Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights

Overview:

Among the first things we want people to know about the institution is that:

  • the institution is independent and employs individuals who are well-rounded in legal and human rights matters.
  • victims of discrimination or human rights violation(s) are at the epicentre of the institution’s works
  • we strive for continuous improvement of our knowledge, skills and experience in European and international human rights law so as to provide the best possible protection to individuals but also to help raise awareness in this area
  • the people’s views and complaints are valuable to the effective exercise of the institution’s competences and to the bringing about of the social change needed within a democratic society.
* by institution, in this sense, we refer to the Cyprus Ombudsman with emphasis on its human rights and anti-discrimination, rather than its maladministration, related competences.

Brief history

The Office of the Commissioner for Administration (Cyprus Ombudsman) was established in 1991 by the enactment of the Commissioner for Administration Laws following approval by the House of Parliament. Since these laws have undergone a number of amendments but remain in force with regard to the competences of the Commissioner as an independent authority, responsible to deal with issues of maladministration, misbehaviour and human rights violations by state authorities or public officers. In 2004, following the accession of Cyprus into the EU and as a result of the incorporation of Directives 2000/78/EC and 2000/43/EC into Cyprus law (Law 42 (I)/2004) the mandate of the Ombudsman was expanded so as to include competences for combating discrimination and promoting equality under the directives. This Law led to the establishment of the Equality Body. In 2009, following the ratification of the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention against Torture by the enactment of Law 2 (III) /2009, the competences of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (NPM) were added to the existing competences of the institution. In 2011, the Commissioner for Administration Laws were amended and the institution was renamed “Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights” and vested with broader functions in the area of protecting, promoting and guaranteeing human rights as National Institution for Human Rights (NHRI) in line with the Paris Principles. In 2012, following the ratification of the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) by the Republic of Cyprus and a relevant Council of Ministers Decision, the Office was appointed independent mechanism for the protection, promotion and monitoring of the implementation of the Convention, in accordance with article 33 (2) of the UN Convention and the Independent Authority for the Promotion of the Rights of PwD was established. In the framework of harmonisation with Directive 2008/115/EC and following a relevant Council of Ministers Decision dated 4 December 2012, the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights, in 2018, has started acting as a Mechanism for the Monitoring of the Procedures of Forced Returns of third-country Nationals.

Mandate Type

Predominantly tribunal-type (quasi-judicial) body

Litigation power:

  • Formally deciding on complaints (e.g. decision or recommendation addressed to the parties) legally binding

Activities

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups ( e.g. through trainings )
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)
Recommendations on discrimination issues
Publications and reports
Research projects (including surveys)

Our institution has a mandate to deal with:

  • Violence against women
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Hate crime
  • Hate speech
  • Prevention of torture (through the independent national preventive mechanism)
  • Monitoring Forced Returns of Third-Country Nationals

Other statistics:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)279278231151139135200
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)252255257193161174210
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social media606080

Management

  • Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)

Management details

The Ombudsman heads and has, therefore, the final word for all works of the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights (as mentioned above at the par.2 – Brief History).

Additional details

Please see ’Brief History’ above.

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

The Ombudsman is appointed by the President of the Republic, following a recommendation of the Council of Ministers and a majority decision of the House of Parliament. The Ombudsman must be a citizen of the Republic, over 35 years old, with a high level of education, experience and integrity. The Ombudsman’s term of Office is 6 years and may be renewed. The institution’s personnel is appointed in accordance with the Public Service Laws.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
10101010101010101010

Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body

Grounds / Fields Employment Education Housing Social Protection & Healthcare Goods and Services Other
Gender
Gender Identity
Race and Ethnic Origin
Age
Disability
Sexual Orientation
Religion & Belief

Mandate covers:

  • Public sector
  • Private sector

Operating budget in euros

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
22495492085182192203420234342090869211114618233571896141

We are accountable to

  • National audit institution (i.e. for financial reporting)
  • the institution is not accountable to the Government, the Parliament or any other Public Authority or Body. A reporting obligation is that the institution informs the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament about its activities, through its Annual Report and memorandum procedures.