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Cyprus

Child commissioner berates authorities over summer camps

Child protection commissioner Despo Michaelidou on Thursday berated authorities for failing to implement an institutional framework governing the operation of children’s summer camps as a failure to safeguard children’s rights.

In a written statement, Michaelidou also pointed to failure by the state to assign responsibility for monitoring such camps to a specific body.

She said that she was reverting to the issue two years after submitting a report to the education and interior ministries, the deputy tourism minister, and the president of the Union of Cypriot Municipalities. The report was also sent to the House committees on education, human rights, finance, legal affairs and interior and the children’s parliament.

Even though the issue was discussed in House committees and there was an exchange of correspondence between the education ministry and the deputy ministries of tourism and social welfare, no decisions were taken to cover the institutional vacuum.

Ministries do not consider such a framework to be its responsibility and no action had been taken in this direction so far, she added.

“I consider it saddening and unacceptable that the state once again fails to fulfill its obligations as these arise from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” she said.

Although with the start of summer, children’s summer camps are being organised without specifications and children of all ages are participating, the state has still to decide who is responsible.

She called on the state to take action without delay to safeguard the rights of children participating in summer camps as regards safety, health, the suitability of programmes and activities offered as relates to their age and the suitability of personnel entrusted with supervising the children.

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