Human Rights & Cyprus
It seems to be of common sense that every person born in this world would have some inalienable rights just by the virtue of being human, like, the right to live with dignity or the right to be treated equally as their fellow human beings in the eyes of the law, free from any discrimination or exploitation. However, as obvious as this sounds many unfortunate and vulnerable people often have their basic human rights violated by offenders in positions of power. The coinage and categorization of human rights have been one of the methods to combat in human offenses and acts against the weak and minorities. Human rights have taken the forefront of the world’s attention for the last few decades and continue to see a rise in the efforts to protect and promote them in all parts of the world.
Some of the prime examples of human rights are, right against torture, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of religion, the right to free movement, right to life and dignity etc. Human rights by the very nature and often considered broad and all-encompassing with them including not only the basic rights mentioned above but also other rights like those to leisure, and healthcare and education.
Like most other democratic countries, the human rights in Cyprus are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus in its Part 2 lays down extensively the protection of various basic rights and liberties of individuals within Cypriot territory. Article 6 provides protection against discrimination on the basis of belonging to any particular group. Articles 6-35 of the Cyprus Constitution ensure many more fundamental human rights with some reasonable limitations in a few cases, some of them are –
- Right to life;
- Right against torture;
- Right to live with dignity and social security;
- Right against forced labor or slavery;
- Right against wrongful imprisonment;
- Right against re-prosecution for the same offense;
- Right against disproportional punishment;
- Right to freedom of movement;
- Right to privacy;
- Right against trespass;
- Right to freedom of speech and religion etc.
In present media, human rights in Cyprus are often discussed in the context of the abuses committed by the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus. Other relatively rarer cases are of abuse of minorities, women, immigrants, or violations done by the police or maltreatment of the people in custody.
2017 Human Rights Report
The 2017 Human Rights Report by the US Department of State put Cyprus as a democratically free country with a free and fair election process along with freedom of movement and no political revengeful action. There were only “a few” complaints of abuse of power by police or other such authorities to the ombudsman under the UN Convention. Privacy and internet freedom were reported to be completely free of interference from the state. Forced labor was found to be rare and mostly present in the agricultural sector. The main problem for prisons and detention centers was overcrowding with physical abuse only in a few cases. There were found to be complaints of discrimination against Turkish Cypriots. In the case of LGBT the only form of discrimination to be reported was the preferential treatment to traditional families in matters of housing. The minimum wage was said to protect the rights of the vulnerable worker groups which were further protected by collective bargaining.
Condition of Women
The condition of women in Cyprus has significant room for improvement. There are frequent reports of violence against women and cases of other heinous crimes like rape. Even though the law makes clear and accessible provisions for reporting and prosecution of such cases. Sexual harassment continues to be a big challenge with many reported cases of workplace harassment. It has been long accused that immigrant workers’ complaints are not paid any heed. Cyprus has 18% women members in the House of Representatives. Rise in trafficking of foreign women for cheap labor or prostitution to Cyprus has also been one of the troubling developments of the past years.
Governmental corruption continues to pose problems to the smooth governance of the country and has led to many publicized investigations of highly placed officials. Investigations have led to many arrests and some convictions.
There have been complaints of violence against ethnic minorities including the Turkish Cypriots. Foreign workers are afraid to report unfavorable and illegal working conditions due to the fear of losing work. Many such complaints are also found to be lacking substance upon further investigation. Women and children of minorities further face discrimination and huge disadvantages.
We can help
We at Simon Zenios and Co, have dealt with human rights issues in the past and have the required resources to see any human rights matter to the end. If you need any answers or assistance related to a human rights matter, please contact us for quick resolution of all your queries. Human rights are a grave matter and our reliable services are provided after studying your exact needs according to the particular facts of each case. With us, you are in safe hands.