1. The Committee
considered the third periodic report of Cyprus on the implementation
of the Covenant (E/1994/104/Add.12), along with the written replies
to the list of questions, at its 34th, 35th and 36th meetings, held
on 18 and 19 November 1998, and adopted at the 55th meeting (nineteenth
session), held on 3 December 1998 the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
welcomes the submission of the third periodic report of Cyprus (E/1994/104/Add.12),
which it found to conform generally to its guidelines on the preparation
of reports. The Committee also expresses appreciation for the submission
of comprehensive written replies to its list of issues, as well as
for the additional information presented by the delegation during
the dialogue. It regrets, however, that the report did not contain
sufficient information on obstacles and problems faced in the implementation
of the Covenant.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee
welcomes the status accorded to international legal instruments, including
the Covenant, in the legal order and appreciates the fact that they
are superior to national law in the legal hierarchy. It notes that
the provisions of the Covenant can be invoked directly by individuals
before the courts.
4. The Committee
commends the efforts of the Government in continuing to provide services,
such as electricity supply and payment of pension benefits, to the
population living in the part of the island that it does not control.
5. The Committee
welcomes the recent establishment of the National Institution for
Human Rights, as an independent body consisting of members appointed
from the public and private sectors. The Committee notes, however,
that the Institution has not been formally promulgated in law and
that its independence has not been guaranteed.
6. The Committee
takes note, with satisfaction, of the efforts to include human rights
in school and university curricula, as well as the activities being
carried out in the country to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
7. The Committee
welcomes the abrogation of the provisions of the Penal Code criminalizing
8. The Committee
also takes note with satisfaction of the delegation's statement that
the report has been widely publicized among governmental and non-governmental
9. The Committee
welcomes the appointment of an advisory committee for the purpose
of preventing violence in the family and for providing subsidies to
the non-governmental organization "Association for the Prevention
and Confrontation of Domestic Violence".
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the
10. The continuing
partition of Cyprus hinders the ability of the State Party
to exercise control over its entire territory and, consequently, to
ensure the implementation of the Covenant throughout the country.
D. Principal subjects of concern
11. The Committee
is concerned that no information is available on the enjoyment of
economic, social and cultural rights by the Cypriot population living
in the area that is not controlled by the Government.
12. The Committee
is concerned at the continued existence of discrimination between
men and women, including inequalities in, among other things, professional
opportunities, wages and salaries for work of equal value (especially
in the private sector), protection under social security, the transmission
of nationality to children and the conferment of refugee status on
children (only children of displaced men are so treated). This appears
to be caused by structural and cultural factors.
workers enjoy little protection against being forced to work unduly
long hours. The State Party appears not to provide adequate protection
against repressive and exploitative measures directed at prostitutes.
Such persons are particularly vulnerable because of their fear
of retribution from their employers. Moreover, the Committee notes
the tendency of the State Party to underestimate the problems.
14. The Committee
notes with concern that the legal minimum wage does not guarantee
an adequate standard of living in the sense of articles 7 (a) (ii)
and 11 of the Covenant, especially with regard to shop assistants,
nurses, clerks, nursery assistants, etc.
15. The Committee
expresses its serious concern at the incidence of domestic violence
against women and children in Cypriot society. The continuation
of this situation calls into question whether the State party has
made its best efforts to comply with its obligations under articles
10 and 12 of the Covenant. In particular, the Government appears to
have failed to adopt an adequate prevention policy, to enforce fully
the existing legislative measures to combat violence in the family
and to assist victims of such violence.
16. The Committee
is alarmed by the allegations of inhuman or degrading treatment of
mentally ill patients in some health institutions. It stresses that
such a situation constitutes a serious violation of the State Party's
obligations under articles 2 and 12.
17. The Committee
further notes that there are many bills and other measures concerning
economic, social and cultural rights which are awaiting Parliamentary
or Cabinet approval, or implementation by other official bodies, and
calls upon the State Party to speed the process up in order to meet
obligations existing under the Covenant.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
18. The Committee
recommends that the recently established National Institution for
Human Rights be promptly promulgated in law and that its independence
19. The Committee
recommends that the State Party intensify its efforts to guarantee
the equal enjoyment by men and women of their economic, social and
cultural rights, in particular:
(a) By engaging
in a large-scale public awareness campaign to eradicate social prejudices
concerning gender roles;
(b) By taking
all necessary steps to guarantee fully the principle of equal pay
for work of equal value, in particular in the private sector of the
(c) By promulgating
the draft regulations concerning the employment and working conditions
of pregnant women and nursing mothers and ensuring that they comply
with the Covenant;
(d) By abrogating
the discriminatory provisions of the social security legislation;
(e) By enacting
the bill aimed at abolishing discrimination in the acquisition and
transmission of nationality.
20. The Committee
urges the State Party to take all the necessary steps to improve understanding
of the nature and scope of the problems faced by domestic workers,
with a view to implementing fully existing laws. The Committee emphasizes
(a) To initiate
campaigns to raise awareness of this issue among trade unions, women's
organizations and communities in Cyprus to which the domestic workers
(b) To improve
the system of complaints concerning abuse, with a view to protecting
fully the rights of complainants.
21. The Committee
also urges the State Party to monitor more closely the phenomenon
of forced prostitution in Cyprus, with a view to rescuing victims
who are trapped or forced into it and to protecting their rights under
22. The Committee
recommends that the State Party endeavour to take steps to review
the existing minimum wage level, in order fully to comply with its
obligations under article 11 of the Covenant.
23. The Committee
recommends that the State Party adopt an appropriate policy to prevent
and tackle the problem of domestic violence against women and children
in all its complexity and requests that the next periodic report contain
information on measures adopted to deal with it. In this connection,
the Committee urges the State Party to financially assist the non-governmental
organization "Association for the Prevention and Confrontation of
Domestic Violence" to set up, as soon as possible, its proposed women's
taking note of the delegation's statement that the situation as regards
the treatment of mentally-ill people "has improved dramatically",
the Committee emphasizes the need for the State Party to review thoroughly
its health policy towards those patients in order best to address
all their needs and protect all their human rights.
25. The Committee
requests the State party to include in its next periodic report comprehensive
information on the extent of drug-addiction in Cyprus and to indicate
whether the bill on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances now
before Parliament has been passed into law, and also to assess the
workings of the anti-narcotic/therapeutic units proposed under the
bill, when it has passed into law.
26. The Committee
recommends that bills and proposed regulations should be speedily
submitted for Parliamentary or Cabinet approval, in order to enhance
effective application of the Covenant. Such bills and proposals include:
proposed law relating to marriage, divorce and family courts;
(b) A bill
to regulate the rights of asylum seekers;
(c) A bill
to amend the relevant law with respect to the nationality of a child
born to a Cypriot woman;
(d) A draft
law to regulate the right to strike, to ensure that it conforms fully
with ILO Convention No. 87;
(e) A bill
entitled "National Health System" which has been before the Cabinet
for approval since 1996.
the Committee requests the State Party to ensure the wide dissemination
in Cyprus of the present concluding observations and to inform the
Committee, in its fourth periodic report, of steps taken to implement