UN questions Greek Cypriots over torture convention

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Greek Cypriots pressed on implementation of Convention against Torture and treatment of Turks in prison

Greek Cypriots pressed on implementation of Convention against Torture and treatment of Turks in prison

GENEVA - The United Nations Committee on Torture has questioned Greek Cypriot officials over their progress in implementing the body's convention on human rights.

Leda Koursoumba, the Law Commissioner of the Greek Cypriot region, was questioned by the committee in Geneva on Thursday for nearly two hours over the extent of Greek Cypriot compliance with the Convention Against Torture.

The questioning followed the publication of the Greek Cypriots' combined fourth and fifth reports on progress in implementing Article 19 of the UN Convention against Torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments.

Koursoumba noted that legislation had been enacted, or was in progress and that EU Directives had been transposed into national laws, improving the country's migration and anti-trafficking policy. 

"A number of initiatives and policies have been implemented or are in the process of implementation, [such as] improving prison and detention conditions," she said.

George Tugushi, a committee member from Georgia, said that prisons in the Greek Cypriot region were overcrowded and the number of inmates who committed suicide had increased comparing the previous year.

Another committee rapporteur said there was  "a difference in treatment given to the Turkish Cypriots from the Greek Cypriot side".

"Our information shows that there are embargoes and isolations given to Turkish Cypriots in your treatment. The perpetrators of torture have been identified, but very little has been done to bring them into book. An effective investigation has not been done," he said.

"The relatives of a number of Turkish Cypriot detainees were also denied entry to the Greek Cypriot region from Turkey," the rapporteur added.

The Greek Cypriots will reply to the questions during a second day of UN committee hearing on Friday.

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