Cyprus should complete the drafting of its national strategy for the rights of the LGBTQI + community as soon as possible, said in an interview with KYPE on the occasion of her visit to Cyprus, the Commissioner for Equality of the European Union, Helena Daly, who on the occasion of her visit will have contacts with Cypriot Ministers, MPs and civil society organizations.
Ms. Daly, who is in Cyprus where she participated in the European IDAHOT + Forum in Limassol, said in a written interview with KYPE that data from a recent survey, which show that about half of young people aged 15 to 17 in Cyprus feel that they should to hide that they are LGBT + people at school.
In her interview, the Commissioner stressed that Cyprus should step up its efforts to remove the structural barriers that prevent women from achieving in politics and explained that in several EU countries the practice of quotas has brought significant changes.
He emphasized that the Commission was promoting a directive on the protection of women from vulnerable groups.
He also referred to the practical role played by the European Union in the promotion of equality and social cohesion, as well as the policy for the promotion of the social inclusion of the Roma, which also concerns Cyprus.
Everyone must feel safe and ίσοι
Referring to her participation in the IDAHOT Forum, Ms. Daly noted that equality of LGBTQI + individuals “is one of the pillars to achieve an Equality Union where everyone will be safe and equal regardless of their gender, race and ethnicity. their origin, religion or beliefs, age, special needs or sexual orientation. “
“According to a survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, almost half of young Cypriot students between the ages of 15 and 17 hide that they are LOATKI + at school. “This is a matter of concern,” said the Commissioner. its implementation on the ground “, noted Ms. Daly.
“Cyprus must make improvements to prevent hatred and violence against LGBTQI people, as well as to ensure equal access to health care, education and employment,” he said.
“I always dedicate the right time and attention to the dialogue with the civil society organizations where I go,” he continued, referring to the discussions he will have with representatives of the Cypriot civil society.
Ms. Dali recalled that the invasion of Ukraine “has increased the risk of violence and discrimination against LGBTQI + individuals both within Ukraine and in countries hosting refugees”, and added that one of the points it promotes in the panel is the position that the EU must ensure that “everyone, regardless of their personal characteristics, is treated fairly and with respect”.
“Tangible improvements in human lives »
Responding to comments that social issues and employment are not the responsibility of the European Union, Daly said the EU “has a crucial role to play in setting the direction, in cooperation with the Member States” to promote legislation that promotes equality. and social cohesion.
The Commissioner cited the European Pillar of Social Rights as an example, as well as a number of strategies presented during her tenure involving Member States and civil society: the Gender Equality Strategy, the LGBTQI Equality Strategy + people, the Action Plan against Racism, the Strategic Framework for Roma and the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
He also noted that the EU already has a tangible package of equality legislation that has achieved “tangible improvements in people's lives”, referring to the “European Act on Accessibility to make products and services more accessible, such as computers and operating systems. banking services, digital books and digital commerce “and the preparation of the European Disability Card” which is being tested in eight Member States, including Cyprus “and which is planned to be promoted in all Member States in the future.
“Talent is not a gender issue”
Regarding the limited participation of women in politics in Cyprus, Commissioner Daly recalled that according to data from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), while in the EU one in three representatives in national parliaments is a woman, this proportion is in Cyprus. one in seven representatives.
“Talent is not a matter of gender. “Obviously, we want to see the people who make up the government represent the diversity of voices and the balances in our societies,” she said, adding that she was pleased with the election of the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives. the right direction “, as well as the fact that Commissioner Kyriakidou represents in Cyprus” in the first gender-balanced College of Commissioners “.
However, he acknowledged that Cyprus” could to step up its efforts to remove those structural barriers that prevent women from entering or succeeding in politics. “
The Commissioner also noted that the Commission would ask European parties seeking funding to make their gender equality policies and information more transparent.
“Several countries “France, Belgium and Portugal have already legislated for a quota for women and men in politics,” she said. EU average in these countries.
“Similarly, we see that progress on gender equality in business governance is largely due to the impetus given by countries that have pursued binding policies,” he said, stressing the importance of promoting the adoption of the Balanced Representation Directive. gender in corporate boards.
Once approved, the Directive will ensure that 40% of non-executive executives are made up of under-represented gender, the Commissioner explained.
“Cyprus is already using 87 million from the European Social Fund to promote a balanced participation of both sexes in the labor market,” he noted elsewhere in the interview.
A Directive for the protection of women in vulnerable social groups is coming
Ms. Daly was also asked to comment on the case of the serial murder of immigrant women that occupied the public opinion in 2019 when it was revealed, highlighting the gaps in the system in the country.
Asked how Ms Daly referred to the legislative proposal tabled by the Commission for a Directive on Gender and Domestic Violence and explained that, if adopted, it would provide support to women and “focus on needs of disadvantaged women. “
This applies to migrants and refugees, both women and children, women from minority groups and women with disabilities, he added.
The EU also funded local organizations supporting victims of sexual violence and survivors, and referred to co-financing a project called TRUST to improve the resilience of specialist support services for women, adding that adequate support must be ensured and protection in times of crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Roma inclusion and protection of women and children
Asked about the situation of Roma communities in the EU and in particular in Cyprus, Ms. Daly stressed that achieving equality in the EU also goes through equal treatment, social inclusion and participation of this group in social and political life without exceptions, and referred to the ten-year EU Strategy on Roma proposed in October 2020 and received the support of the Member States through a Council Recommendation adopted in March 2021.
This strategy, the Commissioner explained, focuses on ensuring that national strategies will “address the specific needs of different groups among the Roma, such as women, young people, children, citizens moving between EU Member States, people from third countries or stateless persons, LGBTQI people and the elderly as well as people living with disabilities “.
As he pointed out, the key to this approach is the recognition that” different aspects of identity Cyprus can, in turn, present its National Strategic Framework for the Roma, as do most of the Member States, which are under evaluation. .
As he stated, the EU supports the Roma in Cyprus through funding from the new version of the European Social Fund (ESF +), which, among other things, “can be used for to pay for children's expenses c a public kindergarten for children deprived of their rights, or to support employment projects to encourage companies to hire people from vulnerable groups, such as the Roma. “