Greek Cypriot govt. criticised for allowing hate crimes

European Council report slams Greek Cypriot administration for failing to report and deal with hate crimes on minorities and refugees

Photo by: Public Domain
Photo by: Public Domain

Flags of the European Union and the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus.

The European Council's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities has criticised the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus for failing to properly identify and punish hate crimes.

According to a report released by the committee on Monday, a "significant under-reporting" of racially motivated offences, particularly against refugees, Roma, and Turkish Cypriots was noted.

It also said that many hate crimes were not reported due to "discriminatory behavior," ''excessive use of force" and "alleged racial profiling" by Greek Cypriot police, as well as a lack of trust in the authorities.

The body, which concerns itself with minority rights in the European Union, called on the Greek Cypriot administration to improve police training in order to better report, investigate and prosecute such crimes.

The Greek Cypriot authorities have previously been criticised for their handling of over 300 refugees in the Kokkinotrimithia camp after they were rescued by a cruise liner off the island in September 2014, but were later forced to move on when the camp was closed after only being given enough allowance to survive for another week.

Although the allowance included enough fees for the refugees to apply for a renewable six-month humanitarian temporary residence permit with access to the job market or for a tourist visa, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the time said that only 165 refugees had applied for, and obtained, residence and work permits.

Another 71 refugees reportedly submitted their asylum applications and were relocated to the Kofinou reception center for asylum seekers, but others said they were reluctant to apply for asylum, fearing they would instead be granted subsidiary protection, meaning they could not bring over family from Syria.

A refugee support group known as KISA had also called for more support for the refugees and condemned the Greek Cypriot authorities for not doing enough, saying the refugees, including many children, had been “left alone in the middle of the streets with just a trash-bag containing their belongings.”

TRTWorld and agencies