11 December 2015

The new updated AIDA report on Cyprus details reforms in the asylum system taking effect as of July 2015. A worrying development regarding the asylum procedure is the introduction of an age assessment procedure for unaccompanied minors, based entirely on intrusive medical tests that risk a significant margin of error. Most of the individuals tested have been found to be 18 or 19, which consequently led to them being forcibly evicted from the shelters. Many of them have disappeared afterwards. 

The recognition rate for asylum seekers has significantly increased during 2015, reaching 73% at first instance. The number of persons granted refugee status, instead of subsidiary protection, has also substantially increased, reaching almost 11% from 4% in 2014. On another note, the newly adopted policy on detention of asylum seekers – according to which the only asylum seekers detained are those who submit an application after they have been arrested and detained – is still in place. Based on monitoring throughout the year, the numbers of asylum seekers in detention at any time averages 20 persons, and timeframes for their release are not always respected. Finally, Cyprus has yet to transpose the recast Asylum Procedures Directive and the recast Reception Conditions Directive.  

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 11 December 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.