Office of human rights organisation KISA bombed
Front Line Defenders is shocked to learn that the office of the human rights organisation KISA in Nicosia, Cyprus was bombed in the early hours of 5 January 2023 and strongly condemns the attack, which was apparently carried out deliberately.
As an organisation working on anti-racism and advocating for the rights of the people on the move for decades, KISA and some of its members, in particular its former executive director Doros Polykarpou, have been continuously targeted and threatened. This has included death threats to the human rights defender as well as threats of harm to his family, by far-right, anti-migrant and ultra-nationalist groups. Although threats have been reported to the police, no action was taken until today. The failure of authorities to ensure accountability has further empower perpetrators to act with impunity, aggravating the situation of human rights defenders.
In December 2020, the Cypriot Ministry of Interior removed KISA from the Register of Association and since then the human rights organisation were not allowed to re-enroll on the register. The organisation has been warning of the dangers posed by anti-migrant discourse which has been propagated by government officials as well as mainstream media outlets.
Front Line Defenders wishes to express its support for the members of KISA and calls on the Cyprus government to mobilise all necessary resource to investigate the bombing and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The organisation urges the government to publicly express its condemnation of the attack on KISA’s office and to take all precautions to prevent any possible future attacks against the organisation and its members. It must ensure an environment where all human rights defenders can work without fear and intimidation.