Cessation and review of protection status

Cyprus

Country Report: Cessation and review of protection status Last updated: 30/11/20

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According to the Refugee Law,[1] refugee status ceases to exist if the refugee:

–        Has voluntarily re-availed himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality;

–        Having lost his or her nationality, has voluntarily re-acquired it;

–        Has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country that provided him or her with the new nationality;

–        Has voluntarily re-established himself or herself in the country which he or she left or outside which he or she remained owing to fear of persecution; or

–        Can no longer continue to refuse the protection of the country of nationality or habitual residence because, the circumstances that led to recognition as a refugee have ceased to exist.

 

The Asylum Service shall examine whether the change of circumstances is of such a significant and non-temporary nature that the refugee’s fear of persecution can no longer be regarded as well-founded. However, cessation shall not apply to a refugee who is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution for refusing to avail himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality or former habitual residence.[2]

 

In the case of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, the Refugee Law provides that they shall cease to be eligible for subsidiary protection when the circumstances which led to the granting of subsidiary protection status have ceased to exist or have changed to such a degree that protection is no longer required.[3] As with refugee status, the Head of Asylum Service shall examine whether the change in circumstances is of such a significant and non-temporary nature that the person eligible for subsidiary protection no longer faces a real risk of serious harm. However, cessation shall not apply to a beneficiary of subsidiary protection who is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous serious harm for refusing to avail himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality or former habitual residence.

 

The same procedure is followed to examine cessation of refugee status and subsidiary protection. Firstly, the examination for cessation of either status may commence provided that new elements or findings arise indicating that there are reasons to review the status.[4] When the Head of the Asylum Service examines the possibility of ceasing the status he or she must ensure that the person concerned is informed in writing that the Asylum Service is reconsidering whether the person in question satisfies the conditions required for the status. The person concerned must be given the opportunity to submit, in a personal interview in accordance with the Regular Procedure,[5] or in a written statement, reasons as to why international protection should not be withdrawn.[6]

 

 

Within the cessation procedure, according to the law, the Head of the Asylum Service shall obtain precise and up-to-date information from various sources, such as, where appropriate, EASO and UNHCR, as to the general situation prevailing in the countries of origin of the person concerned.[7] Furthermore, where information on an individual case is collected for the purposes of reconsidering international protection, it is not obtained from the actor(s) of persecution or serious harm in a manner that would result in such actor(s) being directly informed of the fact that the person concerned is a beneficiary of international protection whose status is under reconsideration, or jeopardise the physical integrity of the person or his or her dependants, or the liberty and security of his or her family members still living in the country of origin.

 

If the Head of the Asylum Service, after examining the case in accordance with the Regular Procedure,[8] considers that one of the cessation grounds is substantiated, a decision is issued in writing and the person concerned notified.[9] The decision must include the facts and legal grounds on which it is based and information on the right to appeal the decision before the Administrative Court as well as the nature and form of the remedy and the deadline to submit the appeal.[10]

 

With cessation, any residence permit granted to the person as a refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection is cancelled and that person must surrender the identity card and travel documents.[11]

 

The procedure for appeals within the procedure for cessation is identical to that in the regular procedure (see Regular Procedure: Appeal). As in the regular procedure, the person concerned may submit an appeal before the Refugee Reviewing Authority (RRA) within 20 days upon receiving knowledge of the decision or may bypass this and submit a request for judicial review before the Administrative Court within 75 days upon receiving knowledge of the decision.[12]  If the person opts for the RRA and this is rejected, he or she may then request judicial review before the Administrative Court within 75 days upon receiving knowledge of the decision issued by the RRA. During all forms of appeals the person concerned has a right to remain.

 

As in the regular procedure, there is no access to free legal assistance from the state before the Asylum Service and RRA during the cessation procedure. However, such cases can be assisted by the free legal assistance provided for by NGOs under project funding, but the capacity of these projects is extremely limited. Legal aid is offered by the state only at the judicial examination of the cessation decision before the Administrative Court.[13] The application for legal aid is subject to a “means and merits” test and is extremely difficult to be awarded (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance). As there are very few cessation decisions, there are no statistics or information available on the success rate of appeals or legal aid applications.

 

There is no systematic review of protection status in Cyprus and currently cessation is not applied to specific groups of beneficiaries of international protection.



[1]Article 6 Refugee Law.

[2]Article 6(1A-bis) Refugee Law.

[3]Article 19(3) Refugee Law.

[4]Article 6(1B) Refugee Law.

[5]Articles 13Α and 18(1), (2), (2Α), (2Β) Refugee Law.

[6]Article 6(1Γ)(a)-(b) Refugee Law.

[7]Article 6(1Δ) Refugee Law.

[8]Article 13 Refugee Law.

[9]Article 6(2) Refugee Law.

[10]Article 6(2) Refugee Law.

[11]Article 6(3) Refugee Law.

[12]Article 31Γ Refugee Law.

[13]Article 6B(3) Legal Aid Law.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation