The Independent Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture operates within the Ombudsman Office’s structures, since 2009, after the Cyprus ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention for the Prevention of Torture.

The institutional pillar of the work of this Independent Mechanism is to ensure the avoidance and prevention of abuse incidents, of inhuman or degrading treatment and of torture

In the context of visits to places where there is deprivation or restriction of liberty of a person, such as prisons, police detention centers, institutions that house elderly or disabled persons, the Independent Mechanism submits observations and recommendations for improvement and for the combating of practices and policies that do not comply with the principle of respect for human rights.

The Independent Mechanism acts both as a preventive body and as a control and monitoring authority for the operation of these places. During visits, detention, subsistence and living conditions are examined and suggestions are submitted. These suggestions aim at tackling structural rigidities and practices of arbitrariness. The competent authority must comply with the recommendations and provide answers/feedback about measures taken to achieve compliance.

Since 2009, when the Independent Mechanism began its operation, several visits were made to the Central Prison, the Detention Centre in Mennogeia, the Psychiatric Hospital in Athalassa, to many police detention places, to private and state children's homes, as well as to homes for the elderly and disabled. Following each visit, a Report was prepared that contained recommendations and suggestions for actions, inter alia, with regard to food, medical care, recruitment of qualified personnel, monitoring systems, use of violence etc.

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