Functions of UNHCR representation in Cyprus

Ensure adherence to international refugee law standards
UNHCR contributes technical and worldwide expertise to the Cypriot Government in the processing of individual examination of applications for asylum, with the aim to ensure that the decisions are in accordance to international human rights standards. For this same purpose, UNHCR partially funds NGOs to provide gender based assistance, as well as legal advice to carefully selected asylum applicants for their appeals and access to the rights granted in the national law.

Government Advice
UNHCR advices the Government by providing comments on related legislative drafts, such as on the transposition of EU directives for the harmonization of the European refugee system.

UNHCR provides training to actors involved in the protection of refugees (police officers, officers who examine applications for refugee status, lawyers, civil servants responsible for the effective implementation of the related rights, etc.) and advocates for the improvement of the quality of the asylum system.

As in all countries, UNHCR Cyprus has a supervisory role under the 1951 Refugee Convention in ensuring that the rights of asylum seekers and refugees are duly respected. That means in practice, having access to the asylum procedures, to adequate housing, food, medical treatment and to integration as a long term solution to the refugee plight.

UNHCR informs and sensitizes the public on the problem of refugees around the world, and in Cyprus, by disseminating information to the media, and reviewing media reports on asylum seekers and refugees to ensure accuracy of facts. Public awareness can only have a positive impact on the public understanding.

In order to sensitize the general public in Cyprus towards the refugee cause and to prevent xenophobic attitudes and promote tolerance, UNHCR organises either on its own or in co-operation with partners public awareness activities (e.g. photo or other exhibitions, concerts, etc.). In reaching the young people, UNHCR promotes school activities and disseminates educational material to educators in co-operation with governmental and non-governmental partners.

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