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23 May, 2024
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The hidden lives of migrants in Cyprus

Cyprus' refugee crisis: Echoes of the past, challenges of today



By Stavros Christodoulou

Behind closed doors lies a hidden reality in Cyprus, where neglected homes become sanctuaries for new occupants, often foreigners seeking refuge from economic hardships.

These once vibrant spaces now accommodate up to ten individuals, cramped together in the shadows of dilapidation.

In a dimly lit apartment block in Limassol, a young Bangladeshi man shared quarters with ten compatriots, enduring squalid conditions until tragedy struck.

When law enforcement intervened, the 24-year-old's desperate leap from the fifth floor ended in tragedy, leaving another critically injured. Among them were two youths, their names lost to anonymity, yet their familiar faces—seen delivering food or washing cars—underscored their overlooked yet integral role in the community.

Reflecting on the refugee crisis of 1974, where makeshift shelters harbored displaced families, the echoes of past struggles reverberate. While some found stability, others faced perpetual displacement, both within Cyprus and beyond its borders. Yet, as history fades from memory, the challenges persist, highlighting the ongoing divide between native inhabitants and displaced newcomers.

The recent adoption of a new Migration Pact by the European Parliament signifies a step towards addressing this humanitarian crisis, though amid political discord.

Cyprus, as a frontline state, grapples with the complex dynamics of asylum relocation, calling for mandatory, rather than voluntary, burden-sharing among EU member states. However, amidst political pragmatism, the reality remains stark: as individuals continue to risk their lives in pursuit of a better future, our collective conscience demands action to bridge the growing chasm between two parallel worlds.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  opinion  |  migrants

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