Police to intensify efforts against smugglers’ networks and for refugees’ protection

The Cyprus Police will intensify its actions for the protection of the rights of refugees and at the same time it will continue its efforts against the illegal smugglers networks, Chief of Police, Zacharias Chrysostomou has said.

He was speaking at an event co-organized by the Police and the UN High Commission for Refugees in Cyprus on the occasion of the 20th of June, World Refugees Day. The main goal of the event was to inform the members of the Police on refugees’ and immigrants’ issues and unaccompanied minors.

The Chief of the Cyprus Police said that based on data by the International Migration Organisation, the number of refugees who attempted in 2016 to reach European countries through the Mediterranean Sea surpassed 366,000 while in the same year 5,000 lost their lives at sea.

Regarding Cyprus, he said that in 2016 356 immigrants reached the island by sea, among them 191 men, 45 women and 120 minors, while a number of smugglers were arrested.

He added that in 2017, 217 refugees have been saved from sea, among them 105 minors, noting that all procedures are fully in line with the Geneva Convention and the decisions of the European Commission.

Concluding, he reassured that the Cyprus Police will continue and intensify its actions for the protection of the rights of refugees and at the same time will continue its actions to dismantle the illegal networks of traffickers of refugees and to prevent terrorism.

Meanwhile, in his address, Damtew Dessalegne, UNHCR Representative in Cyprus, said that we live in a troubled world, and one

of its symptoms is massive population displacement by war, conflict, or persecution.

‘The global problem of population displacement today is vast in its size and human impact. It now exceeds 65 million people � the most we have seen in the post-World War II era. It is the highest level of human suffering ever seen’ he stressed.

He also spoke about the criminal smuggling networks which make billions of euros every year from exploiting the tragic undersupply of safe routes to international protection.

The movement of migrants and refugees into Europe isn’t likely to stop anytime soon, he said and underlined the need for combating xenophobia and intolerance, while encouraging integration.

Noting that refugees are the most vulnerable but at the same the most resilient people on earth, he said that if given the chance they can make a positive contribution to the whole society, economically, socially and culturally.

‘Let us give them a stand, let us stand with them and in doing so we also stand for inclusion, respect, tolerance and diversity’ he concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency