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Cyprus government examines US human rights report
2003-04-02 14:31:08

Nicosia, Apr 2 (CNA) -- A US State Department report on human rights in Cyprus for 2002 says these rights are ''generally respected'' on the island but falls short of giving a true and accurate picture of the scale of human rights violations as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Invited to comment on the report, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said it was received today and was being examined.

The report, released Tuesday, said that neither the US nor any other country recognise the self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot regime in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus and recalls a European Court of Human Rights decision that this regime is ''a subordinate local administration of Turkey operating in northern Cyprus.''|

''Since 1974 the southern part of the island has been under the control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. The northern part is ruled by a Turkish Cypriot administration. In 1983 that administration proclaimed itself the ''Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'' (''TRNC''). The ''TRNC'' is not recognised by the United States or any country except Turkey,'' the report said.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus generally respected the human rights of its citizens, it added, noting that there were problems in some areas.

''Instances of police brutality against detainees continued to be a problem. Police reportedly subjected Turkish Cypriots to surveillance. The government placed some restrictions on persons traveling to the north. Violence against women persisted. Trafficking in women for prostitution remained a problem,'' it claimed.

The State Department expressed the view that the Turkish Cypriot ''authorities'' generally respected the human rights of citizens living under its control.

''However, there were several problems. Police abused suspects and detainees. Civilians continued to be tried in military courts. The authorities subjected members of the Greek Cypriot community living in the north to surveillance,'' it said.

''The 'authorities' harassed some members of the press, continued to restrict freedom of movement and they attempted to prevent Turkish Cypriots from traveling to bicommunal meetings off the island as well,'' the report said.

Police forces in the government-controlled area were under civilian control, while the Turkish Cypriot ''police'' forces were under military authority. Some members of the police on both sides committed abuses, it said.

''Cooperation between the authorities and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was uneven. The Turkish Cypriot authorities took some steps to improve the conditions of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the territory under their control, but the treatment of these groups still fell short of Turkish Cypriot obligations under the Vienna III Agreement of 1975.''

The report recalled a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in May 2001 that Turkey was responsible for violations of human rights in Cyprus stemming from the 1974 Turkish military intervention.

''The result of a complaint by the government of Cyprus, the decision rejected the Turkish argument that the 'TRNC' is an independent state and instead ruled that it is 'a subordinate local administration of Turkey operating in northern Cyprus', '' the State Department report added.

Referring to the economy, it noted that this operated on the basis of free market principles, although there were significant administrative controls in each community.

The government-controlled part of the island had a ''robust, service-oriented economy'' with a per capita income of 14,499 US dollars, inflation at 3.4 percent; and unemployment 3.0 percent.

The report claimed that ''The Turkish Cypriot economy was handicapped by restrictions imposed by the government of Cyprus and other international institutions. It relied heavily on subsidies from Turkey and was burdened by a very large public sector, which employed approximately 20 percent of the labour force.''

The GNP per capita in the "north" was approximately 4,610 dollars inflation was 76.8 percent in 2001 compared with 53.2 percent in 2000, according to the latest figures available. Growth in the "north" was about 2.6 percent during the year, compared with 5.4 percent in 2001.


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