The recently increased irregular flows of refugees and asylum seekers in Cyprus require solidarity and cooperation states the UN Migration Agency (IOM) office in Cyprus.

Referring to the political initiative for joint actions in the migration issue, Mrs. Natasa Xenophontos Koudouna stated that “we welcome the political initiative and stand ready to support the RoC in the management of the multi-dimensional issue of migration, a topic that Cyprus, as a Mediterranean country, is facing”. 

Commenting on the latest developments in the migration issue, Mrs Xenophontos Koudouna stressed the need for solidarity and responsibility sharing between EU member-states, declaring at the same time the readiness of IOM Cyprus to contribute to the work of the Republic of Cyprus in the migration management and protection

“The migration flows of refugees and asylum seekers during the first weekend of September was an unusual phenomenon for Cyprus.  IOM is concerned that the understandable response to the increased irregular flow does not impact migrants negatively, many of whom are fleeing the violence. IOM has long sought regular, safe and secure channels for migrants, including those who are fleeing war and persecution. This means that migrants are not being forced to seek perilous journeys on routes that are operated by criminals.

The common initiatives of IOM Cyprus and UNCHR Cyprus in areas of migration management such as saving lives in the sea, contribute to the overall humanitarian effort that takes place concerning migration.  

“Through the close coordination with the Republic of Cyprus, IOM corresponds to its role as a humanitarian organisation and as the UN Migration Agency through the provision of humanitarian aid in this case to refugees and asylum seekers. As IOM Cyprus, we are currently working on supportive actions to Government that will increase capacities for shelter and protection.

 

Moreover, it is essential to remember that migration governance has an impact on people’s lives, a lot of which are found in a vulnerable situation and who are in need of specialised support, for example, unaccompanied minor children, victims of trafficking, disabled persons and people with health needs. IOM migration governance puts policies based on the needs of people first and promotes the enhancement of social cohesion and inclusion of migrants in society.

IOM Cyprus welcomes government initiatives that lead to integration through access to labour and welcomes a humanitarian approach to migration governance.

In closing, the Head of IOM Cyprus stated that “Cyprus’s history is not new to migration flows and internal displacement.  On this occasion, Cypriots are called to show compassion towards these people that are fleeing conflict. “