Category Archives: refugees

School Competition Against Racism Calls for the Best Student Newspapers

poster ENPress Release issued by the European Commission Representation in Cyprus:

A school competition against racism and xenophobia has been launched by the UN Refugee Agency in Cyprus, the Ombudsman’s office and the European Commission Representation in Cyprus. With the slogan “Talk about racism and xenophobia: silence is not a solution”, the competition is looking for the best student newspapers.

The competition invites public and private secondary schools to create a newspaper with articles, reportages and researches as well as opinions on asylum and migration, racism and xenophobia. Objective and unbiased coverage of these issues is one of the criteria that will determine the winning newspapers.

With regards to the overarching aims of the competition the organisers explain: “We aim at dispelling stereotypes and prejudices against migrants and refugees and to emphasize both the necessity and the benefits that the integration of persons with different backgrounds can yield on the Cypriot society”.

Identifying and addressing racism at schools, with reference to tensions with a racist overtone that occasionally takes place at schools, lies also behind the competition: “The effective management of such incidents by the school community strengthens the resistance of students, and future citizens, against racism; it also responds to the needs of the multicultural society and wider diversity that characterizes Cypriot schools and the society at large,” the proposal reads.

An interview with a refugee or migrant or with an organization that advocates for their rights; an anonymous research within the schools to detect potential racist incidents; the coverage of an event – organised by the students – that brings together migrants and locals; are a few of the 15 suggested stories that students can tackle as young reporters.

In order to support the students’ efforts, the organisers stand ready to provide sources and educational material on the issues of xenophobia, racism and refugees; and to visit schools to discuss with students on these topics.

Six successful newspapers – three from Gymnasiums and three from Lyceums and technical schools – will be selected by an ad hoc committee. School winners will be awarded – at a special ceremony to be announced later – laptops, cameras, video cameras as well as symbolic placards with the inscription “Schools against Racism”. The cost of the awards, including the placards, will be borne by the European Commission Representation.

With the aim to enhance a thorough and critical discussion on the competition’s themes, the organisers expect schools to work as a team and submit one group entry to the competition. Based on this rationale, the awards will be placed at the winning schools for the mutual and common benefits of the students.

Deadline of the competition is the 29th March 2013. All interested schools must submit their newspapers in an electronic format. Check out the event on Facebook and YouTube!

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Lands of No Return lecture with Prof Roger Zetter (30 January)

lecture-migration

The NGO Support Centre (@ngo_centre) are working with the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (@AHDRCY) on an open lecture entitled ‘Lands of No Return: population exchange and forced displacement in the 20th century’ next Wednesday 30 January, at 18:00, at the Home for Cooperation, in Nicosia.

The lecture will be given by Prof Roger Zetter, Emeritus Professor in Refugee Studies, University of Oxford, and will be followed by the screening of the ‘Twice a Stranger’ documentary.

CASE CLOSED. Charges dropped against Doros Polykarpou and KISA

Doros Polykarpou

“The significance of the verdict stretches beyond the acquittal of Doros Polykarpou. This is a victory for all human rights defenders in Cyprus, and sends out a clear message that KISA and other NGOs have a legitimate right to defend the rights of migrants and asylum seekers” – Anthoula Papadopoulou, KISA

“The protection of human rights is neither a discretionary matter, nor a matter of luxury, but is a necessary element of the rule of law” – Costas Gkazis, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Yesterday’s press conference at the EU House in Nicosia was as much a triumphant announcement that charges had been dropped against KISA‘s Executive Director Doros Polykarpou, as it was a relief that a process which started 18 months ago had reached a favourable conclusion. “If only we could reclaim the 6000 Euro in court expenses!”, joked Polykarpou.

Costas Gkazis speaking at yesterday’s press conference

The verdict issued by the Larnaca District Court pointed out that the prosecution had failed to prove that any criminal offense had been committed by Polykarpou in relation to the violent events which marred the celebration of diversity and multiculturalism at the Rainbow Festival in Larnaca back in November 2010. In its decision, the Court did not accept the testimony of the police officers – who were witnesses of the prosecution – pointing to inconsistencies and unreliability. Moreover, the Court found Doros Polykarpou’s testimony to be both reliable and consistent with the video recordings shown as evidence in Court.

This verdict definitely does not draw a line in the sand, but marks a new chapter in the defence of human rights in Cyprus, and of standing to racist and xenophobic behaviour. CCMC witnessed first hand the terrible events of 5 November 2010, with a number of staff suffering verbal and physical abuse at the hands of groups whose ideology has no place in modern society. The Centre will continue to steadfastly support the work of KISA and its associates in pursuit of a more just and fair treatment of vulnerable groups in our society.

Police brutality against detainees, reports KISA

kisalogo0611After following up on a series of complaints, CCMC member KISA has encountered an outbreak of police brutality against detainees in almost all cities of Cyprus. In particular, the complaints that have reached KISA refer to police violence against detainees occurring in the detention centres of Larnaca, Nicosia, and Paphos. Through its communication with the families and the detainees who had been victims of this brutal police violence, KISA says it appears that the incidents of attacks tended to be in retaliation to the detainees’ protests against the living conditions in detention, and the state’s attempts to deport them. Continue reading

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CCMC member TCHRF Refugee Photography exhibition

CCMC member the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation (TCHRF) is hosting a week long photographic exhibition with a number of participating local photographers, running from 20-27 June 2011. More details in Turkish, in the flyer here.

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KISA Film Screening to mark World Refugee Day

welcomeOn the event of World Refugee Day on 20 June, CCMC member KISA are inviting you to an event paying tribute to the day and what it symbolises. Philippe Lioret’s movie ‘Welcome’ (2009) will be screened at the event. The film tells the story of a Kurdish-Iraqi refugee and recounts the effort made ​​and difficulties encountered in trying to go from France to England in order to be reunited with his beloved one.

An open discussion will follow regarding issues affecting refugees, including among others, the current situation and future prospect for action and improvement, especially the possibility to initiate an independent all inclusive self organisation for persons with international protection status. The event will take place at 19:00 at the KISA Cultural Center at the following address:  http://www.kisa.org.cy/EN/contacts/location/index.html (48, Arsinoes Str., 1010 Nicosia). Food and drinks will be available to purchase at low prices.

Future Worlds Center: Press Release on occasion of World Refugee Day

On Monday 20 June 2011 we celebrate World Refugee Day. For millions of refugees around the world, the day is another spent in urgent need of basic material, social and legal protection. For the rest of us, the day represents a call to action, an opportunity to focus our efforts on improving the lives of forcibly displaced persons, both here in Cyprus and across the globe. Continue reading
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