19 May 2020
"On 15 May 2020, the administration of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) forcibly sent 100 Syrian refugees, including unaccompanied children, to Mersin, Turkey. They have been transferred to Kilis, near the Syrian border, where they are now. Most of the 100 Syrian refugees – 56 – are children and women and girls are in the majority.
On 24 April 2020, the TRNC had already forcibly sent 75 Syrian refugees, including unaccompanied children, to Mersin, Turkey, from where they have been reportedly moved to a camp in the province of Kahramanmaraş. All 175 Syrian refugees have expressed their intent to apply for asylum and find protection in an EU member state. Syrians forcibly returned to Turkey face a risk of onward refoulement to Syria.
This group of 175 refugees arrived by boat on 20 March and were pushed back to the sea by the coastguard of the republic of Cyprus as the boat was approaching the southern part of the island, which is under the jurisdiction and control of the government of the Republic of Cyprus. Many of these refugees were trying to join their families already settled in the Republic of Cyprus, which is a member of the European Union. The boat went north, capsized and the refugees were rescued by the “Turkish Cypriot administration” which has effective control over the northern part of the island. The refugees were housed in an apartment complex for a 14-day quarantine period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the quarantine period, they continued to be detained – this time arbitrarily, in violation of the law of the “Turkish Cypriot administration” which authorises the detention of irregular migrants for eight days extendable only by a court order."
Syrian refugees in Cyprus pushed back to Turkey (EuroMed Rights, link)
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