General

Cyprus

Country Report: General Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

In Cyprus, most asylum seekers are not systematically detained. In September 2014, a policy regarding the detention of asylum seekers was initiated, which reduced the instances that asylum seekers can be detained. As a result of the policy, the majority of asylum seekers that are detained are those who have submitted an application for asylum after they have been arrested and detained, under the presumption that all such applications are submitted in order to frustrate the removal process although no individual assessment is carried out and even where the persons have recently entered the country (see Grounds for Detention). In many such cases, persons have been arrested for irregular stay or are detained as a consequence of a criminal law sanction and apply for asylum once they are in prison or detention. However, there are still cases of persons being arrested soon after they have arrived in the country even though they presented themselves to the authorities to apply for asylum.

 

There are no official numbers available for the total number of asylum seekers who are detained. Based on monitoring visits carried out, the number of detained asylum seekers in 2017 was on average 40 persons, in 2018 the number had increased to an average of 60 and in June 2018 reached 91, whereas in 2019 the number was on average 45 persons:[1]

 

Applications submitted from detention: 2013-2017

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Applications submitted

118

134

114

187

238

 

Source: Ministry of Interior

 

In early 2020, due to the rise in numbers of asylum seekers, the Council of Ministers of Interior had announced stringent measures, including creating closed centres. At the time, measures were also being taken due to Covid-19. Before complete construction of the First Registry Reception Centre, all new arrivals in the country are now referred to the Centre and are not allowed to leave. This has led to a rise in the number of persons in the Centre to approximately 700 without the infrastructure in place to host such a number, especially for a long duration and where such persons are being de facto detained. However, it seems that Syrian asylum seekers were allowed to leave, the justification being that they have relatives or friends that can provide accommodation. After strong reactions from asylum seekers in the Centre, the Asylum Service started allowing 10 persons per day to leave, giving priority to vulnerable persons and women but only if they could present a valid address. In view of the obstacles in accessing reception conditions, identifying accommodation is extremely difficult unless they are in contact with persons in the community.

 

However, given the announcement concerning the development of closed centres and measures due to Covid19, it is unknown how long persons will remain in the Centre.

 

In respect of persons detained for the purposes of removal, whilst removal procedures have been suspended, no steps have been taken to release asylum seekers and other third-country nationals (TCN) in detention.

 

 


[1]Information based on monitoring visits carried out to Menogia Detention Centre by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

 

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