The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal




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.  
Both parts of the island are ruled in accordance with democratic 
principles affirmed through regularly held, free and fair 
elections.  The Greek Cypriot political system is a presidential 
system while the Turkish Cypriots use a parliamentary form of 

In general, the police forces of both sides accord respect to 
the rule of law.  There is little crime in Cyprus, and 
consequently relatively few arrests occur.

Both Cypriot economies operate on the basis of free market 
principles, although in both communities there are significant 
state-run enterprises.  In the Greek Cypriot economy, increases 
in tourism and exports are expected to lead to a growth rate of 
about 4.6 percent, more than double the 1993 rate.  The Turkish 
Cypriot economy relies heavily upon subsidies from Turkey and is 
burdened by an overly large public sector.  Inflation remains a 
significant problem, exceeding 100 percent in 1994, and the 
economy is expected to experience net negative growth for 1994.

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot authorities generally accord a 
high degree of respect to established human rights norms and 
practices.  Nonetheless, in the Greek Cypriot community there 
were instances of police brutality, including beating and 
expulsion of Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriot police.  Domestic 
violence is also receiving increased attention as a legal and 
social issue in both communities, rather than as a purely 
personal or cultural matter.

Significant problem areas include continuing restrictions 
imposed by Turkish Cypriot authorities on the right of Turkish 
Cypriots to travel to the southern part of the island and 
Turkish Cypriot noncompliance with the terms of the 1975 
Vienna-III Agreement which set forth the rights of Greek 
Cypriots remaining in areas under Turkish Cypriot control.


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 other extrajudicial 

     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 law 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 widely respected in practice, there were credible 
reports during April that Greek Cypriot police rounded up 22 
Turkish Cypriots on three separate occasions, beat them, and 
then "deported" them to the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area.  It 
appeared that at least one group of deportees consisted of 
long-term residents in the Greek Cypriot-controlled area, while 
others may have been Turkish Cypriots who crossed the "Green 
Line" in search of work.

In July defense attorneys for two Greek Cypriot youths charged 
with armed robbery claimed that their clients had been beaten in 
police custody.  There has been no independent verification that 
the police in fact committed the beatings.

In another instance, lawyers for a 31-year-old man, whom police 
mistakenly took into custody on suspicion of bank robbery and 
then allegedly tortured, filed an application, which is still 
awaiting action, against the Republic of Cyprus on the basis of 
the European Convention on Human Rights.  Two policemen accused 
in the case were acquitted in July 1993 after the courts ruled 
that the suspect had in fact been beaten in police custody but 
had been mistaken in his identification of the two officers 
responsible.  According to some independent observers, the 
alibis the police officers produced appeared credible.

A 1993 bill introduced in the Cyprus Parliament addressing 
police brutality is still under consideration.  The bill would 
provide for, among other things, detention of the accused in 
cells not under direct police control, medical examination of 
detainees immediately upon arrest, and severe penalties for law 
enforcement officials convicted of violating these provisions.  
In December a parliamentary subcommittee voted to broaden the 
jurisdiction of the official Ombudsman to look into allegations 
of police brutality.

While there were no public allegations or media reports of 
police brutality in the Turkish Cypriot community, credible 
reports indicate that there were some instances of police 

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Laws providing for freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention 
are respected by the police forces of both communities.  
Judicially issued arrest warrants are required.  No one may be 
detained for more than 1 day 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 Greek Cypriot 
Constitution and by the basic law governing the Turkish Cypriot 

     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.  
Throughout 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 
defense.  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 1994.

There are no political prisoners in Cyprus.

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

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

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and press are provided for by law and are 
freely practiced throughout the island.  The proliferation of 
party and independent newspapers and periodicals in both 
communities enables ideas and arguments to circulate freely, 
and opposition papers frequently criticize the authorities.

Several private television and radio stations in the Greek 
Cypriot community compete effectively with the government-
controlled stations.   Turkish Cypriot authorities retain a 
monopoly over local radio and television, which tend not to 
criticize them.  By June 1994, permission had been given for 
the operation of two university-run radio stations in Nicosia 
and Famagusta.  However, the permission granted was temporary, 
and the radio stations remained under the control of the 
Turkish Cypriot radio and television authorities.  
International broadcasts are available without interference 
throughout the island, including telecasts from Turkey and 

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

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

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is respected in Cyprus.  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.

