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TITLE:  CYPRUS HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish military intervention 
of 1974, following a coup d'etat directed from Greece.  Since 
1974, the southern part of the country has been under the 
control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.  The 
northern part is ruled by an autonomous Turkish Cypriot 
administration supported by the presence of Turkish troops.  In 
1983 that administration proclaimed itself the "Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), which is recognized only by 
Turkey.  The "TRNC" is a parliamentary structure; the "Prime 
Minister" and "Council of Ministers" are drawn primarily from 
the "Assembly".  The Government of Cyprus is a presidential 

The internal political system of the government-controlled area 
is a democracy and in general accords basic human rights to its 
population, both in law and in practice.  The internal 
political structure in the Turkish Cypriot administration is 
also based on free elections.  The Turkish Cypriot 
administration  generally respects basic human rights but 
routinely restricts the freedom of Turkish Cypriots to travel 
to the Greek Cypriot-controlled areas or even into the 
U.N.-patrolled buffer zone which divides the two communities.  

Both Cypriot economies are based on free enterprise.  The Greek 
Cypriot economy has prospered in recent years, particularly in 
the tourism and manufacturing sectors, but entered into a 
slight recession in 1993 as tourism revenues fell.  The much 
smaller economy in the Turkish Cypriot area, closely linked to 
that of Turkey and plagued by Turkey's high inflation rate, 
remained depressed in 1993, although a resurgence in the 
banking, education, and tourism sectors is evident.

Conflict between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot 
communities during the 1963-74 period, followed in 1974 by the 
abortive Greek Cypriot coup and subsequent Turkish 
intervention, resulted in the uprooting of Greek Cypriots and 
Turkish Cypriots from the northern and southern parts of the 
island, respectively.  The resultant loss of lives, homes, and 
livelihoods has led to continuing charges of human rights 
violations by both sides.  United Nations Forces in Cyprus 
(UNFICYP) monitors the welfare of the Greek Cypriots and 
Maronites in the north, as well as that of the Turkish Cypriots 
in the south.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or extrajudicial killings.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of persons abducted, secretly arrested, 
or held in clandestine detention.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Both the Cyprus Constitution and the basic document governing 
the Turkish Cypriot community specifically prohibit torture.  
Freedom from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or 
punishment is provided for in law in both communities.  While 
these laws are generally respected in practice, allegations of 
police brutality in the Greek Cypriot community have become 
more common and have been given widespread publicity.  In May 
the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture 
submitted a report to the Government concluding that "persons 
held in certain police establishments in Cyprus--particularly   
in Limassol town police station--run a serious risk of severe 

In the most celebrated case, a Limassol man falsely arrested in 
1992 for bank robbery claimed he had been beaten and subjected 
to electric shocks.  The Government prosecuted two high-ranking 
police officers, but the presiding judicial panel dismissed the 
case in July for insufficient evidence, noting in its decision 
that the prisoner had clearly been mistreated but that the 
prosecution had failed to establish conclusively that the two 
officers charged were actually responsible.

In September 1993 police officers arrested a man in Larnaca on 
an unsubstantiated charge and severely beat him.  Newspapers 
published photographs of the man's resulting 34 stitches and 
extensive bruises.  Four officers involved were suspended 
pending an internal police investigation.  The Government 
established a special commission to examine allegations of 
police brutality; no results had been announced by year's end.  
A bill addressing police brutality was scheduled for early 
debate in Parliament, according to its sponsors.  If passed, 
the law would define as a felony the "torture, cruel or 
humiliating treatment of detainees," liable to imprisonment of 
up to 3 years or a $6,000 fine, or both.  If a detainee suffers 
"serious bodily injuries", those convicted of the abuse could 
face a prison term of up to 5 years or a $10,000 fine, or 

In the Turkish Cypriot community, allegations of police 
beatings are infrequent but not unknown:  one Turkish Cypriot 
youth complained in April that he was beaten by police officers 
despite being the son of a policeman himself.  The police 
replied that the youth had not identified himself as such.  No 
investigation was conducted, and no charges were ever filed.  
Victims of such abuse rarely come forward.  

