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ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe


21 September 2016

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today concluded its consideration of the sixth periodic report of Cyprus on its implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Presenting the report, Leda Koursoumba, Law Commissioner, presented the main achievements of the Government in the previous period, specifically in the field of the economy, where the introduction of the Macroeconomic Adjustment Programme and the Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme succeeded in improving the overall economic performance of the country and reducing the unemployment rate. The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus contained an extensive bill of rights, and Cyprus had ratified the majority of the international and regional human rights instruments. The Committee was informed about the improvements that the Government made in numerous fields in the past few years, from the provision of free legal aid, the adoption of the National Action Plan on Trafficking of Human Beings for the years 2016-2018, development of the anti-discrimination policy, and the Strategic Plan on Equality between Women and Men.

In the interactive dialogue which followed, Experts were interested to hear more about the impact of the Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme, the unemployment rate in Cyprus, the health care system, the rights of migrant workers, the issue of domestic violence, as well as the situation surrounding asylum seekers. Questions were also raised with regard to the access to education, particularly that of minority groups – Turkish Cypriots, Roma and students with disabilities. Other issues brought up by Experts related to housing, protection of cultural heritage sites, forced evictions and persons living at the risk of poverty.

In concluding remarks, Ms. Koursoumba, affirmed that the Committee’s concluding observations were to be sent to the Council of Ministers so that all relevant state authorities could incorporate the recommendations in their respective policies and work.

Waleed Sadi, Chairperson of the Committee, in closing remarks, reiterated the need of Cyprus to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Covenant and expressed his hope that concluding observations of the Committee would be implemented by all the relevant state authorities, including the judiciary branch.

The delegation of Cyprus included representatives of the Law Commission, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, and the Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public at 3 p.m. today to discuss the sixth periodic report of Poland (E/C.12/POL/6).


The sixth periodic report of Cyprus can be read here.

Presentation of the Report

LEDA KOURSOUMBA, Law Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, stated that both the report and the list of issues, which covered the period up to July 2016, had been compiled on the basis of information provided by the competent Government departments, the Attorney General’s Office and independent national monitoring mechanisms, such as the Ombudsman and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights. The country’s Constitution contained an extensive bill of rights, and Cyprus had ratified the majority of the international and regional human rights instruments.

The Government had successfully implemented the Macroeconomic Adjustment Programme, mitigating the negative consequences of the financial crisis, which had led to satisfying growth rates and a reduction of the unemployment rate. The legislation providing for the Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme, designed with technical assistance from the International Labour Organization, had been enacted in July 2014. The scheme had strengthened the protection of vulnerable households, while ensuring minimum standards of living. The basic needs of persons were calculated based on the Minimum Consumption Basket, which included needs for food, clothing, personal care, health, communication, transport, household costs and social inclusion costs.

In the migration field, free legal aid was granted to refugees, asylum seekers, illegally staying third-country nationals, as well as victims of trafficking. Free legal aid was also available in civil and criminal proceedings for violations of human rights, including those covered by the Covenant, in proceedings before the Family Court and in cases concerning the sale of mortgage property. The National Action Plan on Trafficking of Human Beings for the years 2016-2018 envisaged the Government’s priorities for the next three years in addressing trafficking for labour exploitation and for marriages of convenience.

As for the anti-discrimination, a Police Policy Statement for the prevention and combating of discrimination and racist crime had been elaborated in 2013. A National Certification Body had been established in 2014 to evaluate incorporation and implementation of best practices relating to equal treatment and equal pay principles in the working environment. Women’s participation in the labour market was promoted through the Maternity Protection Law, which provided for additional maternity leave. The balanced participation of women in decision making positions had remained a priority for the National Machinery for Women’s Rights, in line with the Strategic Plan on Equality between Women and Men (2014-1017), adopted in 2014. Finally, when it came to the right to education, the Strategic Plan for the period 2015-2017 aimed to implement educational policies that embodied the values of equality, inclusivity and innovation. Also, significant improvements had been made to the educational system in prisons, in line with the European Union Recommendation on adult education policy.

Questions by Experts

ASLAN ABASHIDZE, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Cyprus, requested further information on the implementation of rights under the Covenant, in the domestic law. In what manner were the provisions of the Covenant incorporated into the municipal law? Were the rights incorporated as executive provisions, and how was the municipal law harmonized with the Covenant?

