AS DELIVERED by Kim D’Auria-Vazira
The United States warmly welcomes Her Excellency Ms. Leda Koursoumba and the Cypriot delegation to the UPR Working Group.
We applaud the Republic of Cyprus’ efforts to address trafficking in persons through cooperation with local NGOs. While noting these improvements, we are concerned that the Government of Cyprus still lacks a formal mechanism for identifying and referring victims of trafficking to appropriate services, which impairs the government’s ability to inform victims of their rights or protect them during and after criminal proceedings.
There have been also continued complaints of exploitation of domestic and agricultural workers, including long hours, physical abuse, and salaries under the minimum wage.
We are further concerned by reports that conditions for detention of some migrants awaiting determination of status or arrested with a detention and deportation order are difficult and include overcrowding and inadequate ventilation.
Bearing in mind these concerns, we recommend that Cyprus:
- Strengthen trafficking victim protection services by creating and publicizing a victim hotline and training immigration officials so trafficking victims are adequately informed of their rights;
- Improve oversight of working conditions to prevent labor exploitation, especially in the domestic and agricultural sectors where foreign workers are particularly vulnerable;
- Address concerns over migrant detention center conditions, including by guaranteeing the right to obtain speedy judicial review of the lawfulness of any detention and to be released if detention is determined unlawful.