Main Page :- Articles :- European Commission of Human Rights - Cyprus v. Turkey - Commission Report, 10 July 1976


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Chapter 6 - Forced Labour

A. Submissions of the Parties

I.          Applicant Government

488.        The applicant Government submitted that a great number of persons detained by the Turkish army in the Turkish-occupied areas, including women, were during their detention made to perform forced and compulsory labour consisting, for example, of cleaning water-courses for the Turks to water the fields, of cleaning and repairing houses, constructing and repairing various structures like road bridges, erecting monuments, cleaning dead bodies out of houses, cleaning out looted houses, cleaning military headquarters, transporting looted goods, etc. This was done under the threat of arms and in many cases day after day throughout the whole period of detention [686].

II.         Respondent Government

489.        The respondent Government who, for the reasons stated above[687] did not participate in the proceedings on the merits, have not made any submissions with regard to the above allegation.

B. Relevant Article of the Convention

490.        The facts alleged raise issues under Art. 4 (2) of the Convention.

Art. 4 states as follows:

"1.         No one shall be held it slavery or servitude.

2.         No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

3.         For the purpose of this Article the term "forced or compulsory labour" shall not include:

(a)         any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of this Convention or during conditional release from such detention;

(b)         any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious objectors in countries where they are recognised, service exacted instead of compulsory military service;

(c)         any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life of well-being of the community;

(d)         any work or service which forms part of normal civil obligations."

C. Evidence obtained

491.        No direct evidence by witnesses was obtained on this item.

492.        As a hearsay witness Mrs. Soulioti referred to statements of enclaved or detained Greek Cypriots who were made to work in the surrounding areas [688]. Such written statements have also been submitted by the applicant Government. According to these statements women were especially made to clean out Turkish-occupied houses [689]. In one case they had to put out dead bodies [690]. Greek Cypriot men were compelled to do construction work or to clean up water courses [691].

D. Evaluation of the evidence obtained

493.        The facts described in the written statements in question have not been further investigated by the Commission. They constitute, however, indications of compulsion to perform certain work.

E.  Responsibility of Turkey under the Convention

494.        In most of the statements Turkish soldiers were described as being responsible.

It further appears that the alleged victims were at the material time under the "actual authority and responsibility" of Turkey, in the sense of the Commission's decision on the admissibility of the present applications [692].

F. Conclusion

495.        The Commission, by eight votes against three votes and with one abstention, finds that the incompleteness of the investigation with regard to the allegations on forced labour does not allow any conclusions to be made on this issue.

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[686] Particulars I, p. 17.

[687] Part I, para. 23.

[688] Verbatim Record, p. 11.

[689] Statements I, Nos. 72, 76, 98, 100, 105, 110, 115, 119.

[690] Ibid., No. 19; cf. also No. 104.

[691] Ibid., No. 111.

[692] See Appendix 1, para. 10 of The Law.