On 20 January 2022, the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights, Mrs. Maria Stylianou - Lottides, submitted the Annual Report of her Office for the year 2020, as well as the individual Annual Reports detailing the work and action of the Office under the other mandates of the Commissioner to Mr. Nicos Anastasiadis, President of the Republic of Cyprus.
During the presentation of the reports, the Commissioner pointed out that these reports reflect the role and scope of the responsibilities of the Commissioner, being an institution that completed 30 years of existence in 2021, and willingly responds for the benefit of the citizens.
The Commissioner added that, in 2020, the pandemic was undoubtedly at the center of the work and action of the institution, as it tests the endurance of each state and its citizens individually in the context of limiting their rights. To this end, it was our duty to stand by the side of every citizen, in order to stop any possible violations that went beyond the intended purpose, proportional to the necessity of measures. Also, the Commissioner emphasized the enduring role of the Commissioner in standing by every administrator, every person, every citizen and pointing out any maladministration, and seeking to eliminate every injustice.
Referring to her interventions in 2020, the Commissioner pointed out the intervention regarding the relocation of Dali asphalt concrete plants, in relation to which a decision has been taken by the Council of Ministers to relocate them, as well as the continuous assistance to any vulnerable group of the population such as migrants, asylum seekers, people with disabilities, but also our fellow citizens who are in need of state support, so they can continue living in dignity.
Following this way, and as it can be seen from the Reports, we have contributed to the rapid payment process of the allowances to which the citizens are entitled to, so that they can have a decent living, as the Commissioner said.
In addition to the Annual Report, the Commissioner also referred to the special issue on interventions related to Covid-19 and the newly implemented competence of the Forced Returns Monitoring Mechanism that started in 2018 and took operational form in 2019. Under this jurisdiction, the Office monitors the returns of irregular staying third-country nationals, ie those who have lost their residence permit, and whether there is any violation of their rights from the moment of their deportation to when they board the plane.
The Commissioner also submitted a number of special reports for 2020 on monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which involves visits to any place where a person is subject to confinement, such as prisons, detention centers, reception center, nursing homes or a psychiatric hospital.
The Annual Report of the Equality Body and the publication of a “know-your-rights” Guide for prisoners, and new arrivals at prisons, were also handed over, and finally, submitted the first edition of the National Human Rights Institution thanking the President and members of the Council of Ministers who contributed to the independence of the Authority by excluding the Officers of the Commissioner of Administration from the general examinations, and their participation in examinations of a special subject designated by the Commissioner.
On his part, the President of the Republic thanked and congratulated the Commissioner "because with the completion of 30 years since the establishment of the institution, the thought and the need to create the institution through a variety of actions related to the protection of human rights in general, is rewarded.”
“In this way you have made a significant contribution to correcting distortions and erroneous administrative decisions of either Ministries or the central government in the form of the Council of Ministers. This is why I want to reiterate that I am completely satisfied with the work you are doing, and you have shown that you dare intervene when and where you should intervene and that is what matters and protects the independence of the institution.”
“Of course, the reports will be studied carefully, so that the relevant instructions can be given to the competent authorities in order for them to be even more diligent in the performance of their duties,” continued President Anastasiadis.
Both the Annual Report and the other Reports are posted on the website of the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights.
Source: Office of the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights (Ombudsman), Cyprus