Refugees Marooned In Cyprus For 20 Years Can Finally Settle In UK
By Sofy Robertson
After twenty years of being marooned on a British military base in Cyprus, five refugee families have finally been granted permission to settle in the UK.
Ministers denied the original refugees entry after they were rescued when their boat hit rocks off the island’s shores.
Due to the unique geographical position of where the refugees were rescued, Cypriot officials refused to grant the refugees permission to settle in Cyprus as they were on British land. The British government too denied them entry on the grounds that it was “politically untenable” (Channel 4 News).
The five families now number ten adults and fifteen children, living on an unnamed street in the British owned territory.
The UK government’s change of heart comes just days before the refugees’ case was due to come before the Supreme Court for a second time. The letter from the government explained:
“This grant will be made on an exceptional basis outside the Immigration Rules. It does not constitute an admission that the Secretary of State is or was obliged to permit the Claimants to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.”
Taj Bashir, one of the refugees explained the excitement of the decision:
“Everyone was jumping, screaming, shouting […] everybody was so happy.”
It took Taj and fellow migrants two or three days for the news to fully sink in. Emmanuel Bashir, son of Tsadala Arya, one of the original shipwrecked migrants explains “It feels too good to be true.”
Emmanuel’s mother, Tsadala, spoke of her dreams and how she thought they were “finished” as the years went by and the families continued to be stranded in this strange geographical limbo. All of that is set to change.
For the past twenty years, these families have had little hope and no status within society. Now, with the government’s astonishing change of heart, Tsadala and her family, along with the four other migrant families, have been granted such hope to dream of a future.