Cyprus, a member of the United Nations since 20 September 1960, firmly believes in the primacy of the United Nations and its Charter and the importance of the implementation of UN resolutions. Through its membership and participation in the UN bodies, Cyprus contributes to the promotion of the purposes and principles of the United Nations and to the strengthening of the international cooperation amongst the members of the international community.
The Republic of Cyprus expresses its commitment to the United Nations Organization. Cyprus considers the UN as the foundation around which the international community can achieve the objectives of peace, security, justice and the respect of human rights and social and economic development on a global level. To this end, Cyprus supports the implementation of the commitments found in the Millennium Declaration, such as the continuing efforts for the reform of the UN, including its principal organs, so that they can further execute the stated objectives and be prepared to face the new challenges of the 21st Century. Moreover, Cyprus considers that the respect of human dignity and rights should be indiscriminate and unquestionable and that fundamental freedoms should be firmly embedded in all societies.
Regarding the settlement of disputes, Cyprus supports that the international community should always act on the basis of the solid foundation of the principles of the Charter and the primacy of international law. To this end, Security Council Resolutions must be strictly respected and implemented to safeguard international legality and the rule of law.
Concerning the struggle against international terrorism, Cyprus supports that the community of nations must individually and collectively take concerted and resolute action and, to this end, Cyprus is firmly committed to the full implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and in particular Resolutions 1267,1269, 1368, 1373 and 1617. In this context, the government of the Republic of Cyprus wishes to stress that it fully recognizes the existence and the dimensions of international terrorism. The fight against international crime, particularly international terrorism, through international cooperation and through the full implementation of all relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, as well as all Security Council resolutions, is one of the top priorities of the foreign policy of Cyprus. Moreover, Cyprus fully shares the view that a global mobilization against terrorism under the aegis of the United Nations is a necessity. The Republic of Cyprus has, to date, ratified or acceded to ten of the twelve international conventions pertaining to international terrorism, including the Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which was ratified on November 30, 2001, as well as the relevant Convention of the Council of Europe.
In the area of disarmament, Cyprus welcomes the efforts of the United Nations and is pleased with the successful conclusion in 2000 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Process. The government of Cyprus supports the expansion of the regime of nuclear-free zones, including one in our region of the Mediterranean, as an important component in our goal towards a nuclear-free world.
In parallel, the Republic of Cyprus actively participates in the international efforts to eradicate the illicit trafficking of small arms. Furthermore, Cyprus considers that more action target-oriented and effective action is needed by the international community to effectively tackle this problem.
The deteriorating degradation of the environment is an issue of serious concern. The Republic of Cyprus calls for the implementation of policies in the pursuit of sustainable development on a global scale. Cyprus, as a small island state, is particularly concerned about issues of global warming, rising water levels and the increasing scarcity of water resources. It is for this reason that Cyprus has taken an active part in the concerted effort by states for the adoption of protective measures for the environment, as is shown by the organisation of the AOSIS Workshop on Energy for Sustainable Development held in Cyprus in January 2002.
With regard to the effects of globalisation, Cyprus believes that one of the most serious and undesirable effects of this phenomenon is the growing economic disparities between industrialised states and the developing world (North-South dispute), while the eradication of poverty remains, undeniably, as one of the major challenges that the international community faces. Cyprus believes that it is imperative that new and visionary policies to attack this problem ought to be developed through the United Nations.
The increasing number of refugees and internally displaced populations throughout the world, which currently number more than twenty-two million people, is of grave concern for Cyprus, which herself has experienced the tragic consequences of mass displacement, as a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the summer of 1974 and the continuing occupation of over a third of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus resulting in one third of its population becoming refugees. The international community has an obligation to secure in a more forceful way the right of return of refugees to their places of residence.
The Republic of Cyprus is an active supporter to the efforts by the international community to achieve a comprehensive and just solution to the Middle East Question. Cyprus believes that the process must move forward so that, peace, stability and prosperity be established in this long-tormented region. The Republic of Cyprus supports the implementation of the relevant Security Council Resolutions in this respect, especially resolutions 242 and 338 and considers that a viable, just and permanent solution be based on the faithful application of the aforementioned resolutions, as well as the principle “land for peace”. As a neighbouring country, we look forward to a region living in peace, stability and security for all states. Cyprus considers that the implementation of the provisions of the Mitchell Report and those of the Tenet Plan constitute a necessary step towards the achievement of a just, lasting and peaceful settlement.
With regard to the Balkans, the Republic of Cyprus supports the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1244 on Kosovo. We support the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right of return and property of displaced persons and the principle of the inviolability of borders and territorial integrity.
The establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court and the early entry into force of the Rome Statute of the ICC have been issues of great importance for the Republic of Cyprus and part of a long-held policy. Cyprus was not only one of the original signatories of the Rome Statute, but on March 7th, 2002 after having completed the necessary internal ratification process became the 55th country to ratify the ICC Statute. Cyprus was therefore pleased to be informed that on April 11th, 2002, the remaining number of ratifications needed for the Statute to enter into force were deposited and that on July 1st, 2002 the ICC Statute will enter into force.
In the field of human rights, Cyprus considers that the progress achieved since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been substantial, since human rights protection, today, has evolved to include a variety of differentiated rights. The Republic of Cyprus declares its approval and abidance with the successful conclusion of the Special Session of the General Assembly on Women and the Follow-Up Conference on Social Development that took place in 2000. Furthermore, Cyprus believes that additional efforts ought to be initiated with the aim of achieving universal application of gender equality, children’s rights and the abolition of capital punishment.
More specifically, the Republic of Cyprus, since its independence, has adopted and consistently pursued a policy of active promotion and protection of the rights of the child. Cyprus has ratified all major international instruments for the protection and development of children, including the International Convention for the Rights of the Child of 1990 and has established a Central Committee for Monitoring the Implementation of the Convention. Cyprus welcomes the adoption in June 1999 of the International Labour Organisation Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the creation in 1999 of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Finally, the Republic of Cyprus became a signatory in February 2001 and is at the final stages of ratification of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
Cyprus shares the belief that the elimination of discrimination against women constitutes an integral part of the struggle for social development and social justice. We are thus resolved to fight gender discrimination by pursuing policies that are designed to lead to a gender-sensitive and educated society leading to the ultimate goal of full equality. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) remains one of the most important international legal instruments for women’s rights. Cyprus has been a State party to this Convention since 1985. The Republic of Cyprus is also a signatory and is currently in the final stages of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and has ratified Protocol No.12 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Further legislation has been enacted in Cyprus in order to protect the Rights of Women. The new Law on Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protection of Victims) of 2000 has been enacted in order to address sexual exploitation and trafficking of human beings, as well as child pornography.