South Cyprus deported 25 Nigerians, 43 Congolese, 85 Indians in January

Nearly 400 migrants in south Cyprus, including Nigerians, Indians, Congolese, Irans have been sent back home since January 1 as the country steps up efforts to address the influx of irregular arrivals by maximizing returns and better monitoring the green line. 

According to Cyprus Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, on Wednesday, “Migration is not the issue of the interior minister or the current government. It is a national issue and must be dealt with as such.”

Cyprus has in the 40 days since January 1 returned 388 people – including 85 to India, 43 to Congo, 34 to Bangladesh, 31 to Cameroon, 25 to Nigeria and 21 to Iran.

He said with the overwhelming number of irregular migrants entering through the green line, emphasis will be given to better monitoring.

“Our objective is that those whose applications are deemed clearly baseless be returned,” he said. 

“Our aim is to minimise the inflow and increase the outflow, so that numbers return to their pre-crisis levels,” he said, with Pournara hosting 500 to 1000 people, the capacity for which it was built, and not the current 2,500.

The target is to bring the number of asylum seekers and those granted international protection as a proportion of the population to the same levels as other frontline states of the EU. In Greece, Spain, Italy, and Malta the figure is below 1 per cent, whereas in Cyprus it is 4.6 per cent and rising, he said.

Papadopoulos said that Cyprus had first had experience of what being a refugee meant and wanted to offer support and hospitality to genuine asylum seekers.

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