considered the second periodic report of Cyprus (CCPR/C/32/Add.18)
at its 1333rd to 1335th meetings, held on 13 and 14 July 1994 (see
CCPR/C/SR.1333-1335), and adopted at the 1354th meeting (fifty-first
session), held on 27 July 1994 the following comments:
welcomes the opportunity to resume its dialogue with the Government
of Cyprus while regretting that this follows a lapse in reporting
of over 16 years. The Committee expresses its satisfaction with
the useful information on the application of the Covenant that is
contained in the second periodic report and in the annexes, as well
as in the core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.28). The Committee expresses
its appreciation to the high-level delegation which presented the
report and which provided the Committee with a wealth of detailed
and updated additional information in response to the questions
posed by Committee members.
and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant
The Committee notes that the State party, as a consequence of events
that occurred in 1974 and resulted in the occupation of part of
the territory of Cyprus, is not in a position to exercise control
over all of its territory and consequently cannot ensure the application
of the Covenant in areas not under its jurisdiction. The Committee
also notes that, as a consequence of the same events, a number of
citizens are still missing, making it impossible for the State party
to provide any information about the protection of their rights.
The Committee further notes that the continuing division of the
country has adversely affected efforts to reduce tension among the
various ethnic and religious communities which comprise the population.
3. Positive aspects
notes that Cyprus has constitutional provisions and democratic institutions
that ensure basic respect for the rule of law and the protection
of rights, and that there are non-governmental organizations active
in the promotion of human rights. It welcomes the general legislative
reform that has been undertaken with regard to a number of areas
covered by the Covenant. In particular, the Committee takes note
of new or proposed laws concerning arrest and detention procedures,
incitement to racial or religious hatred, deportation of aliens,
election laws, personal data, violence against women and family
law, and the establishment of family courts. The Committee also
takes note of the commission of inquiry on allegations and complaints
against the police and the pending bill to amend the Law for the
Commissioner for Administration ("Ombudsman") to include
consideration of complaints of ill-treatment in his functions. The
Committee also notes that the Law Commissioner is responsible for
the preparation of reports under the Covenant and for taking appropriate
action when provisions of the domestic law are in need of alignment
with the Covenant.
4. Principal subjects of concern
is concerned that, while the Covenant has superior force to domestic
law under the Constitution and may be invoked in the courts, there
remain uncertainties in domestic law as to which provisions of the
Covenant are self-executing and which might require specific legislation.
to the right to life, the Committee is concerned that article 7
of the Constitution provides for very broad exceptions to that right
and that the current instructions governing the use of force leave
wide discretion to police officers. The Committee is also concerned
that the domestic law allows application of the death penalty to
persons between 16 and 18 years of age, in conflict with the provisions
of article 6, paragraph 5, of the Covenant. The Committee notes,
however, that the death penalty is not applied in practice.
is concerned about reported cases of torture or cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment of detainees by police and about the failure
to secure conviction and punishment of any of the perpetrators.
In this connection, the Committee notes with concern the extended
nature of pre-trial detention in Cyprus, during which time detainees
may be vulnerable to possible police abuse. The Committee is also
concerned that police officers and other law enforcement officials
are not provided with adequate education and training with regard
to the provisions of the Covenant concerning arrest and detention
is concerned that under current law imprisonment may be imposed
for non-payment of civil debt in certain circumstances, in violation
of article 11 of the Covenant.
noting that some progress has been achieved in combating discrimination
against women, the Committee is concerned that some patriarchal
attitudes and practices still persist which impede women from realizing
full and equal enjoyment of rights.
is concerned about the unfair treatment accorded to conscientious
objectors in Cyprus, who are subject to an excessive period of alternative
service lasting 42 months, which is not compatible with the provisions
of article 18 and 26 of the Covenant, and that persons may also
be subject to punishment on one or more occasion for failure to
perform military service.
is concerned about restrictions on the press, particularly with
regard to seditious intent, as defined under article 47 of the Criminal
Code. The Committee notes that freedom to criticize the authorities
and challenge government policies are a normal and essential part
of a functioning democracy.
is concerned that the 1958 law regulating lawful assembly and requiring
permits for public assemblies is not in compliance with article
21 of the Covenant. In this regard, the Committee emphasizes that
restrictions on freedom of assembly must be limited to those which
are deemed necessary in conformity with the Covenant.
is concerned that in a number of key areas children are not adequately
protected under the terms of existing legislation. In particular,
the Committee is concerned that marriageable age is defined as the
onset of puberty, that criminal responsibility begins at age 7 and
that persons between 16 and 18 years of age are not considered child
or youthful offenders and are subject to penal sanction.
to article 25 of the Covenant, the Committee is concerned that,
because of the events mentioned in paragraph 3, elections in accordance
with the 1960 Constitution could not be held since 1974 for government
positions allocated to Turkish Cypriot representatives. Under such
continuing circumstances, Cypriot citizens of Turkish origin cannot
effectively exercise their right to vote and run for public office
as guaranteed under the Covenant.
is concerned that public awareness of the Covenant is not sufficient
nor is adequate publicity given to the availability and presentation
of its reports under the Covenant. In this connection, the lack
of cases invoking the provisions of the Covenant in the courts,
as well as the lack of communications filed under the First Optional
Protocol, seem to indicate that awareness of the Covenant and the
Optional Protocol is not high among judges or members of the bar.
5. Suggestions and recommendations
recommends that the legislative reforms presently under way be expanded
and accelerated in order to ensure that all relevant legislation,
including the Criminal Code and administrative procedures are in
conformity with the requirements of the Covenant. In expanding the
review, the Committee recommends that its general comments be used
as a guide to the application of the Covenant. In this connection,
the Committee suggests that the presumption of innocence should
be expressly stipulated in the Penal Code. In addition, the relevant
laws and legislation concerning imprisonment for civil debt and
restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly should
be amended to conform with the requirements of the Covenant.
recommends that the Government of Cyprus consider becoming a party
to the Second Optional Protocol as soon as possible.
recommends that steps be taken to ensure investigation of all allegations
of torture or mistreatment of detainees and the prosecution and
punishment of all persons guilty of such acts. The length of pre-trial
detention should be significantly shortened to accord with the Covenant
and adequate training should be provided for all law enforcement
officials to promote observance of the protection afforded by the
Covenant. Instructions on the use of force by police should be updated
to conform with the requirements of the Covenant and the Basic Principles
on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
recommends that the laws concerning conscientious objectors be amended
in order to ensure their fair treatment under the law and to reduce
the excessively lengthy period of alternative national service and
the possibility of repeated punishment.
to the equality and rights of women, the Committee recommends that
affirmative measures be taken to ensure their participation in the
political process and that the new laws concerning domestic violence
be closely monitored to ensure their effective application.
to article 24 of the Covenant, the Committee recommends that existing
laws concerning the protection of children be reviewed and amended
as necessary to conform with the requirements of the Covenant. In
particular, the minimum age for marriage, criminal responsibility,
penal sanction and the imposition of the death penalty should be
changed to conform with present international standards and the
spirit of article 24, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.
recommends that measures be taken to ensure greater public awareness
of the provisions of the Covenant and the Optional Protocol and
that the legal profession as well as judicial and administrative
authorities have detailed information on those instruments in order
to ensure their effective application. The Committee also recommends
that adequate publicity be given to the second periodic report and
its consideration by the Committee, including these comments,
in order to stimulate greater interest in the Covenant in Cyprus.