Extremist anti-immigration groups are a growing presence in Cyprus according to a new report by anti-racism monitors.
The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published its fourth survey of the island today.
It states: “Negative attitudes towards migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are commonly expressed in political discourse and in the media. There is a rise in prominence of extremist anti-immigration groups. Certain extreme nationalist websites disseminate hate speech.”
The report also notes that the island’s civil, criminal and administrative law provisions against racism and discrimination are rarely applied.
The disproportionate concentration of Turkish Cypriot and Roma children in particular schools has led to a failure to meet their educational needs.
Despite progress in the provision of multi-cultural education and the offer to Turkish Cypriots of free education in public and private schools, the report’s authors confirm evidence of “a marked increase in racism in schools.”
Cyprus has no integration policy, the ECRI report declares. The “vulnerable situation” of foreign domestic workers has not improved.
Cypriot authorities are urged by ECRI to make legal changes so that “the racist motivation for any offence constitutes an aggravating circumstance.”
ECRI also wants the government to revise plans to adopt a policy requiring third country nationals wishing to marry Cypriot or EU citizens to pass a premarital interview with the migration authorities before being given permission to marry.