October 20, 2017

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

As this is the first time that my delegation takes the floor, I would like to express to you Mr. Chairman, and to the members of the Bureau, our congratulations on your well-deserved election.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by expressing my delegation’s 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 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 are also grateful to the Secretary-General for the various reports before us, which assist considerably the work of this Committee.

We share the belief that the elimination of discrimination against women constitutes an integral part of the struggle for social development and social justice. We are thus resolved to fight discrimination by pursuing policies that are designed to lead to a gender-sensitive and educated society leading to the ultimate goal of full equality.

Cooperation and coordination at the international level is critical in creating and expanding the agenda for the human rights of women and in formulating and developing strategies for particular areas of concern. While recognizing the importance of international cooperation, we also realize that the implementation of such strategies rests primarily with national governments. In this respect we believe that the attainment of the goals of the Beijing Platform for Action adopted by the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women and the 25th Special Session of the General Assembly on Women, should utilize the considerable experience of non-governmental organizations whose valuable contribution has been duly demonstrated.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation has aligned itself with the statement of the European Union with whose positions we fully agree. I would, however, like to make a few remarks on the items under discussion and briefly delineate the main efforts of my government in promoting the advancement of women in certain areas.

The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) remains one of the most important international legal instruments under which women’s rights have been recognized as human rights. Cyprus has been a State party to this Convention since 1985 after ratifying it by Law No.78/85 with a single reservation on Article 9, paragraph 2. Right after the amendment of the Cyprus Citizenship Law (Law No.65(1)/99) which eliminates discrimination against women regarding the nationality of their children), the Government proceeded with the withdrawal of the single reservation on Article 9, paragraph 2 of the CEDAW Convention.

Two other important international legal instruments for the Human Rights of women have been signed during this period:

· The Optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women which was affected on 8th February 2001, and

· Protocol no.12 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Besides the above international instruments, two very important laws have been adopted during this period:

· The new Law on Violence in the family (Prevention and Protection of victims) of 2000 (Law No.119(1)2000) has been enacted in order to effect substantial improvements to the initial legislation which was enacted in 1994, and

· The Law No.3(1)2000 dealing with sexual exploitation and trafficking of human beings, as well as child pornography.

Mr.Chairman,

One area that we consider important for the empowerment of women in a society, is their participation in the political life of a country. Although in Cyprus we have not yet reached the goal of a minimum 30% representation of women before 2005, as set by the Beijing Platform for Action, the political will exists for moving in that direction. The President of the Republic of Cyprus as well as Political Party Leaders and Women’s Organizations have declared their full support to a further balancing out in women’s participation in decision making and politics in order to meet that goal.

Some of the measures taken in this field include the:

· Organization of special training programmes aiming at encouraging women to enter politics, and at creating a more friendly environment for women within political parties,

· Setting up of a cross-political citizens’ group to lobby and campaign for equal representation of Women and Men in Politics,

· Sensitization of the Mass Media to support this cause,

· Appointment of women in high ranking political posts, and

· Launching of a public campaign to support women candidates

Another area where the women of Cyprus have been particularly active is in their participation in conflict resolution and the peace process. The women of Cyprus, having suffered the tragic consequences of military conflict, displacement and foreign occupation for 27 years, are particularly sensitive to matters of conflict resolution, human rights and the peace process. Cypriot women’s organizations have been very active in the last two years, as they have been very active since 1974.

· The International Eco-peace Village has launched its training programmes on conflict resolutions and global environmental sensitivity,

· The Federation of Women’s Refugee Association (KEGYK), established in 1999 has been at the forefront of the campaign to raise awareness on the Cyprus political problem and the specific problems of refugee women, and

· The Bicommunal Initiatives among Greek Cypriot – Turkish Cypriot women to bring together the two communities and thus peacefully reunite the people of Cyprus.

Mr. Chairman,

Cyprus remains strongly committed to and will continue to pursue 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 full equality between women and men is a necessity dictated by the long-term requirements of the economic and social development of our country.