Sunday, 18 September 2022
Racism is on the rise in North Cyprus, Refugee Rights Association, “Better Together” Project Coordinator and lawyer Deniz Altıok says.
In an interview with Yeniduzen she said that there had been a remarkable increase in racism and xenophobia in the country.
By way of an example she cited the case of William A. Peter, an African university student* who was attacked by a group of youths in Nicosia after a taxi driver who was standing by his vehicle arguing with his passengers about the fare, was hit by a driver who had been drinking.
In another instance, a video is circulating showing a woman of African descent being beaten by her landlord.
These are overt acts of race hatred, she said. Unless this attitude changes, such events will be repeated.
“This is a very depressing picture“, said Altıok adding, “If there is a crime, it is not acceptable to attribute it to a race or even a continent. While it is necessary to focus on crime and how it can be prevented, the practice is the opposite… Nothing is done about crime, but there is constant stigma, racism and hate speech”.
She also said that social attitudes had become more hostile since the outbreak of the pandemic.
It is up to our leaders to act to prevent such attacks, Altıok said.
*There has been a massive influx of foreign students from third countries, enticed by agencies with the promise of university places, affordable living and employment. Some students have been unable to support themselves and have either turned to crime or been coerced into crime, usually drug dealing to support themselves and pay their university fees.
The higher education sector is very lucrative, however, little seems to be done to vet agencies and protect vulnerable students who come to the country [Ed].