GAT RECOMMENDATIONS ON GOVERNANCE AND POWER-SHARING
1. The Constitution of the United Federal Cyprus must provide equal rights and opportunities for men and women, and must have clear and direct language prohibiting any form of discrimination. Thus, the Constitution in both its preamble and ensuing articles must contain specific text on gender equality and on special temporary measures intended to combat discrimination.
2. The Constitution must prohibit any kind of direct and/or indirect discrimination based on gender, sex, maternity, parental leave, marital status, sexual orientation as well as age, birth and conscience, language, religion, ethnic or social origin, colour, disability, ideology and culture. The Constitution must ensure the implementation of all provisions contained in the Lisbon Treaty and relevant EU Directives on issues concerning burden of proof in discrimination cases, employment, equal pay, social security, occupational social security and self-employment.
3. Fundamental rights and freedoms must not be limited for reasons of general morality or public morals. All women, including homemakers, must have health and social security rights and benefits; and women’s bodily, sexual, and reproductive rights must be secured.
4. Wording in the comprehensive settlement must be gender sensitive and must avoid gender stereotyping such as underlining women’s gender roles within the family, motherhood, or in need of paternalistic protection.
5. The Constitution must declare that the state commits itself to ensuring the actual implementation of gender equality in every field, by taking all necessary legal and institutional, temporary and special measures (such as quotas or positive discrimination) to achieve genuine equality. These measures must not be perceived as discrimination or as measures contravening the equality article.
6. Equal distribution of positions in the cabinet, federal and federated unit/constituent state parliaments and local governments to men and women must be secured through temporary special measures in the constitution and a commitment must be made by the parties to an agreement that such initiatives will be placed on the legislative calendar of a United Federal Cyprus.
7. Gender balance in all public decision-making bodies namely, the Supreme Court, the Public Service Commission and independent offices inter alia must be secured. There must be two seats allocated for women from both communities on the Supreme Court, and half of the commissioners on the Public Service Commission and in independent offices.
8. Political and public institutions must be established to ensure gender-equality and non-discrimination, such as gender equality mechanisms, focal points, a special Ministry or a specific portfolio within a given Ministry, a parliamentary commission, a special desk at the Ombudsperson’s office, and a separate unit within the federal police force. Effective coordination among federal units and between federal and constituent state units must be ensured.
INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC LAW
9. All international and regional conventions and treaties pertaining to women’s rights specifically as well as to human rights more broadly, which ensure the protection of women in vulnerable situations, together with all protocols must be ratified and incorporated into the Constitution, thereby serving as a basis for the development of further legislation.
10. Legislation related to social issues must take into account discrepancies that currently exist between the criminal and family codes of each federated unit/constituent state and ensure harmonization in this respect, so that the policies, legislation and practices do not disadvantage people in one community over the other. Specific federal-based legislation must be developed for gender-based violence (including rape within the sphere of the domestic) and abuse, and all gender-related human rights violations must be accorded legal assistance.
11. Women must be granted equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their citizenship. Neither marriage to an alien nor change of citizenship by the spouse during marriage shall automatically change the citizenship of the wife, render her stateless or force upon her the citizenship of the husband. Women must be granted equal rights with men with respect to the citizenship of their children. Each federated unit/constituent state’s criteria for citizenship must not preclude the citizenship of the other federated unit/constituent state.
12. A federal competency within citizenship, immigration, migration and asylum, laws and mechanisms on trafficking in human beings must be developed according to international best practices and the EU acquis. A federal task force on trafficking must be established, whereby women will be represented on all levels. Legislation must be enacted that penalizes the trafficker and not the victim. The status of a ‘victim of trafficking’ must not be linked to the willingness of victims to testify against their traffickers.
13. Legislation regarding immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers must also secure the rights of women and children and must be in accordance with the relevant international and regional conventions and treaties.