Religious leaders in Cyprus, in a video released to mark International Women's Day, condemn all forms of violence against women and girls.
The Office of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP), under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, released on Thursday an advocacy video to highlight the joint commitment by the religious leaders of Cyprus to condemn all forms of violence against women and girls.
In a statement, religious leaders said they are deeply concerned that violence against women and girls continues to be one of the most pervasive manifestations of discrimination against women in Cyprus -- 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."
Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos, Mufti Talip Atalay, Archbishop of the Maronite Church Yousef Soueif, Archbishop of the Armenian Khoren Toghramadjian and Latin Patriarchal Vicar Father Jerzy Kraj made the joint statement to highlight Women's Day.
“We acknowledge with pain that violence against women affects women and girls of all ages"
"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," they point out.
The religious leaders reiterate the 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”, the leaders said.
They expressed the belief 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.
“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”, said the statement.
They also reject the misuse of religion to vindicate any form of violence against women and girls and express their 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”, they say.
They add that they are committed to ensuring that violence against women and girls is 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”, the statement concludes.