Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out, for the first time, a visit to the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) of Akrotiri (Western Sovereign Base Area) and Dhekelia (Eastern Sovereign Base Area) on Cyprus from 9 to 11 February 2017.
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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus

The visit provided an opportunity to examine the treatment and safeguards in place for persons deprived of their liberty by the SBA Police and the British Forces Cyprus and to assess the conditions of detention and treatment of persons held in Dhekelia Prison. The CPT’s delegation also briefly assessed the situation and existing safeguards for migrants held within the SBA.

During the visit, the CPT’s delegation met the Administrator of the Western and Eastern Sovereign Base Areas and Commander of the British Forces Cyprus, Air Vice-Marshal Mike Wigston, the Chief of Staff of the British Forces Cyprus, Brigadier Nick Orr, the Chief Officer of the SBA Administration, Dr Philip Rushbrook, the Chief Constable of the SBA, Chris Eyre, the SBA Attorney General and Legal Advisor, Stuart Howard and the Head of Operations of the SBA Customs, Andy Reed, as well as other senior representatives and members of the SBA Administration and British Forces Cyprus.
At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary findings to the British authorities.

The CPT’s delegation consisted of Mark Kelly, Head of delegation, and Georg Høyer, supported by Francesca Gordon of the CPT’s Secretariat.

The delegation visited the following places where persons may be deprived of their liberty:

SBA Administration (police, prison and immigration detention)

  • HMP Dhekelia
  • Kilossi Police Station
  • Dhekelia Police Station
  • 16 Flight, Dhekelia Garrison
  • Temporary Migrant Facility, Dhekelia

British Forces Cyprus

  • Services Custody Facility, Salamanca Barracks, Episkopi Garrison 
  • Cyprus Joint Police Unit Headquarters, Episkopi Garrison

Note to editors

The United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, usually referred to as, respectively, the Western Sovereign Base Area and the Eastern Sovereign Base Area, are those parts of the island of Cyprus that remained under British jurisdiction upon the creation of an independent Republic of Cyprus in 1960. Under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, the United Kingdom retains sovereignty over the SBA, which cover some 3% of the land area of the island Cyprus, a total of 98 square miles.

In a letter dated 10 October 2013, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland declared that, in accordance with Article 20(2) of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, the United Kingdom's ratification of the Convention was extended to the Sovereign Base Areas. Consequently, the CPT may visit any place where persons are, or may be, deprived of their liberty in the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas.