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Independent commissioners focus on the protection of citizens’ rights

Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou

The independent posts of the Ombudsman, the Commissioner for the protection of personal data, the Commissioner for Children`s rights, and the Financial Ombudsman each in their respective fields focus on a daily basis  on the protection of citizens’ rights thus enhancing democracy and the rule of law.

The four Commissioners outlined their areas of expertise and their tasks during an event which took place at the European University of Cyprus, in Nicosia, on Wednesday evening.

Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou spoke about the necessity for every modern state to have in place monitoring mechanisms of accountability, transparency and to limit as much as possible phenomena of arbitrary behaviour, abuse of power and the repression of citizens. She also said that the independence of the institutions of Ombudsmen is a prerequisite for their effective operation which is interactive since it also enhances democracy and the rule of law.

On her part, Data Protection Commissioner Irene Loizidou said that the 28th of January, which is the international day for data protection has been placed under the aegis of the Cypriot Chairmanship of the Council of Europe. In this context the Spring Conference of Data Protection Authorities will be hosted in the coastal city of Limassol, on 27 and 28 April with the participation of 100 – 150 delegates.

During her address Children`s Rights Commissioner Leda Koursoumba spoke about the challenges she faced as the first Commissioner for the protection of children`s rights and about the work her office does to raise awareness and to promote the participation of children in the decision making process for policies which concern them. She also spoke about the monitoring work her office does in presenting proposals for legislation, policies and procedures. Her office, she said may also represent the rights of minors in court.

Financial Ombudsman Pavlos Ioannou referred in particular to the need for Ombudsmen to be independent and to issue decisions in a timely manner. He also spoke about one of his services which is since 2014 to appoint mediators for non-performing loans cases with loans of up to €350,000 for primary residences. According to Ioannou, so far over 85% of mediation cases have been successful.

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