Cypriot Ombudswoman rejects ECRI comments about her Office

Cyprus Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights (Ombudswoman) Maria Stylianou-Lottides has rejected comments regarding her ?ffice included in the conclusions issued on Thursday by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe (CoE) regarding two of the recommendations in the Commissions 2016 report on Cyprus.

Lottides told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that her Office had conducted in December 2017 a one-month campaign with a view to promote human rights. Moreover she said that they conducted in 2017 and 2018 a campaign to raise awareness at the Police and at schools on how to address violations of human rights, adding that this campaign is still underway.

The Commissioner said that her Office participates together with other services and organizations in the European Hombat project aiming to combating homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.

She noted that the annual Report of her Office for 2017 was prepared, released and handed over to the President of the Republic and to the Parliament and that the 2018 Report is currently being drafted.

Lottides, who assumed her duties as Commissioner in 2017, said that her Office also prepared certain other Reports about asylum-seekers, religious freedom and minority affairs in Cyprus.

She noted that her Office will from now on procced with its own exams for the applicants for vacant posts, so that it will have a more active role in choosing the most efficient candidates.

In its conclusions, among others, ECRI noted with concern that the Office of the Commissioner for Administration has not carried out any activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups or communication activities, and has not issued any publications or reports, including annual reports, or recommendations on discrimination issues since 2016″.

Moreover it said that the recruitment of civil servants to all public services in Cyprus including independent authorities such as the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights is the responsibility of the Public Service Commission and that although the specific qualifications required by staff in her office are drafted by the Commissioner for Administration, it appears that she is still not consulted on appointments.

Source: Cyprus News Agency