Despite the visits of politicians, including the President of the Republic himself to “Pournara”, but also the coverage that the immigration issue receives in the media and in society itself, it seems that the necessary actions have not been taken, with the situation remaining stagnant.
According to “P” sources, the children of “Pournara” do not receive any protection, as the safe zone that should have existed has long since disappeared, as a result of which they come in contact with the other residents of the center. At the same time, many former residents of the center, after a short time, return, without of course being officially registered, because they find it difficult to find jobs and housing. This fact is one of the main factors of overpopulation of “Pournara”, together with the obstruction of the procedures.
Asked by “P” to comment on the reasons for the increase in violence among asylum seekers residing in “Pournara” and especially among unaccompanied children, the Cyprus Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that the The reason is the overcrowding in the center, where, while it has a capacity of 1,000 people, about 3,000 people live, of which 178 are unaccompanied children.
According to the Office, despite the fact that the number of unaccompanied children of children living in “Pournara” has been reduced by half, all unaccompanied children should be transferred to more appropriate structures, in order to carry out the procedures that concern them.
At the same time, both the facilities and the services in “Pournara” are not sufficient and do not favor the living of children in the camp. Also, the lack of education and activities, combined with the difficult living conditions, intensify the frustration and often lead to tensions and frictions.
The Office reminded that “Pournara” was created for the purpose of registration and not accommodation and registration procedures should be completed in a short time.
The Office stressed that the center should be decongested, while unaccompanied children should be transported immediately to appropriate structures as soon as possible. “At the same time, the permanent framework structures for unaccompanied minor applicants, in which they reside until they reach adulthood, should be increased,” he said.
It is recalled that, at this stage, the structures for unaccompanied minors are three, however, their total capacity is too small to meet the increased needs.
Education is crucial
For unaccompanied children, as for all children, education is crucial. Education increases opportunities for self-sufficiency and provides a sense of purpose, normalcy and continuity in otherwise volatile environments. of citizens and society at large.
“Therefore, their participation in education, in complementary accelerated programs and other types of formal and informal educational programs, can enhance social cohesion, meet their psychosocial needs and provide them with a stable and secure environment,” he concluded. >
EU funds only for structures
For her part, the coordinator of the Cyprus Council for Refugees, Korina Drousiotou, in relevant statements to “P”, said that the measures taken in the last two years only lead to exclusion and prohibition.
The relevant funding received by the Republic from the EU is channeled almost exclusively into the host structures, without bringing any substantial results. < "Our organization warned that if EU funding goes to structures alone, it will not work," he said. He explained that the funding should be distributed to other sectors, such as "increasing the number of employees, but also in the areas for the integration of applicants in society."