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Asylum & Human Rights

Right of Asylum

Preparation for the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Interview

It is a common practice that asylum seekers will seek legal advice following a rejection of their asylum application by the Asylum Service at first instance. However, it is very important to be well prepared from the beginning of the asylum procedure, which is the RSD interview conducted by the Asylum Service. This is your first best chance to explain your story thoroughly and being granted international protection at the first instance decision.

We will explain you the interview procedure and prepare you accordingly prior to the interview and if you wish so, our legal advisor will accompany you on the date of the interview.

Administrative recourse to the Refugee Reviewing Authority (RRA) or appeal to the Administrative Court

If your application for international protection is rejected, you have the right to appeal within a period of 10 to 20 days (specified in your refusal letter). Depending on the circumstances of the case, you can appeal

  • by making an administrative appeal before the RRA, an independent body responsible to examine, on second instance, asylum applications that have been refused by the Asylum Service. If your administrative appeal to the RRA is refused you have the right to submit an appeal before the Administrative Court within 75 days.
  • By filing an appeal directly to the Administrative Court.

Note that a decision of the Asylum Service to grant you subsidiary protection is considered a negative decision and can also be appealed as described above, in case you believe you should be granted refugee status instead.

Appeal to the Supreme Court

Where the decision of the Asylum Service or Refugee Reviewing Authority is not overturned by the Administrative Court, your appeal has been rejected. In this case, you have the right to appeal the decision of the Administrative Court within 42 days of the decision by submitting an appeal to the Supreme Court. 

Subsequent application/ file re-opening

In case you have a new claim since the time your application was rejected you will have to submit a new application.

If you have new elements to add to your initial claim, these new elements must be submitted via a subsequent application, stating them thoroughly and explaining the reasons for not providing these facts earlier. This is a demanding and detailed procedure that must be carefully structured.

The Asylum Service or the RRA will examine whether the new elements or new claim brought forward are valid and the reasons for not being submitted at an earlier stage. Note that during this examination you do not have the status of an asylum-seeker.

If the Asylum Service or the RRA accept the new facts or new claim, they will examine these under the regular procedure and invite you for a new interview. During this examination you do have the status of an asylum-seeker and subsequently, the legal rights of an asylum-seeker.

Our services include:

  • Advice on asylum rights and procedures
  • Preparation for the RSD interview
  • Accompany client during the RSD interview
  • Drafting and filing appeal to the Refugee Reviewing Authority
  • Drafting and filing appeal to the Administrative and/or Supreme Court
  • Drafting and filing subsequent /file re-opening application

Human Rights

Detention & Imprisonment of asylum seekers

Under Cyprus legislation detention and imprisonment of asylum-seekers is not permitted for the sole reason of being an asylum-seeker. The detention of asylum-seekers is exceptionally permitted by the law in certain cases only. It may only be ordered after individual assessment and only if alternatives to detention have been exhausted. Detention of asylum-seekers under 18 years of age is strictly prohibited.

According to Cyprus legislation, there are two legal remedies available to challenge an administrative order of detention: (A) a recourse under art. 146 of the Constitution or (B) a habeas corpus application under art. 155.4 of the Constitution. The same remedies are available to challenge a detention order issued under the Refugee Law (art. 9ΣΤ(6)).

Recourse under art. 146 of the Constitution

If the administrative order is issued based on the asylum seeker being declared a “prohibited immigrant”, or based on the articles of the Aliens and Immigration Law referring to a return decision (art. 18ΟΓ) or based on the Refugee Law (art. 9ΣΤ(2), the order can be challenged by recourse under Article 146 of the Constitution before the Administrative Court.

Article 146 of the constitution provides for a recourse to the Administrative Court against any executive decision issued by the administration.

Habeas Corpus application

The second legal remedy against a detention order is a Habeas Corpus application before the Supreme Court. It is a warrant that serves as a legal remedy against prolonged detention, provided for under Article 155(4) of the Constitution and challenges the length of the asylum seeker’ s detention, not the lawfulness of the detention order itself. The Refugee Law allows the detention of asylum seekers with no time limit.

Detention based on the Refugee Law or the Aliens and Immigration Law as a “prohibited immigrant” has no time limit or automatic review and can only be challenged judicially. Detention based on the Aliens and Immigration Law, under the articles referring to a return decision, has a maximum limit of 18 months and provides for periodic reviews of the lawfulness of detention or review of this upon request of the detainees although this does not take place in practice.

Who can apply?

Any person who has been imprisoned or detained may request the issuing of the warrant. The application must be submitted by a lawyer unless there are serious grounds for allowing the applicant to deal with his case personally.

Our services include:

  • Advice clients for their rights during detention and imprisonment
  • File a recourse under Article 146 to the administrative court challenging the detention
  • File an application for the issuance of habeas corpus warrant

Extradition law

Extradition, in international law, is the process by which one state, upon the request of another, effects the return of a person for trial for a crime punishable by the laws of the requesting state and committed outside the state of refuge.

Extradition procedures in Cyprus are based on requests made to Cyprus by any member state of the European Convention on Extradition and Commonwealth countries. Cyprus has signed bilateral agreements on extradition with specific countries.

An extradition request by another country to the Ministry of Justice and Public Order of Cyprus, is followed by an oral hearing. If the Court approves the request, then the fugitive has the right to file a habeas corpus application in order to challenge this decision. In this case that a habeas corpus application is submitted, the fugitive cannot be extradited until all legal proceedings are finalized.

For further information on extradition cases, please contact us directly.

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