What actions did the Government take in order to bring the activity of the Ombudsman fully in line with the Paris Principles, ensuring that the institution of Ombudsman received status A?

Asylum seekers were supposed to be granted free legal aid during the first instance procedure, in line with the European Union asylum acquis, but that had not been the case. What measures were taken to provide free legal aid to marginalized groups?

On the topic of anti-discrimination laws, what had been done to raise the level of anti-discrimination in courts?

Question was raised on the employment of the asylum seekers. Taking into account that asylum seekers could only work for the period of six months and only in certain professions, had there been any Government plan to ensure equal access to employment for the asylum seekers and refugees?

The Expert also wanted to know what Cyprus had done to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, most principally the Goals 1, 3 and 4?

Another Expert raised several questions on the implementation of the Macroeconomic Adjustment Programme and its impact on the unemployment. What were the key factors that had prompted improvements in the labour market? To what extent were the improvements a result of specific measures of the Macroeconomic Adjustment Programme?

Could the delegation provide desegregated data on the unemployment rate? How did the unemployment rate evolve during the last five years, asked the Expert.

Regarding the youth unemployment and precarious employment, the Expert inquired about the actual level of youth unemployment and how the rate had evolved under the influence of the adopted policies and programmes. The information was also sought on the actual level of persons working under precarious job agreements.

Another Expert wanted to know more about the differences in the youth employment in urban and rural areas.

The Subsidy Schemes through which employers were encouraged to recruit unemployed persons had resulted in the employment of 5,000 persons by the end of 2013. Was that a satisfactory result, asked the Expert.

The delegation was further asked to inform the Committee about the results of the project “Actions for Reducing the Gender Pay Gap”, which had lasted from 2010 to 2015. Had the project succeeded in setting balanced participation of women and men in decision-making positions in public and political life?

While the percentage of women members of Parliament had risen following the last parliamentary elections, the delegation was asked to inform the Committee about the position of women in business, but also in other parts of the Government.

Regarding the informal economy, question was raised on the estimated input of informal economy to the Gross Domestic Product, as well as the percentage of the workforce deployed in the informal economy.

Another Expert asked what measures the Government had undertaken to ensure the protection of labour rights of persons working in the informal economy.

More information was needed on the findings of the labour inspections system. The Expert wanted to know about the findings with regard to the just conditions of work, particularly in terms of fair remuneration, safe and healthy work conditions, equal opportunities in employment, rest and working hours.

On the issue of migrant workers, additional information was sought on the main findings of labour inspections on the working conditions on migrant workers.

What was the situation regarding undocumented migrant workers? What measures had been taken to protect undocumented migrant workers from discrimination and labour exploitation?
The Expert asked how the non-European Union national migrant workers were protected in farming and domestic settings. Did migrant workers have access to the judicial protection?
Regarding trade union rights, the report stated that more than 45 percent of employees were covered by the provisions of collective agreements, but that the trend had been declining. What was the reason for the decline in the coverage of employees by collective agreements?

Turning to social security issues, the Expert noted that pensions under the social security fund had been frozen for the period 2013-2016. In the light of economic recovery, would that freeze be waived as of 2017?

More information was needed on the Guaranteed Minimum Income. How many people benefited from that scheme, and did the scheme guarantee the implementation of the right to the adequate standard of living? When the scheme had been designed through the social impact assessment process, had the impact assessment been conducted in line with the human rights principles and in line with the Covenant?

Replies by the Delegation

On the matter of the implementation of Covenant in the national law, the delegation emphasised that, under the Constitution of Cyprus, any international treaty ratified by Cyprus became part of the national law with superior force. If any national provision was considered contradictory to any international provision, the international law provisions prevailed over the domestic law. Additionally, there were civil actions and criminal proceedings in the judiciary system, safeguarding the rights enshrined in the Covenant.

As for the institution of the Ombudsman, it was established by the law. There were shortcomings in the functioning of the institution, such as the lack of possibility of the Ombudsman to elect its own staff. The institution was funded by the State, and the funding had remained unchanged, whereas other institutions’ had been reduced due to the financial crisis.

