Cedar Centre For Legal Studies

Case Title

Mystery Surrounds Fate of 85 Migrants In Cypriot Waters



On December 11, 2023, a group of 85 people, including 50 women and children, embarked on an irregular journey from Lebanon via boat. The majority are Syrians, with others being Lebanese. As reported by the families, the migrants had reached Cypriot territorial waters on December 12, 2023, distressingly, no further information has emerged regarding their whereabouts.

Families suspect that the individuals were arrested by Cypriot authorities. Information from an organization indicate their detention in Cyprus. Some families’ members in Cyprus have inquired about the missing persons with the Cypriot authorities, but to no avail.

In a bid to ascertain the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared, on December 31, 2023 Cedar Centre for Legal Studies submitted a list of 75 from among 85 individuals to the Working Group of Enforced Disappearance. We urgently implore Cypriot authorities and neighboring countries to transparently disclose any information regarding the whereabouts of these missing individuals. The families are desperate for answers, and time is of the essence.

On January 2, 2024, a complaint was submitted by the legal team of Cedar Centre to the Lebanese Cassation Public Prosecution of the disappearance of a group of 75  migrants (Lebanese and Syrians) among 85 from a boat sailed from Lebanon. The legal team reported a copy of the complaint to to the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to open an investigation into the fate of their disappearance. On January 3, 2024, Cedar Centre reported the disappearance of the group of migrants to the UNHCR office in Beirut, who communicated the UNHCR in Cyrus. On January 16, 2024, Cedar Centre reported the disappearance of migrants with the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Beirut.

Irregular sea journeys from Lebanon have become a notable phenomenon, marked by a complex intersection of socio-economic factors, regional conflicts, and migration patterns. The Mediterranean route serves as a conduit for individuals seeking alternative pathways, often escaping the economic hardships and political instability prevalent in Lebanon. The irregular nature of these sea trips points to the desperation and limited options faced by those willing to undertake such perilous journeys. This trend underscores the urgent need for comprehensive regional cooperation, addressing root causes, and implementing humanitarian solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of those embarking on these risky endeavors.