The refugees, who included over 75 people from Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Ethiopia, had previously abruptly landed in Cyprus after the boat they were traveling to (with Italy as their intended destination) capsized in 1998. While these individuals were recognized as refugees, they were barred from entering Britain by the then interior minister Theresa May on grounds of them pursuing a legal challenge.
They have since been living on the Dhekelia base – a British sovereign territory.
In a speech made by a spokesman of the British interior ministry, it was announced that the UK government had decided to end the long-standing legal issue of settlement of the refugees in question, and courtesy their very unusual circumstances will allow them to leave Dhekelia and settle down in the UK.
They also have the option of claiming asylum in Cyprus, but none have opted for the same claiming the feeble of finding both work and permanent residency there.
The refugees, who have been living within the boundaries of the seven-square-kilometer (three-square-mile) outpost, have been there for over 20 years, with some refugees even marrying and having children of their own.