Free legal aid was granted during the asylum proceedings conducted at the first level instance in appeal cases. In pure administrative proceedings in Cyprus, the asylum seekers had no legal representatives. In 2015, the administrative court had been established with the competence to look into the substance of decision of the administration on asylum and legal aid was provided for that.

Regarding the provision of social assistance to the asylum seekers, the Government had partially replaced financial with the material aid. The asylum seekers were given food, clothing, cash vouchers and reimbursement for rent, water and electricity, as well as social welfare services. The regulation of the employment of the asylum seekers was determined in line with the local labour market situation. The usual processing time of the asylum seekers took six months.

Macroeconomic Adjustment Programme, a programme which was highly praised by the European Commission, achieved successful structural reforms, financial stabilisation and improved macroeconomic situation. The economy had reached a turning point in 2015, and the unemployment rate had declined.

The delegation acknowledged that the social situation had worsened during the financial crisis and that the share of people at the risk of poverty had increased although indicators had withstood relatively well; that share had been reduced again since 2014.

As for the Guaranteed Minimum Income, the Government had utilised the assistance and the expertise offered by the International Labour Organization in defining methodology and deciding on categories of persons that would be eligible for the Guaranteed Minimum Income.
A major welfare reform had been undertaken to improve the efficiency of the social protection, explained the delegation. The existing system for providing public assistance had been seen as fragmented. The National Registry of Beneficiaries had been made to track the recipients of state aid. A monitoring mechanism had been developed allowing targeted assistance for different vulnerable groups. The information of the applicants could be cross-checked with databases of social security and banks, thus preventing the abuse of the system.

The introduction of the Guaranteed Minimum Income had led to the reduction of the number of beneficiaries, from over 60,000 families to 25,508 families. The reason was to be found in the 63 percent rejection, largely due to applicants having assets or deposits exceeding threshold. The implementation was monitored through preparation of quarterly costing updates and beneficiary profile analysis. A full assessment would be carried out when the transfer from the public assistance scheme was complete.

The informal economy was considered illegal, and the Government was seeking to formalize employment of all workers. The social insurance scheme covered all gainfully employed workers in the country.

Follow-up Questions by Experts

Seeing how the Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme contained some controversial aspects, the delegation was asked to elaborate on complex procedures and wrong targeting of beneficiaries. Additionally, since the scheme replaced the public assistance programmes, question was raised on what had happened with beneficiaries who had been previously using the public assistance programmes, but were ineligible for the new scheme.

What was the new detention policy in regards to detained asylum seekers?

More information was required on the Law on the Recruitment of Persons with Disabilities in the Wider Public Sector, as well as on the benefits provided to the disabled persons.

Taking into account the existence of two British sovereign base areas, namely Akrotiri and Dhekelia, the question was posed if and how the application of the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights had been monitored on the entire territory of the country.

What mechanisms were used to determine the minimum wage, asked an Expert. What compensation had been offered for overtime work?

How did the self-employed women regulate the maternity leave?

Replies by the Delegation

Answering to the questions on the shortcomings of the Guaranteed Minimum Income, the delegation stressed that the International Labour Organization had been using the scheme as a best practice internationally. The scheme was closely monitored by the European Commission and the International Labour Organization.

The minimum wage had been determined for specific sectors. With regard to domestic workers, the minimum gross salary was set to 460 EUR.

Detention of asylum seekers was a new policy targeting third-country nationals that had submitted application for international protection once they had been arrested and deportation initiated. In order to uphold the principle of non-refoulement, and in line with the practice of the European Court of Justice, the asylum seekers were then processed under the accelerated procedure within a period of 30 days maximum.

The temporary freeze of pensions was part of the pension reform package which had also included penalties for early retirement and the gradual increase of contribution for the pensions. The delegation confirmed that the freeze would be lifted.

Follow-up Questions

The Expert asked how women were protected in cases of separation, having in mind the absence of the uniform law governing divorce and the unresolved question of marital property.

The delegation was also asked to provide data on the domestic violence, the number of cases which had been investigated and processed, the number of shelters, and finally the implementation of the National Action Plan on Preventing and Handling Family Violence.

What had been the policy of State to counter human trafficking and why was there a low conviction rate for traffickers?

Question was asked on how the census was conducted.

On the health care issues, questions were raised regarding the already low and additionally decreasing level of public spending on the healthcare and insufficient coverage of health care insurance. What policy did the country have to improve the situation?

