News Local Reception centre for unaccompanied minors to go ahead

Reception centre for unaccompanied minors to go ahead

The government is going ahead with plans to set up a reception centre for unaccompanied minors at an abandoned military camp at Zygi, despite objections from the community.

To this end,  provision has been made in the 2019 budget for €750,000 for construction work.

The project provides for buildings at a total cost of  €1.5m.

Zygi community leader Georgia Michail is threatening action, as the community council wants to create a camping site at the location.

Under the law on refugees, the Republic of Cyprus has an obligation to care and safeguard the rights of unaccompanied minors — that is those under 18 who enter the Republic without a parent or guardian.

The director of the Department of Social Welfare is appointed their guardian on their arrival in the Republic. This renders her responsible to ensure they have shelter, food and care as well as health care and education.

There are currently 230 unaccompanied minors in Cyprus.

But anticipating an increase because of instability and war in the region, cabinet decided in March to build and operate a reception centre for 100 such children that will be run by the International Migration Organisation.

It also decided that part of the National Guard’s facilities in Zygi should be transferred from the Defence to the Labour Ministries.

Cabinet also decided to continue to work with financing mechanisms of the European Economic Area and the European Development Bank of the Council of Europe to help finance the reception centre.

There are currently four reception centres for unaccompanied minors, in Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol. The centre that operates within Nicosia Municipality is run by the NGO Hope for Children.

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