The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see www.state.gov 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

flag
bar

Title:  Cyprus Human Rights Practices, 1995 
Author:  U.S. Department of State  
Date:  March 1996  
 
 
 
 
                                    CYPRUS 
 
 
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 a Turkish Cypriot 
administration.  In 1983 that administration proclaimed itself the 
"Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), which is recognized only 
by Turkey.  Substantial numbers of Turkish troops remain on the island.  
In both the government-controlled areas and in the Turkish Cypriot 
community there is a generally strong regard for democratic principles.  
Glafcos Clerides was elected President of the Republic of Cyprus in 
1993; in April Turkish Cypriots reelected Rauf Denktash as their leader. 
 
Police in the government-controlled areas and in the Turkish Cypriot 
community are responsible for law enforcement.  Police forces operating 
in the government-controlled areas are under civilian control, while 
Turkish Cypriot police forces are directed by military authorities.  In 
general, the police forces of both sides respect the rule of law, but 
there were occasional instances of abuses by the Republic of Cyprus 
police.  
 
Both Cypriot economies operate on the basis of free market principles, 
although in both communities there are significant administrative 
controls.  The government-controlled part of the island has a robust, 
service-oriented economy, with declining agriculture and manufacturing 
sectors.  Growth in the government-controlled economy is expected to be 
4.0 percent.  Tourism generates 22 percent of the gross domestic product 
(GDP) and employs 26 percent of the labor force.  In 1994 per capita 
income on the Greek Cypriot side was $11,350, inflation less than 5 
percent, and unemployment 2.7 percent.  The Turkish Cypriot economy, 
which relies heavily on subsidies from Turkey, is burdened by an overly 
large public sector.  It is basically service oriented, as in the south, 
but has a relatively smaller tourism base and a larger agricultural 
sector.  Per capita income in the north was less than $3,000 in 1994, a 
20 percent decline over 1993 as GDP fell by over 4 percent.  Inflation 
reached 212 percent in 1994 as a result of the drastic devaluation of 
the Turkish lira.  Inflation is forecast to drop to about 80 percent in 
1995, and real growth is expected to be positive, at about 2 percent.  
Significant problems in the Turkish Cypriot economy also included 
widespread power outages which began in mid-1994 and continued until 
late April. 
 
The Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot authorities generally 
respect human rights norms and practices.  However, police brutality and 
discrimination and violence against women continue to be problems. 
 
Although the Turkish Cypriot authorities took positive steps to improve 
the conditions of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the territory 
under their control, the treatment of these groups still falls short of 
Turkish Cypriot obligations under the Vienna III agreement of 1975.  The 
Turkish Cypriot authorities continued to impose significant restrictions 
on meetings between members of the two communities.  Greek Cypriot women 
are denied the right to pass citizenship to their children if they are 
married to foreign spouses. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
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 killings. 
 
  b.  Disappearance 
 
While political disappearances do not occur in Cyprus, the Turkish 
Cypriot military authorities failed to notify United Nations Forces in 
Cyprus officials on three occasions that they were holding Greek 
Cypriots who had crossed the buffer zone.  In one instance, these 
authorities denied holding a Greek Cypriot national guardsman for 5 days 
in November after they had seized him. 
 
  c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
Both the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and the basic law 
governing the Turkish Cypriot community specifically prohibit torture.  
The law in both communities provides for freedom from cruel, inhuman, or 
degrading treatment or punishment.  Respect is generally accorded to 
these prohibitions throughout the island.  However, in November it was 
revealed that police in Limassol had, until 1992, used "torture 
chambers" to force confessions from detainees. According to a team 
comprising a former Supreme Court justice and prominent attorneys, 
police hung at least 11 victims by their feet and applied electric 
shocks to their genitals.  On November 5, the Government announced it 
would pay compensation to eight of the victims.  On November 11, the 
Council of Ministers announced its intention to fire 12 police officers, 
including the Limassol police chief.  The officers involved have 
maintained their innocence and taken legal action to prevent their 
firing. 
 
