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Human rights in Cyprus

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Human rights in Cyprus

This article is about human rights in the Republic of Cyprus. For human rights in Northern Cyprus, see Human rights in Northern Cyprus.

Human rights in Cyprus are protected by the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus.[1] However, there have been reports of violations of the human rights of minorities, democratic freedom, rights of detainees, freedom of religion, rights of women, freedom of press and the freedom of speech.

In a number of cases, the European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey responsible for continuous violations of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Republic of Cyprus as a result of the Turkish Invasion in 1974 and continuous occupation of 37% of its territory. Regarding human rights in the areas under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, according to the 2010 US Department of State human rights report, there were reports of police abuse and degrading treatment of persons in custody and asylum seekers, as well as instances of discrimination and violence against members of minority ethnic and national groups. Trafficking of women to the island, particularly for sexual exploitation was reportedly a problem. Several instances of violence against women and children were also reported.[2]

Democratic freedom

Cyprus Court of Justice in Nicosia, Cyprus

Freedom House classified the perceived level of democratic and political freedom in Cyprus as "free" in 2011 in its Freedom in the World report.[3] The US Department of State reported in 2010 that the recent elections were free and fair.[2]

Ibrahim Aziz, who was prevented from voting in the elections, applied to the European Court of Human Rights. In 2004, in the case of Aziz v. Cyprus, the ECHR ruled that his right to vote was denied.[4] After this case, the right to vote was given to the Turkish Cypriots residing in the Republic of Cyprus.[5] However, Turkish Cypriots still cannot run in presidential elections and the Turkish Cypriots which reside in Northern Cyprus cannot vote in elections, even though they are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.[6]

Rights of minorities

US Department of State reported in 2010 that there were instances of discrimination and violence against members of minority ethnic and national groups.[2] Minority Rights Group International reported in 2011 that minorities in Cyprus faced serious discrimination and they were excluded from policital activity.[7] The US Department of State report in 2005 stated that discrimination against Turkish Cypriots and Roma were problems.[8] There has been some mistreatments to the Turkish Cypriots visiting the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus.[9]

The US Department of State report about human rights in Cyprus in 2002 said that:

"Some of the approximately 300 Turkish Cypriots living in the government-controlled area faced difficulties in obtaining identification cards and other government documents, especially if they were born after 1974. Turkish Cypriots also appeared to be subjected to surveillance by the Greek Cypriot police."[10]

However, according the Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis in an interview to Turkish-Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs in 2011, 93,308 Turkish Cypriots already have ID cards, 58,069 Turkish Cypriots hold Cypriot passports of which 7,376 are biometric.[11]

Fair trial

Although the prisons generally meet international standards, there has been reports that often state that the prisons are overcrowded.[2] There has been reports that the police had phsiycally abused detainees and had discriminated them.[2] Some [2]

In 2008, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Cyprus decided that the police had restricted Andreas Constantinou's access to legal aid.[12] Also, in 2008, the ECHR said that "a question arises as to the conformity of such legislation with the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention [...] there is a priori no reason why it should not be made available in spheres other than criminal law."[12]

In the case of Panovits v. Cyprus in 2009, the ECHR ruled that:

"In these circumstances, the Court concludes that the Assize Court’s handling of the confrontation with the applicant’s defence counsel rendered the trial unfair. It follows that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 in this respect."[13]

Right to property

In 2005, 25 cases by Turkish Cypriots were filed in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, stating that they did not have access to their properties in the Republic of Cyprus-controlled areas.[8]

Freedom of religion

The US Department of State reported in 2010 that freedom of religion was generally respected by the government. The government conserves the mosques. Although there are 17 mosques in the Republic of Cyprus-controlled area, only five of them are in public use.[14]

In November 2005 the Ombudsman's Office issued a report on a complaint from Jehovah's Witnesses whose child was excused from religious instruction but who was subsequently harassed by fellow students and pressured by a religious instructor. The report concluded that the student's complaint was valid and that the instructor's remarks during a lesson on religious sects violated the student's religious freedom.[15] Also, in November 2005 press reports said that the police and the municipality had harassed the Buddhist temple in Strovolos.[15]

Nicos Trimikliniotis and Corina Demetriou noted that:

"‘Religious’ discrimination is not exhausted there, however, as the treatment of Jehovah Witness conscientious objectors refusing to serve in the military illustrate."[6]

