In its entirety, the Division of Human Rights, Criminal and Correctional Policy processes, suggests and shapes actions and initiatives which seek to further promote the principles of human rights and strengthen the institutional framework for their effective implementation and practice. The department also focuses on the ongoing support and encouragement of activities to raise awareness in human rights matters, as well as on the ongoing improvement of the levels of protection of human rights in Cyprus. The division pays particular attention to the developments relevant to the respect and promotion of human rights by the relevant public services, as per their responsibility of their obligations in line with the membership of Cyprus in the European Union as well as in other international and European Human Rights organisations.
NATIONAL STRATEGY AND NATIONAL ACTION PLAN FOR THE PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The adoption of a National Strategy for the protection and promotion of human rights and its relevant national action plan will contribute towards the design and the implementation of specific, horizontal and targeted actions for the systematic promotion and integrated measures against phenomena of human rights violations.
In respect of that, and following consultation with all co-responsive ministries, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order submitted a plan to the Cabinet of Ministers on 14/12/2018 seeking the adoption of the First National Strategy for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights.
The National Strategy is supported by the following three core pillars:
1) The protection and respect of human rights;
2) The promotion of human rights and compliance with the international and European obligations of the Republic of Cyprus;
3) The prevention, information, raising awareness for the formation of a culture sensitive to respecting human rights.
The final plan of the National Strategy, drafted in collaboration with the Law School of the University of Cyprus, has already been submitted to the ad-hoc ministerial committee – which consists of the ministers of Justice and Public Order, Interior Affairs, Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance- for its views before the final draft is submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.
CHILDREN IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW
In the context of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order policy for the prevention and tackling of juvenile delinquency a bill with the title “The children in conflict with the Law” Law has been drafted. The bill aims to prevent juvenile delinquency and establish a child-friendly criminal justice system. It introduces child-centred approaches and regulates judicial and out of Court processes, providing prevention measures, as well as alternative to custody sentences. The detention of children is the ultimate measure that can be imposed. The bill requires the establishment of multidisciplinary committees which will deal with children in conflict with the law, while cases in which children are charged with an offence, will be tried by a special Court for these cases. The bill has been tabled in the House of Representatives and at this stage, it is being examined by the Parliamentary Committee of Legal Affairs.
The ministry of Justice and Public Order prepared and submitted to the legal department a bill which modifies the provisions of the penal code seeking stricter sentences for specific crimes in order to conform with respective sentences for offences under the 2014 Law of the Prevention and Fight against Sexual Abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Pornography. At the same time, the bill proposes stricter sentences for other related offences, due to the fact that the current sentences have been deemed insufficient.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order and the Police are promoting actions based on the recommendations of the University of Cyprus regarding the gaps in the processes of investigation and presentation of human trafficking cases before the Court , including the improvement of cooperation of co-responsible services, the training of police officers in the areas of identification and protection of victims, etc.
IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS FROM INTERNATIONAL AND EUROPEAN ORGANISATIONS REGARDING THE STATUS QUO OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CUPRUS.
The ministry of Justice and Public Order closely monitors the recommendations and suggestions of international and European organisations that follow the status quo of human rights in Cyprus.
The ministry plays a significant role in the preparation of periodic reports submitted by the Republic of Cyprus to international and European organisations as part of the Republic’s duty to fulfil any such required obligations. The ministry takes part in the coordination of monitoring the progress of the recommendations of such organisations, including its participation in international and European collaborations initiated by the Republic of Cyprus for the purpose of promoting and safeguarding human rights.