Following the Ombudsman’s Initiative Report, dated March 26th 2020, regarding measures that must be taken in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in places where people are deprived of their liberty, such as prisons and other places of quarantine, which were immediately implemented by the State and following the Ombudsman’s Statement, dated April 3rd, 2020, in its capacity as the Independent Mechanism for the Promotion of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, regarding the access of persons with disabilities to information on the virus pandemic, a visit to the “Pournara” Reception and Accommodation Centre for Migrants in Kokkinotrimithia (for Applicants for International Protection) was deemed necessary, in order to review the living conditions of all residents, with respect to the preservation of their fundamental rights and freedoms, in light of the measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
In a relevant letter, a series of questions were sent to the Minister of Interior, in order to acquire information and clarifications on the following issues:
- Do the people residing in the Reception and Accommodation Centers established by the State have access to health care and how is this achieved considering the coronavirus pandemic.
- Whether protocols and legal procedures are followed in case there is a suspected case of coronavirus infection.
- Whether there were considerations to change the way the “Pournara” Reception and Accommodation Center in Kokkinotrimithia was established and if so, have there been any measures to change its configuration like increasing the sanitary and housing facilities.
- Measures taken for providing food to the center’s residents.
- If the residents at the centers can freely move about.
This subsequent report, in the Ombudsman’s competence as the National Human Rights Institute and the National Preventive Mechanism, is submitted to the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, as well as the Minister of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance, in order to take appropriate action.
Source: Cyprus Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights