The inalienable protection of an individual’s right not to be subjected to torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and the prohibition of such treatment or conduct, constitute the healthiest element of a democratic society, Ombudswoman and Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights Maria Stylianou-Lottides said on Sunday.

Torture is a crime against humanity, she added in a statement released for International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, marked around the world on June 26.

The Commissioner, in the framework of her responsibilities regularly visits places where persons are deprived or possibly deprived of their liberty, with a view to preventing torture and any form of inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

And, according to a law passed in 2020, the Commissioner may now conduct visits freely, unhindered and unannounced to any place or places of detention of her choice.

For this reason, Lottides said, visits to places where people with disabilities live or are housed have been intensified in order to prevent possible deprivation of their rights due to the pandemic, to protect them from inhumane or degrading treatment and to maintain adequate and dignified living conditions for them.

As part of this policy visits were made to the Pournara migrant centre in Kokkinotrimithia, in April and December 2020, the Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital, the Paphos and Aradippou Police Detention Centers and a number of times to the central prison.

In relation to the findings and findings during these visits (except for those in the Central Prison, where the visits are still ongoing), relevant reports were prepared and recommendations submitted to the competent authorities, the vast majority of which have already been implemented.