COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CONSIDERS REPORT OF CYPRUS



Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights

8 May 2009



The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has considered the fourth and fifth periodic reports of Cyprus, on how that country implements the provisions of the International Covenant on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Introducing the report, Leda Koursoumba, Law Commissioner of Cyprus, said Cyprus attached great importance to the safeguarding and respect of human rights. The Constitution, upon which the State was structured, had an extensive bill of rights which incorporated all fundamental rights enshrined in the basic universal human rights instruments. The necessary political and legal framework had been developed for the implementation of the provisions of fundamental international instruments in the field of human rights. Cyprus' accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004 had had a beneficial effect on the enhancement and further protection of human rights. Cyprus was a country with democratic principles where the rule of law prevailed. Cyprus recognised that there was a lot to be done, but, being aware of its weaknesses and shortcomings, believed that it had taken a decisive step towards achieving its goal: the full implementation of the Covenant.

Among questions and issues raised by the Committee were whether Cyprus had upgraded its legislation upon ratification of the Covenant as it had when it acceded to the European Union; a request for case studies handled by the human rights institution in order to see whether the justiciability of the Covenant was noted by that institution; what was the present trend of employment, in particular unemployment among the young and long-term unemployment and was there any problem among migrants in this regard; and what was being done to protect the emerging or new minorities, and whether the policy of the Government was following the recommendations of the Advisory Committee under the Framework Convention on National Minorities in this regard.

Committee Experts also expressed wishes that the unification of the country would take place soon, and the country as a whole would live in peace and harmony once more.

In concluding remarks, Ms. Koursoumba said Cyprus was very grateful for this process, which gave Cyprus the opportunity to reflect on what it was doing and had done, and, most importantly, its impact, and what happened in practice. It was an opportunity for Government departments to get together and examine what was being done and its impact on safeguarding rights. The Committee was a body that would guide, and put pressure and help Cyprus to be better on the implementation of rights safe-guarded by the Covenant. The suggestions and recommendations would be seriously considered, and Cyprus hoped that it would have further progress to report next time.

Also in the delegation were representatives of the Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the United Nations Office at Geneva, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.

The next meeting of the Committee will be on Monday 11 May, when it will consider the report of Cambodia.

Reports of Cyprus

The fourth and fifth periodic reports of Cyprus (E/C.12/CYP/5) note that since the examination of the previous report, a significant development affecting human rights and their protection took place in Europe. On 1 May 2004 10 new States joined the European Union, amongst them the Republic of Cyprus. This development had a beneficial effect on the enhancement of human rights. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus regrets that due to the continuing illegal occupation and effective control of 37 per cent of its territory by Turkish military forces, the Government is unable to ensure the enjoyment of the rights provided for in the Covenant in the whole of its territory and that, therefore, it is also deprived of its ability to apply the provisions of the Covenant to those living in the part of the country under foreign occupation. Due to the above described situation, no reliable information and data are available regarding the enjoyment of the relevant rights by the Cypriot population living in the area that is not controlled by the Government.

The Fundamental Rights and Liberties of Part II of the Constitution are expressly guaranteed to “everyone”, to “all persons”, to “every person”, without any distinction whatsoever. Article 28.2 of the Constitution affords the right to every person to enjoy the said rights and liberties, without any direct or indirect discrimination on the ground of his “community, race, religion, language, sex political or other conviction, national or social descent, birth, colour, wealth, social class or any ground whatsoever, unless there is express provision to the contrary in the Constitution”. Article 28.1 of the Constitution affords to all persons the right of equality before the Law, the administration and justice, and of equal protection and treatment thereby. In legislation and policies applied in Cyprus there is no discrimination regarding vocational guidance, training, employment and occupation on the ground of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion and national or social origin.

The law contains specific provisions for the prevention of trafficking, for the identification and protection of the victims and for the prosecution of those involved in trafficking. The Refugee Law, (L. 6(I)/2000, as amended), provides inter alia, for the protection of refugees and displaced persons regardless of ethnic origin. Within the framework of its general employment policy for the best utilization of all human resources of the country and for social cohesion, the Government of Cyprus has always paid particular attention and has taken seriously into account the special needs of workers with disabilities. Legislative regulation of minimum wages exist only for a few specified sectors and aims at complementing the system of collective bargaining in sectors where collective bargaining is weak. Collective agreements are usually revised every two or three years. The right to equal pay for work of equal value between men and women is specifically protected by the Law on Equal Pay between Men and Women for the Same Work or for Work of Equal Value.

Introduction of Report

LEDA KOURSOUMBA, Law Commissioner of Cyprus, introducing the report, said Cyprus attached great importance to the safeguarding and respect of human rights. The Constitution, upon which the State was structured, had an extensive bill of rights which incorporated all fundamental rights enshrined in the basic universal human rights instruments. Furthermore, Cyprus had ratified the majority of binding universal and regional human rights instruments. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, along with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, had been ratified by Cyprus 40 years ago, demonstrating the importance attached by Cyprus to the protection and promotion of human rights among all people within its jurisdiction. The Government of Cyprus closely cooperated with United Nations treaty bodies as well as with other universal and regional treaty bodies. Cyprus regretted that due to the continuing illegal occupation and effective control of 37 per cent of its territory by Turkish military forces, the Government was unable to ensure the enjoyment of the rights provided for in the Covenant in the whole of its territory and that, therefore, it was also deprived of its ability to apply the provisions of the Covenant to those living in the part of the country under foreign occupation.

Nevertheless, Turkish Cypriots, notwithstanding the fact that they could reside in the area which was not under the effective control of the Government, enjoyed, at individual and collective level, the benefits of a wide spectrum of services and measures provided by the Government. These services and measures included, but were not limited to, free medical care, Government contributions to social insurance, pensions, social security benefits, social welfare benefits, and tuition and other educational grants. Cyprus was a country with democratic principles where the rule of law prevailed. The Republic had a democratic system of Government: the judiciary was independent. The doctrine of separation of powers was strictly, perhaps sometimes more than in any other country, enforced by the Supreme Court. The rule of law prevailed. Since the creation of the Cypriot State in 1960, fundamental changes had taken place in the economic, social and cultural sectors of Cyprus. Consequently, the necessary political and legal framework had been developed for the implementation of the provisions of fundamental international instruments in the field of human rights. Cyprus' accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004 had had a beneficial effect on the enhancement and further protection of human rights.

Migration and asylum seekers had been an area of major concern for the Government under the period under review - Cyprus had been a destination of a consistently increasing number of irregular migrants. Cyprus attached great importance to this issue, which was neither a national, nor a European, but a global one. The Government's policy was the holistic and rational management of the illegal and legal migration, always with full respect of the human rights of the human beings involved. Persons detained in police detention centres, including foreign nationals, enjoyed all rights and accommodation facilities according to the standards of international monitoring bodies. Internal monitoring bodies did substantial work for the implementation of international and regional human rights instruments, and during the period under review, new mechanisms had been put in place. Cyprus recognised that there was a lot to be done, but, being aware of its weaknesses and shortcomings, believed that it had taken a decisive step towards achieving its goal: the full implementation of the Covenant.

Questions by Committee Experts on articles one to five of the Covenant on the right to self-determination; the obligation of States Parties to achieve progressively the full realisation of the rights in the Covenant; the equal right of men and women to enjoy economic, social and cultural rights; the limitation of these rights for the purpose of promoting general welfare; and the prohibition of limitation of any rights under the pretext of them not being recognised in the Covenant

Among questions and issues raised by Experts were what was the place of the Covenant in the legislation of the country; whether Cyprus had upgraded its legislation upon ratification of the Covenant as it had when it acceded to the European Union; why was it taking so long to meet the Paris Principles and what were the real difficulties in this regard, such as funding or authority in relation to the National Institution for the Protection of Human Rights; a request for case studies handled by it in order to see whether the justiciability of the Covenant was noted by that institution; whether human rights education was a formal part of education and could be made compulsory; what exactly were the measures used to ensure the protection and promotion of economic, social and cultural rights besides the long list of legislation; omissions in the text such as the right to housing, the right to health, and even the right to culture, which did not seem to be protected or specifically mentioned in the Constitution; whether the provisions of the Covenant were all self-executing or whether some required specific legislation in order to be implemented; how Cyprus stood on the core content of each right; the reference of “not applicable” in the report in relation to certain specific questions, and what the Government was doing to counter them; and whether asylum seekers and their families had access to a minimum in terms of food, clothing, lodging, healthcare and other rights, and in particular whether those who had been tortured received targeted care from the State.

Committee Experts also expressed wishes that the unification of the country would take place soon, and the country as a whole would live in peace and harmony once more.

Response by Delegation

Responding to these questions and others, Ms. Koursoumba said that the delegation was grateful for the questions, which showed the great interest of the Committee in the situation of Cyprus. It was a very important starting point to explain the legal framework pertaining in Cyprus. First, there was the Constitution, which was drafted and came into force in 1960, and it contained a Bill of Rights that were current at that time. Any law or action contrary to the Constitution was null and void. Human rights were very widely interpreted by the Courts, as they should be, and limitations to the rights specified in the Constitution were very narrowly interpreted. Rights such as housing, health and culture, although not included in the Constitution, were still protected under human rights instruments ratified by Cyprus. Human rights instruments were, pursuant to the court, part of the domestic law with superior force and this included case law of international treaties, including the General Comments of the Committees. Human rights as they were known today and safeguarded by international human rights instruments were binding on Cyprus and put an obligation on the courts to act through this perspective of compatibility with international instruments. Human rights were respected and should be respected throughout Cyprus. The courts judged cases through the perspective of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution as well as the international treaties.

The accession to the European Union was a political process, Ms. Koursoumba said, and there was a rush to do everything required by the European Union, but this did not mean that Cyprus put its obligations to the European Union above its obligations at the international level. The international treaties had an international effect, while the European Union requirements merely had a regional effect. Human rights in Cyprus were not safeguarded by the European Union - this was just an additional safeguard. No violation could be accepted of an international instrument. With regards to new rights, minority rights were not so well known or safeguarded in the 1960s, and this was the reason why they were not referred to as such in the Constitution, and instruments on these were not ratified until the 1970s and 1980s. The two communities of Cyprus, the Greek community and the Turkish community, were allocated political rights through the Constitution. These two communities had proportional representation in the executive, legislature, judiciary and the wider public service. Certain minority groups, termed as religious groups in the Constitution, allocated political rights by special formula. This related to the Armenians, Latins and Maronites. There were ongoing talks for a solution to the Cyprus situation, and therefore it was not quite the right time to amend the Constitution with regards to the reference of religious groups.

In relation to the National Institution for the Protection of Human Rights, there had been considerable discussion of the Paris Principles. It was felt that they should be given legal substance by the Council of Ministers, rather than by the law. As the Government at the time did not realize how important it was for the National Institution for the Protection for Human Rights to be entirely independent from the Government, it was thus established through a Memorandum from the Council of Ministers. It had competence to take action on the basis of all international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The institution could visit prisons and other locations, and take action on behalf of any class of people. It had been particularly active recently with regards to prisoners, asylum seekers, detainees, and other groups. It was taking a very long time for the Government to ensure its compatibility with the Paris Principles, and there were also financial considerations. In the meantime, a number of other national human rights institutions, such as the Ombudsman and the Commissioner for Children's Rights, which were fully in line with the Paris Principles, had been established, and they were very active.

Human rights education was a very important issue, and had been taken up intensively recently for many reasons, Ms. Koursoumba said, in particular due to the intervention of the Commissioner for Children's Rights, which was constantly making suggestions to the Ministry of Education, as well as to changes in civil society. It was a big issue, and, in the new curriculum, there was a subject for education interdisciplinary and experientially. It was also a tool for education - the purpose was to teach human rights and get human rights through education. There were programmes through the Education Ministry, but also projects and activities run by NGOs and the Children's Commissioner in which the Ministry participated. Human rights education was formal, and was a requirement of the new curriculum. There was a lot to be done in this regard - it was an issue of changing evolving attitudes and cultures within society, to create awareness, and there were institutions working towards this. With regards to gender issues, slow progress in this regard was also a matter of society. Women today in Cyprus attended tertiary education at the same level as men, maybe even more. Today, there was an increased number of women in high level posts in the public sector and in the private sector. What was difficult was the situation in decision-making bodies, and this required a change of attitudes and cultures, as well as for Governments to create the right structure for women to be able to work the same hours as men without being accused of neglecting her duties as a mother or a spouse. There was no discrimination in the legislation, and the Courts did pronounce on this. The general Ombudsman had been very active in this regard.

There were some issues of human rights which did not exist in Cyprus - there was no hunger or malnutrition, as there were in other countries, Ms. Koursoumba said. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution did not cover all human rights in the Covenant, but the fact that all human rights instruments had been ratified made them part of the Cypriot law and were self-executing. The Government tried to rationalise claims on the budget, including those made by the Ombudsman. Cyprus was a country of emigration in the 1930s and 1940s, and Cypriots did very well abroad. Now, it was a new era for the Government and for the people, and it was a country that imported immigrants. The legal and legislative framework in this regard was changing. In the minds of the people, it was a change in society, and therefore had to be integrated within society. The changes made by the Government for the new people and for the natives of the country to be integrated and function well together were proving effective - there were no serious incidents of discrimination against these groups. Asylum seekers were not irregular migrants - from the moment any person filed an application as an asylum seeker, they acquired a legal status and received all the benefits afforded to asylum seekers in accordance to the relevant Refugee Law, if asylum had been granted. Once the application was rejected, then the person was considered an illegal migrant. Legal aid was granted by law to any person complaining of a violation of human rights and this applied to asylum seekers.

Signature of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant was being considered by the Government, Ms. Koursoumba said, and she hoped it would be signed as soon as the protocol opened for signature. Cyprus earnestly hoped that there would be a solution to the Cyprus issue soon, and that at the next report it would be able to report on the situation throughout the island and for all people on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The practical modalities that had been put in place for human rights education aimed, the delegation said, to raise awareness of the issue for all stakeholders. In schools it was approached through an inter-disciplinary method, and in this effort a number of Governmental and non-governmental organizations were involved which offered their expertise and valuable experience. It would be more systematically addressed in the new curriculum, which was currently being drafted. It focused on teaching tolerance of other groups, and the equal treatment of all, including those with special needs and from diverse cultural backgrounds. It respected the dignity of every child and their human rights.

The situation of migration to Cyprus had overwhelmed a system which had not been designed for it, in relation to detention centres, improvements were effected to bring the conditions in line with the requirements of international monitoring bodies. Cyprus enjoyed full employment conditions. The economy was healthy. Turkish Cypriots were engaged in activity in all sectors of the economy, but mostly in construction, where they earned high wages. There were 3,000 Turkish Cypriots registered with the social insurance scheme.

Questions by Committee Experts on articles six to nine, on the right to work; the right to decent work; the right to form or join trade unions and the right to strike; and the right to social security

Committee Experts raised a number of questions and issues, including what was the present trend of employment, in particular unemployment among the young and long-term unemployment and was there any problem among migrants in this regard; did migrants have access to all forms of employment including in the private sector; was the basic salary enough to cover the cost of living and allow people to achieve a normal standard of living; whether there was a high number of illegal, undeclared workers; what particular measures had been undertaken or were being undertaken to ensure a better balance of salaries between men and women; were there policies to encourage women's employment in the public sector and the higher echelons of the civil service; was registration with a trade union accessible to all, no matter their status or origin, including those employed in domestic work; whether the basic social pension for retirees was adequate; what was being done to ensure that all vulnerable groups were covered by social security and what were the benchmarks and time-frames in this regard; and what was the situation with regards to access to social security benefits for the homeless.

Questions by Committee Experts on articles ten to twelve, on protection of the family, mothers, and children; the right to an adequate standard of living including adequate food, clothing and housing; and the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Among the questions and issues raised by Committee Experts was what were the percentages of mixed marriages between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus and what was the rate of survival of these marriages; whether there was a policy to support Cypriot identity regardless of ethnic origin; why cabaret dancers were considered artists and granted a visa on these grounds; what progress had been made on education on reproductive health, and what were the resources in the State's health budget in this regard; whether there was a universal health system and whether contraceptive health measures were disseminated freely; what was the situation with regards to abortion; what was the situation with regards to the children of displaced women, who were not granted refugee status, as this gave them limited rights with regards to housing and schooling; what was the progress that had been made with regards to improving the situation of rural families, and what still remained to be done; whether there had been changes in the policy with regards to which health services were provided free of charge, in particular with regards to gynaecological examinations for pregnant and migrant women; whether there truly were no homeless in Cyprus; and whether marriages for the Muslim community were regulated differently from those for the Christian community and whether there were therefore two systems, or whether there was one that served all communities.

