The year 1991 was a milestone date in the Republic of Cyprus, as it is the year that the Institution of the Commissioner of Administration was introduced.
Twenty-eight years later, the Institution is even stronger, with expanded responsibilities so that its action is not limited to the public sector, but regarding matters of discrimination, it can also intervene in the private sector in its capacity as an Equality Body, which was assigned to him in 2004, in harmonization with Union law, enabling the Commissioner to impose, inter alia, a fine in the event of any discrimination.
He/She also has the opportunity to visit places where people are deprived of their liberty or restricted, as a Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, a task entrusted to him in 2009, as well as the Independent Mechanism Promoting, Protecting and Monitoring the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012.
However, the promotion and protection of Human Rights in general as an extended responsibility was entrusted to the Commissioner for Administration in 2011, when the Institution was renamed Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights, which led to his recognition as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)
An important responsibility assigned to the Institution is the possibility of ex-officio intervention, where, in its judgment, there is a matter of general interest in relation to the protection of human rights.
At the end of April 2017, when I took office as the fourth Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights, my primary goal was to make the Institution accessible to anyone in the Republic of Cyprus who requested direct contact with the Commissioner.
A goal that was realized immediately, allowing me to experience in person the different issues that plague society beyond mismanagement, unfair treatment, discrimination.
A goal that brought to the surface personal stories of pain, poverty, despair and the constant search for justice, enabling me to intervene immediately, where this was permissible and at the same time providing immediate satisfaction to the requests that were deemed justified.
In conclusion, I would like to note the enhanced effectiveness of the Institution, which stems from the importance of consulting each service, provided in the relevant Law, both before submitting a report and after monitoring the implementation of suggestions which are included, obliging the administration to state detailed reasons in case of its refusal and the result of the consultation can be given to the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, and finally be published.
Moreover, I would like to point out that this effectiveness is further enhanced by the dedication of the Office staff in providing daily assistance and guidance to the complainants, but also in the thorough investigations and the deepening of the knowledge required by the responsibilities of the Institution, to whom I thank in particular.
Maria Stylianou - Lottides
Commissioner for Administration
and the Protection of Human Rights
SHORT CURRICULUM VITAE
Law Degree, from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Success in the examination of the Pan-Cypriot Bar Association
Member of the Cyprus Bar Association
Leicester University, LLM, at European Union Law, Dissertation Title: Protection of Human Rights in European Union
Diploma from the Laboratory of Professional Journalism in Athens
1997 - 1998
Trainee Lawyer at the Attorney’s General Office
1998 - 2002
Advocate/Barrister in private sector
2002 - 2017
Lawyer/Counselor at Attorney’s General Office, dealing with all kind of cases, mostly related to Human Rights violation and the right to compensation arising from them. Issuing Opinions considering human rights issues.
2017 - today
Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights (Ombudsman) - Independent Incumbent
Head of Equality Body & Head of Cyprus NHRI (National Human Rights Institution)
Head of Independent Mechanism monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Head of the National Mechanism against Torture (NPM), & Head of the Independent Mechanism monitoring Forced Returns
Member of the Board of AOM (Association Ombudsman Mediterranean)
Member of the IOI (International Ombudsman Institute), IOI Europe and ENO (Network of European Ombudsman)
Member of the EQUINET and ENNHRI
Member of FRA Management Board