Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Concluding Observations: Cyprus, U.N. Doc. A/51/38, paras. 37-66 (1996).
37. The Committee considered the initial and second periodic reports of Cyprus
(CEDAW/C/CYP/1-2) at its 287th meeting, on 15 January, and at its 287th meeting, on 23 January
1996 (see CEDAW/C/SR.287).
38. In his introductory statement the representative of Cyprus reviewed progress achieved in
promoting the status of women since the ratification of the Convention in 1985, taking into
consideration economic, political and social changes resulting from the occupation of parts of
the territory since 1974. Legal and other measures had been adopted and obstacles to
implementation of the Convention addressed. Since the submission of the report, a new national
machinery for women's rights had been set up and legislative changes in a number of areas had
occurred, in particular in the areas of family law and labour legislation. Traditional and
stereotyped gender ideas constituted an impediment to the full and equal participation of women
in decision-making and employment, and influenced educational choices.
39. Programmes and measures had been adopted to assist women to combine family and employment.
Emphasis had been given to the expansion and improvement of child-care facilities. Vocational
education designed for women had been introduced.
40. Educational programmes had been revised to promote equality between men and women.
Programmes for rural women had been introduced to promote their role in agriculture and
encourage their participation in decision-making. Women had access to health care and infant
mortality had been reduced to low levels. Maternal health care was a priority and information
was available on diseases and health hazards for women.
41. The representative reported on the Government's priorities and future plans in implementing
the Convention, including strengthening the national machinery for women; vocational training
for women and educational and awareness-raising efforts among teachers; expansion of child
care; supplementing the recently reformed family law and the remaining legal instruments that
involved unequal treatment of women; improvements for rural women; prevention of violence
against women; women's participation in decision-making; and possible creation of an equal
opportunities commission. He stated, however, that owing to the continuing Turkish occupation
of part of the territory, the Government of Cyprus was unable to ensure the enjoyment by women
of their rights in the occupied part of the island.
Concluding comments of the Committee
42. The Committee welcomed the high-level representation of the Cyprus Government and the
well-drafted reports presented by it, which contained detailed information on the
implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women in accordance with the Committee's reporting guidelines. It expressed its appreciation,
in particular, for the frank identification of obstacles and problems and of the major policy
issues of concern to women in Cyprus. The Committee also welcomed the ongoing efforts,
policies and plans to eliminate discrimination against women in Cyprus and the sincere and
detailed responses of the representative of the Government of Cyprus to the Committee's
Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention
43. The Committee noted with concern the reservation of the Government as to the exclusion of
women from the military.
44. The Committee acknowledged the State party's statement that owing to the occupation of a
part of the territory of Cyprus, it could not give any information as to the implementation of
the Convention in areas not under its jurisdiction.
45. The Committee noted the observation in the report that the most serious obstacles to
implementation of the Convention were social attitudes and practices based on traditional and
stereotyped ideas regarding the roles of men and women.
46. The Committee welcomed the report's assertion that the impact of the ratification of the
Convention had been significant, in particular, that the Convention had served as a framework
for government policy to reduce inequality, had helped to stimulate major changes in policy and
had been a useful tool for women's organizations pressing for change.
47. The Committee commended the efforts of the Government to implement the Convention in
relation to equal pay for work of equal value and to expand child day-care facilities and
consider social security for homemakers.
48. The Committee welcomed the amendment made by the Government to the Constitution
establishing special civil courts as the only courts for family matters.
49. It commended the steps taken by the Government to subsidize measures undertaken by
enterprises to provide child care. The Committee noted with satisfaction the high level of
education attained by women and girls in Cyprus and appreciated the educational programmes to
raise awareness of equality and the elimination of traditional gender stereotypes, especially
among rural women, and to address health and sexual health.
50. The Committee welcomed the introduction of legislation on violence against women within the
family, in particular clarifying that marital rape is a criminal offence. In addition, the law
gives full protection to victims while imposing severe penalties upon the perpetrators, and
facilitates the reporting of violence through primary health care providers. The Committee
also welcomed the establishment of counselling services and the Government's contribution to
support a crisis centre for victims of violence run by a voluntary association.
51. The Committee noted with appreciation the efforts of the Government to address issues of
women's discrimination in television, radio and advertising, including programmes dealing with
women's issues, women's participation in broadcasting and the portrayal of women's image.
52. The Committee welcomed the initiative to support and provide incentives to the
establishment of women's agricultural cooperatives.
Principal subjects of concern
53. The Committee noted with great concern the information on international trafficking of
women and of their sexual exploitation, including women from other countries, in violation of
article 6 of the Convention.
54. The Committee also noted the low representation of women in the legislature and in
political life, and their absence from higher levels of government.
55. The Committee expressed its concern that the Government treats the low fertility rate in
Cyprus as a reason for retaining the existing criminal law restrictions on abortion.
Suggestions and recommendations
56. The Committee recommends that the Government take immediate action on its commitment made
at the Fourth World Conference on Women to strengthen the national machinery for women,
including its administrative structure, budget, human resources and its executive powers. The
Committee further recommended that the national machinery be empowered to formulate policy and
to initiate and review legislative proposals pertaining to the status of women.
57. The Committee urges the Government to take into consideration all general recommendations
of the Committee in future reports under the Convention.
58. The Committee recommends that the Government continue its efforts to review and rectify
legislation that discriminates against women in light of the Convention. It draws the
Government's attention to the Committee's general recommendation No. 19 for amending its penal
code regarding violence against women.
59. 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.
60. 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.
61. The Committee recommends that the Government take additional measures through local and
international law-enforcement authorities to combat the international trafficking and sexual
exploitation of women. It encourages the Government to persist in its efforts to regulate the
employment of foreign artists and entertainers, and to prosecute in cases of criminal offences.
The Committee further urges the Government to provide education, training and support to
facilitate the entry of migrant women into other occupations in the formal labour market.
62. The Committee urges the Government to explore the issue of equal pay for work of equal
value, to avail itself of existing experience in other countries and to begin campaigns to
raise awareness of this issue among trade unions, employers' associations and women's
63. The Committee encourages the Government of Cyprus to pursue the initiative to enact special
legislation to address the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace as quickly as possible.
64. The Committee encourages the Government to generate systematic data disaggregated by sex in
all areas, and in particular in health needs and services to assist in policy planning.
65. 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.
66. 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.