Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot women sent on Wednesday messages of solidarity and determination for reunification of the country in a bi-communal event for International Women’s Day entitled “Reunification-Equality-Solidarity”.
They also expressed solidarity to the people of Turkey, Syria and Greece who suffered the consequences of the devastating earthquakes and the railway tragedy in Greece, as well as their support to the families of Cypriots who lost their loved ones during the two recent tragedies.
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot trade unions and women’s organizations marched from both sides of the divide and met in the buffer zone. In a Joint Declaration, the women of Cyprus sent “a fighting message for Reunification – Equality – Solidarity”.
They also sent “a special message of solidarity and support to the people of Turkey, Syria and Greece, as well as to the families of Cypriots who lost their loved ones in the ruins caused by the devastating earthquake and the railway tragedy, sacrificing their lives on the altar of corporate profits and governmental incompetence”.
The women also honored all those who, through their struggles, are today a symbol of struggle for the global women’s and trade union movement.
“The messages of their struggles remain alive and relevant and guide our own daily struggles to improve conditions so that every woman and every person, as well as LGBTI+ people, can live, work and create in a peaceful environment without discrimination and inequalities”, says the declaration.
At the same time, they demanded an effort to be made to resume meaningful talks within the agreed framework with the aim of reaching a solution for the reunification of Cyprus.
“We underline that the solution of a bi-communal bi-zonal federation with political equality, as described in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, which will provide for a state with one sovereignty, one citizenship and an international personality, is the only way for the reunification of Cyprus”, says the declaration. At the same time it reiterates that the solution must ensure respect for the rights of the two communities and restore the human rights of all Cypriots.
The declaration also calls on the two leaders to continue the talks from the point where they were interrupted, preserving the convergences that were formed until the end of the Crans Montana Conference as well as the Framework of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.
“On this occasion, we simultaneously remind both leaders of the role that women can and should play in the effort to resolve the Cyprus issue and request our practical participation in all levels and decision-making stages of the peace process. As well as the introduction of the gender dimension in the negotiations”, it is also noted
Speaking at a gathering before the march in Nicosia, the Secretary General of Greek Cypriot trade Union PEO Sotiroula Charalambous, said that the new President of the Republic of Cyprus must immediately take initiatives with the aim of resuming the talks from the point they were left off in Crans Montana, with a focus and commitment to the acquis of the talks and a commitment to a bi-communal bi-zonal federation solution with political equality.
She also said that women’s problems were common, no matter where they live in Cyprus, adding that the dangerous stagnation of the solution process leads to the consolidation of the status quo, to new negative fait accompli, such as the opening of the closed city of Famagusta and to the intensification of full economic and social integration of the occupied areas with Turkey.
For her part, the Secretary General of women’s organization POGO, Skevi Kοukοuma called on the two leaders to continue the talks from the point they were left in Crans Montana, with will and determination.
Addressing the Turkish Cypriot women, she sent the message that they will fight together for equality in Cyprus and that they will stand in solidarity one next to the other, doing their utmost in order to get rid of the armies and the division of the island.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN led efforts throughout the years to reunify the island under a federal roof have so far been unsuccessful.