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Ombudswoman says cases of police misconduct and abuse ongoing

File Photo: Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou with Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou

Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou said on Wednesday that her office continues to identify cases of police misconduct and abuse towards citizens.

Savvidou was present at the House finance committee’s meeting which discussed the annual budget of the ombudswoman’s office.

The total budget for the Ombudsman’s office for next year is € 1.92m, around 5 per cent more than this year’s.

“We continue to identify cases of misconduct or mistreatment to citizens,” Savvidou said in response to a question by Akel MP Irini Charalambidou.

Her office, Savvidou said, is in constant consultation with the police chief while her officials who specialise in human rights issues participate in many training programmes for police officers.

As regards the detention centre for undocumented migrants in Menoyia, Savvidou said that the situation “in general is not bad”. Following interventions of her office, she said, cases of poor treatment of detainees have been limited.

The Menoyia centre in the Larnaca district receives irregular immigrants who face deportation and immigrants who are involved in criminal cases and are detained until their trial.

Officials from Savvidou’s office visit Menoyia almost on a weekly basis, she said.

The numbers of detainees in Menoyia has also been reduced significantly she added, as the police and the justice ministry followed her office’s recommendations to not detain foreign nationals who are objectively impossible to deport.

“At the moment a very small number compared with previously is being detained in Menoyia,” Savvidou said.

The Ombudswoman also told MPs that as regards the policy of the education ministry to refer children with disabilities to special education would take a long time to fix due to the high cost of implementing the right policy which is to integrate children with disabilities in general education.

“It is a huge issue and we started to investigate recently because of our responsibility to monitor the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” Savvidou said.

“We found that the education ministry in recent years has tended to refer children with disabilities special education, and the UN Convention urges member states that have signed the convention to do just the opposite, that is, for children with disabilities to be integrated into general education,” Savvidou said. She added that this mean a shift in the policy applied until now by the education ministry.

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