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Ombudswoman’s status upgraded

feature evie ombudswoman maria stylianou lottides
Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou Lottides

The subcommittee of accreditation (SCA) urged the government to allocate additional funding to the ombudswoman as it upgraded the institution’s status as a national human rights authority.

The relevant international Subcommittee of Accreditation (SCA), which operates under the auspices of and in cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, reassessed the Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights Maria Stylianou Lottides as the National Human Rights Authority of the Republic of Cyprus.

For the first time, they granted the commissioner status A, after it was found in full compliance with the Paris Principles, which aim to develop the operating principles and defining the duties and responsibilities that should govern the National Human Rights Institutes (NHRIs).

In a previous assessment in 2015, before Lottides took on the position, SCA granted status B to the institution.

The SCA, on the basis of the Paris Principles, assesses every five years the work and activities of national bodies wishing to be accredited as National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), as well as the legal framework governing them, to determine whether they are in line with the Paris Principles.

Following the assessment, the SCA accredits the national bodies as National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) by granting them status A or B, depending on whether they are in full or partial/partial compliance (fully compliant and partly compliant) with the Paris Principles.

In this context, in 2015 the SCA for the accreditation of the institution of the Commissioner as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) of the Republic of Cyprus, granted the institution B status (status B) as it was not fully compliant with the Paris Principles.

“In 2017, with the assumption of office by the current commissioner, a series of measures and modifications to the operating framework of the institution were rolled out to enable it to be assessed as an A status NHRI in the future,” a relevant announcement by the ombudswoman’s office said.

The assessment was carried out on October 5, 2022 when the SCA decided to upgrade the institution to status A, recognising that the institution is now fully compliant with the Paris Principles.

In its decision, the SCA did not make any observations or recommendations and, unlike in 2015, did not express any concern with regard to the legal status and functioning of the institution, the statement added.

But, the SCA urged the Republic of Cyprus, in view of the expanded responsibilities of the commissioner, to allocate additional funding to the institution. This will enable it to recruit staff in senior positions, so as to enable salaries, terms and conditions of employment to be equivalent to those of other independent government departments,

Having acknowledged and welcomed the establishment of the Human Rights Advisory Committee, SCA also urged the safeguarding of its functioning and the continued cooperation of the institution with civil society organisations and human rights defenders.

 

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