Right to education

There is currently no school for Turkish Cypriots living in the Republic of Cyprus-controlled areas.[16] Maronites have an elementary school, but no secondary school, and Antonis Hadjiroussos underlines the danger of assimilation of Maronites to the Greek Cypriot community because of this.[17]

Rights of women

Laws prohibit rape and spousal rape in the Republic of Cyprus. There has been a sharp increase in the number of these crimes in 2000s.[2] Although sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited, it is a widespread problem, but only few cases are reported to the authorities.[2]

In 1996, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Concluding Observations noted that women were not represented in political life much, they were absent from higher levels of the government, the trafficking of women and their sexual exploitation was against human rights, there was sexual harassment in the workplace, and women were not paid equal money for work of equal value.[18]

The committee also said:

"The Committee exhorts the Government to extend full social security coverage to self-employed rural women and to abolish existing discrimination in this respect between married and unmarried women. The Committee urges the Government to implement special sensitization and training programmes in gender issues for all law enforcement officials and judges, particularly judges in family courts. The Committee strongly recommends that urgent special temporary measures be adopted, under article 4 of the Convention, with the aim of substantially increasing the presence of women in all areas of public and political life, as well as actively promoting their position in the senior management of the civil service and in the diplomatic service. The Committee urges the Government to explore the proposal of non-governmental organizations to establish an equal opportunities commission to deal with complaints by women and to serve in a mediatory capacity."[18]

In 2006, the same committee expressed their concern about discrimination against women migrants, including domestic helpers and agricultural workers, lower number of women which have the PhD degree when compared with men, and "the lack of a comprehensive and systematic approach to gender equality policies".[19]

A US Department of State report in 2010 stated that:

"On January 7, the ECHR ruled in Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia that Cyprus failed to protect 20-year-old Russian cabaret artist Oxana Rantseva from human trafficking and failed to conduct an effective investigation into the circumstances of her death in 2001."[2]

Freedom of press and speech

In 2010, the US Department of State reported that the law provided for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice.[2] The UNHCR also reported in 2006 that the freedom of press was generally respected, and independent press often criticized the authorities.[20] In 18 July 2005, the police used excessive force against demonstrators and journalists at a picket by striking lorry drivers.[21]

In 2004, the media was stifled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus to broadcast programmes against the Annan Plan for Cyprus. European Commissioner Günter Verheugen was refused to air-time on any Greek Cypriot TV channel because if he was not refused, he would present arguments supporting the plan.[22]

In 2007, then President [22] Kyriakos Pierides reported in 2007 that the "pro-government political and commercial pressures are a constant factor inhibiting the work of the media there".[22]

In 2008, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in a report written by the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation and the Turkish Cypriot Journalists’ Union reported that the government of the Republic of Cyprus were violating the rights of Turkish Cypriots on the freedom of press. It added that the change in Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation's broadcasting frequency prevented many Turkish Cypriot TV channels broadcasting in Northern Cyprus, thus violating the freedom of the speech.[23]

The World Press Freedom Index ranked Cyprus 45 in 2007,[24] 31 in 2008,[25] 25 in 2009,[26] and ranked it back down to 45 in 2010.[27]

Human trafficking and rights of asylum seekers

Prostitution is rife in Cyprus, and the island has been criticized for its role in the sex trade as one of the main routes of human trafficking from Eastern Europe.[28][29]

In May 2011, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights said that rejected asylum-seekers were kept for too long in detention and inconvenient conditions.[30] In May 2005, the KISA accused the police of violating the law and the human rights of asylum seekers by carrying out illegal arrests, detentions, and deportations.[8] Another non-governmental organization (NGO) reported in 2005 that the police deported long term residents, as long as 11 years.[8]

A large number of Romanian nationals were subjected to forced labor in the country in 2009.[31] In August 2009 the UNHCR complained through the media that a Kurdish child suffering from a terminal congenital condition was denied government funding to travel abroad for medical treatment because of his refugee status, in contravention of the country's refugee law, which provides refugees access to the same medical treatment as Cypriots and other EU citizens.[2] detention by occupying the water-tank tower of the prison in Nicosia and a hunger strike in Limassol.[32]

LGBT rights

Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1998 after the case of Modinos v. Cyprus of the European Court of Human Rights, but the Cyprus military still bars homosexuals from serving on the grounds that homosexuality is a mental illness; gay sexual conduct remains a crime under military law; the term is 6 months in a military jail although this is rarely, if ever, enforced.[33]

