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Nils Muižnieks: Cyprus should enhance refugee protection and alleviate effects of austerity measures on human rights

A new human rights report on Cyprus urges the country’s authorities to enhance refugee protection and alleviate effects of austerity measures on human rights.

“Despite some progress made in immigration law and policy, Cyprus’ asylum system still suffers from a number of shortcomings that need to be urgently redressed”, said Nils Muižnieks, the Commissioner for Human Rights.

His report focuses on the human rights of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants and on the impact of the economic crisis on vulnerable social groups.

While welcoming some positive developments, such as the increase of refugee status recognition rates and the end of the practice of detaining Syrian asylum seekers, the Commissioner recommends remedying the long-standing problems of the asylum system, including lengthy procedures, limited access to legal aid and the risk of deportation before the final determination of asylum claims.

According to Muižnieks, concerns remain about the widespread use of lengthy detention of failed asylum seekers and of other migrants and the practice of re-arresting and re-detaining them.

“Cyprus must end the practice of detaining migrants, including asylum seekers, for whom there is no reasonable prospect of deportation.”

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