Cyprus Mail

Cyprus needs to do more on racism and intolerance, CoE body says

Cyprus has only partially implemented recommendations made by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a Council of Europe body in 2016 the body announced on Thursday.

In its 2016 report the ECRI strongly recommended that the commissioner for administration and human rights is consulted on all appointments of staff to her office, thereby contributing to her independence and that an adequate budget is allocated to her to carry out her functions properly, which has been partially implemented, the commission concluded.

Although the specific qualifications required by staff in her office are drafted by the commissioner for administration, it appears that she is still not consulted on appointments, the document goes on to say.

Therefore, this part of the recommendation has not been implemented. As concerns the budget, the office of the commissioner has its own separate budget which is controlled and managed by the commissioner.

The ECRI was informed by the authorities that the Council of Ministers has approved the establishment of four additional posts in the office of the commissioner for 2019. The operating budget in 2017 was slightly increased from 2016, but no further data is available since then.

With concern the ECRI noted that the office has not carried out any activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups or communication activities, and has not issued any publications or reports, including annual reports, or recommendations on discrimination issues since 2016. It will follow up on these matters in its next monitoring cycle.

In its report on Cyprus published on June 7, 2016, ECRI strongly recommended that the authorities develop a new integration plan for non-nationals, including foreign domestic workers, refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and other migrants.

This should be done in close cooperation with the UNHCR, relevant NGOs and migrant associations, and should be accompanied by an awareness-raising campaign to inform the public, as well as employers and financial institutions, about the rights of beneficiaries of international protection.

According to information provided by the authorities, a call for proposals for a national plan on integration of migrants for the years 2020-2022 was published in January 2018 with the deadline set for September 2018. In February 2019, the ECRI was informed that the civil registry and migration department will enter into an agreement with a joint venture for the drafting of the above-mentioned plan as well as its promotion and implementation, following consultations with government bodies, local authorities, NGOs, international organisations, immigrant organisations and academics.

“The ECRI is encouraged to learn that the development of a national integration plan for migrants, in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, is in the early stages. However, since no draft document or proposal relating to the content of the future integration plan is available, ECRI can only consider that its recommendation has not yet been implemented,” the commission commented on this point.


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