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Are there NGOs - other civil society organisations supporting victims of discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin and religion in court?

Key Area:
Anti-racist Policies & Organisations
14/03/2012 - 17:55
Short Answer


Qualitative Info


KISA ( is the only organisation exclusively concerned with supporting migrants victims of discrimination or violence. In recent months, budgetary restrictions have forced them to cut down on services provided, but it still remains the only NGO that can support victims of racial violence. Its work spans the whole of Cyprus, the small size of which renders the differentiation between national/local rather meaningless. Its activities include interventions with the employer (if the issue concerns employment), the police and the Ministry of Interior and regularly publishes press releases and files complaints with the Equality Body on issues concerning racist or discriminatory practices. They also have a regular street presence, with street protests and an annual anti-racist festival. In 2010 the said festival was attacked by ultra nationalist and Neo-Nazi  groups who were participating in a nearby anti-immigration march. Rather than pressing charges against the assailants, the police pressed charges against KISA's executive director for breach of peace. The trial is still continuing. This is not the first time that members of KISA's governing board are sued by the authorities, the first one concerning allegedly unlawful fundraising for a migrant domestic worker in need for an urgent operation. KISA believes that the lawsuits are used by the authorities in an effort to undermine and curtail KISA' pro-immigrant activity.

Neither KISA nor any other NGO in Cyprus have the capacity of representing victims in Court. This would require having amongst their ranks a licensed lawyer who can appear in Court. There is no funding for NGOs for such a possibility. Even the equality body does not have the capacity/mandate to represent victims in Court. Victims who want to take their case to Court are usually left to fend for themselves (hence the fact that there have not been any Court decisions in the field of racial/ethnic discrimination so far; some can benefit from the provisions of the Legal Aid law which are however rather restrictive and limited.


Groups affected/interested Migrants, Refugees, Muslims, Asylum seekers
Type (R/D) Anti-migrant/xenophobia, Afrophobia, Arabophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Policing - law enforcement, Employment - labour market
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