President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday visited the Pournara reception centre in Nicosia and told irregular migrants living in appalling conditions that within hours measures will be taken to help them.
“In the next few hours decisions will be taken which will provide a way out of the multiple problems faced in Pournara…Almost 5% of our population is comprised of asylum applicants, it’s inevitable that problems will be created,” he added.
Cyprus registered more than 12,000 migrant arrivals in 2021, up more than 40% on 2020, according to latest official data.
Most migrants arrive southward across the porous line that divides Cyprus since a 1974 invasion by Turkey which still maintains troops in the breakaway northern part. Thereby, they also enter the EU.
“My first impression is the tragedy endured by these people who on the one hand have been taken advantage of or are simply seeking a better life,” the President also said while still at the camp.
His visit came in the wake of two scathing reports issued last week by the children’s rights commissioner ad by the island’s Ombudsman.
Both described the “appalling” conditions faced by the migrants – especially hundreds of minors.