President says government achieved much in protection of human rights

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades referred to the achievements of the government over the past five years in the issue of respect of human rights, noting that the struggle to put an end to Turkey’s occupation and reunify the island is also based on the respect of human rights.

The President, who was the keynote speaker at an event on Monday at the Presidential Palace, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the foundation on which the modern international community builds its respect towards people.

He added that the financial crisis of the past few years risked rights, mainly social rights, and said he was proud because we never lost heart, we listened to the hardships of the citizens who were most affected, we did not try to console the citizens or cultivate false hope, but we tried to convince them that we could exit the crisis in a coordinated, organised, and planned method, and look to the future with optimism.

President Anastasiades said courageous measures and reforms were implemented, with the greatest possibly being the national health plan.

The President referred to the role of the courts, noting that the government has upgraded and broadened the options for the faster delivery of justice and the protection of citizens.

Regarding the Police, he said the force’s operational capacity has been enhanced for the prevention and combatting of crime, and the protection of citizens, while positive changes have been brought about in the prisons.

He noted that over the past five years efforts were made to eliminate corruption and promote the principles of accountability, transparency, and good administration.

Referring to gender equality, President Anastasiades said many legislative changes are in the pipeline to protect families and children’s rights. He also said a landmark in the respect of human rights in Cyprus is the voting of the law for the cohabitation agreement.

On the issue of refugees, President Anastasiades said we responded positively whenever called on to rescue refugees, victims of wars in our region, adding that Cyprus’ actions have been praised by the EU and international organisations.

President Anastasiades said Cyprus, a victim itself of the massive violation of human rights of its citizens, was focused on the full respect of all human rights. The past is reflected in our daily lives, it determines and burdens the management of many issues. We are convinced that the solution of the Cyprus problem, which we pursue, will make Cyprus – of two communities and three religious groups – an example of harmonious coexistence and mutual respect.

Attorney General Costas Clerides said the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be a day of regrouping in order to address all kinds of violations of rights, and pointed out that since the 1974 invasion by Turkey, a third of Cyprus is under occupation, resulting in massive violations of fundamental human rights.

President of the Supreme Court Myronas Nikolatos referred to the high level of independence enjoyed by the courts, noting that justice in Cyprus is reliable. However, he pointed out that the main problem was the delays in delivering justice and that a lot has been done over the past few years in the right direction.

Source: Cyprus News Agency