Human rights violations due to Cyprus dispute

Violations in Northern Cyprus

In a number of cases, the European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey responsible for continuous violations of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Republic of Cyprus as a result of the Turkish Invasion in 1974 and continuous occupation of 37% of its territory. In particular, in the 2011 landmark case of Cyprus v. Turkey the court ruled that there had been 14 violations of the European Convention on Human Rights by Turkey:

  • Violations of Articles 2, 3 and 5 concerning Greek-Cypriot missing persons and their relatives;
  • Violations of Articles 8, 13 and P1-1 concerning home and property of displaced Greek-Cypriots;
  • Violations of Articles 3, 8, 9, 10, 13, P1-1 and P1-2 concerning living conditions of Greek Cypriots in Karpas region of northern Cyprus;
  • Violation of Article 6, concerning rights of Turkish Cypriots living in northern Cyprus;

In 2011, in its annual report, the UN Commission on Human Rights has reiterated is calls for the full restoration of all human rights to the population of Cyprus, in particular to refugees, called for the tracing of and accounting for missing persons in Cyprus without any further delay, and called for the restoration and respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, including freedom of movement, the freedom of settlement and the right to property.[34]

Other issues

The constant focus on the division of the island sometimes masks other human rights issues.[35] In 2005, Bulgarian citizens living in Northern Cyprus were not allowed to pass the Green Line and vote in Bulgarian elections.[8]

See also

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, Article 5
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 2010 Human Rights Report: Cyprus, US Department of State, Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  3. ^ Freedom in the World 2011 Report Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2011 Report
  4. ^ Aziz v. Cyprus, European Court of Human Rights, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  5. ^ Turkish Cypriots - Parliamentary Elections, Cyprus News Agency, Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  6. ^ a b Nicos Trimikliniotis, Corina Demetriou. Evaluating the Anti-Discrimination Law in the Republic of Cyprus: A Critical Reflection (Peace Research Institute) Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  7. ^ Cyprus conflict resolution strongly questioned if minorities continue to be excluded – new MRG report (Minority Rights Grup International) Date: 22 March 2011, Retrieved on 13 July 2011
  8. ^ a b c d e International Human Rights Report 2005 - Cyprus, US Department of State, Retrieved 2011-05-16.
  9. ^ Yearbook of the United Nations 2005, United Nations, p.491
  10. ^ US Department of State Report on Human Rights in Cyprus in 2002, Retrieved April 21, 2011
  11. ^ http://famagusta-gazette.com/turkish-cypriots-have-cyprus-republic-birth-certificates-p13706-69.htm 99,000 Turkish Cypriots have Cyprus Republic birth certificates
  12. ^ a b Symfiliosi, national report written for Becoming Vulnerable in Detention (p.154), [1], Retrieved 2011-05-09.
  13. ^ CASE OF PANOVITS v. CYPRUS (European Court of Human Rights) Retrieved on July 24, 2011.
  14. ^ 2010 Religious Freedom Report: Cyprus, US Department of State, Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  15. ^ a b 2006 Religious Freedom Report: Cyprus, US Department of State, Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  16. ^ Cyprus Overview, Minority Rights Group International, Retrieved 2011-05-06.
  17. ^ The Cyprus review, Volumes 18-19 (2006), Intercollege, p.62
  18. ^ a b Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Concluding Observations: Cyprus, U.N. Doc. A/51/38, paras. 37-66 (1996)., University of Minnesota, Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  19. ^ Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Cyprus, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/CYP/CO/5 (2006)., University of Minnesota, Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  20. ^ Freedom of the Press - Cyprus (2006), UNHCR, Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  21. ^ CYPRUS - Document - Europe and Central Asia: Concerns in Europe & Central Asia bulletin July-December 2005, Amnesty International, Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  22. ^ a b c Goodbye to Freedom?, Association of European Journalists, Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  23. ^ Freedom of Expression, Media and Information in Cyprus Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  24. ^ Press Freedom Index 2007, Reporters Without Borders, Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  25. ^ Press Freedom Index 2008, Reporters Without Borders, Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  26. ^ Press Freedom Index 2009, Reporters Without Borders, Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  27. ^ Press Freedom Index 2010, Reporters Without Borders, Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Cyprus - Amnesty International Report 2010, Amnesty International, Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  31. ^ Human Trafficking Report 2010 - Cyprus, US Department of State, Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  32. ^ KISA 2007 Annual Report, KISA, Retrieved 2011-05-16.
  33. ^
  34. ^ http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G11/101/60/PDF/G1110160.pdf?OpenElement Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of human rights in Cyprus - 2011
  35. ^

External links

  • http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/eur/154419.htm US State Report on Cyprus Human Rights


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