Both Turkish Cypriots residing in the southern part of the 
island and non-Muslims in the north are allowed to practice 
their religion freely.  However, a major Greek Cypriot holy 
site located in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area, the 
monastery at Apostolos Andreas, may only be visited under 
existing regulations twice a year, despite the Vienna-III 
Agreements of 1975 guaranteeing freedom of movement for Greek 
Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who elected to remain in areas 
controlled by the other community.  In November the Turkish 
Cypriot authorities permitted an elderly priest and a companion 
resident in the government-controlled area to conduct services 
at Apostolos Andreas on the Saint's name day, fulfilling a 
longstanding desire of the priest to visit his ancestral home.

     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 regularly restrict or deny permission for 
travel by Turkish Cypriots into the Greek Cypriot 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 Greek Cypriot community.  Many of these 
applications are denied, often without an official reason, 
although the basis for most denials is clearly political rather 
than the ostensible "national security" grounds sometimes 
cited.  The treatment of applications appears to be related to 
the state of intercommunal relations or the status of 
negotiations on the Cyprus issue.  In mid-1994, Turkish Cypriot 
authorities began to prohibit travel by Turkish Cypriots to the 
south after a period of relative openness following the 
inauguration of a new coalition "government" in January.

The applications of Greek Cypriot residents of enclaves in the 
north to visit the government-controlled area 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 requests 
for Greek Cypriot children over the age of 16 (male) and 18 
(female) residing in the government-controlled area to visit 
their parents in the Karpass.  Requests by other relatives are 
also generally denied.  However, in December the Turkish 
Cypriot authorities granted permits to all 30 children who had 
requested them regardless of age.  In addition, they granted 
permits for the first time to nine grandchildren resident in 
the government-controlled area to visit their Greek Cypriot 
grandparents in the Karpass Peninsula.  Without prior 
permission, the Turkish Cypriot authorities also generally bar 
Greeks, Greek Cypriots, and even third-country nationals with 
Greek or Armenian surnames from entering the territory under 
their control.

The Greek Cypriot authorities permit only day travel by 
tourists to the northern part of the island.  The Greek Cypriot 
authorities have declared that it is illegal to enter Cyprus 
except at authorized entry points in the south, effectively 
barring entry into the Greek Cypriot area by foreigners who 
have entered Cyprus from the north.  Similarly authorities bar 
entry to the north by those intending to depart by this route.  
Following the March assassination, allegedly by Turkish agents, 
of the Director of a Greek Cypriot association supporting Kurds 
in Turkey, the Greek Cypriot authorities placed significantly 
tighter controls on the movement of Turkish Cypriots to the 
Greek Cypriot-controlled areas.  Institutions and individuals 
sponsoring visits of Turkish Cypriots to the Greek Cypriot-
controlled areas must notify the Greek Cypriot police in 
advance and provide them with an exact itinerary.

The authorities respect the right to travel abroad and to 
emigrate.  Turkish Cypriots have difficulty traveling to most 
countries because travel documents issued by the "Turkish 
Republic of Northern Cyprus" are recognized only by Turkey.  
Most Turkish Cypriots resort to utilizing Turkish travel 
documents instead.

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, which considers their applications.  The Government 
has been cooperative in extending residency permission to those 
with pending applications and does not generally repatriate 
claimants to their home country.  There has been no 
resettlement of displaced Cypriots.

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

Multiparty political systems exist in both communities.  In the 
Greek Cypriot community, 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 are held every 5 years and for 
members of the House of Representatives every 5 years or less.  
The small Maronite, Armenian, and Latin communities vote for 
nonvoting representatives from their respective communities, as 
well as for a candidate as a voting member in the House of 
Representatives.  However, under the terms of the 1960 
Constitution Turkish Cypriots may only vote for the position of 
the Vice President and for Turkish Cypriot Members of 
Parliament.  As a result, Turkish Cypriots living in the 
government-controlled area may not vote.

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, 1993, in an early election that brought 
opposition party representatives back into power and resulted 
in a new coalition.  Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the 
north are barred by law from participating in Turkish Cypriot 
elections but may choose their own village officials.  They are 
eligible to vote in Greek Cypriot elections but must travel to 
the south to exercise that right.

In both communities, women hold cabinet-level and other senior 
positions.  In the Turkish Cypriot sector, the Supreme Court 
swore in its first female judge.

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 they are generally 
concerned with alleged violations against the rights of their 
community's members by the other community.  Groups with a 
broad human rights mandate include organizations promoting 
awareness of domestic violence and others concerned with 
alleged police brutality.

There are no restrictions preventing the formation of human 
rights groups, and representatives of international human 
rights organizations have access throughout the island.

