Civil society organisations in Cyprus have been left speechless by recent incidents involving migrant women – third country nationals and EU nationals – including the illegal deportation of a recognized victim of trafficking, the deportation of a woman from Romania in violation of a Supreme Court order, and physical violence perpetrated by the Police against a Romanian woman leading to the miscarriage.
According to reports the woman from the Ukraine is an identified victim of trafficking that assisted the government authorities in prosecuting and convicting a cabaret owner. Instead of safely repatriating the victim, as provided by Cyprus and law and international human rights treaties ratified by Cyprus, the ministry of interior and the civil registry and migration department deported her.
The Romanian woman, who resided in Cyprus from 2006, had been arrested for deportation because she was suspected of having committed a ‘marriage of convenience'. The Supreme Court, however, prevented her deportation by decree. The civil registry and migration department, with the agreement of the minister of interior, issued a warrant for her arrest, in violation of the Supreme Court order, and subsequently deported her.
The incident involving physical violence by police officers towards a pregnant Romanian woman took place a few months ago but the incident went unreported. According to information, the pregnant woman was beaten by the police while she was at a police station for allegedly behaving aggressively. Following the incident, the Romanian woman miscarried, and lost her child.
We believe that the above constitutes gross abuse of power by the civil registry and migration department, by the ministry of interior, and the police. Such abuse is deeply rooted in racist and sexist prejudices, which has resulted in blatant institutional violence against migrant women. It should be noted that the incidents are only those that have reached the media. They are, nevertheless, an indication of widespread violations of the human rights of migrants, and particularly migrant women in Cyprus. We condemn such practices as contrary to the rule of law and in violation of the principle of human rights and equality.
We demand that the Attorney General, the Supreme Court and the police take all necessary legal measures to rectify violations that have taken place and to immediately stop institutional violence against migrant women.
Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS), Socialist Women's Movement, Action for Equality, Support and Anti-Racism (ΚΙΣΑ), Organisation for the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence and Exploitation (STIGMA), Cyprus Family Planning Association (FamPlan)