News on migration and asylum from around the region - Nouvelles de la région sur les questions de migration et d'asile

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

[CYPRUS] Cyprus Mail: Threat to report Red Cross over Syrian camp withdrawal

21 January 2015

After Syrian refugees have had their supply and help lines cut, director of the immigrant support group KISA said on Tuesday he will report the Cyprus Red Cross to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Following the withdrawal on Saturday of all government services from the reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia that hosts around 200 Syrian refugees living in tents, the Red Cross was told that they could no longer provide humanitarian assistance.
After the insistence of some members, it was decided that some Red Cross volunteers would visit the camp daily to observe the situation and respond in case of an emergency.
“Organisations that provide humanitarian aid cannot receive orders from governments. The Red Cross has its own mandate; no state has the power to tell them what to do,” Doros Polykarpou told the Cyprus Mail.
“If they are not allowed to distribute aid, how can they actually help the refugees, how exactly is the Red Cross present there?” he added.
The withdrawal of government services means the refugees now need to fend for themselves as well as moving on as their three-month temporary residence permits have expired. They have access to running water and electricity until the end of January all the tents they are being housed in are to be packed up.
Polykarpou said the government’s tactic to practically force the refugees to apply for asylum by letting them starve is inhumane and dangerous.