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Laws providing for freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention 
are respected by the Government of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot 
authorities.  Arrest warrants, issued by judges, are required.  
No one may be held for more than 1 day for investigation of a 
crime without referral of the case to the courts for extension 
of the period of detention.  Most periods of investigative 
detention do not exceed 8 to 10 days before formal charges are 
filed.  Attorneys have free access to detainees, and bail is 
permitted.  Exile is specifically prohibited by the Cyprus 
Constitution and by the basic document governing the Turkish 
Cypriot community.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Cyprus inherited many elements of its legal system from the 
British legal tradition, including the presumption of 
innocence, the right to due process, and the right of appeal.  
In both parts of Cyprus, fair public trial is provided for in 
law and accorded in practice.  The judiciary is independent of 
executive or military control.  Defendants have the right to be 
present at their trials, to be represented by counsel (at 
government expense for those who cannot afford one), to 
confront witnesses, and to present evidence in their own 

Cases are generally tried before a judge or panel of judges, 
although a request for a jury trial is usually granted.  There 
are no special courts to try security or political offenses.

On the Turkish Cypriot side, civilians deemed to have violated 
military zones are subject to trial in a military court.  These 
courts consist of one military and two civilian judges and a 
civilian prosecutor.  Defendants in military courts have all 
the due process rights available in civilian courts.  There 
were no trials of civilians in military courts in 1993.

There are no political prisoners in Cyprus.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

Both the Cyprus Constitution and the basic document governing 
the Turkish Cypriot community include provisions protecting the 
individual against arbitrary interference by the authorities.  
A judicial warrant is required, for example, for a police 
official to enter a private residence.  

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

These rights are provided for by law and are freely practiced 
throughout the island.  The press is free and represents the 
entire political spectrum.  There is no press censorship.  In 
the Greek Cypriot community, several private television and 
radio stations compete effectively with the government-
controlled stations.  Turkish Cypriot authorities retain 
monopoly control over both radio and television, but in late 
1993 a special commission was established to consider the 
lifting of this monopoly.  International broadcasts are 
available throughout the island, including telecasts from 
mainland Turkey and Greece.  In addition, the proliferation of 
party and independent newspapers and periodicals in both 
communities enables ideas and arguments to circulate freely.  
Opposition papers frequently criticize the authorities.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The freedom to associate, organize, and hold meetings is 
protected by law and generally respected in practice.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is respected in Cyprus.  In the south, the 
vast majority of the population is Greek Orthodox; in the 
north, Sunni Muslim.  The Greek Orthodox Church in the south 
has the character of a state institution; all its activities 
and holdings are exempt from taxation.  Although missionaries 
have the legal right to proselytize in both communities, 
missionary activities are closely monitored by the
Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church and by both Greek Cypriot and 
Turkish Cypriot authorities.

The approximately 300 Turkish Cypriots known to reside in the 
southern part of the island are allowed to practice their 
religion freely.  In the north, non-Muslims include 
approximately 550 Greek Cypriots, 200 Christian Maronites, and 
some foreign residents--all of whom are free to practice their 

