Cyprus legislators in stalemate over asylum bill

Cyprus legislators in stalemate over asylum bill

Members of Cyprus’s parliament are up in arms over an asylum bill amendment aimed at banning automatic deportations for refugees who file for protection out of fear for their life.

According to Philenews, a new piece of asylum legislation aims to clarify current immigration law so that a deportation order is struck down automatically if the applicant has a pending asylum case. This comes after many cases were reported where asylum seekers in Cyprus had been unlawfully deported.

An amendment to the bill included a provision that would allow an administrative court to introduce regulations bypassing the deportation ban in cases deemed necessary at its sole discretion.

But the bypass provision was ruled unconstitutional by the administrative court itself, according to Philenews, with MPs agreeing with the unconstitutionality and going back to the drawing board.

The Republic of Cyprus has already lost cases in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding this issue, after judges found the state had violated the rights of asylum seekers to seek protection in cases where they had expressed fear of persecution, torture, threat to life or freedom because of human rights violations or armed conflict.

Reports said legislators sought to strike a balance between affording rights to asylum seekers and stopping abuse of the system.

The bill is currently stuck in the Judicial House committee until both the Legal Services department and the administrative court can find new common ground that can pass the House. [Kathimerini Cyprus]

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