In the narrow alleys of old Nicosia are from noon on Tuesday underage immigrants, who leave the accommodation center in Pournara to protest about their poor living conditions. The number is constantly fluctuating and currently seven registered as underage immigrants of African descent are on the spot and are adamant about returning. All this in the shadow of the controversy that broke out in the previous days between the Government and AKEL, on the occasion of the complaints of the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, Despos Michailidou, who spoke about miserable living conditions of minors, saying that according to a relevant survey her office, they are given only a piece of bread for breakfast and a bottle of water a day, they sleep stacked in the rooms and that there is a bathroom and two toilets for 300 unaccompanied children. As the protesting minors themselves stated in politis.com.cy , they are looking for a better future and a more humane approach, since in Pournara they are treated as “criminals”.
The case began on Tuesday (March 8th), when a total of 50 underage immigrants arrived in central Nicosia, near the Paphos Gate. Police forces as well as people from the Welfare Office rushed to the spot, in order to manage the situation. After negotiations between the authorities and the protesters, 22 of them were persuaded to return to the Hospitality Center. On Wednesday, a new batch of young people arrived at the spot, becoming a total of 37 and all spent the night on the street. On Thursday, after new consultations, the 30 finally took the return route and seven people remained there, who insisted that they would rather live on the street than in Pournara. In fact, on Thursday in the capital there was severe bad weather with winds and rains. “And here we are cold and here we are cold,” he told politis . com . cy >one of the seven. Therefore, those who did not return, spent at least one cold and rainy night on the road, with the Ministry of Interior remaining adamant in giving a solution, since the prevailing opinion is that if the seven receive a specific treatment, then there will be a disturbance in Pournara, from various other asylum seekers who are there and will want to follow their example. At the place where the young people are, in addition to employees of the Welfare Office, various volunteers, activists, but also residents of the area rushed, providing them with enough food and blankets to keep warm.
The age of four has been confirmed
Competent sources told politis.com.cy that out of the seven located in the alleys of old Nicosia, four have completed their applications and it has been confirmed that they are minors, so if and when they return they will start the procedures to leave the Pournara and be transferred to other places to be determined by the state. For the other three the applications are still in progress. However, the authorities consider that this is a complex process which requires careful consideration of the applications, since if some are not minors and are approved as such, there are risks of various natures. The same sources state that at the moment there are 86 people in the closed structures of Pournara, who are confirmed to be minors and who are expected to leave as soon as the appropriate places are found. Efforts are reportedly being made to find solutions over the weekend.
Teenagers without education and entertainment
The seven minors appear inflated by their living conditions in the Hospitality Center, since they are closed all day in Pournara, without going to school, without any other education or entertainment. Things that are self-evident and of the utmost importance for young people, especially when most of them are in their adolescence, full of energy and appetite. Activists and members of non-profit organizations believe that this plays a key role in the behavior of immigrants and that things would be much better if there were education and entertainment programs to make children's time more enjoyable and constructive. The protesting minors also state that they are very disappointed with the quality and quantity of the food offered to them and in general with the way in which the basic human needs are provided to them. On the other hand, the Welfare Office and the competent services claim that these do not apply and that they are provided with three meals a day and whatever else they need.
Concerned and states that the WTO is ready to assist
The POED expressed its strong concern with its announcement, for the living and educational conditions of the minors at the Hospitality Center in Pournara, while it asks immediately for the situation to be evaluated and the children to receive the appropriate care and protection. “The unhealthy and inhumane living conditions described in the public statement of the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of the Child should concern and activate all of us,” the statement said, stressing that every child has the right to a decent living. security and education. POED also declares its readiness to assist, where possible, in matters of education.
AKEL expresses shame and anxiety
An AKEL delegation was found at the Pournara Hospitality Center on Friday, to face the reality there. In a statement, Aristos Damianos states that In his statement, MP Aristos Damianos states that “as Cypriots we are ashamed, as MPs we are doubly ashamed and as people from the Left we express a cry of agony”, and adds that the conditions in the Hospitality Center concentration of other eras ».
Mr. Damianou also notes that for a number of more than 360 unaccompanied children, who should not be here under international conventions, there are two officials, namely one social services official welfare per 180 unaccompanied children. AKEL reiterates the need for the Republic of Cyprus to align itself directly with international conventions and international law.