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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Cyprus
Represented by nine member delegation headed by Ms. Leda KOURSOUMBA, Law Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Cyprus page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Republic of Korea, United States and Venezuela.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Cyprus page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • In 2009, Cyprus was affected by the global financial crisis the economic impact of which gradually spread over all areas of life. Despite this, Cyprus was determined to continue its coordinated efforts to ensure full compliance with all international human rights treaties to which it was a party;
  • Cyprus intensified its efforts for closer cooperation with human rights treaty bodies to meet its international obligations, and was up-to-date with all treaty reporting obligations. It also ratified the OPCAT and the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and its OP;
  • An Ombudsman was appointed as a national human rights institution with extensive competence, in accordance with the Paris Principles.  A Commissioner for humanitarian issues was appointed in 2013 with a mandate to promote and protect the rights of the national religious minority groups;
  • Several action plans and projects have been taken to educate children on human rights, such as multicultural education projects or measures to combat school violence and bullying. School curricula has been revised to include actions to prevent and eradicate discriminatory practices;
  • The gender equality unit is in the process of preparing a new strategic plan on equality between women and men 2014-2017, in close collaboration with all government departments, women’s organizations, NGOs, academic institutions and human rights bodies;
  • A national action plan on the prevention and combating of domestic violence was adopted for the 2010-2013 period, which aimed to promote relevant measures and policies on a holistic, integrated and systematic basis by defining specific goals and measures;
  • A series of policy oriented measures were taken to address migration and a cooperation agreement was signed in 2012 with the IOM.  The Kofinou Reception Centre was now adequately staffed. Furthermore, migrants belonging to vulnerable groups receive medical care free of charge and migrant children are entitled to free public education;
  • There have been increased efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, particularly through relevant legislation and a national action plan for the period 2010-2012;
  • The Police, the UNHCR and the national Ombudsman will cooperate in drafting a code of conduct concerning checks of the residence status of migrants. This was prompted in view of a recent incident concerning allegations of excessive use of force by a member of a special police unit;
  • The reform of the operation of prison is a high priority for the Government. The prisons system has not been effectively reviewed throughout the years and required immediate and far-reaching reform based on international human rights norms;
  • The Government pays particular attention to the protection of LGBTI’s rights. A Bill regulating civil partnership pact for same and opposite sex couple is at present open for consultation between various Government services and NGOs, aiming at its enactment before the end of 2014;
  • With respect to the fight against xenophobia, Cyprus is determined to take concrete measures at all levels. A “no hate speech” campaign was launched on TV, with the participation of well-known Cypriot athletes and Olympic winners.

Participants

In total  53 States participated in the dialogue:  18 HRC members and  35 observers (Statements available on Cyprus page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Accession to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and its OP, the 1st OP to the CRC and the OPCAT;
  • The appointment of the Ombudsperson as the National Human Rights Institution;
  • Steps taken to improve the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in the country;
  • Efforts to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity including the amendment to the Criminal Code to criminalise hatred, violence or discrimination against LGBTIs;
  • Progress achieved in the area of children’s rights;
  • Efforts to tackle disparities between men and women.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Measures taken to respect the rights of migrants, including migrant domestic workers; 
  • Efforts to combat all forms of discrimination and intolerance;
  • Action taken to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • Steps taken to effectively combat human trafficking;
  • Policies in place to address gender disparities;
  • Measures taken to guarantee freedom of religion and belief.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Cyprus.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To take further measures to respect the rights of migrants, including migrant domestic workers;  To combat racial stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes against migrants;
  • To address concerns over migrant detention centre conditions, including by guaranteeing the right to obtain speedy judicial review; To apply alternative measures to the detention of unaccompanied migrant children;
  • To improve oversight of working conditions to prevent labour exploitation;
  • To step up efforts to combat and effectively sanction all forms of discrimination and intolerance;
  • To enact legislation to recognise civil partnership; To amend the Criminal Code to explicitly prohibit incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • To adopt more effective anti-trafficking measures, including those to protect and compensate victims, and prosecute offenders; To provide adequate resources to full implement the national plan against human trafficking
  • Take additional measures to combat domestic violence and determine a timeframe for ratifying the European Council Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence;
  • To establish an effective mechanism for coordinating the implementation of a child rights policy;
  • To ensure on-going practical professional training of police officers on the protection of vulnerable groups;
  • To further protect the rights of religious minorities; To take steps to improve relations between different religious and/or ethnic communities in line with the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief;
  • To extend cooperation with Special Procedures mandate holders;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Convention on the rights of migrant workers, the OP to the ICESCR, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the 3rd OP to the CRC, the Convention for the Reduction of Statelessness, the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, and the European Council Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Cyprus is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 6 February 2014.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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