We demand immediate implementation of the Istanbul Convention


Declaration of the POGO Women’s Movement

World Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

In December 1991, the UN General Assembly decided to declarethe 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, aiming to highlight a major problem with a global dimension.  However, this particular day had already been established ten years ago, when women’s organizations wanted to commemorate the three Mirabal sisters, political fighters from the Dominican Republic, who were tortured, beaten and finally strangled, at the behest of dictator Trujillo, on 25 November 1960.

Thisyear’s 25th of November, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, maximizes concerns around the issue. The pandemic, exposed the system’s weaknesses, bringing to the surface and highlighting existing problems, as complaints about incidents of gender-based violence increased during the quarantine period. This phenomenon confirmed the gaps and structural shortcomings in tackling gender-based violence and effectively protecting women both in Cyprus and other EU countries, as well as globally. The support services for violence victims face cuts.  The rates of response and prevention are still worryingly slow.

Gender-based violence is constantly increasing and is appearing in new perspectives and new forms, from domestic attacks to human trafficking, from sexual violence in war zones to child marriage, genital mutilation, and female homicides.  It harms the individual and has serious consequences for families and society. Unfortunately, women become vulnerable to violence mainly because of the gender stereotypes which lead to the inequality. Most importantly, however, there is no political will in part of governments to take responsibility and take effective measures to prevent and eradicate violence against women, despite the declarations. The numbers, however, show the really bad situation:

  • 1 in 3  women  at some point in their life will face physical, psychological or sexual violence from her partner..
  • 1 in 5 women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape
  • 40% to 50% of women in the European Union have reported some form of sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Between 500,000 and 2 million people in the world, mainly women and children, are estimated to be trafficked illegally each year for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.
  • 39 women were murdered by current or former partners from 2000 to the present day in Cyprus.
  • Domestic violence increased by 30% after the outbreak of the pandemic in our country

Violence against women is political, institutional, social. Its prevention and combat should be high on the state agenda. For the POGO Women’s Movement, prevention and effective treatment of the phenomenon remains in demand. Protecting victims, prosecuting and severely punishing perpetrators, strengthening support structures for victims, the need for anti-sexist, but also anti-racist and intercultural education in the context of integrating human rights teaching into every level of education, are some of our main requests. It is also generally accepted that in order to combat gender-based violence, education, legislation and social standards must be improved.

POGO considers important the new amendment of the law, suggested by AKEL, according to which rape will be punishable by life imprisonment.  At the same time, it reaffirms that it will continue to fight steadily to promote effective equality and eliminate gender discrimination, to support and contribute to the social fight against gender-based violence. For POGO, violence against women has specific roots. It comes purely from the exploitative nature of the capitalist system, which is why the movement’s belief is that equity, equality, dignity, and the promotion of women’s abilities are a necessity, not a luxury.

In this context, it calls on the Anastasiades’ Government to move from words to deeds, to abandon promises and to finally proceed with the implementation of the Istanbul Convention, which provides for a holistic response to violence against women. It is necessary to proceed immediately, in the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive National Policy and Strategy Plan, addressing violence against women, so that we can finally stop counting female victims of violence.

At the same time, POGO will continue struggling for social justice, for the creation of a just and humane society, uprooting the causes that create and evolve violence and inequality. Until half of world’s population can live free from fear, violence and daily insecurity.

25th of November 2020