AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL and the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)
Responding to pogrom-like demonstrations and violent attacks against racialized people, including migrants and refugees, in Limassol and Chlorakas in recent weeks, in which migrant-owned shops were destroyed and several people were attacked by mobs, Amnesty International’s Migration Researcher Adriana Tidona, said:
“The violent, racist attacks in Chlorakas and Limassol must serve as a wake-up call for authorities in Cyprus to take immediate measures to tackle racist rhetoric and abuse, which have been on the rise in the country for years.”
Anti-racist NGO KISA said that police officers in Chloraka failed to take action to prevent the attacks on 27 August, despite them informing police of social media posts ahead of the events, and police allegedly witnessing the violence.
Authorities in Cyprus must launch an urgent investigation into the attacks in Chloraka and Limassol as well as into the police response to them and take decisive action to prevent any future violence as well as to protect racialized people.Amnesty International’s Migration Researcher Adriana Tidona
“NGOs working for equality and migrants’ rights have faced an extremely challenging context for many years. It is no surprise that physical violence and attacks are now playing out in a context in which negative narratives about migrants have been constant.
Local initiatives to support those attacked show that solidarity from many people locally is strong. It is now the authorities’ turn to protect and promote the work of those supporting racialized communities, including migrants, ensuring that they can operate without fear of threats and intimidation,” Michele Levoy, Director of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM).
The latest attacks on racialised migrants is a direct consequence of government policies encouraging racism, hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance within Cypriot society. We urge the authorities to take decisive action to stem violence against racialized migrants and to hold those responsible for encouraging it to account. We strongly denounce the total silence of EU Member States in the wake of yet another wave of violence against migrants.Emmanuel Achiri, Policy and Advocacy Officer ENAR.
An anti-migrant demonstration took place in the village of Chloraka on 27 August, in which local political representatives participated. Later that day, and the following day, far-right groups attacked racialized people, including migrants and refugees, and their property. Two weeks before the attacks, authorities had decided to remove dozens of migrants and asylum-seekers residing in the “Ayios Nikolaos”, an abandoned residential complex, the use of which had been formally banned in 2020.
Similar protests and attacks took place in the city of Limassol on the evening of 1 September. Demonstrators, several of whom were masked, threw molotov cocktails, chanted racist slogans, attacked and damaged shops owned by racialized people, and physically attacked at least five racialized people, including several delivery drivers. Local reports criticized how the Cypriot police, who were present at the scene, failed to intervene to effectively prevent the violence or protect victims.
Racist attacks have been documented in both Chloraka and Limassol in the past. In January 2022, similar racist demonstrations and attacks were carried out at the “Ayios Nikolaos” residential complex. Earlier this year, racist attacks were also carried out in Limassol.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Amnesty International’s press office:
Tel: +44 20 7413 5566
Email: [email protected]