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Activists Protest Outside Cyprus Embassy in Belgium, Demand Rights of Iranian Refugees Be Upheld

Activists in Brussels, Belgium have gone to the Embassy of Cyprus to demand that the rights of Iranian refugees be upheld by the Cypriot government. Organized by Nadia Borremans and Morteza Mollazeinal, the two-day protest action included a meeting with Ambassador Mavronicola–Droushiotis on 16 May 2011 and group demonstration outside the Embassy of Cyprus on 17 May 2011.

Cyprus has a refugee recognition rate of approximately one percent – among the lowest in the European Union – a clear indication that rights of asylum-seekers are grievously violated in Cyprus. Numerous reports have emerged over the years about the arbitrary and illegal detention of Iranian refugees in Cyprus, sometimes for years. This reality was reflected in the signs carried by demonstrators who demanded the release of illegally detained refugees.

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Activists in Brussels, Belgium to Protest on 17 May in Support of Iranian and Other Refugees in Cyprus

Activists in Brussels, Belgium have called for a protest demonstration outside of the Embassy of Cyprus to demand that the rights of Iranian refugees be upheld by the Cypriot government. According to UNHCR’s 2009 Global Trends Report, Cyprus has among the lowest, if not the lowest, refugee recognition rate in the E.U., at 1.1 percent (see Table 10, 2009 Global Trends Annex Tables). In addition to unrealistically low refugee recognition rates in Cyprus, numerous reports have emerged over the years about arbitrary and illegal detention of Iranian refugees in Cyprus, sometimes for years; lack of access to access to the competent legal services required to navigate the process of seeking asylum; lack of access to medical care when needed; and lack of access to employment other than exploitative black market work. Additionally, there are reports of forced deportations to Iran that are reported by the family to have resulted in the death of the deported individual at the hands of the Islamic Republic.

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