Cyprus could find itself in hot water again as the authorities attempt to deport a third country national in spite of her young child being an EU citizen.
On March 8, 2011 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that an EU member state may not refuse the non-EU parents of a dependent child who is a citizen of, and resident in, an EU member state the right to live and work in that country.
However, according to a HFC “Hope For Children” UNCRC Policy Centre, a child born on July 14, 2012 and awarded Romanian citizenship through her father has since January 16 been seperated from her Cameroonian mother who has been taken into custody pending deportation.
The little girl is now in the care of the Welfare Service. Her mother had applied for a residency permit on April 24, 2013 which was rejected in September even though the child’s yellow slip had been issued without an expiriation date in June.
“The Civil Registry and Migration Department did not make the mother aware of the decisions and so she did not know that her application had been denied while her daughter’s application had been approved,” HFC said.
The organisation said: “The mother never received subsidies from the government services but worked and was financially independent.”
HFC also noted European and international conventions and regulations made it clear that state decisions had to be made taking into account the child’s best interest and welfare.
“As a European citizen the childen has the right to freedom of movement within the EU and so the right to reside in Cyprus,” HFC said.
It argues that Cyprus, as an EU member sate, is also obliged to fall in line with European directives on family unity.
“The forced seperation of a child from their mother, especially at the age of this child, is considered to be damaging to the healthy development of the child and their relationship with their mother.”
Senior member of HFC’s board Dr. Antonis Stylianou yesterday told The Cyprus Weekly that the child’s father was no longer present in her life and that his current whereabouts were unknown, meaning the child was completely dependent on her mother.
He said the child had only seen her mother once since January 16 and, while safe in foster care, still cried for her.
“This is an unprecedented case for Cyprus but a recent EU court ruling is clear that the close family of a child who has European citizenship are also permitted to remain in the same country as the child they are taking care of,” Stylianou said, adding this was standard practice in Europe.
“What they are trying to do here is send the mother back to Cameroon and get her to take her child with her,” he added.
Stylianou said HFC demanded the woman was immediately release from custody and reunited with her child and that her residency permit application be re-examined.