Head of state and government
Demetris Christofias
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
0.9 million
Life expectancy
80 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f)
7/6 per 1,000
Adult literacy
97.8 per cent

A number of rejected asylum-seekers were forcibly removed to Syria. In a landmark ruling in a human trafficking-related case, Cyprus was found in violation of the rights to life and to protection from forced labour.


Negotiations between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders continued during the year. Among the areas covered were governance and power-sharing, EU-related and economic matters and property issues. In November, both sides agreed to intensify their contacts. The UN Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus continued its work. By the end of December it had exhumed in total the remains of 767 people. Several racially motivated attacks were reported during the year.

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Refugees and asylum-seekers

In late May, around 250 Syrian Kurd protesters camped outside the “EU House” in Nicosia to protest against the authorities’ rejection of their asylum claims and to protest about residence rights. On 11 June, 143 of the protesters, including children, were reportedly arrested during an early morning police operation. Several of them were released immediately but, according to reports, 23 were forcibly removed to Syria that day. On 14 June, the European Court of Human Rights issued interim measures requesting that Cyprus suspend the removal of the 44 who were still in detention. Seven of these were then released, either because they had pending asylum applications or were stateless. According to reports, of those remaining, 32 were forcibly removed to Syria after the European Court lifted the interim measures in their cases in September. The remaining five continued to be detained in Cyprus. Seventeen of those forcibly removed were reportedly arrested and detained upon or after their arrival in Syria.

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  • In November, people taking part in the Rainbow Festival, an anti-racism event in Larnaka, were reportedly attacked by people from an anti-migrant demonstration held on the same day and at the same place. Concerns were expressed over the police’s handling of the events. There were also allegations that the police used excessive force against the festival-goers to open the way for the anti-migrant demonstrators. The police reportedly arrested six festival-goers, but none of the demonstrators.
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Trafficking in human beings

  • In a landmark ruling in January on the death of Oxana Rantseva, a victim of human trafficking, the European Court of Human Rights found Cyprus in violation of the right to life due to its failure to conduct an effective investigation. The Court also found Cyprus in violation of the right not to be subjected to slavery and forced labour, due to the authorities’ failure to put in place an appropriate framework to counter trafficking and the failure of the police to take measures to protect Oxana Rantseva from trafficking. In March 2001 in Limassol, Oxana Rantseva fell to her death in suspicious circumstances while trying to escape from a fifth-floor flat owned by an employee of her former employer.
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Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

In March, the Authority against Racism and Discrimination recommended the legal recognition of cohabitation between same-sex couples.

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Human rights by region

World regions Midde East and North Africa Asia Pacific Europe and Central Asia Africa Americas


A number of countries in Africa celebrated the 50th anniversary of their independence during the year while others prep ...


In the Americas many human rights have been recognized in law, if not always in practice, over the past 50 years. Whi ...

Asia Pacific

In a region with almost two thirds of the world’s population, stretching a third of the way around the planet, ...

Europe & Central Asia

The right to truth and justice, and the determination of victims and their relatives to achieve this how ...

Middle East and North Africa

2010 dawned with Yemen an unusual focus of international attention following an alleged terrorist ...

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