Mar 10, 2017
Religious leaders in Cyprus stood together against violence towards women and girls, releasing a first-ever official joint statement on 8 March to mark International Women’s Day 2017.
Religious leaders of the five main faith communities of Cyprus, namely Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Armenian Orthodox, Maronite and Latin Catholic, released a strong message against all forms of economic, psychological, sexual and physical abuse towards women.
The statement was officially launched in Nicosia, Cyprus, during a ceremony held by the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) under the auspices of the Embassy of Sweden. The RTCYPP is a peacebuilding initiative with the religious leaders of Cyprus who are committed to work together for human rights, peace and reconciliation.
The gathering was represented by Archbishop Chrysostomos, head of Cyprus’s Greek Orthodox Church; Muslim leader Mufti Talip Atalay; and Maronite Archbishop Youssef representing also Rev. Fr Jerzy Kraj and Archbishop Khoren.
“We reiterate our common belief that men and women have equal value in the eyes of God. Christianity and Islam condemn violence against women. Violence against women and girls, in whatever form, is a contradiction to the will of God and unacceptable in His eyes,” reads the statement.
Along with the religious leaders, 80 people attended the event, including leaders from different faith communities and women’s organizations, as well as representatives of the United Nations and the European Union.
STATEMENT OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF CYPRUS
CONDEMNING ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE
AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
8 March 2017
We, the religious leaders of the five main faith communities of Cyprus, Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Armenian Orthodox, Maronite and Latin Catholic, who form the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, are deeply concerned that violence against women and girls continues to be one of the most pervasive manifestations of discrimination against women in Cyprus. This includes economic, psychological, sexual, and physical violence.
We acknowledge with pain that violence against women affects women and girls of all ages, religions and ethnic backgrounds. Violence undermines women’s dignity and integrity and has devastating effects on the lives of women and girls with severe consequences on families, communities and societies. As long as it persists, the world cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.
We reiterate our common belief that men and women have equal value in the eyes of God. Christianity and Islam condemn violence against women. Violence against women and girls, in whatever form, is a contradiction to the will of God and unacceptable in His eyes.
We strongly believe that religious leaders don’t only have a responsibility but also a religious duty to stand united against violence in all its forms everywhere, including violence against women and girls.
Therefore, as Christian and Muslim religious leaders of Cyprus:
We strongly condemn violence committed against women and girls and express our commitment to share this message with our respective faith communities and society as a whole.
We categorically reject the misuse of religion to vindicate any form of violence against women and girls and express our united voice against all forms of violence against them.
We pray for healing and wholeness and reach out to all women and girls that have fallen victim to violence.
We are committed to ensure that violence against women and girls are recognised, condemned and that there are legal frameworks and institutions capable of dealing with it. In this regard, we are committed to work together with state and civil society partners to end violence against women and girls in Cyprus.
H.B. Chrysostomos II
Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus
H.E. Dr. Talip Atalay Mufti of Cyprus
H.E. Yousef Soueif
Archbishop of the Maronite Church of Cyprus
H.E. Khoren Toghramadjian
Archbishop of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church of Cyprus
Rev. Father Jerzy Kraj
Latin Patriarchal Vicar and Representative of the Apostolic Nunciature in Cyprus