The access to education was very limited to vulnerable groups such as the disabled children, Roma, Turkish Cypriots, and particularly Turkish Cypriot girls who faced significant barriers in continuing their education and integrating into the labour market system. Did the Government have a strategy to ensure better access to education and what measures had been considered?

Question was raised on the existing efforts of the authorities to review the history books, seeing how there were two parallel education systems, producing different set of history books in line with different national viewpoints.

Replies by the Delegation

Concerning the assessment of the current social protection mechanism in comparison to the previous one, the delegation stated that the protection that was offered to vulnerable groups now was more targeted, efficient and coordinated. The new Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme contained a stronger activation mechanism for introducing people to the labour market.

Regarding the situation of Turkish Cypriot girls and Roma pupils, the delegation pointed out that the data presented by the Experts had referred to the area which had not been under the effective control of the Government, as pointed out in the international courts’ decisions and the United Nations resolutions. The Committee was further informed that, for Turkish Cypriot students, girls and boys, coming to the government controlled area, every effort was made to safeguard their rights. As for secondary education, the Government paid their fees in private schools even if they lived in the area not under the Government control. As for elementary education, every effort was made in the school they attended, to satisfy their needs, for example in Aghios Antonios Elementary School, where Turkish Cypriot Roma students attended, there were two Turkish Cypriot teachers and their dialect Kurbetcha was being taught.
The reduction of unemployment was to a certain degree attributed to the Government measures. A multitude of programmes had been introduced, including mobilization of the public employment services and training activities. The European Union funds had also been instrumental in achieving better results. The delegation stated that following the economic crisis and the gradual recovery of the economy, the unemployment level had started to decrease since 2015.

The delegation provided a detailed set of figures on the level of unemployment in 2005, as well the recent figures from 2016. Data was provided on the situation of persons working in precarious work.

Concerning the differences of youth unemployment figures in urban and rural areas, it was stated that there were 5,000 unemployed young people in the urban areas, while 2,200 were unemployed in rural areas.

When it came to the protection of non-European Union nationals, the delegation stated that they were protected through the contracts signed by both employers and workers, and stamped by the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. The terms and conditions of employment were those contained in similar collective agreements. Migrant workers could file a complaint with the specially created Complaints Mechanism.

The protection of domestic workers was enhanced with the introduction of transparent procedures, and contracts signed prior to their arrival in the country, which contained all the necessary information. The Health and Safety Law was amended to include the inspection of domestic households.

Concerning persons with disabilities, data showed that from 2010 to 2015, 100 persons with disabilities had been employed through the Recruitment of Persons with Disabilities in the Wider Public Sector Law, mostly in the education sector. The number had been rather low due to the freeze on hiring in the public sector. Persons with disabilities are provided with numerous types of assistance, including the care allowance scheme for paraplegic, special allowance for blind persons, wheelchair loans, financial assistance to organisations of persons with disabilities, etc.

Regarding the compensation of overtime work and paid leave, the delegation stated that, according to the Working Time Directive, paid leave was set at a minimum of four weeks a year.

As for the abolition of allowance for mothers, the delegation informed that the Government decided the allowance was not targeted enough so that was abolished following a relevant vote by the House of Representatives

On the issue of domestic violence, the State was implementing a series of measures, including awareness-raising campaigns, systematic training of professionals, encouraging women to report violence, operating a helpline and counselling, as well as working to improve data collection. The manual of Interdepartmental Cooperation on Domestic Violence, a cooperation between Government agencies and non-governmental organizations, provided a framework on how professionals should collaborate. Relevant state authorities had the duty to refer to the Attorney General any incidents that had been reported. There were two shelters in the country, operated by a civil society organisation.

The National Action Plan on Preventing and Handling Family Violence had been prepared by the Advisory Committee, and the Council of Ministers was expected to approve it by the end of the year. The plan would monitor and prevent domestic violence . All the observations from the evaluation of the previous plan had been taken into account and were included in the current plan, such as gender mainstreaming and strengthening the role of the Advisory Committee. When the National Action Plan on Preventing and Handling Family Violence had been drafted, the recommendations stemming from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, as well the provisions of the Istanbul Convention, had been fully taken into account, informed the delegation.

