Data collected by anti-racist civil society groups reveal that Cyprus has seen “an unprecedented rise in racist crime and racist violence particularly against migrants and asylum seekers” as well as the rise of far-right nationalistic groups and parties. A press release issued by the Cyprus branch of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) yesterday to mark International Day against Racial Discrimination, reports point to manifestations of racism across Europe in a broad range of areas, including employment, housing, education, health, policing, access to goods and services, and the media. The pending release of the reports covering the 2009-2010 period is expected to highlight that extremism and racist violence are on the rise in Europe.
On Cyprus, the report will conclude that “the strict migration policies and model followed in Cyprus continue to deny migrants, asylum seekers and refugees effective access to basic social and political rights and in most cases to their human rights in general”. While Cyprus has antidiscrimination legislation in place, this “remains largely unimplemented on the ground”, said the ENAR Cyprus branch, adding that the country was “far from taking the necessary measures to achieve real equality for all people irrespective of nationality, race, colour or ethnic origin”. In a damning indictment of the government’s latest efforts to introduce and implement a migration policy on the island, ENAR said: “Whereas integration may stand prominently on the agenda of the Cypriot migration policies, little is achieved to that effect and migrants continue to live at the margins of the society.”
ENAR President Chibo Onyeji said: “The report demonstrates that racism is far from over in Europe -- we still have a long way to go before reaching effective equality for all.” ENAR is a network of European NGOs working to combat racism in all EU member states and represents more than 700 NGOs spread around the EU. The network’s purported aim is to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to promote equality of treatment between EU citizens and third country nationals.