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Cyprus improved actions against racism, CoE report says
2006-05-16 17:14:22

Nicosia, May 16 (CNA) - Cyprus has shown great progress concerning actions against racism and discrimination, a report by the Council of Europe says.

''Since the publication of the second report on Cyprus of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), on 3 July 2001, progress has been made in a number of the fields highlighted in that report. The legal and institutional framework against racial discrimination has been considerably strengthened, the extension of the mandate and powers of the Commissioner for Administration to deal with racial discrimination,'' the report notes.

It adds that ''a number of important measures, including issuing of passports and other personal documents, have been taken to improve the position of the members of the Turkish Cypriot community, who, following the partial lifting of the restrictions to freedom of movement across the Green Line in April 2003, live and work in increasing numbers in the government-controlled part of Cyprus.''

The report notes that the legal and institutional framework for the examination of international protection needs is now in place and police monitoring of racist incidents has been introduced.

Regarding the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in Cyprus, the report says that ''new opportunities for actively promoting dialogue and reconciliation between the members of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities still remain to be seized.''

''This is important in order to both reduce the negative impact of the continuing division of the island on the relations between these communities and gain further support from the population as a whole for a solution to this division,'' it adds.

In this report, the ECRI recommends that the Cypriot authorities take further action in a number of areas, including the urgent need to adopt a comprehensive immigration and integration policy respectful of the human rights of immigrants and the need to ensure that the rights of asylum seekers are thoroughly respected.

ECRI also recommends that the Cypriot authorities raise awareness and improve the implementation and monitoring of the legal framework in force against racism and racial discrimination, including by providing adequate support to the Commissioner for Administration.

Furthermore, in this report ECRI addresses the need for a more proactive approach to developing contacts and good relations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and the need for education at all levels to increasingly reflect the needs of a culturally and ethnically diverse society. The need to fully recognise and address the problems with which groups vulnerable to discrimination in Cyprus are faced is also addressed in this report.

''As it makes recommendations to the Government of Cyprus, this report only covers the situation in the part of Cyprus presently under the effective control of this government,'' the report notes.

The ECRI's report on Cyprus was adopted on 16 December 2005 and became public in full text today.

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