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A storm of reactions to Nouri's statements about Pournara-They call on him to apologize

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Θύελλα αντιδ&rho ;ασεων στις δηλoσεις Νουρor για Πο υρναρα-Τον καλοyν να απολογηθε

There were reactions to the reports of the Minister of the Interior, Nikos Nouris, about infectious diseases at the Pournara Reception Center, how  One thousand residents have tested positive for the AIDS virus and another eight hundred have been diagnosed with tuberculosis. 

It is possible that Mr. Nouris subsequently revised his reports, stressing that there was misinformation from Pournara and that the numbers refer to a longer period of time and that there will be a recheck, nevertheless organizations and parties are firing their shots.

In AKEL's announcement, accuses Mr. Nouris of dangerous irresponsibility, while at the same time speaking of fiasco and toxic xenophobic rhetoric on behalf of the Minister.

Specifically, he notes that Mr. Nouris “first sowed panic with lies about infectious diseases in Pournara and then retracted his statements. It's not enough that as the Minister of the Interior he bears huge responsibility for the situation in Pournara – a situation that impoverishes those inside the Reception Center but at the same time burdens the residents in the neighboring communities – he continues to play with the feelings and fears of society”.

At the same time, AKEL reports that “yesterday's fiasco summarizes the way the Minister and the government manage immigration as a whole. Toxic xenophobic rhetoric and lies in the channels and solutions of zero or dubious legitimacy in practice. Immigration is a serious issue and it needs a Minister who, first of all, has seriousness and responsibility”.

At the same time, the organizations AIDS Support Movement, Generation for Change CY, the Cyprus Family Association of Planning and the Cyprus Refugee Council call on the Minister of the Interior to apologize for his statements and state that HIV should not be used as a tool to cultivate fear and racism.

In particular, the organizations state that “the numbers made public by Mr. Minister and allegedly referring specifically to applicants for international protection residing in the “Pournara” Temporary Accommodation Center are completely incorrect”.

“According to the statistics of the Republic of Cyprus made public through the ECDC, the total number of people living with HIV, Cypriots and non-Cypriots, monitored at the Gregorio Clinic today, does not exceed 1100. During the last two years, the new total diagnoses for the entire population of the country range approximately between 150 and 170 for each year”, it states.

According to the organizations that sign the statement, the broadcast made a correlation of people applying for international protection with infectious diseases, with the phrase “it is known from health checks that (…) they carry with them some contagious diseases”.

“This rhetoric presented these people as carriers of diseases that are dangerous to public health, with the Minister stating “(…) these are really diseases that are foreign to us, because they simply do not thrive in our own population “”, it states.

It is also noted that this rhetoric “can only be characterized as unacceptable since it maintains and contributes to the perpetuation of xenophobia and racism, while at the same time it stigmatizes  groups of people who are already in a position of vulnerability, as well as people  with chronic diseases”.

Especially for HIV, it is reported, for more than 30 years we have known that it cannot be transmitted by social contact, cohabitation, hugging, kissing or salivating, sharing household appliances – toilet – pool – bathroom, etc.

Today, he adds, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that people living with HIV who have an undetectable load “cannot transmit the virus even through sexual contact, even without condom use or PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). )”.

“We understand that the work carried out by the Home Office, as well as by all agencies and people involved in the asylum process, is a challenge. But it is vital that everyone they take very seriously the vulnerability and value of every human life, so that they do not take actions that contribute to further stigmatizing people and retraumatizing them”, it is noted.

The organizations also note that the the fact that the Minister's statements were automatically and immediately reproduced by all the Mass Media, “highlights a problem, which should concern the media since they play an important role role in the cultivation, perpetuation and maintenance of racism and xenophobia”.

“We call on the honorable Minister to apologize immediately and publicly for his statements and for the serious adverse impact they have caused”, the announcement concludes.

Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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