Republic of Cyprus police were also accused of torturing suspected 
Turkish Cypriot drug smuggler Erkan Egmez.  Egmez was arrested October 7 
along with eight Greek Cypriots.  Charges were dropped against the 
eight.  Egmez appears to have been seriously beaten in the period during 
and after his arrest and eventually required 10 days of hospitalization.  
According to some eyewitnesses, hooded police officials continued 
beating Egmez even as he was being admitted into the hospital.  On 
December 1, the Attorney General ordered Egmez' release after announcing 
there was insufficient evidence to try the case.  The Attorney General 
has announced that the alleged mistreatment by the police will be 
investigated by the Republic's ombudsman. 
 
A Greek Cypriot mistakenly arrested in 1994 for bank robbery and 
allegedly beaten by police settled his case pending before the European 
Court of Justice.  The Government agreed to compensate the individual.   
 
Parliament failed to pass a proposed bill addressing police brutality; 
the bill was reintroduced in the fall. 
 
There were no public allegations or media reports of police brutality in 
the Turkish Cypriot community, although credible reports indicate that 
some detainees received harsh treatment at the hands of police during 
pretrial detention.  
 
Prison conditions are generally adequate in both communities.  
 
  d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
Throughout Cyprus, laws providing for freedom from arbitrary arrest and 
detention are respected by the police.  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. 
 
In July Turkish Cypriot police took a prominent religious figure, sheikh 
Nazim Kibrisi, into custody from a Kyrenia mosque after the sheikh 
criticized the Turkish Cypriot authorities for their handling of a large 
forest fire in late June.  The sheikh was later released and no charges 
were filed against him.  Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash later expressed 
regret at the incident. 
 
Exile is specifically prohibited by the Constitution and by the basic 
law governing the Turkish Cypriot community. 
 
  e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
Under the Republic's Constitution and the basic law governing the 
Turkish Cypriots, the judiciary is independent of executive or military 
influence   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.  
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 reports of political prisoners. 
 
  f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
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.  Two small university-run radio stations in Nicosia and Famagusta 
are continuing their operations under a temporary permit.  International 
broadcasts are available without interference throughout the island, 
including telecasts from Turkey and Greece. 
 
Academic freedom is accorded wide respect throughout the island. 
 
  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.  
However, Greek Cypriots resident in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area 
face significant restrictions on their right to visit an important 
pilgrimage site in the Karpass, the Apostolos Andreas monastery, and a 
shortage of priests, despite guarantees in both these regards under the 
1975 Vienna III agreement.  There was some easing of access to Apostolos 
Andreas in 1995:  in August a group of expatriate Greek Cypriots and 
American congressmen visited the monastery.  A group of 70 Greek 
Cypriots resident in the government- controlled area visited Apostolos 
Andreas in November.  Also in November, the Turkish Cypriot authorities 
announced that Greek Cypriots resident in the north would be allowed to 
visit the monastery on religious holidays. 
 
  d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots enjoy freedom of movement within 
their respective areas.  Despite some liberalization in 1995, Turkish 
Cypriot authorities continue regularly to deny permission for travel by 
Turkish Cypriots into the government- controlled areas.  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 and related to 
the state of intercommunal relations. 
 
Turkish Cypriot authorities usually grant the applications of Greek 
Cypriot residents in the north to visit the government-controlled area.  
The right to visit the south was expanded in July to allow monthly 
visits of 5 days per visit.  In November this right was further extended 
to 15 days per month (previous rules allowed only quarterly visits of 7 
days per visit).  Turkish Cypriot authorities began as well to allow 
monthly visits of a day for close relatives of Greek Cypriots living in 
the Karpass.  However, implementation of the new regulations has been 
inconsistent.  The applicants must return within the designated period 
or risk losing their right to return and their property, although this 
rule is rarely enforced in practice.  Also under the new regulations, 
Turkish Cypriot authorities allow monthly visits by close relatives of 
Greek Cypriots resident in the north and, as in the past, permit school 
holiday visits by children under the ages of 16 (male) and 18 (female) 
residing in the government-controlled area.  Turkish Cypriot authorities 
apply generally similar but slightly looser restrictions to visits by 
Maronite residents of the north to the government-controlled area and 
visits by Maronites living in the south to Maronite villages in the 
north. 
 