A 1992 law allows alternative service for those Greek Cypriots 
who conscientiously object to military service on religious 
grounds:  they may select either 34 months of unarmed military 
service or 42 months of civil defense force or social service, 
compared to 26 months of military service.  However, this 
service still falls under the auspices of the military, so it 
does not constitute alternative civilian service.  There are 
approximately 10 conscientious objectors in prison in the 
Republic, all of whom are Jehovah's Witnesses serving sentences 
of up to 32 months.  Turkish Cypriot conscientious objectors 
have no alternative to military service and face imprisonment 
if they refuse to serve.  Amnesty International in 1993 noted 
the first case of imprisonment of a conscientious objector in 
the north, who was sentenced to 3 years.  He was also charged 
with insulting the security forces in northern Cyprus for 
statements he made in a press conference explaining his reasons 
for refusing military service and his willingness to serve an 
equivalent term in alternative civilian service.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots enjoy general freedom of 
movement within their respective areas.  However, Turkish 
Cypriot authorities strictly regulate travel by Turkish 
Cypriots into the government-controlled area.  Turkish Cypriots 
who apply for permission to visit the south are required to 
justify their applications with formal invitations to events 
arranged by individuals or organizations resident in the 
south.  Applicants are sometimes not given a reply until the 
last minute, and many are refused.  Those who are denied 
permission are rarely given an official reason, but the basis 
for most denials is clearly political.  Turkish Cypriot 
authorities sometimes cite developments in the U.N.-led 
negotiations, which they view as unfavorable, as reason enough 
to discourage bicommunal contacts.  One well-known Turkish 
Cypriot dissident, Dr. Ahmet Cavit, has been consistently 
denied permission to travel into the south, despite multiple 
applications, because of his outspoken criticism of the ruling 
regime.  "TRNC" civil servants periodically face a blanket 
prohibition against traveling from the "TRNC" into the south, 
or even into the U.N.-patrolled buffer zone.

The applications of Greek Cypriot residents of enclaves in the 
north to visit the south are usually granted, but the 
applicants must return within a designated period or risk 
losing their right to return, as well as their property.  
Turkish Cypriot authorities usually deny applications by
Greek Cypriots to visit relatives in the north.  They also 
generally bar Greeks, Greek Cypriots, and even third-country 
nationals with Greek or Armenian surnames from entering the 

The Government of Cyprus has barred travel to the north by 
foreigners intending to depart the island from the
Turkish Cypriot area.  At the same time, it bars entry into the 
Greek Cypriot area by foreigners who have entered Cyprus from 
the north.

The right to travel abroad and to emigrate is observed, 
although persons facing military service or legal action in 
either part of Cyprus may not travel without specific 
permission.  Turkish Cypriots have difficulty traveling to most 
countries because travel documents issued by the "TRNC" 
authorities are not generally recognized.  

The Government of Cyprus does not accept third-country refugees 
for resettlement in Cyprus on the grounds that it already has 
enough responsibilities in caring for those displaced after the 
1974 Turkish intervention.  All refugee and asylum claimants 
are referred to the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR), who is expected to process their applications 
and ensure their departure from Cyprus.  The Government has 
been cooperative in extending residency permission to those 
under consideration by the UNHCR and does not generally 
repatriate claimants to their home country.  There has not been 
any resettlement of internal refugees, despite U.N. resolutions 
calling for such resettlement.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Both the Government of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot 
administration have lively multiparty political systems.  
Political parties compete for popular support actively and 
without restriction.  Suffrage is universal, and elections are 
held by secret ballot.  Elections for the office of President 
of the Republic of Cyprus are held every 5 years and for the 
House of Representatives every 5 years or less.

The Turkish Cypriots elect a leader and a representative body 
every 5 years or less.  The Turkish Cypriot voters went to the 
polls on December 12 in an early election that brought 
opposition party representatives back into the "assembly" and 
resulted in a new coalition "government."  The opposition 
parties had been boycotting the "assembly" since 1990 due to 
allegations that the previous election law was unfair and that 
Turkey had intervened in the campaign.  Greek Cypriots and 
Maronites living in the north--the latter having chosen before 
independence in 1960 to be regarded as members of the Greek 
Cypriot community--are barred by law from participating in 
Turkish Cypriot elections but choose their own village 
officials.  They are eligible to vote in Greek Cypriot 
elections but must travel to the south to exercise that right.  

