#Human Rights
UNHCR; Government of Cyprus; European Parliament; Foreign Ministers of EU, US, and Canada

On Tuesday, 12 July, 2011, approximately 35 police officers and other Cypriot authorities violently assaulted a group of Iranian and other refugees held in Larnaca detention center for migration-related issues (e.g., expired visa).

During the attack, the Cypriot authorities threatened the refugees with handguns. They used batons and brass knuckles to brutally beat the refugees, including an elderly 72-year old asylum-seeker, who was transferred to solitary confinement after the beatings. He, along with his family, was deported to Iran in the following days. One asylum-seeker who reported a broken leg first received medical treatment 10 days after the attacks.

Neither the government of Cyprus nor the UNHCR has taken any substantive action with regard to these illegal attacks on defenseless detainees held for migration-related reasons, leaving it to an "investigation" to determine what happened, while detained refugees remain at the mercy of those who beat them.

Meanwhile, the Cypriot government, which flagrantly violates fundamental human rights, expects to assume the Presidency of the European Union in 2012.

More about the case can be read here, including a signed complaint by some of the affected asylum-seekers.

Video clip of the injuries sustained by 2 of the detained asylum-seekers can be seen here (English translation appears below the video clips on youtube):
VIDEO 1 and VIDEO 2.


1) Immediate release of all asylum-seekers who were witnesses to or victims of the police brutality at Larnaca Detention Center on 12 July 2011; official recognition of their status as refugees, and immediate resettlement to a safe third country;

2) Immediate investigation and prosecution of all Cypriot government employees or contractors who participated in the beatings of 12 July 2011, from the top of the chain of responsibility to the bottom;

3) An immediate review and overhaul of the refugee status determination process in Cyprus, during which there shall be no forced deportations to countries from which people have fled seeking asylum; and

4) An immediate halt to the practice of detaining denied asylum-seekers and others with migration-related problems for indeterminate periods of time, in violation of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.

A Cypriot government that flagrantly violates fundamental human rights should not expect to assume the Presidency of the European Union in 2012 without opposition.

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The Demand Protection for Victims & Witnesses of Police Attack on Iranian & Other Refugees in Cyprus petition to UNHCR; Government of Cyprus; European Parliament; Foreign Ministers of EU, US, and Canada was written by Maria Rohaly and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.