Cyprus

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The Constitution of Cyprus establishes that every person shall enjoy all the rights and liberties provided for in the Constitution without any direct or indirect discrimination on the ground of his or her sex.[1]
In 2006, the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women was created within the Parliament in order to monitor the policies and actions on the issue of equal opportunities between men and women and to support the efforts of governmental and non-governmental organizations which promote gender equality.[2]
The National Machinery for Women’s Rights (NMWR), under the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, deals with women’s issues and gender equality[3], including the introduction of gender mainstreaming in all national policies and programmes, awareness-raising programmes, development and funding of research, supporting women’s groups, etc.[4]For instance, the NMWR financed a series of seminars, organized by the Cyprus Gender Equality Observatory, for members of the ministries, union representatives, women’s organisations and NGOs.[5]Moreover, the NMWR finances research on gender issues, focusing on the promotion of data collection and gender-disaggregated statistics.[6]
Following the parliamentary elections of 2011, the number of women elected fell from 14% to 10% and the dissolution of the Committee on Equal Opportunities between Men and Women was advised. However, following advocacy efforts of a number of women MPs, the Committee was not dissolved but merged with the one on Human Rights. As a consequence, there was a loss of visibility and focus on gender equality issues and the institutional safeguard for women’s rights and gender equality was significantly reduced.[7]
Following the CEDAW Committee’s 2006 concluding comments, no steps have been taken to strengthen the National Machinery for Women’s Rights. While the budget of the national machinery for the advancement of women increased in the years 2006-2009, the budget was cut by at least 50%in 2010 and 2011. The budget was reduced from 980.000 Euros in 2008 to 435.000 Euros in 2010 and 450.000 Euros in 2012.[8]
In April 2014, the President of the Republic appointed a Commissioner for Gender Equality that, following Ministerial Decision, will preside over the National Machinery for Women’s Rights. Despite this positive development, no financial or human resources have been allocated to the Commissioner to carry out her mandate. Furthermore, it is not clear what the terms of reference and mandate of the Commissioner will be.
The Mediterranean Institute of Genders Studies (MIGS), in an open letter to the President, criticized the government saying the creation of the post was decided behind closed doors, without first consulting NGOs or civic society in general. MIGS also asked inform the public on what the commissioner’s mandate is exactly, and what budget has been allocated for the role.[9]
At the international level, Cyprus has signed several accords as a member of the European Union. For instance, in the Directive 2000/78/EC (establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation in order to combat discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation) and the Roadmap for Equality between Men and Women 2006-2010 of the European Commission.
In Cyprus, most citizens belong to one of the two main ethnic and religious groups: the Greek Orthodox (78 percent) and the Turkish-speaking Muslims (18 percent). Other religions represented on the island include the Maronites and the Armenian Apostolics (4 percent).  All citizens are equal before the civil law.[10]

 [1] Article 28 [2] CEDAW/C/CYP/6-7 (2011) , p.7 [3] The Ministry of Justice and Public Order. http://www.mjpo.gov.cy/mjpo/mjpo.nsf/page22_en/page22_en? penDocument (accessed 14/04/2014) [4] CEDAW/C/CYP/6-7 (2011) , p. 9 [5] European Institute for Gender Equality. ttp://eige.europa.euhttp://www.genderindex.org/wp-content/uploads/files/documents/MH3012934ENN.pdf (accessed 14/04/2014) [6] CEDAW/C/CYP/6-7 (2011) , p.9 [7] CEDAW Shadow Report (2014) [8] CEDAW Shadow Report (2014) [9]Cyprus Mail (2014) [10] Articles 6, and1 8 of the Constitution ; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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