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

There are organizations in both parts of the island that 
consider themselves human rights groups but, with the exception 
of one new Greek Cypriot group, all appear to be primarily 
concerned with alleged violations of the rights of members of 
their community by the other community.  The new group was 
established in response to increased allegations of police 

There are no restrictions preventing the formation of human 
rights groups, and representatives of international human 
rights organizations have access throughout the island.  
Although it requests assistance from other governments in 
resolving missing persons cases dating back to the 1974 Turkish 
military intervention, the Government of Cyprus would not 
submit outstanding cases to the United Nations Committee on 
Missing Persons which meets in Cyprus.  In November the Cyprus 
government agreed to begin submitting all of its remaining 
cases to the U.N. Committee on Missing Persons and to review 
the criteria for closing out these files.    

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


Throughout Cyprus, women generally have the same legal status 
as men, although women's groups in the Turkish Cypriot 
community contend that the law regulating divorce discriminates 
against women.  While legal provisions requiring equal pay for 
men and women performing the same job are effectively enforced, 
many women's rights advocates complain that women 
disproportionately fill lower paying jobs.  Apparently most 
private employers successfully implemented a 1989 law requiring 
equality of pay between men and women working in the private 
sector by the October 1992 deadline.  

The Center Against Family Violence, a private Greek Cypriot 
organization, reports a steady number of domestic abuse cases, 
primarily violence against women by their husbands.  Women can 
and do pursue these cases in the courts:  some 530 cases were 
prosecuted in 1992, according to the Center, which indicates 
the cases are treated seriously.  Officials at the Center 
believe greater openness is shown by many women on this 
subject, which previously was considered taboo.  The law 
commissioner has drafted new legislation providing harsher 
penalties for offenders, who would also be obliged to undergo 
psychiatric treatment.  This legislation was approved in 
October by the Council of Ministers, which authorized the 
Minister of Justice to submit the bill to the House.  There is 
no similar center in the Turkish Cypriot community.  The 
Turkish Cypriot authorities have not made pronouncements or 
taken specific actions on this issue.

Western European journalists, including a Belgian author and a 
British Broadcasting Corporation reporter, have labeled Cyprus 
a center for trafficking in female prostitutes, primarily from 
Eastern Europe, the Philippines, and Thailand.  According to 
the accusations, which are credible, the women are lured to 
Cyprus by cabaret owners who promise them well-paying nightclub 
"artiste" jobs and then force them into prostitution either in 
Cyprus or in a third country.  A loose coalition of women's 
groups has been investigating the issue, alongside a 
parliamentary inquiry.  The Government established a fund to 
provide for the welfare of women trying to escape such 
servitude.  Considerably fewer foreign "artistes" work in the 
Turkish Cypriot community, but similar allegations are heard 
privately that some of the women are mistreated and even forced 
to prostitute themselves.


Instances of child abuse are extremely rare in both 
communities.  Within the context of total resources available 
to each community, spending on children's welfare is adequate.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Both the Government of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot 
administration have constitutional or legal bars against 
discrimination.  Food, shelter, education, and health care are 
available to members of both communities and the tiny Maronite, 
Armenian, and Latin minorities, regardless of race, religion, 
or ethnic background.  Nevertheless, Greek Cypriots living in 
the north, predominantly in the Karpass area, continue to 
complain that they are unable to move about freely and are 
unable to change their housing at will.  Some Turkish Cypriots 
living in the government-controlled area have claimed they are 
often harassed by the community, including by the police.  
According to some allegations, they are kept under surveillance 
and questioned closely about their movements.