The Government of Cyprus, which claims a number of Greek 
Cypriots missing during the conflict of 1974, is still in the 
process of submitting its outstanding cases to the United 
Nations Committee on Missing Persons, although the rate of 
presentation accelerated over the first 6 months of 1994.  For 
their part, Turkish Cypriot authorities, who claim their own 
missing persons dating from the intercommunal violence 
beginning in l963, have submitted virtually all of their cases 
to the U.N. Committee.

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

Legislation in both communities provides for protection against 
discrimination based on sex, national, racial, or ethnic 
status, religion, or disability.


Throughout Cyprus, women generally have the same legal status 
as men.  While legal provisions in both communities requiring 
equal pay for men and women performing the same job are 
effectively enforced, women disproportionately fill lower 
paying jobs.

There are reports of spouse abuse, and the problem is believed 
to be significant.  Throughout the island, a growing awareness 
of domestic violence has led to attempts to pass laws to 
safeguard the rights of abused spouses.  In the Greek Cypriot 
community, a law enacted in July makes it easier for abused 
spouses to make complaints to the police, broadens the 
categories of evidence admissible in hearings on domestic 
violence, and establishes a "family adviser," both to monitor 
court cases and to facilitate counseling for the offender.  It 
is widely thought that many suspected cases of domestic 
violence do not reach the courts, largely because of family 
pressure and the wife's economic dependence on her husband.  An 
organization formed to address the problem of domestic abuse 
reports an increasing number of daily calls over its hot line, 
although hard statistics are not available.  Of the relatively 
small portion of cases that are tried in the courts, virtually 
none results in conviction:  Only 1 conviction was obtained in 
the nearly 300 spouse abuse cases brought before the courts in 

In the Greek Cypriot community, women face discrimination that 
denies them the ability to pass on citizenship to their 
children if they are married to foreign spouses.  Under 
existing Cypriot law, only a Greek Cypriot father may transmit 
citizenship to his children automatically or obtain expeditious 
naturalization for his foreign spouse.

In the Turkish Cypriot community, efforts have focused on 
improving the status of women in divorce proceedings, 
particularly regarding the rights of women to obtain property 
acquired during the period of marriage.  In general, divorce is 
difficult for either party to obtain unless it is uncontested.

The Greek Cypriot community continues to focus on trafficking 
in female prostitutes, and Parliament has held several hearings 
on the subject.  While international trafficking in women, 
mostly from Eastern Europe or the Far East, has diminished 
because most of these women can now travel directly to their 
final destinations rather than through Cyprus, they continue to 
be brought as "cabaret artistes" into Cyprus.  The "artistes" 
are sponsored by the cabaret owners or by agents.  However, to 
date there have been few arrests since the women, fearing 
retaliation by their employers, generally do not bring charges.
Forcing women into prostitution is against Republic of Cyprus 

There have been repeated credible reports that women from the 
Far East, working in Cyprus as maids, have been forced to work 
under inhumane circumstances.  For example, they have been 
deprived of their passports and of their right to take Sundays 
off, and in some instances they have not been paid.  These 
women generally do not file complaints.


Both communities are committed to protect children's rights and 
welfare within the context of total available resources.

     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 regardless of race, 
religion, or ethnic background.  Nevertheless, Greek Cypriots 
living in the north, predominantly in the Karpass area, are 
unable to move about freely and to change their housing at 
will.  Some Turkish Cypriots living in the government-
controlled area have claimed they are often harassed by the 
Greek Cypriots, including the police.  According to some 
allegations, they are kept under surveillance and questioned 
closely about their movements.

     People with Disabilities

Physically or otherwise disabled persons have no special 
protection against discrimination in private sector employment 
in Cyprus, and traditional attitudes are slow to change.  In 
the Greek Cypriot community, disabled persons applying for a 
public sector position are entitled to preference if they are 
deemed able to perform the required duties and 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, although 
enforcement is unreliable.  Disabled persons do not appear to 
be discriminated against in education and the provision of 
state services.  In the Greek Cypriot community, legislation 
mandates that new public buildings and tourist facilities 
provide access for the disabled.  The Turkish Cypriot community 
has not to date enacted legislation to provide for such access.

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.  In 
the Greek Cypriot community, police officers also have the 
right to join associations which have the right to bargain 
collectively, although not to strike.  More than 82 percent of 
the Greek Cypriot work force belongs to independent trade 
unions.  Approximately 50 to 60 percent of Turkish Cypriot 
private sector workers and all public sector workers belong to 
labor unions.