Previously, persons of Greek Cypriot or Armenian origin, or even persons 
having Greek or Armenian names, faced considerable difficulties entering 
the north.  In the summer, the Turkish Cypriots instituted a new policy 
under which third country nationals of Greek Cypriot origin would be 
permitted to visit the Turkish Cypriot-controlled areas.  Under the new 
regulation, several groups of Americans of Greek Cypriot origin visited 
the north during the summer and fall.  During the same period, however, 
implementation of the new procedures was inconsistent, and several 
persons entitled to cross under the new guidelines were denied 
permission without apparent cause. 
 
The Turkish Cypriot authorities also stated that Greek Cypriots living 
in the areas under their control would no longer require police permits 
for travel to Famagusta or Nicosia.  According to the new policy, the 
areas where travel without prior authorization would be permitted will 
gradually expand.  However, members of the Maronite community living in 
the north continued to need permits even to visit neighboring villages 
and are generally denied permission to visit areas in the north other 
than Morphou and Nicosia. 
 
The Republic of Cyprus authorities permit only day travel by tourists to 
the northern part of the island.  They have declared that it is illegal 
to enter Cyprus except at authorized entry points in the south, 
effectively barring entry into the government-controlled area by 
foreigners who have entered Cyprus from the north.  Following the March 
1994 assassination of the director of a Greek Cypriot association 
supporting Kurds in Turkey, the authorities placed significantly tighter 
controls on the movement of Turkish Cypriots to the areas under their 
control.  Institutions and individuals sponsoring visits of Turkish 
Cypriots to the government-controlled areas must notify the police in 
advance and provide them with an exact itinerary. 
 
In March the European Court of Human Rights ruled that certain 
reservations made by Turkey when it acceded to the European human rights 
convention were invalid.  Thus, beginning in September, the Court was 
scheduled to hear the case of a Greek Cypriot woman who alleged that 
Turkey is responsible for depriving her of the use of her lands in the 
Turkish Cypriot-controlled areas. 
 
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 for consideration.  The 
Government has been cooperative in extending residency permission to 
those with pending applications and does not generally repatriate 
claimants to their home country. 
 
Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
Multiparty political systems exist throughout Cyprus.  Under the 
Republic's Constitution, 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 
elect non-voting representatives from their respective communities, in 
addition to voting in elections for voting members.  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.  In April the Turkish Cypriot voters elected Rauf 
Denktash in elections deemed by observers to be free and fair.  Greek 
Cypriots and Maronites living in the north are barred by law from 
participating in Turkish Cypriot elections.  They are eligible to vote 
in Greek Cypriot elections but must travel to the south to exercise that 
right.  They may also choose their own village officials but those 
elected are not recognized by the Government of Cyprus. 
 
In both communities, women face no legal obstacles to participating in 
the political process.  While clearly underrepresented in government, 
they hold some cabinet-level and other senior positions.  
 
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.  Representatives of international human rights organizations 
have access throughout the island. 
 
The United Nations is engaged in resolving the missing persons dilemma 
which remained from the 1974 conflict.  Both sides have completed 
submission of their cases to the U.N. Committee on Missing Persons.  On 
October 6, President Clerides announced that his side would not be 
submitting some of the cases included among the 1,619 persons claimed to 
be missing, since it was clear that some of them were in fact dead.  
Both sides have offered to cooperate with a U.S. effort to determine the 
fates of five American citizens of Greek Cypriot origin who disappeared 
in the 1974 conflict. 
 
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, or 
religion.  While such laws are generally respected by each community, 
significant problems remain with the treatment of the Greek Cypriots and 
Maronites living in the north and, to a lesser extent, with the 
treatment of Turkish Cypriots living in the government-controlled area.  
Homosexuality is illegal in Cyprus, and a bill presented to 
decriminalize such activities failed to pass in 1995.   
 
