A working group set up to promote interagency cooperation to deal more effectively with hate crimes in Cyprus held its first meeting recently to discuss, among other things the definition of what constitutes hate crime, the office of ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides announced on Wednesday.
The meeting included discussions on promoting a functional definition of what constitutes hate crime, the appointment of prosecutors with more competence and knowledge on the management of hate crimes, the organisation of training seminars and improving the framework for supporting victims of hate crimes.
The working group was set up following an initiative by the ombudsman’s office, in cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on promoting interagency cooperation between competent public authorities and civil society actors, to deal more effectively with hate crimes in Cyprus.
The working group is tasked with identifying and promoting actions that will strengthen and improve the framework for tackling racist crimes in Cyprus and supporting victims.
Tome Shekerdjiev, Ales Hanek and Marc Quedenbaum of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights who took part in the meeting, “substantially contributed to the discussions held by the members of the working group” by sharing their experience and knowledge, the ombudswoman’s office said.
Officials of the ombudswoman’s office, the legal service and the police also took part as well as representatives of the Hope for Children, and Cyprus Refugee Council NGOs and associate law professor at the University of Cyprus, Aristotelis Constantinides.