Regarding the low rate of conviction in the field of domestic violence, it was clarified that such trend was unfortunately present in most of the European Union countries. There is an imbalance between the number of incidents reported and subsequent convictions due to the particularities of such cases. Still, the Government of Cyprus is conducting numerous activities to address the issue of the domestic violence at all levels.

The delegation informed that the Private Employment Agency Law provided a strong regulative framework for regulating the establishment and operation of private employment agencies and combating the labour exploitation of migrant workers. The Labour Department had inspected 115 out of 134 private employment agencies and revoked the license of 15.

As for the state policy on combating human trafficking, the delegation informed the Committee that the Law on the Prevention and Combating Trafficking of Human Beings had been adopted, and the National Referral Mechanism had been adopted in May 2016 and was currently in the process of formulating an implementation strategy. Victims were placed in a government shelter. Victims of trafficking were entitled to free legal aid during the proceedings, temporary residence permit or a registration certificate, medical, psychological and financial assistance. Victims of trafficking were also a category eligible for the Guaranteed Minimum Income.

Regarding the access to health, the delegation admitted that, due to the financial crisis, the public spending had decreased, however the Government had introduced a set of measures to mitigate negative effects and ensure access to quality health care services. Some of the measures included co-payment systems. Under the public health care plan, currently 75 percent of citizens of Cyprus had access to health care. The remaining 25 percent was not eligible for various reasons, e.g. their income exceeds the set criteria. The Government was working on introducing the National Health system which would begin its first phase of implementation in June 2017.

Prevention of discrimination in sexual and reproductive health was ensured on all levels, through appropriate training and education of health care officials.

On the issue of protection and assistance provided to the family, it was stated that the Spouses Property Relations Law had established the right of both spouses to claim property obtained during the marriage. In the case of separation, women were entitled to free legal aid in court proceedings.

Responding to questions on the right to education, the delegation noted that the gender equality policy was implemented in the education sector, and in line with the National Plan on Gender Equality. Information was provided on the major reform in the higher education system. The Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation had been established to increase the quality of education. Additionally, new internship schemes had been developed to increase the level of integration of students into the labour market.

Regarding the education of minority groups, specific action plans had been put in place to fully fulfil the needs of minorities, protect and promote their language. Likewise, the Armenian language was safeguarded by the functioning of the Armenian Schools – preprimary, primary, secondary schools - which are fully subsidized by the Government. The fees of Turkish Cypriot pupils attending private schools of their choice, in the Government-controlled areas, were fully subsidized by the State.
More specifically, regarding the education the Committee was informed that it was free and compulsory for 10 years, including elementary and secondary level. Since 2006, the number of Turkish Cypriot students had decreased considerably in one school, however the number of teachers speaking the language remained the same, so the teaching was adequately sufficient for their linguistic and educational needs. The main issue when it came to Roma enrolment had been reaching out to their parents and instilling a commitment to attend schools. The delegation then presented a set of targeted social inclusion measures for the integration of Roma.

It was further highlighted that the Government was implementing a set of measures to ensure equal education, safeguard equal rights and eliminate social discrimination. In that regard, the Commissioner for Children’s rights had been also tasked to publish a special report and made recommendations for improvement of the system.

Regarding the textbooks, the delegation informed the Committee about the United Nations Development Programme project which prepared textbooks translated in Greek, Turkish and English. The textbooks had been prepared carefully to avoid the use of language that was biased or derogatory against any ethnic group. Instead, the effort was to present events without any exaggerations and by highlighting shared struggles of the two main communities of the island.

Follow-up Questions

Question was raised on the persons living at the risk of poverty rate - what measures had been undertaken to reduce that rate?

What effect did the reduced budget on housing have on marginalized groups, particularly the displaced, Roma and Turkish Cypriots? Did the Government have any plan to introduce a new housing solution?

On the topic of forced evictions, an Expert asked if the scale of evicted persons had decreased. What had happened to persons who had been forcibly evicted, and had they been offered alternative accommodation?

Regarding the equal pay, how did the Government ensure that there had been no job segregation?

When it came to the assistance offered to persons with disabilities, an Expert inquired about the percentage of service offered to them. Another Expert asked whether it would be possible to achieve universal health care. Was there an early mechanism for identification of children with special needs? Question was also asked on the legal definition of inclusive education.

