Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2017, 15:02 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Cyprus

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Cyprus , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 22 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

At year's end, the Republic of Cyprus hosted almost 5,300 refugees and asylum seekers. These included some 5,100-asylum seekers with pending applications.

Over 4,400 persons applied for asylum in the Republic of Cyprus in 2003. Of the over 400 decisions made, officials granted only 1 person humanitarian status, rejected some 270, and closed the other cases. There were some 4,900 cases pending before the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

Before 2002, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) adjudicated claims for the Republic of Cyprus, and had pending caseload in 2003 from these cases. During the year, they granted 180 persons refugee status and had had over 200 cases pending at the end of the year.

One person made a claim from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus claims which are adjudicated by UNHCR which was pending at the end of the year. A further three cases from the TRNC were pending from previous years.

Some 100 refugees and asylum seekers remain on the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA), unable to enter Cyprus or the United Kingdom.

Some 265,000 persons remained internally displaced in the country, about 200,000 Greek Cypriots in the south of the island and about 65,000 Turkish Cypriots in the north. Around 500 Greek Cypriots remain in enclaves in the TRNC. According to the Council of Europe, "the Turkish Cypriots maintain a deliberate policy of confining and isolating members of these communicates making their living conditions so difficult that they are forced to leave."

New Developments

In April the Asylum Unit began to issue a free residence permit to asylum seekers, – which allowed them to work – valid until their appeals were exhausted. The Asylum Unit also transferred responsibility of receiving asylum claims to the police who sometimes undertook investigations into the merits of the claim, delaying the asylees registration as asylum seekers and thus their residence permits, and leaving them vulnerable to deportation as illegal migrants. The government amended the law to allow for appeals on manifestly unfounded cases in June.

The opening of the border between the Republic of Cyprus and the TRNC, combined with the Republic of Cyprus' introduction of visas for neighboring countries, created a pull factor for arrivals of asylum seekers to the TRNC, who then crossed to the Republic of Cyprus.

In the TRNC, the government detained and sentenced asylum seekers for illegal entry. After asylum seekers served prison terms, the government deported them to their country of origin via Turkey. TRNC authorities forcibly deported more than 100 persons in 2003.

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