Humanitarian Affairs Unit

From Future Worlds Center Wiki
Current Head Corina Drousiotou
Past Head(s) N/A
Year Established 2006
Keywords Asylum, Refugee, International Protection,Torture

The Humanitarian Affairs Unit constituted a major department at Future Worlds Center which directly responded to the needs of vulnerable populations, with emphasis on asylum seekers and refugees for over 15 years. In 2018, a new, independent, non- profit organization, was established as the evolution of the Unit, called the Cyprus Refugee Council and all UNHCR, UNVFVT, EC, EPIM, ECRE, German Embassy and other funded projects were transferred to the new NGO.

The Unit offered direct services to valnerable populations, and also advocated and raised awareness on related issues among stakeholders and the general public. The major projects implemented by the Unit were the UNHCR funded project which provides legal aid and social support to asylum seekers and refugees under the project name Strengthening Asylum and the UNVFVT funded project Unit for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture (URVT), which offers services and rehabilitation to victims of torture, who are asylum seekers and refugees.

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Ongoing Projects

Strengthening Asylum has been implemented by the Future Worlds Center since May 2006. It is funded by the UNHCR Representation in Cyprus. This project’s main objective is to ensure that beneficiaries have access to a fair and efficient asylum procedure, while they can enjoy the rights they are entitled to according to national, European, and International law. To this end, Strengthening Asylum assists asylum seekers through the asylum procedure, as well as refugees in Cyprus under international protection, with free legal and social aid.

The Unit for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture (URVT) is a project that aims to support and promote the empowerment and rehabilitation of victims of torture who are asylum seekers or persons with international protection status in Cyprus and to assist them to integrate into the local society. It takes a holistic multidisciplinary approach, offering specialized psychological assistance aiming at the rehabilitation of victims and their families as well as legal advice and social assistance. This Unit operates according to the standards of the Istanbul Protocol - United Nations Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - and its services are offered to the beneficiaries by specialised, experienced and well-trained personnel. URVT operates under the Humanitarian Affairs Unit of the Future Worlds Center.

Promoting and Establishing Alternatives to Immigration Detention in Cyprus is a project that seeks to identify pragmatic alternatives to detention and present solid recommendations for the adoption of these alternatives into the current system in Cyprus. In order to advocate for appropriate alternatives, the Humanitarian Affairs Unit will undergo a detailed mapping exercise of a variety of aspects determining immigration detention and, drawing on existing EU-wide research and practices on alternative measures, will identify alternatives to detention that are appropriate and realistic in the Cypriot context. The information gathered through research, interviews with migrant detainees and roundtable discussions with stakeholders will be compiled in a report which will propose concrete recommendations and solid alternatives to detention.

The AIDA project is jointly coordinated by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Forum Réfugiés-Cosi, Irish Refugee Council and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. It aims to provide up-to date information on asylum practice in 16 EU Member States (AT, BE, BG, CY, CR, DE, FR, GR, HU, IE, IT, MT, NL, PL, SE, UK) which is easily accessible to the media, researchers, advocates, legal practitioners and the general public through the dedicated website Furthermore the project seeks to promote the implementation and transposition of EU asylum legislation reflecting the highest possible standards of protection in line with international refugee and human rights law and based on best practice. The Humanitarian Unit contributes to the database by writing an annual detailed report on Cyprus' asylum practice and conditions. The latest updated report (February 2015) can be found here:

METS project is funded by European Commission within the framework of the Preparatory Action “Funding for the rehabilitation of victims of torture” and led by the Arq Foundation in the Netherlands. Future Worlds Center is one of the six partner organisations in Europe. METS supplements the multidisciplinary rehabilitation services offered to the torture survivors by the Humanitarian Affairs Unit since 2006. In the context of METS, the project partners work together towards developing a standard empowerment method tailored to the needs of torture survivors in a variety of EU-countries, that is cost effective and standard yet suitable for different local contexts. This empowerment method will be piloted in 6 rehabilitation centers in Europe, including in Cyprus and 150 torture survivors are expected to be benefited during the project duration of METS (April 2016 – March 2018).

Provision of Free Legal Assistance to Asylum Seekers is a project funded by the European Refugee Fund and the Republic of Cyprus. This project will compliment the additional projects run by Future Worlds Center's Humanitarian Affairs Unit. Its mission is to provide asylum seekers with free, confidential, independent legal advice and representation, throughout the asylum procedure, and ensure access to a fair and effective examination of their case.

"Improvement of the Situation of Asylum Seekers in Cyprus" is a project funded by the Federal Republic of Germany. The project aims to take a holistic approach by working both at the individual and the societal levels. By offering legal services, we will respond to the needs of the target population, who are one of the most marginalised groups in the country and by launching public advocacy and awareness-raising activities we will affect xenophobic public attitudes, discriminatory state policies and practices in an effort to make Cyprus a more inclusive and accepting host society. This projects works complimentary to the other projects of the Humanitarian Affairs Unit.

Members of the Humanitarian Affairs Unit

Head of Unit
Social Advisor