tripled, rising from 730 people at the beginning of 2017 to 3,015 at the beginning of 2019.[…]
The number of refugee and migrant arrivals to Cyprus is low compared with those in Italy or Greece.
But now the island nation has the highest rate of refugee arrivals of any EU country relative to its population, eight times higher than in France, according to the European statistics office Eurostat.
„For refugees, Cyprus was never an ideal destination: it’s an island and it’s very far fromEurope,“ Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher at PRIO Cyprus Centre, told AFP.
„But now it’s their only solution: routes to the EU from Greece are closed and the living conditions in countries near Syria are getting worse, like in Turkey and in Lebanon,“ he said.
„Suddenly, Cyprus seems very close for Syrians.“ […]
Cyprus is just 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Lebanon and 80 kilometres from Turkey, leading traffickers to offer this risky crossing to Syrians who, like Omar, „prefer to die at sea than in Syria“.
Petrides, who is a former Commission official, dismissed reports proclaiming ‘the end of the migration crisis’, or ‘the number of arrivals to the EU back at pre-crisis level’. He said such claims were painting a “rosy picture” and were true for half of the member states, but certainly not for Cyprus.
Interior Minister calls on EU partners to help Cyprus migration flows
Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides highlighted the disproportionate migrant pressures recorded in Cyprus over the last three years and urged his European partners to support the Republic’s efforts to manage the flows. […]
In his intervention, Interior Minister Petrides underlined the disproportionate migratory pressure registered in Cyprus over the last three years and called on EU partners to use practical means to help Cyprus handle the influx.
He underlined the size and nature of the arrivals and repeated the need to take action throughout the Mediterranean, especially the Eastern route where the higher influx occurs with priority being given to the implementation of a redistribution programme in the context of efforts for equal sharing of the burden as an expression of solidarity.
The interior ministers of Cyprus and Greece on Tuesday announced a a joint initiative on migration to enhance the return policy of irregular immigrants.
The announcement of the initiative took place after a meeting between Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides and his Greek counterpart Giorgos Koumoutsakos during an official visit to Athens.
In statements after the meeting, Petrides said that the migrants return policy is a major issue for the European Union.
“Greece and Cyprus will work together in order to articulate concrete proposals, which will help the EU to become more efficient as regards this specific aspect of the migration issue,” he said.
Petrides also said refugee and migration issues constitute “national issues both for Cyprus and Greece”. He added that the two countries are working together to align their positions in the context of the European Commission and to propose joint policies in the EU.
For his part, Greek Alternate Minister Koumoutsakos underlined that Greece and Cyprus are facing common challenges as regards the complex issue of migration.
“This reality is forcing us to work together to enhance our collaboration and to propose our own positive agenda on the discussion which is taking place in the European Union regarding a new efficient migration policy,” Koumoutsakos said.
Around 50 people held at the Menoyia detention centre went on hunger strike on Tuesday citing unjustified detention and a corrupt system. […] He said an Egyptian man had tried to kill himself because he wants to leave the detention centre. […]
Another man detained there, Yussuf from Israel, said he has been in Cyprus since 2004 without any problems and was arrested some nine months ago after filing a complaint against the behaviour of a top brass police member.
“After that they arrested me and held me at the Aradippou police station for two months, and after I got sick with diabetes, they brought me to Menoyia,” he said. He too said he was told it was for reasons of national security. […]
They also complained that they are being served the same food daily.
This is not the first time riots, protests, hunger strikes and even suicide attempts have taken place at the facility in the past.
Menoyia is used as a detention centre for immigrants pending their deportation or until the Civil Registry and Migration Department process their application for refugee status or granting asylum. Due to the complexity of these cases, the department is known for long delays in reaching a decision, resulting in long periods of confinement at the Menoyia facility.
Between 1 – 31 May 2019, 759 arrivals were recorded in Cyprus, almost equal to the 760 registered in the previous reporting period (1- 30 April 2019). A total of 3,180 migrants and refugees have arrived in Cyprus since the beginning of 2019. This amounts to a 166% increase if compared to the same period in 2018 when 1,196 19 arrivals were reported and a 232% increase if compared to the same period in 2017, when recorded arrivals were 960.
The available socio-demographic breakdown of arrivals to Cyprus shows more diverse nationalities are entering the country. In Cyprus, Syrian nationals comprised a 34% of irregular migrant and refugee arrivals in this period. The remaining 66% are distributed among 49 difference nationality groups. Cameroon represented the second largest nationality group, followed by Bangladesh (11%), Pakistan (10%) and Georgia (6%). In the same period of 2018 Syrian nationals represented 38%, Cameroon represented the second largest group with 11%, followed by Pakistan (10%), Iraq (9%), Bangladesh (6%) and Iran (4%).
IOM │ Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean. Compilation of Available Data and Information │ May 2019