Cyprus Mail

Justice ministry says report on prevention of torture ‘positive’

The justice ministry said it was satisfied with the report of the European Commission on the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), regarding Cyprus, saying the conclusions noted a significant improvement.

“The findings of the CPT Report states clearly the significant improvement recorded in a series of sectors concerning the premises and detention conditions across our prison system. Special reference is made to the political will shown all this time to alter and improve the facilities and the operation of the prisons, based on the respect of human rights,” the ministry said in a statement.

The report was drafted after a visit by an EU delegation in early February.

“The Commission evaluated the Central Prisons, the immigrant detention site in Menoyia, and the police detention facilities, noting the significant changes and improvements brought about so that they are in line with the recommendations and directives of the Commission and the Council of Europe. The report also notes the significant improvement of the women’s wing, as well as the improvements regarding the communication of detainees with the outside world,” the ministry added.

It said the report also referred to improvements regarding health services, the prevention of suicides, the reduction of violence, and the detention of foreigners, where the number of detainees has dropped.

Furthermore, Syrian asylum seekers and families, as well as unaccompanied children, were not being detained, more refugees were being granted refugee status, and the examination of appeals for rejected asylum status had been improved.

Regarding the immigrant detention centre in Menoyia, the report records significant improvements in capacity, detention conditions, communication with the outside world, and health care.

There had also been more police training thought the Commission still recommends a change of culture in the police force, and increased training of its members, and relevant instructions had been given towards this.

Regarding isolated complaints about the mistreatment of detainees, the ministry said the appropriate procedures were initiated for disciplinary or even criminal proceedings.

“This report is yet another tool in the efforts made to set a new policy regarding the protection of human rights in our country,” the ministry said. “We are given the opportunity to evaluate our course so far, the conditions we apply and the measures we have taken, and through the recommendations and observations of the Commission to become even better.”

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