Cyprus is not treating members of ethnic and racial minorities well, a US State Department report said, finding people in those groups more likely to suffer abuse and degrading treatment in prison, at the same time the government record in dealing with refugees and migrants had been excoriated by human rights groups.
The 2018 Country Report said that human rights issues in Cyprus included crimes involving violence against members of minority ethnic and national groups, backing up findings by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) that said police were mistreating detainees and that one woman had been sexually abused.
The report also found that people detained by police, particularly foreigners, risked physical or psychological mistreatment when taken into custody, during questioning, and in the process of deportation.
Prison and detention centers were also given poor grades ad failed to meet international standards, the report added, recommending reducing the numbers in prison, where it was also found there weren’t enough toilets.
There were also allegations of abuse of detainees by staff at the Menoyia Detention Centre, and threatening victims with reprisals if they tried to make official complaints, although the migrants rights group KISA said treatment was far better in 2018 than 2017.
Undercutting the reliability of government data, the report said most of the investigators were former police officers with close ties to the force and less likely to make recommendations against former colleagues.
Prison and detention center conditions did not meet international standards in a number of areas, in particular for sanitary conditions, medical care and food. Lack of security cameras allowed police officers and prison guards to abuse detainees with impunity, the newspaper said of the report’s findings for the year.