Young migrants and refugees at the Pournara reception camp in Cyprus face 'miserable' and 'unhygienic' conditions and do not get enough to eat or drink, the country's children’s rights commissioner says. The interior ministry has rejected the claims.
Underage migrants and refugees staying at Pournara reception camp on Cyprus say that they are not getting enough food and their rooms are too crowded. They have also accused authorities of breaking a promise to relocate them.
Following a protest by a group of about 30 young migrants, the country's children’s rights commissioner Despo Michaelidou visited the center on Wednesday (March 9).
After the visit she criticized the conditions for unaccompanied minors there as "miserable" and "unhygienic", according to reports from Cypriot media and news agency AP.
Not enough to eat or drink
Michaelidou found that up to 15 people had to share a room and that many minors had to share a bed or sleep on the floor. She also said that there were not enough bathrooms. Migrants told her that they did not get enough to eat or drink, saying that the youths only received dry bread for breakfast and only a small bottle of water to drink in the afternoon.
A 16-year-old boy from Somalia said that the quality of food served at the Pournara center was a big problem. "If the food isn’t OK, then nothing is OK," he told AP.
The interior ministry refuted the claims, saying that minors receive three meals a day and have adequate access to showers and toilets.
Most asylum applications per capita
The Republic of Cyprus has received the largest number of asylum applications per capita within the European Union.
Conditions at the Pournara facility -- which is near the capital Nicosia -- have repeatedly been criticized by migrants and NGOs. In December, Cypriot parliamentarians described the camp as a "ticking time bomb" due too poor living conditions, following a visit.