COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
30 July-17 August 2001
256. The Committee considered
the fifteenth and sixteenth periodic reports of Cyprus (CERD/C/384/Add.4),
which were due on 4 January 1998 and 2000, respectively, submitted
as one document as well as a supplementary report (CERD/C/384/Add.4/Rev.1),
at its 1472nd and 1473rd meetings (CERD/C/SR.1472 and 1473), on 2
and 3 August 2001. At its 1483rd meeting (CERD/C/SR.1483), on 10 August
2001, it adopted the following concluding observations.
257. The Committee welcomes the fifteenth and sixteenth periodic reports
of Cyprus, as well as the supplementary report presented by the State
party, which provide detailed answers to concerns expressed and recommendations
made by the Committee in its previous concluding observations (CERD/C/304/Add.56).
The Committee appreciates the delegation's frankness and sincerity
during the presentation of the report and its acknowledgement of the
difficulties faced in implementing the Convention.
B. Factors and
difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
258. Despite Cyprus having been one of the first countries to ratify
the Convention, the Government of Cyprus is still prevented from implementing
the provisions of the Convention throughout its national territory.
The occupation since 1974 by Turkish forces of 37 per cent of the
territory has caused the de facto separation of the various ethnic
and religious communities. This artificial division is not only an
obstacle to peace and the enjoyment of human rights in the region,
but impedes the construction of a progressive anti-discrimination
strategy for the island as a whole. In this context, attention is
drawn to the Committee's decision 1 (59) on Cyprus adopted by the
Committee on 13 August 2001 (see chap. X).
C. Positive aspects
259. The Committee welcomes the setting up in September 1998 of the
National Institution for the Protection of Human Rights, which contributes,
inter alia, to the dissemination of information with regard to the
Convention and other international conventions. It also welcomes the
appointment of the Presidential Commissioner for Minorities.
260. The Committee notes with satisfaction the establishment of a
Complaints Office within the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance
in charge of dealing with complaints made by foreign workers, including
261. The Committee welcomes the extension of the powers of the Attorney-General
to appoint criminal investigators to investigate police behaviour
without the requirement of a written complaint addressed to the Attorney-General
by the alleged victim of racial discrimination.
262. The Committee expresses satisfaction at the recent amendment
(Law 28 III of 1999) of Law 11 (III) of 1992 which criminalizes acts
mentioned in article 4 of the Convention. As a result of the amendment
it is no longer necessary that incitement to racial hatred be intentional
in order for the offence to be committed.
263. Satisfaction is also expressed at the amendment of the 1967 Citizenship
Law which eradicates discrimination in marriage to foreigners. Through
this amendment, the right of an alien spouse to acquire the citizenship
of the Cypriot spouse is now recognized for both spouses, as is the
equal right of both spouses to transmit citizenship to their children.
264. The Committee notes with approval that a draft marriage law,
allowing marriage between a Greek Orthodox Christian and a Muslim
of Turkish origin has been approved by the Council of Ministers and
laid before the House of Representatives for enactment.
265. Developments in the field of education, particularly efforts
to promote human rights awareness in schools, the subsidizing of the
education of minority groups and the establishment of elementary schools
for the Maronites, are encouraging.
266. The Committee welcomes the clarification that the Constitution
of Cyprus, although resulting from international treaties, may be
amended so that, inter alia, the legal system in Cyprus can reflect
more fully the requirements of the Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
D. Concerns and
267. Concerning information on cases of violence committed by police
against aliens entering Cyprus illegally, the Committee recommends
that the authorities continue to monitor such incidents closely and
take appropriate steps to deal with them.
268. While the State party has enacted a number of criminal law provisions
in the field of racial discrimination, and amended them following
the Committee's recommendations, there is little evidence that these
criminal provisions are being used. The State party is invited to
provide information about the number of complaints of racial discrimination
brought before the courts as well as the corresponding decisions.
269. The Committee expresses its concern at the lack of legal provisions
expressly outlawing racial discrimination by private persons in education
and employment, and recommends that the State party give attention
to the development of such legislation.
270. While commending the State party for the enactment of the 2000
Refugee Act, the Committee recommends the prompt adoption of the necessary
mechanisms for its full implementation, especially with respect to
refugee status determination.
271. The Committee expresses concern at the absence of a comprehensive
immigration policy aimed at regulating the entry and stay of immigrants,
as well as their employment rights.
272. The Committee encourages the State party to take further steps
to increase awareness of the Convention among the general public,
in particular foreign domestic workers, members of the police and
the judiciary. It also recommends that measures taken by the State
party to combat discrimination in the field of education, culture
and information be intensified.
273. The State party is invited to provide in its next report updated
information on: (a) the work of the Presidential Commissioner for
Minorities; and (b) the demographic composition of the population
in the Government-controlled area and the Turkish-occupied territory,
disaggregated by community, ethnic group and gender. In this context,
attention is drawn to general recommendation XXV on gender-related
dimensions of racial discrimination.
274. The Committee shares the State party's concern that despite efforts
undertaken by the Government of Cyprus to organize bicommunal activities
there are continuous difficulties hindering the meeting of the Turkish
and Greek communities and the restoration of mutual confidence. The
Committee recommends that the State party continue to adopt confidence-building
measures in order to promote a climate of respect for human rights
for all its citizens.
275. The Committee notes that no communications were received under
article 14, which may indicate a lack of awareness of this procedure
under the Convention.
276. The Committee recommends that the State party's reports be made
readily available to the public from the time they are submitted and
that the Committee's concluding observations on them be similarly
277. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its seventeenth
periodic report jointly with its eighteenth periodic report, due on
4 January 2004, and that it address all the points raised in the present