     People with Disabilities

Physically or otherwise disabled individuals have no special 
protection against discrimination in private sector employment 
in Cyprus, and traditional attitudes are slow to change.  In 
the government-controlled area, disabled persons applying for a 
public sector position are entitled to preference if they are 
deemed able to carry out the position requirements and if their 
qualifications equal those of other applicants.  In the
Turkish Cypriot community, regulations require businesses to 
employ 1 disabled person for every 25 positions they fill.  
Still, enforcement appears unreliable.  Disabled persons do not 
appear to be discriminated against in education and the 
provision of state services.  The Cyprus Government enacted 
legislation effective June 1 mandating that new public 
buildings provide access for the disabled; in August new 
regulations were implemented stipulating that any new hotel or 
tourist resort provide access points and necessary facilities 
for disabled persons.  The Turkish Cypriot community so far has 
not enacted legislation or otherwise mandated provision of 
accessibility for the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers in Cyprus, except for members of the police and 
military forces, have the legal right to form and join trade 
unions of their own choosing without prior authorization.  More 
than 90 percent of Greek Cypriot workers and 40 to 50 percent 
of Turkish Cypriot workers belong to independent trade unions.  
Union officials in the north, however, allege that the ruling 
party has tried to weaken public sector unions by supporting 
the establishment of rival unions; the union officials have 
taken their complaints to the International Labor Organization 
(ILO).  The ILO has not given an official reply to these 
complaints, which are difficult to substantiate.  In both 
communities, trade unions freely and regularly take stands on 
public policy issues affecting workers and maintain their 
independence from the Government, although most are closely 
aligned with political parties.

Cypriot workers have the right to strike.  Several strikes 
occurred in 1993.  Strikes usually are of short duration.  Both 
the Government of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot authorities 
have the power to curtail strikes in what they deem to be 
"essential services." 

Unions in both parts of Cyprus freely take part in 
international meetings.  Most unions are affiliated either with 
the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions or with 
the formerly Soviet-controlled World Federation of Trade 
Unions.  Labor unions, more than most other organizations in 
Cyprus, attempt to maintain contact and cooperation across the 
dividing line, but this remains limited, mostly by Turkish 
Cypriot authorities.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

By law, trade unions and confederations are free to organize 
and to bargain collectively in both parts of Cyprus.  This is 
observed in practice in the south, and most wages and benefits 
are set by freely negotiated collective agreements.  In the 
north, wage levels in many sectors are largely pegged to the 
annual change in the minimum wage, set by a special commission 
composed of five representatives each from organized labor, 
employers, and the authorities.  Union leaders contend that 
private sector employers are able to discourage union activity 
because enforcement is weak and penalties for antiunion 
practices are minimal.  In both the north and the south, 
parties to a dispute may request mediation by the authorities.

Small export processing zones exist in Larnaca port in the 
south and Famagusta in the north, but the laws governing 
working conditions and actual practice are uniform throughout 
the country.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by law, and no 
instances of it were reported.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The Government of Cyprus has set the minimum age for employment 
of children in an "industrial undertaking" at age 16.  In the 
north, the age is 15.  Government labor inspectors effectively 
enforce the law in both sectors.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legislated minimum wage in the south is renewed every year 
and covers clerks, salespersons, nursery assistants, practical 
nurses, and hairdressers.  It is not sufficient to provide an 
adequate living for a worker and family.  All other occupations 
are covered under collective bargaining agreements between 
trade unions and employers within the same economic sector, and 
the minimum wages set in these agreements are significantly 
higher than the legislated minimum wage.  The legislated 
minimum wage in the Turkish Cypriot area, while more broadly 
applicable and renewed annually after tripartite negotiations, 
would not be adequate to support a worker and family.  Most 
workers earn more than the minimum wage.

The Government of Cyprus has set 40 hours as the standard 
workweek except for shop workers and drivers, whose legal 
workweek is 42 hours.  In 1992, however, Greek Cypriot unions 
won concessions that will reduce the workweek by one-half hour 
per year until 1997 when a 38-hour workweek will be in place 
for most sectors of the economy.  In the north, the standard 
workweek is 38 hours in the winter and 36 in the summer.  
Government labor inspectors effectively enforce these laws. 

Although standards in both sectors are not equivalent to those 
in Western industrialized countries, occupational safety and 
health regulations are administered effectively.  In both 
sectors, a factory inspector receives and processes complaints 
and inspects businesses in order to ensure that occupational 
safety laws are observed.  Workers who file complaints are 
protected by law and the court system in the Greek Cypriot 
sector but not in the Turkish Cypriot sector.  In both sectors, 
however, workers risk losing their jobs if they unilaterally 
remove themselves from a position which they believe endangers 
their health.  (###) 

[end of document]


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