COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES
PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered
the fourteenth periodic report of Cyprus (CERD/C/299/Add.19), at its
1278th and 1279th meetings, on 4 and 5 August 1998, and, at its 1288th
meeting, on 12 August 1998, adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the submission of the fourteenth periodic report of Cyprus and the
opportunity to continue its dialogue with the State party. The Committee
also welcomes the submission of the revised version of the State party's
core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.28/Rev.1). The Committee notes with
appreciation that the report provides detailed answers to concerns
expressed and recommendations made by the Committee in its concluding
observations following the consideration of the thirteenth periodic
report of the State party (see A/50/18, paras. 64-76). It further
expresses its appreciation for the frank and constructive dialogue
with the delegation and for the additional information and comprehensive
answers given orally to the wide range of questions asked by its members.
B. Factors and difficulties
implementation of the Convention
3. The Committee reiterates
its grave concern at the lengthy occupation of 37 per cent of the
territory of Cyprus by Turkish forces and the continued division of
the country, and that the Government is still prevented, by the use
of force, from implementing the provisions of the Convention in the
occupied part of the country since the invasion in 1974. The Committee
further wishes to reiterate that the continuing artificial division
of the country has adversely affected efforts to reduce tension among
the various ethnic and religious communities which comprise the population.
C. Positive aspects
4. With regard to the
implementation of article 2 of the Convention, it is noted with satisfaction
that the State party has undertaken measures for the preparation of
a bill for the protection of refugees, which would protect the rights
of refugees and displaced persons regardless of their ethnic origin.
5. The amendment to the
procedure for acquiring Cypriot citizenship, by which Cypriot nationality
is now granted to all children regardless of whether the father or
the mother is a Cypriot citizen, is also welcomed.
6. It is noted with appreciation
that the State party has undertaken steps for the implementation of
the Committee's recommendations regarding the introduction of amendments
to Law II (III) of 1992. It also noted with satisfaction that the
proposed amendments to this law include the penalization of the expression
of racist ideas through electronic media.
7. With respect to the
implementation of article 7 of the Convention, the efforts and initiatives
of Cyprus in the field of education are welcomed, especially the establishment
of language programmes for children of immigrant families and minority
groups. The establishment of official subsidies for children belonging
to minority communities and the inclusion of human rights in the school
curricula are also welcomed. The holding of training programmes for
civil servants on the provisions of the Convention is noted with satisfaction.
8. The Committee notes
with appreciation that the State party has taken into consideration
the Committee's general recommendation XVII (42) of 19 March 1993
for the establishment of national institutions to facilitate the implementation
of the Convention, and the intention of the Government of Cyprus to
establish a National Institution for the Promotion and Protection
of Human Rights.
9. The Committee welcomes
the fact that the State party has ratified, by Law 6 (III) of 1995,
the amendment to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention.
D. Principal subjects of concern
10. Concern is expressed
at the insufficient information on the demographic composition of
the occupied part of Cyprus, due to the fact that the State party
is still prevented by the Turkish army from undertaking any census
or other relevant data collection on the whole of the territory of
the Republic of Cyprus.
11. Although the Committee
welcomes the State party's efforts to disseminate information with
regard to the Convention, it is still concerned that members of the
public may not be sufficiently aware of the protection against racial
discrimination provided by the Convention. In this connection, the
lack of information on complaints concerning racially motivated offences,
other than complaints lodged by foreign housemaids, as well as the
absence of lawsuits in courts claiming racial discrimination, and
of communications filed with the Committee under article 14 of the
Convention, may indicate that awareness of the Convention is not high
among judges, lawyers and the public at large.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
12. The Committee recommends
that information be provided by the State party on the enactment of
legislation for the protection of refugees (Refugee Bill) and the
proposed amendments to Law II (III) of 1992.
13. The Committee requests
the State party to provide information in its next periodic report
on the implementation of recommendations made by the Commissioner
for Administration (the Ombudsman) to remedy the procedure for employment
of foreign housemaids in Cyprus.
14. Emphasizing the role
of the justice system in the elimination of racial discrimination,
the Committee requests the State party to consider measures for improving
awareness of the Convention and associated legal and administrative
remedies, and that lawyers and administrators be supplied with information
on the Convention and on available remedies.
15. The Committee suggests
that the Government of Cyprus may wish to avail itself of any advice
and assistance which may be rendered by the Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights with regard to the Government's
initiative to establish a national human rights institution.
16. The Committee requests
the State party to give wide publicity in its territory to the fourteenth
report submitted to the Committee, to the present concluding observations
as well as to the possibilities of making use of the procedure provided
for in article 14 of the Convention.
17. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 4 January 1998,
be an updating report and that it address all the points raised in
these concluding observations and during the consideration of the