The Labour Ministry on Thursday hit back at objections by Zygi over plans to convert the abandoned army camp in the community into a centre for unaccompanied refugee children.
Its written statement came as a response to warnings from Zygi community leader Georgia Michail that the community will do everything in its power to prevent it.
Writing on the community council’s official Facebook page, Michail said the decision — conveyed to the council by Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou — was taken without prior consultation and despite council demands the space be converted into a camping and sporting area.
“I would like to inform you that our community has decided to take drastic action We will not allow anyone to go to the army camp,” she said.
Responding, the Labour Ministry said this would be the fifth centre for unaccompanied minors in Cyprus — four are already in operation in the municipalities of Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol without ever giving cause for negative repercussions on the communities. The Nicosia shelter is run by the NGO Hope for Children.
“The establishment of the new centre is absolutely essential so that the Republic of Cyprus can provide all that is necessary for unaccompanied children who come to Cyprus because of the conflicts in the region,” the ministry said.
It added that to create the centre, the Republic has worked over the past two years and received support from the International Migration Organisation, the Council of Europe Development Bank and the financing mechanism of the EEA and Norway, which will finance the €1.15 m building costs and the annual running costs of €925,000.
The decision was taken by Cabinet on March 7 and the issue was announced on the same day, it said. The new centre will be able to host 100 children and will be staffed with 22 employees.