Common Declaration on the International Women’s Day



We, the women living on a divided island, we, the women whose labour is exploited both at work and home, we, the women who yearn for peace, we, the women from all communities of Cyprus have decided to march on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, to emphasize that we, the Women are united in our struggle for freedom, equality and peace.

On the occasion of the 8th of March, we recall that the UNSC Resolution 1325 reaffirms that peace cannot be sustained without the involvement of women in decision- making processes. Nevertheless, the involvement of women in the negotiations’ process in Cyprus remains limited and the consideration of gender issues has not been given substantial consideration except for the establishment of a Committee on Gender Equality. If so requested, we declare our readiness to contribute to the discussion of ways in which gender equality can be reinforced through the structures and policies of a united federal Cyprus.
The 8th of March, International Women’s Day, represents the best opportunity for recalling the achievements of women around the world, while further promoting gender equality, freedom and peace. International Women’s Day which emerged in honour of the anti-capitalist strikes and revolutionary activities of women’s labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century, reminds us of the opportunities that await future generations of women. At the same time, it represents a challenge, which is to struggle together for re-uniting our country whilst respecting all our ethnic, religious and political differences. We take the opportunity of today’s commemoration of the struggles of women, to emphasize that in difficult times women can provide solutions and can lead the way for conflict resolution, peace building and truthful reconciliation. In fact, the message that we are conveying today, throughout Cyprus and to the humanity at large is that we cannot tolerate the division and that we stand together against the separatist rhetoric of the ultra-nationalists in both communities.

We are also aware that the persisting conflict has implications in our daily lives. Militarism privileges violent forms of masculinity, creates a culture of fear and boosts the use of aggression, violence as well as military interventions for ’solving problems’ and enforcing economic and political interests. This has grave consequences for us women in our domestic, economic, political and social life. Labour exploitation and violence at home and at work, compulsory heterosexuality, criminalisation of migration, hate crimes is what we all, as women living on this island experience. And we see it as utmost importance to raise our voice against all these at these times of polarization and rise of nationalist discourse on the island. We underline once again that we side with peace, with equality and freedom for all; that we takes sides with each other, against the patriarchal system that aims to divide us. We meet in our common struggle.
It is our firm belief, that the comprehensive, just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem is the catalyst for a more hopeful, equal and prosperous future for all Cypriots. This is best revealed through our common past, full of shining examples of coexistence, cooperation and common struggles in all aspects of economic, social and political life for the benefit of the women of our country and people as a whole. We declare faith in our common future, to the prosperity of our country and the role we can play as a world example for peace. On the occasion of the 8th March, we declare our commitment to a solution of bicommunal, bizonal federation, with political equality as set out in the relevant UNSC resolutions, with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship. Moreover, we also declare our commitment to a solution guaranteeing the respect of the human rights of all Cypriots and demilitarising our country.

On this opportunity, we urge the negotiators to take concrete steps in advancing the negotiations, coming to mutually acceptable convergences and preparing constructively for the forthcoming meetings in Cyprus and Geneva. We urge them to remain committed to the peace process and resist the destructive rhetoric of the forces which promote separatist ideas and actions inhibiting the peace negotiations. Overall, we expect from the negotiators to do their utmost within the agreed framework and on the basis of international law, to give an end to the unacceptable status quo that keeps hostage the prospects of a mutually acceptable solution.

We, the Women of Cyprus, reassert our determination to keep working together, beyond any dividing lines and through the adoption of further initiatives, for the achievement of our common causes. We underline for once more our firm belief, which is that the federal solution is the only route towards the realization of our overall vision for the future of our country; emphasizing in particular the attainment of sustainable peace, justice, welfare and gender equality. Last but not least, we hope that today’s initiative will lead to many more to come and will convey our message out loud and clear to the four corners of our island; that our common struggle is the only way for the future of Cyprus.

Nicosia, 8th of March, 2017