  Women 
 
There are reports of spousal abuse in the Greek Cypriot community, and 
the problem is believed to be significant.  There is little public 
discussion of domestic violence in the Turkish Cypriot community, 
although a women's shelter opened in 1994.  Domestic violence cases are 
rare in the Turkish Cypriot legal system.  In the Greek Cypriot 
community, a law aimed at making spousal abuse easier to report and 
prosecute that was enacted in July 1994 has had little impact because 
key provisions remain unfunded and therefore unimplemented.  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 domestic abuse problem 
reports an increasing number of daily calls over its hot line, although 
hard statistics on the number of incidents are not available.  Very few 
cases tried in the courts result in convictions. 
 
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. 
 
In the Greek Cypriot community, women face discrimination that denies 
them the ability to pass on citizenship to their children if they marry 
foreign spouses.  Under existing Cypriot law, only a Greek Cypriot male 
may transmit citizenship to his children automatically or obtain 
expeditious naturalization for his foreign spouse. 
 
In the Turkish Cypriot community, women face discrimination in divorce 
proceedings with regard to property acquired during the marriage.   
 
Republic of Cyprus law forbids forced prostitution.  However, there 
continue to be allegations of forced prostitution in the Greek Cypriot 
community, generally from East Asian or Eastern European night club 
performers.  To date there have been few arrests since the women, 
fearing retaliation by their employers, generally do not bring charges.  
There are also continuing allegations that Cyprus is a transit point for 
trafficking in women.  Both government and non-governmental authorities 
believe, however, that this problem abated considerably in 1994 and 
1995.   
 
Reports on mistreatment of maids are frequent in the Greek Cypriot 
press.  These reports usually involve allegations that maids, usually 
from East or South Asia, have been forced to work under inhuman 
circumstances.  While these women generally receive fair treatment when 
their cases come before the courts, many women do not file charges due 
to fear of retribution from their employers.   
 
  Children 
 
Both the Government and the Turkish Cypriot authorities demonstrate a 
strong commitment to children's welfare.  There is no societal abuse of 
children nor any difference in the health care and educational 
opportunities avialable to boys and girls.   
 
  People with Disabilities 
 
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 one disabled person for every 25 positions they 
fill, although enforcement is ineffective.  Disabled persons do not 
appear to be discriminated against in education and the provision of 
state services.  Legislation also mandates that new public buildings and 
tourist facilities provide access for the disabled.  The Turkish Cypriot 
community has not yet enacted legislation to provide for such access. 
 
  National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Both the Government of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot administration 
have constitutional or legal bars against discrimination.  Nevertheless, 
Greek Cypriots living in the north are, despite recent improvements, 
unable to move about freely (see Section 2.d.) and to change their 
housing at will.  Maronites living in the north face a pervasive system 
of petty restrictions on their right of movement and generally lack 
public services available in most other Turkish Cypriot areas.  Some 
Turkish Cypriots living in the government-controlled area face 
difficulties in obtaining identification cards and other government 
documents.  There are persistent reports of harassment and surveillance 
by the Greek Cypriot police. 
 
Section 6  Worker Rights 
 
  a.  The Right of Association 
 
All workers, 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 government-controlled area, 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 on 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 authorities.  Two of the major trade unions, one in each 
community, are closely affiliated with political parties.  Both of the 
remaining major unions are independent. 
 
All workers have the right to strike, and several strikes, usually of 
short duration, occurred.  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 
 
Trade unions and confederations by law are free to organize and bargain 
collectively throughout Cyprus.  This is observed in practice in the 
government-controlled areas, 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 
1995.  In the Turkish Cypriot community, where inflation exceeded 80 
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 the same 
as those outside the zones. 
 
  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 
years.  Turkish Cypriots may be employed in apprentice positions at age 
15.  However, in family-run shops it is common to see younger children 
working.  Official 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 $432 per month (216 Cyprus 
pounds) for shop assistants, practical nurses, clerks, hairdressers, and 
nursery assistants.  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 inflation, is approximately $180 per 
month (9 million Turkish lira) as of mid-1995.  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 in the north 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 deportation. 
 
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 for 
most blue collar workers 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 laws. 
 
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.  While a 
proposed bill to harmonize health and safety standards with those of the 
European Union failed to win approval in 1995, it continues to receive 
widespread support and is expected to pass in 1996.  
 
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]

flag
bar

Department Seal

Return to 1995 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.