President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday emphasised the positive steps Cyprus has taken to improve human rights in the past five years despite the economic crisis.
He was speaking on the occasion on World Human Rights Day, which is commemorated every year on December 10.
The economic crisis, he said, threatened many social rights.
“But I’m proud because we did not delay action. We understood the difficulties of the people who suffered the most, we did not cultivate false hopes, but stove to convince them that we can co-ordinate, get organised and with a plan get out of the crisis and look ahead with optimism,” he said.
He added bold measures were taken and institutional changes and reforms were made.
Referring to the minimum guaranteed income scheme, he said the entire framework of social benefits was rationalised based on a respect for human rights and the need to ensure a minimum level of dignity for all.
In his speech, Anastasiades hailed the implementation of the general health system as the top reform to ensure a decent level of health and social well-being for the entire population and it will provide safety net against discrimination and exclusion.
He then talked about the crucial role of the courts, saying the government has been working for a faster and more efficient administration of justice. The most important change is the setting up of a commercial court which is expected early next year.
The current administration has also strengthened the police’s operational capacity to prevent and fight crimes and positive changes have been made to the prison system.
Over the last five years, “we have put particular emphasis on tackling corruption and promoting the principles of accountability, transparency and good administration,” he concluded.