1. The Committee considered
the third periodic report of Cyprus (CCPR/C/94/Add.1) at its 1647th and
1648th meetings held on 24 March 1998 (see CCPR/C/SR 1647 and 1648), and
adopted at its 1663rd meeting (CCPR/C/SR 1663 meeting held on 3 April
1998) the following comments:
2. The Committee welcomes
the timely and comprehensive report submitted by the Government of Cyprus,
as well as the information provided in the supplementary report to the
third periodic report. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the
concluding observations made in connection with the second periodic report
have been largely taken into account by the Government of Cyprus in the
report under consideration. The Committee expresses its appreciation of
the constructive dialogue with the delegation which enabled it to gain
a deeper understanding of the human rights situation in Cyprus, in particular
of the mandates and functioning of the national machineries in place to
protect and promote human rights in the country.
B. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant
3. 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 still
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 of both Greek and Turkish communities continue to be
missing, making it impossible for the State party to provide any information
about the protection of their rights.
C. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes
the establishment of a Commissioner for Administration with the mandate
to investigate, inter alia, alleged cases of ill-treatment, inhuman
and/or degrading treatment and torture. The Committee also notes the decision
by the Council of Ministers to establish a National Institution for Human
Rights, which should be an independent body charged with monitoring the
compliance by the Government of Cyprus with its obligations under international
human rights instruments.
5. The Committee expresses
its appreciation over the revision of the legislation concerning prisons
and of its regulations which have, in particular, facilitated the establishment
of a register for detainees. It also welcomes the creation of an independent
6. The Committee also notes
with satisfaction the incorporation of a human rights course element into
the core training programme for police officers and for government officials.
7. The Committee welcomes
the establishment of a Family court with jurisdiction over civil and religious
8. The Committee also welcomes
the recent agreement between the Government of Cyprus and the representatives
of the Turkish Cypriot authorities to resolve the fate of the persons
disappeared and missing since 1974 and encourages both sides to continue
their efforts with the assistance of international mediation.
D. Principal subjects of concern and the Committee's recommendations
9. The Committee notes as
a general concern the long delays and obstacles experienced in enacting
into law many desirable proposals for new legislation on a number of matters
and strongly urges the State party to take all necessary steps to remedy
this situation in order to implement the provisions of the Covenant more
comprehensively at the national level.
10. The Committee regrets
the persistence of inequality between men and women in law and in practice
in Cyprus. It is concerned that discriminatory provisions on the basis
of sex continue to inhibit the full enjoyment by women of their human
rights, in particular in laws relating to marriage, nationality, immigration,
employment and education. The Committee urges the State party to adopt
legislative measures to eliminate sex-based discrimination in all relevant
11. The Committee notes with
concern the discriminatory legal provisions which penalize homosexual
acts and urges the State party to repeal them.
12. The Committee is concerned
that the new law on prevention of violence within the family has not produced
the expected positive results and urges the State party to adopt appropriate
measures to improve the situation. A reform of the law on evidence should
take into account the possibility of eliminating obstacles to a spouse
providing testimony against another spouse on domestic violence.
13. The Committee is concerned
that the adoption of a proposed new law regulating civil debt has been
unreasonably delayed and recommends the State party to ensure that the
requirements of article 11 of the Covenant be fully met.
14. The Committee reiterates
its concern that, while the Covenant has superior force to domestic law
under the Constitution and may be invoked in the courts, there remain
uncertainties as to which provisions of the Covenant are self-executing
within domestic law of the State party and which require specific legislation.
15. While the Committee notes
the enactment of a new law regulating public assemblies and processions,
it is concerned about the conditions which the appropriate authorities
may impose regarding the conduct of assemblies and processions upon receiving
the required advance notification. The Committee also notes that the advance
notice required to be given is too early and may unduely curtail freedom
of assembly. The Committee reiterates that restrictions on freedom of
assembly must be limited only to those which are in conformity with article
21 of the Covenant.
16. The Committee is concerned
that the age criminal responsibility is still fixed at seven years, and
that marriageable age is defined as the onset of puberty. The Committee
further reaffirms its position that corporal punishment is prohibited
under the Covenant.
17. The Committee remains
concerned about the discriminatory treatment accorded to conscientious
objectors in Cyprus, who may be subject to punishment on one or more occasion
for failure to perform military service. The Committee recommends that
the proposed new law concerning conscientious objectors ensure their fair
treatment under the law and eradicate lengthy imprisonment as a form of
18. Considering the repeated
allegations of discrimination against Cypriot citizens of Turkish origin,
including issues of employment and identity cards, the Committee regrets
the lack of concrete information on the situation of those citizens, and
requests the Government of Cyprus to provide detailed information on this
matter in the fourth periodic report.
19. In relation to cases of
alleged brutality, ill-treatment, and torture by the police, the Committee
urges the State party to take firm measures to ensure an effective remedy
to any victim of such human rights violation. In this connection, the
Committee is concerned about the apparent reluctance of victims of violence
and ill-treatment to testify before the relevant instances and recommends
that the State party take every possible measure to correct the situation,
including increased public information activities to educate the public
on redress mechanisms available at the national level, their mandates
and their functioning.
20. The Committee recommends
that the legal profession as well as the legislative, judicial and administrative
authorities be provided with adequate information on the provisions of
the Covenant and its optional protocols. The Committee also recommends
that appropriate publicity be given to the third periodic report and its
consideration by the Committee, including these observations.