31 August 2023
The Cypriot anti-racist organisation KISA has denounced a racist "pogrom" against Syrian refugees in Chloraka, in which various far-right groups attacked adults, children and property. The "well-organised and coordinated attack" grew from "the fertile ground created by the state migration and asylum policies, which are based on systemic racism and discrimination, in flagrant violation of human rights as well as EU and international law," says a press release from KISA. The police, meanwhile, are accused of having "tolerated and apathetically at first watched the violent attacks and other offences," until they eventually made "three arrests, two of which were of Syrian refugees according to media reports, victimising once again the victims of the attacks."
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A vehicle belonging to a representative of the Syrian community that was set on fire after he met the Minister of Justice. Image: KISA
Press release originally published by KISA.
On the evening of 27 August, groups of neo-Nazis of ELAM, the so-called Lakedaimonians and other extreme right elements, reminiscent of the assault battalions of the criminal Golden Dawn, with the active participation of the community council leader, attacked Syrian refugees in Chloraka, who have been permanently and legally settled in Cyprus for years, injuring even children, and destroyed their properties. Sunday’s pogrom took place despite the fact that all the demands of the extreme right-wing circles of the community had already been met by the previous government (illegal decrees of the former Minister of Interior and the Paphos District Officer) and the present government with last week’s decision to implement in practice these decrees as well as discriminatory and vindictive procedures for examining asylum applications.
Sunday’s pogrom was a well-organised and coordinated attack against refugees and migrants in the community, with the participation of nationalist, far-right and fascist elements from all over Cyprus, who had been calling through social media for mass participation and attacks against migrants and refugees. These forces took advantage of the fertile ground created by the state migration and asylum policies, which are based on systemic racism and discrimination, in flagrant violation of human rights as well as EU and international law. Policies developed and implemented in a context of impunity for hate speech and incitement to attacks and violence against migrants and refugees and their defenders. These are the policies that have led to the rise of xenophobia, racism, fascism and nationalism. This is the background to the pogrom, not the alleged over-concentration and ghettoisation of migrants and refugees in Chloraka and elsewhere.
In addition, KISA condemns the stance of the police that tolerated and apathetically at first watched the violent attacks and other offences that, according to testimonies of migrants but also Cypriots, were taking place in front of their members. KISA had informed the police days before about reports in the social media about the coordination of these task forces. However, the police rejected a proposal for cooperation and never responded to our organisation’s request for information and assistance in its efforts to deal with the situation, as for example the use of information available to the organisation. It is unacceptable that the police should finally make 3 arrests, two of which were of Syrian refugees according to media reports, victimising once again the victims of the attacks and while there is a plethora of videos of hundreds of Cypriot perpetrators involved in the attacks. Further, KISA condemns the Police for not fully, objectively and impartially investigating the reports submitted by Syrian refugees as, according to our information, their efforts to investigate and prosecute those involved are self-defeating by parallel efforts to cover them up.
KISA calls on all anti-fascist and anti-racist organisations and democratic citizens to stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants and collectively to put up a wall against the further rise of fascism, racism and nationalism and their disastrous consequences on the rule of law and respect for the human rights of every person.
KISA calls on the following –
Originally published here.
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