Anti-discrimination

The Republic of Cyprus has adopted anti-discrimination legislation since 2004 and has established the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsman) whose responsibilities include the examination of allegations of discrimination.

Likewise, the Ministry of Education has introduced an anti-racism policy that is now implemented in all state schools in Cyprus.

Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsman)

When to contact the Ombudsman

You may contact the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsman) if you believe:

  • A public agency or a public officer handled a case of yours in an unjust manner or in contrast to the laws or to the principles of administrative law or has unjustifiably delayed to respond to your request.
  • A public or private body has mistreated you because of your gender, race, ethnicity, the community you belong to, your language, colour, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious, political or other beliefs.
  • Any of your rights is violated (e.g. access to employment, education, health) due to disability.

In all of the above cases, you may submit a complaint to the Ombudsman, in writing, either for a personal matter of yours or on behalf of another person, provided that you have his / her consent.

You may also contact the Commissioner, either in writing or in person, if you wish to inform her of any matter of interest to the Ombudsman’s Office, or of any other matter of general interest. For example, you may believe or suspect that human rights are being violated, or torture is taking place, or the rights of persons are impaired because of some social characteristics of theirs, such as gender, language, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. The Commissioner will decide whether any action or intervention on her behalf is required, depending on the subject and the severity of your report.

Any individual can submit a complaint to the Commissioner, regardless of his / her residency status in Cyprus, and regardless of whether that person is in Cyprus at the time of the complaint.

How to submit a complaint to the Ombudsman

A complaint can be submitted in any of the following ways:

  • by using the form on the website
  • by email to: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.cy
  • by a letter or a completed complaint form, delivered by hand at the reception desk of the Office located at 2 Diagorou, Ground Floor, 1097 Nicosia
  • by fax: +357 22 672881
  • by a letter, sent by post to the following address:
    Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights, 1470 Nicosia

The submission and examination of the complaint is free of charge.

If you are unsure whether your complaint can be investigated by the Ombudsman’s Office, call 22 405500 to speak directly with an officer for clarification and guidance.

Note: It is not permitted and is prosecutable to punish or treat unfavourably a person who submitted a complaint to the Office of the Commissioner.

Find more information here.

Anti-discrimination policy and reporting mechanism at school

The Ministry of Education of Cyprus has adopted a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination in public schools. There is also an anti-racism policy that is implemented in all state schools across the island. There is a formal reporting mechanism within the school system to record and respond to incidents of discrimination taking place in school.

Additionally, in its efforts to counter racism in schools, in 2015 the Ministry of Education and Culture adopted a Code of Conduct Against Racism along with a Guide for Managing and Recording Racist Incidents.

If incidents of discrimination, including racism, takes place against your child at school you can report this directly to the school principal, and expect action to be taken accordingly.

You may also contact:

Police Bureau for Combatting Discrimination

If you have been the victim a racism, discrimination or xenophobia, you are advised to report to the Office for Combating Discrimination of the Cyprus Police.

Telephone: 22 808442 / Fax: 22 808277

The main duties and responsibilities of the Office include the following:

1. Monitoring the investigation of complaints or reports that relate to cases and or incidents of discrimination, racism, or xenophobia and cooperating with police investigators for better handling of such incidents and for more effective enforcement of the relevant legislation.

2. Co-operating with other relevant Agencies (Governmental or NGOs).

3. Maintaining a registry of offences / incidents which are of a racist nature or have a racist motive.

The European Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia

On 28 November 2008, the Council adopted the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. Due to the unfortunate rise of racism and xenophobia across the EU, this instrument is of key importance. The European Commission is committed to monitoring closely its implementation at the national level.

As an EU member state, the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia is also binding in the Republic of Cyprus. For more information about the European Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia click here.