Amnesty accuses Cyprus of holding migrants in prison conditions

Migrant holding centre in Greek Cypress

Cyprus routinely detains migrants in prison-like conditions, sometimes breaking European Union law by holding them for more than an 18-month maximum, Amnesty International said.

While Cyprus is not one of the main routes for migrants to reach Europe, thousands do enter the island each year and Amnesty accused the government of using detention as a way of discouraging the flow.

Socrates Hasikos, Cyprus’s interior minister, said Amnesty’s report was “full of inaccuracies and sweeping generalizations”.

The group said migrants, who included asylum seekers, were held in cramped conditions, and there had been cases of mothers separated from their children.

“By detaining scores of people for months at a time, Cyprus is displaying a chilling lack of compassion and a complete disregard for its international obligations,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, head of refugee and migrants’ rights at Amnesty.

The rights group said Cyprus was also detaining Syrians fleeing civil war.

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How odd that Cyprus wishes to remain Greek rather absorb huge waves of Muslims from Syria and elsewhere. As if they did not have enough trouble with the Turks.