In the Turkish Cypriot community, union officials have alleged 
that various firms have been successful in establishing 
"company" organizations and then applying pressure on workers 
to join these unions.  Officials of independent labor unions 
have also accused the Turkish Cypriot authorities of creating 
rival public sector unions to weaken the independent unions.  
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has not yet acted 
upon these complaints.  There are no complaints outstanding 
against the Government of Cyprus.

In both communities, trade unions freely and regularly take 
stands on public policy issues affecting workers and maintain 
their independence from the Government.  Two of the major trade 
unions, one in each community, are closely affiliated with 
political parties.  Both of the remaining major unions are 

All workers have the right to strike, and several strikes, 
usually of short duration, took place in 1994.  In the northern 
part of the island, however, a court ruling from 1978 gives 
employers an unrestricted right to hire replacement workers in 
the event of a strike, effectively limiting the effectiveness 
of the right to strike.  Authorities of both the Greek Cypriot 
and Turkish Cypriot communities have the power to curtail 
strikes in what they deem to be "essential services," although 
this right is rarely used.

Unions in both parts of Cyprus are able to affiliate with 
international trade union organizations.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

By law, trade unions and confederations are free to organize 
and bargain collectively throughout Cyprus.  This is observed 
in practice in the Greek Cypriot community, and most wages and 
benefits are set by freely negotiated collective agreements.  
However, Greek Cypriot collective bargaining agreements are not 
enforceable under the law.  In the rare instances when such 
agreements are believed to have been infringed, the Ministry of 
Labor is called in to investigate the claim.  If the Ministry 
is unable to resolve the dispute, the union may call a strike 
to support its demands.  In practice, however, such alleged 
violations are extremely rare, and there were no reported 
instances in 1994.

In the Turkish Cypriot community, where inflation exceeded 100 
percent over the year, wage levels are reviewed twice a year 
for the private sector and six times a year for public sector 
workers and a corresponding cost-of-living raise is 
established.  A special commission composed of five 
representatives each from organized labor, employers, and the 
authorities conducts the review.  Union leaders contend that 
private sector employers are able to discourage union activity 
because enforcement of labor and occupational safety 
regulations is sporadic and penalties for antiunion practices 
are minimal.  As in the Greek Cypriot community, parties to a 
dispute may request mediation by the authorities.

Small export processing zones exist in Larnaca Port and 
Famagusta, 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

In both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, the 
minimum age for employment of children in an "industrial 
undertaking" is 16.  Turkish Cypriots may be employed in 
apprentice positions at age 15.  However, in family-run shops 
it is common to see younger children working.  Government labor 
inspectors effectively enforce the law in both communities.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legislated minimum wage in the Greek Cypriot community, 
which is reviewed every year, is currently about $380 per month 
for beginning unskilled workers.  This amount is insufficient 
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 
subject to frequent review because of high levels of inflation, 
is approximately $90 per month at exchange rates as of 
mid-1994.  This amount is not adequate to support a worker and 
family, although most workers earn more than the minimum wage.

A significant percentage of the labor force consists of illegal 
workers, mostly from Turkey.  According to some estimates, 
illegal workers constitute as much as 25 percent of the total 
work force in the area under Turkish Cypriot control.  There 
are frequent allegations that such workers are subject to 
mistreatment, including nonpayment of wages and threats of 

In the Greek Cypriot community, the standard workweek is an 
average of 39 1/2 hours in the private sector.  In the public 
sector, it is 37 1/2 hours during the winter and 35 hours in 
the summer.  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 Turkish Cypriot community, 
the standard workweek is 38 hours in winter and 36 hours in 
summer.  Government labor inspectors effectively enforce these 

Greek Cypriot labor union leaders have complained that 
occupational and safety standards lack important safeguards.  
Factories are typically licensed by municipalities rather than 
by the Government, resulting in an uneven application of 
environmental and work safeguards.  Under a proposed law, 
Cypriot occupational and safety standards will be brought up to 
ILO- and European Union-mandated standards, including 
protection of workers who refuse to work because of unsafe 
conditions.  While the law was not enacted in 1994, virtually 
all key participants in the decision supported the bill.

Occupational safety and health regulations are administered at 
best sporadically in the Turkish Cypriot area.  In both areas, 
a factory inspector processes complaints and inspects business 
in order to ensure that occupational safety laws are observed.  
Turkish Cypriot workers who file complaints do not receive 
satisfactory legal protection and may face dismissal.


[end of document]


Department Seal

Return to 1994 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.