Response by Delegation

Responding to these questions and others, Ms. Koursoumba said that a comment had been made that Cyprus had changed from a State that exported migrants to a country that imported them, and this was true. The migration model in Cyprus with regards to economic migrants was a model of control. People came to Cyprus with secured work, and came on a temporary basis. This model had been adopted as the population was originally quite small, as was the economy, and controlling the migration flow protected the migrants from exploitation. A contract had to be signed before arrival in the country, and people came for specific employment for a specific period of time. Cyprus advocated for shared burden of responsibility in respect to asylum seekers. Unemployment in Cyprus was very low. Trends among young people were higher than with others, but they were still very low, and there were programmes and models to combat this. Long-term unemployment was minimal. There could be no unemployment of immigrants, obviously. Migrants who came legally and asylum seekers had access to employment.

The Government believed that the minimum salary allowed people to enjoy a decent standard of life. If income was below that allowing just and fair conditions of life, there were schemes to supplement this. In relation to the gender gap in pay, Ms. Koursoumba said that women had professional jobs. There was a full generation of women with education at the same level as men, and there were equal numbers of women in public and private employment, maybe even more, as there were 51 per cent women on the island. Where there was a gap was in decision-making posts and political posts, and there was work being done to remedy this. Social insurance was obligatory for all, and covered everybody. There was a benefits scheme for those whose pensions might fall below the required minimum standard, and this covered Cypriots, European Union citizens, and third-country inhabitants of Cyprus. There were no homeless people in Cyprus. If there were people identified who had no roof, then the Government put them in hotels until proper accommodation was found, and this was often done for asylum-seekers, who were the type of people who were usually found homeless.

On mixed marriages, marriage between Greek and Turk Cypriots was not considered in the eyes of the law to be "mixed"- it was a marriage between Cypriots. Any marriage between any persons held under the marriage law was considered to be valid. Thereafter, every person had freedom of religion and of thought, and could choose to have a religious marriage, Ms. Koursoumba said. Religious marriages were valid if performed by a religious marriage officer registered by the law. Problems occurred in relation to marriages performed in the occupied area, as these took place under a regime that was not recognised, or marriages that were celebrated by Muslim officers who were not registered under the law. There was very good legislation relating to trafficking and exploitation of people and the protection of victims, and was enacted in 2007. The law was enacted for the purpose of implementation of a number of international instruments specified in paragraph 77 of the report. This legislation covered provisions relating to women, children and pornography but particularly in relation to the children there was a reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and specifically to the best interests of the child, which was very effective.

There were specific programmes with regards to contraception, and civil society worked actively in this area in collaboration with the Government, disseminating information and distributing contraception. Abortion was an issue that had been in the public eye recently in the context of unwanted pregnancies among adolescents. There were efforts to increase public awareness and promote dialogue between parents and children in this regard, Ms. Koursoumba said. Family planning education would start in school, and suggestions had been made that this start in pre-primary school, and concentrate on informing children about their lives as human beings. These classes would be included in the regular curriculum. There should also be programmes aimed at families to encourage dialogue, and not just on these topics.

The issue of children of displaced women not being recognized as refugees was under consideration. In the early days after the Turkish invasion, the Government at the time gave the benefits to the head of displaced families, namely the father. As time went by, this created anomalies and injustices, and was an issue that was constantly open with the Government, was raised with the National Institution for the Protection of Human Rights, and with the Parliament. The Government had two considerations in mind - if the status of displaced could be passed on, then a time would be reached when all Cypriots were qualified as displaced persons. The other problem was financial, and was to give the benefits to the man and woman equally, which would be fairer, Ms. Koursoumba said. The process of family reunification was indeed long, mainly due to the process set out in the law, which were enacted in harmonisation with the relevant European Union directive. Cyprus alone could not do anything to change this.

On the Roma, Ms. Koursoumba said that this was a very important issue Europe-wide. The Roma in Cyprus could either be Cypriots, thus in the country before 1960, or they could be European Union nationals. The employer of a non-Cypriot had to sign a social security agreement before importing the worker. No child was denied education, not even the child of someone illegally on the island. To her knowledge, there had been no incident or reported incident of a child being caught for being illegally on the island due to information given by the schools as to their origin to the appropriate authorities, but this matter required further thought. Going back to the Roma, there were special teachers who could communicate with parents, breakfasts provided for the Roma children, the organisation of inter-cultural events, and housing facilities.

