July 17, 2018

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus to the 3rd Committee Mr. Demetris Hadjiargyrou on Advancement of Women and Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women

Although my delegation has aligned itself with the statement of the European Union representative, I would like to make a few remarks on certain issues which we consider to be of particular importance and briefly delineate the main efforts of my government in promoting the advancement of women.

Firstly, my delegation would like to express its deep appreciation for the efforts of the United Nations to introduce and establish a gender-sensitive perspective within every field of work of the organization. We also take note with satisfaction of the invaluable work performed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Commission on the Status of Women which tackle the workload of submitted reports with patience and professionalism. We also welcome the various reports of the Secretary-General on women’s issues, as well as, the results of the forty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Mr. Chairman,

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Another major development is the adoption last week of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. Cyprus joins other members of the international community in commemorating this important milestone in the efforts of the family of nations to promote and protect the rights of women and welcomes the adoption of the Protocol which my government intends to ratify as soon as possible.

Although the universal ratification of the CEDAW Convention, set forth by the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, has not yet been reached, we consider the steadily rising number of state-parties as an encouraging development and look forward to the day when the convention will be universally ratified without reservations.

Cyprus also looks forward to a successful and productive Special Session of the General Assembly next year, when the international community will take stock of Beijing and give new impetus to the process undertaken five years ago with the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women. I take this opportunity to reiterate my government’s full support to this effort.

Cyprus fully supports the important role of specialized agencies and national and international NGO’s in defining the problems faced by women worldwide and in assisting the work carried out by the United Nations system. It expresses its support of INSTRAW and the new initiative it has undertaken entitled “Strategic Plan and Work Program 2000-2003”. It, furthermore, supports the networking at the international, regional and national level as a means of mobilizing support and stimulating actions taken by governments, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations for the purpose of enhancing visibility and empowering women socially, economically and politically.

Mr. Chairman,

Following the dramatic events twenty-five years ago with the Turkish invasion, subsequent military occupation and uprooting of one third of the Cypriot population, an event that has had a devastating impact on the women of Cyprus, my government has increasingly relied on integrating women into the efforts of economic revival of the country. Their contribution in the economic recovery of Cyprus has been invaluable.

The role and status of Cypriot women since 1979 has improved considerably. The high rates of economic growth that have taken place in the last two decades have led to the increased participation of women in the economic activity of the country. As a result of their contribution to the economic prosperity that has been achieved, social perceptions regarding the role of women have radically been transformed, naturally leading to the expansion and updating of family and labour law, increased public awareness of women’s specific problems and the pursuit of policies for the promotion of equality in all aspects of life, something which has been declared explicitly in all national Development Plans since 1979.

The number of women entering the labour market has been constantly growing. Their share in the total labour force rose from 30% in 1976, to 37% in 1985 and 39% today. It is estimated that currently, 57% of all women aged 15-64 years are integrated in the labour force. Approximately 30% of employed women have received higher education and about 42% have completed secondary education, as compared to 21% and 46% respectively for men. Women’s representation in high administrative and managerial positions is about 12% whereas their share in the professional occupations is as high as 46%.

Rural women are considered to be a category with special problems, although they have benefited considerably from the various rural development programmes and they have access to all basic social services. The House Economic Programme, introduced in the rural areas under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, aims at improving the status of women in these areas by promoting their roles in the agricultural household and in farming and by encouraging them to deal with income generating activities.

Violence against women has become a top priority issue within the overall equality policy. The Department of Social Welfare Services identifies cases of physical and psychological violence against women, which it handles through preventive and therapeutic programmes. The Department organizes in-service training to enable social workers to detect and to make an early diagnosis of cases of violence and to offer the right support and assistance to the victims. A Family Guidance Centre operates, which provides services by specialists.

Moreover, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order through the National Machinery for Women’s Rights financially supports and encourages women’s organizations and other NGOs to initiate and implement their own programmes while far-reaching legislation was enacted in 1994 on the Prevention of Violence in the Family and Protection of Victims.

Cyprus is strongly committed to pursuing all policies and programmes which ensure that women fully enjoy their human rights and are equal partners in shaping its economic, political and social development. This commitment stems from the belief that bringing about equality of the sexes is a necessity, dictated by the long-term requirements of the economic and social development of any country.

Mr. Chairman,

This century, which is about to end, has set in motion the forces for the advancement of women. I would like to conclude by expressing my deep conviction that the 21st century will be the one when full equality will be so embedded in our societies that the deliberations on this item will constitute but a mere object of interest for the social scientists of the future.

Thank you.