November 23, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus to the Third Committee on Women

Thank you Mr Chairman,

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.

My delegation has aligned itself with the statement of the European Union. My statement thus will delineate the most recent steps taken by the government of Cyprus towards promoting the status of women.

At the outset I would like to commend the tireless efforts of the United Nations as reflected on the relevant reports of the Secretary General and express our appreciation for the invaluable work of the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Mr Chairman,

Gender equality constitutes a prerequisite for social development and social justice. Cyprus remains fully committed to fighting any kind of gender discrimination by pursuing policies that are designed to lead to a gender-sensitive and educated society ― a society, which will secure dignity and respect for all its members in compliance with the principles of equality and justice.

Cyprus, since the ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1985, launched a promising and dynamic national programme of action aiming at the pursuit of gender equality and equal participation of women in all walks of life. The programme consists of the formulation of a gender-comprehensive legal framework based both on international legal instruments and on gender-supportive domestic legislation, as well as of the adoption of consolidating mechanisms for the implementation of all commitments emanating from this legal framework.

The National Machinery plays a key role in all attempts to integrate gender perspective into all aspects of social and political life.

At the international level Cyprus in 2002:

1.      Ratified the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW.

2.      Accepted the amendment of article 20, paragraph 1 of the Convention.

3.      Acceded to the convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages.

 

At the national level, domestic Law reform has been carried out especially in the field of Family and Labour legislation. In the field of Family Law a series of amendment Laws have been enacted, improving the legal framework concerning Property Rights among Spouses, Parents and Children Relations, Family Courts etc. In the field of Labour Law a series of legal measures, aiming at the improvement and expansion of the legal rights and protection of women at work, were adopted this year covering the areas of Maternity Protection, Social Pension, Social Security and Part-time work. Furthermore, within the framework of the process of harmonization with the acquis communautaire of the European Union in the social sector, the preparation of other important equality Laws has begun, including the drafting of the Law on Equal Opportunities and Treatment in Employment.

In terms of implementation of its objectives towards gender equality, Cyprus proceeded this year to an innovative Scheme for strengthening women’s entrepreneurial activities. For the implementation of this scheme the Government has approved this year approximately one million dollars for funding women’s activities in the fields of manufacture, trade and tourism. In addition, the recently established Women’s Cooperative Bank Initiative also seeks to tackle, precisely, the problem of access to financial resources. Three hundred and fifty women with the vision to improve women’s living standard founded the Women’s Cooperative Bank, which started functioning in 2001 under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce.

The Republic of Cyprus acknowledges that an important component of the new strategy of Gender Mainstreaming is putting in place such mechanisms as will allow gender issues to be integrated into key sectors of government, as well as of the private sector and civil society. To this purpose, close collaboration has been developed between government departments and the National machinery for Women’s Rights on the one hand and with NGO’s, academic institutions and other agencies on the other.

Within this framework of cooperation, it is worth noting that an International Conference on “Violence in the Family: a plan of action for the 21st century” has been jointly and successfully organized by NGO’s and the government of Cyprus in Nov. 2000 with the participation of civil society. The bureau of the secretariat of the conference will be hosted in Nicosia Cyprus till 2004.

Mr Chairman,

The women of Cyprus, who have been experiencing the tragic consequences of the invasion for 28 years, are particularly sensitive on matters of human rights and peace. Women’s movements have been very active all these years in protesting against the illegal occupation by peaceful marches and in encouraging a culture of peace and reconciliation on the island through various ways including the promotion of bi-communal activities.

Cyprus attaches the greatest importance in achieving gender equality for all its citizens. It expresses therefore its deep regret for the fact that, due to the 1974 invasion, Cypriot women remain divided. It is also regretful that due to the de facto partition of the island, the government is prevented from applying the provisions of the international conventions to the women living in the occupied area. Not surprisingly these women are at the forefront of efforts for finding a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem based on the Security Council Resolutions and for close co-operation with all women in Cyprus for the pursuit of their common goals in a reunited Cyprus member of the EU. It is our hope that the barriers imposed by the forces of occupation and division will soon be lifted, thereby allowing all Cypriot women equally to enjoy their rights and contribute to the national and international struggle towards the promotion of human dignity and development.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.