Regarding employment issues, the delegation said the proportion of unemployment was very low - three to four per cent. Even after accession to the European Union and the application of the right to free movement, there was still a low unemployment rate. The financial crisis might affect this, but the delegation hoped that it would not cause high unemployment rates. There were some groups of workers who had higher unemployment rates: the young from 15 to 24, and women. Long-term unemployment was also negligible. Legislation had been adopted to encourage women to enter the labour market, including the Equal Pay Law and the Equality Act. There were also programmes subsidising the activities of inactive women to encourage women entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses by subsidies. Flexible types of employment, which were more tied to women, were also encouraged. All social security contributors had the same rights and access to benefits, subsidies and pensions on an equal footing- there was no discrimination on the grounds of nationality. Greek and Turkish Cypriots, European Union citizens and third-country nationals all contributed and had access to benefits.

The minimum wage covered certain occupations, the delegation said. Usually the terms of employment were regulated by collective agreements, the result of collective bargaining between employers and employees organisations. Nevertheless, there were certain employments where collective bargaining was weak, and the State intervened to ensure minimal wages for these. These included childcare workers, clerks, security guards, and employees working in sanitation in clinics, hospitals, and homes for the elderly. On the law on the protection of victims of trafficking and exploitation, it was worth emphasising that the law on trafficking penalised trafficking, sexual exploitation, and labour exploitation, and as the trafficking of children was much graver, the penalties for trafficking children were much higher. There were several other legal provisions to protect children and facilitate their participation in the criminal justice system. If the income of any person living in Cyprus was not enough to cover the basic and special needs of that person, then supplementary benefits were provided to that person.

Responding to brief follow-up questions, Ms. Koursoumba explained that migrant workers could, upon retirement in their own country, claim their pension rights from Cyprus, providing there was a bilateral agreement with that country. There was a very good law combating sexual exploitation, but this did not mean that the phenomenon had been eradicated - but the problem was more under control than it had been before. It was a good start, and its implementation would not violate human rights. On child labour, there had been laws in place for many years prohibiting children from taking on any type of work under the age of fifteen, and for some types of work, under the age of seventeen. Housing schemes existed to encourage young people to return to areas which were near the buffer zone and give these areas life once more.

Questions by Committee Experts on articles thirteen to fifteen, on the right to education; compulsory free education; and the right to take part in cultural life, and to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications

Committee Experts raised a number of questions and issues, including what was the situation with regards to updated recommendations on the divided situation of the country; were NGOs promoting exchanges between the different communities receiving any form of national support; and what was being done to protect the emerging or new minorities, and whether the policy of the Government was following the recommendations of the Advisory Committee under the Framework Convention on National Minorities in this regard.

Response by Delegation

Responding to these questions and others, Ms. Koursoumba said there were a number of NGOs that received Government grants, including a movement for the support of foreign people from the Welfare Service, the Family Violence Association. “National minorities” was not a term that was defined under the Framework Convention. In Cyprus the problem was that what could be defined as national minorities had been referred to under the Constitution as "religious groups", but Cyprus accepted that they were ethnic minorities, and that they required protection, and granted them this. Recently it was being considered by the Government that the Roma were another group that were an ethnic minority, and there was a need for a position on them. Migrants could not be considered under the Framework Convention as they were not traditionally on the island. The Government did not wish to undermine the Turkish Cypriots, they were equal to the Greek Cypriots, that was a Community under the Constitution.

Concluding Remarks

LEDA KOURSOUMBA, Law Commissioner of Cyprus, in closing remarks, said Cyprus was very grateful for this process, which gave Cyprus the opportunity to reflect on what it was doing and had done, and, most importantly, its impact, and what happened in practice. It was an opportunity for Government departments to get together and examine what was being done and its impact on safeguarding rights. The Committee was a body that would guide and help Cyprus on the better implementation of rights safe-guarded by the Covenant. The suggestions and recommendations would be seriously considered, and Cyprus hoped that it would have further progress to report next time.

ROCIO BARAHONA RIERA, said Chairperson of the Committee, said he wished on behalf of the Committee to thank the delegation, as the responses given enabled the Committee to complete the review. The presence of the delegation showed the importance Cyprus gave to economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee awaited the next report, and would be sending its concluding observations in a few days to the Mission of Cyprus, with a view to making recommendations to the State Party, with the shared view of improving gradually economic, social and cultural rights.
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