Article published by KISA on 17 December 2020, accessible here.
The Minister of Interior, immediately after his appointment last December, unleashed an unprecedented defamation attack against KISA and other NGOS active in the field of migration and asylum, making his intention to close them down very clear.
The Minister, with no substantiation whatsoever of his positions, repeatedly accused KISA for cooperation with terrorist religious organisations collaborating with Turkey, for corruption and participating in money laundering as well as for participation in the pursued, according to him, demographic and cultural identity changes of Cyprus by Turkey.
KISA with other civil society organisations has repeatedly called on the Minister to corroborate the serious accusations he has so easily and publicly hurled against us or to withdraw them and to publicly apologise. At the same time, we had warned that, otherwise, we would proceed to all legal means for the protection of our organisation and its action.
Instead of apologising and entering into dialogue with KISA and other NGOs, last August the Minister proceeded, unfortunately with the participation of the House of Representatives and with no public consultation and without informing those affected, to the Amendment of the Law on Associations and Foundations in order to utilise arbitrary administrative powers for the repression of our action, violating the human and constitutional rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
With the amendment of the Law, the Director General of the Ministry of Interior, in his capacity as Registrar of Associations and Foundations, acquired the power to consider that NGOs have become inactive and, therefore, to proceed to their deletion from the Register of Associations. The deletion is irreversible and automatically entails prohibition of continuing their action under the pretext of non-submission of audited accounts and not conducting statutory and electoral assemblies within two months of passing this last Law.
Despite the financial difficulties and the adverse conditions of action with the most vulnerable groups of the population amid the pandemic and with absolutely no support from the state, KISA has concluded its financial accounts. In addition, on the basis of the recent announcement of the Ministry, it has proceeded to the organisation of the General Assembly on 27.12.20020.
The Ministry of Interior, revealing its true intentions, proceeded on 14.12.2020 to remove KISA from the Register of Associations, ignoring even the right provided for in the Law to hierarchical recourse with in fact suspensive effect. This action of the Ministry aims to declare KISA’s action as illegal and thereby to silence a historic dynamic NGO highly critical of the policy of human rights violations by the government.
The Minister has repeatedly invoked the Report of Moneyval of the Council of Europe, misleading as with the golden passports both the Cypriot and the international public opinion. What the Report calls on the government to do is to proceed to the risk assessment of organisations with specific characteristics which are registered in Cyprus and their actions are in non-transparent sectors abroad.
The Minister also misleads public opinion when he projects the measures promoted in the framework of the Law on Associations as a tool of inspecting NGOs active in the asylum and migration field as he knowingly conceals the fact that all NGOs active in the field, apart from KISA which is an association, are Non-Profit companies registered with the Registrar of Companies and are in no case inspected by his Ministry through these measures.
KISA declares its determination to take all legal means at its disposal in Cyprus and beyond to put a stop to this new attack of the government against the constitutional and human rights of association and assembly, which constitute an integral part of the right to opinion and expression.
We call on the public, our members and friends to raise a protective shield around KISA in order to enable it to continue its important action for social justice, consolidation of the rule of law equally for all people without exception, for an inclusive society free from intolerance, hate speech and exclusion.