Information was requested on the protection of the cultural heritage sites situated on the territory beyond the effective control of the Government.

On the topic of migrant workers and a possibility to enter dispute with employers, the question was raised again on the possibility to appeal the decision of the Ministry to the court.

To what extent had Cyprus been affected by the current Europe-wide refugee crisis?

An Expert inquired about the percentage of undeclared workers on the labour market system.

Replies by the Delegation

In relation to the question about evictions, the delegation pointed out that there were no known cases that people became homeless as a result of a court decision related to eviction. A number of these cases concerned business premises and in case of people of low means, they received a rent allowance within the General Minimal Income.

As to the question about the Europe-wide refugee crisis, the delegation responded that Cyprus maybe was not affected at the same scale of other European countries, but, given the small size of its population, the numbers were considerable. There was a reception project in place, coordinated by the Civil Defence in which the Welfare and Health Care Services and the Cyprus Red Cross had an important role to play.

Concerning the question of the British Sovereign Base Areas, the delegation pointed out that, pursuant to the Treaty establishing the Republic of Cyprus, the British Sovereign Base Areas remained within the sovereignty and under the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

Regarding the mechanism for early identification of children with special needs, the delegation confirmed that the mechanism did exist within the law.

Inclusive education had been taken on board, following the Salamanca Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Needs Education and Framework for Action. The definition was very wide, and, in spite of the comments that it should be narrowed for operational purposes, it remained such, in order to include all possible symptoms and deficiencies.

Cyprus had developed a contingency plan for the reception of waves of refugees, although in actual numbers the arrivals were not overwhelming, but for the size of Cyprus they were significant. The plan was under the leadership of the Civil Defence Service, but many other departments were involved, such as the Welfare Services, which was in charge of unaccompanied children, the Asylum Service etc.

Protection of the cultural heritage sites was discussed in the framework of the on-going negotiations about the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue. Technical committees had been devised to deal with the issue of religious and archaeological sites, and there is an ongoing dialogue between religious leaders of the two main communities in Cyprus. The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights had visited Cyprus and they were aware of the situation, the delegation informed. It was also stated that the Government of Cyprus attaches great importance to this issue.

The risk of poverty and social exclusion had increased in past years due to the consequences of the financial crisis. In 2013, it had risen to 27,8 percent, but it had then slightly fallen in 2014. Through utilization of funds from the European Social Fund for the creation of special programmes, among others, the Government had committed to undertaking special measures to combat poverty and social exclusion.

On the housing issue, the delegation presented the figures on housing allowances provided to persons with disabilities under the Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme.

It was stated that the equal pay principle applied to all professions, specifying that men and women were entitled to equal pay for work of equal value. Numerous legal safeguards were in place to exclude the possibility of discrimination on sex basis.

Migrant workers did have a right to appeal to courts, additionally to the complaints mechanism where mediators assisted them in the process of resolving the complaint.

Undeclared work comprised an estimated 17 percent of the total workforce. In addition to labour inspections, a system of complaints through a hotline existed to detect undeclared work.

On the health care issue, in addition to public healthcare which covered 75 percent of citizens, there was a private health care system as well as working union care scheme. Regarding the future National Health System, the delegation briefed the Experts on the current activities aimed towards development of system, including the modernization of health system.

Concluding Remarks

LEDA KOURSOUMBA, Law Commissioner, thanked the Committee for a very candid and constructive dialogue. The Committee’s concluding observations were to be submitted to the highest level - the Council of Ministers, so that all relevant state authorities would be instructed to take note of them in their respective policies and work. The members of the Committee were ensured of the Government’s commitment to enhance, promote and safeguard human rights of all people of Cyprus.

ASLAN ABASHIDZE, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Cyprus, thanked the delegation of Cyprus, but also other Experts for their insightful questions and comments. He expressed his hope that a level of trust had been established between the delegation and the Committee. He further stated that the Committee enriched its expertise through the interaction with the delegation, by hearing about innovative practices, particularly the Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme.

WALEED SADI, Chairperson of the Committee, expressed his hope that concluding observations would be taken on board and reflected in the work of all state institutions, particularly the judiciary branch, thus making the Covenant more relevant. He further reiterated the need of Cyprus to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Covenant.

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