Cyprus unveils campaign to counter spike in asylum seekers

Migrants disembark from a boat in Paphos port, Cyprus November 11, 2021. [Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters]

Cyprus is launching an information campaign to counter a spike in irregular migration, authorities said on Tuesday, saying they were struggling with the highest inflows in the European Union.

The island has had the highest new asylum applications in proportion to its population for the past six years. Eurostat data for 2022 showed it at double that of second-placed Austria.

Cyprus is not a member of the EU's visa-free Schengen Area, meaning that an irregular migrant could be stranded there.

"Traffickers wrongly portray Cyprus as an interim stop for an onward journey to Europe, ignoring the fact that its an island," said Constantinos Ioannou, Cyprus's interior minister.

A social media campaign entitled "Lets Talk Truth About Cyprus" and directed primarily at countries in sub-Saharan Africa says 96% of asylum applications are rejected, and rejected...

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