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13 July, 2024
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Chloraka refugees in limbo as time runs out

Officials scrambling to find accommodation as controversial eviction order not enforceable by police about to go into effect


A two-month grace period for asylum seekers in Chloraka ordered to move out of a studio complex is about to expire, with police saying they cannot enforce the eviction order as it has not been signed by a judge.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers have been ordered to move out of Ayios Nicolaos studio complex in Chloraka, after Paphos district officer Mary Lambrou issued the decree back in November 2021 with a two-month grace period given to residents to make alternative living arrangements.

The eviction order follows similar decrees including one in Nicosia district, where law enforcement officers extracted 60 asylum seekers from their place of residence on New Year’s Eve and transported them to a deportation facility in Larnaca.

But this week, during a meeting at the Legal Department, it emerged that police could not enforce the eviction order as it has not been ordered by a court of law.

KISA says local authorities should focus on improving conditions and seeking ways to overcome integration difficulties instead of launching 'repressive measures' against asylum seekers

Additional reports said tenants still had nowhere to go, with officials from the social welfare deputy ministry scrambling to find accommodation.

Local authorities say they want the refugees to move out of their area in an effort to "root out ghettos" in the community.

Several arrests and police raids have been taking place in the area, including altercations between refugee groups, with locals pointing to criminal activity and asylum seekers claiming violent altercations were being instigated by extremists in the area.

A local march recently carried out by locals in Chloraka ended right outside St. Nicolas Elegant Residence, a former holiday complex that was turned into affordable studio apartments for mostly asylum seekers.

The demonstration was condemned by KISA, a group advocating for migrant rights, with the NGO also pointing finger at the local leader.

“The participants, with the encouragement and active participation of the leader of the local council shouted racist and abusive slogans at the block’s residents, such as ‘you are terrorists, return to your homes, no more fake refugees, out of Chloraka, illegal migrants out of Chloraka.”

An emergency law, which went into effect in December 2020, bans asylum seekers from residing within specific zones including the community of Chloraka, citing changes in demographics within the local population.

But Lambrou’s decree is targeting the studio complex, citing zoning and hygiene violations including lack of running water.

KISA says local authorities should focus on improving conditions and seeking ways to overcome integration difficulties instead of launching “repressive measures” against asylum seekers.

“Instead of the authorities and the [interior] Ministry initiating a dialogue with the community and to utilize European funds for projects of support and integration of these young people, they proceed with repressive police measures and unlawful prohibitive orders, which will not only not resolve the situation but will actually worsen it,” KISA argued.

Cyprus  |  Paphos  |  Chloraka  |  migration  |  refugee  |  asylum seeker  |  KISA  |  eviction

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