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14 July, 2024
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Maria Stylianou-Lottidi breaks barriers, elected to IOI Europe board

Historic appointment as the sole woman on the Board of Directors reflects Cyprus's growing influence in European human rights advocacy


In a historic move, Ms. Maria Stylianou-Lottidi, the Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights in Cyprus, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the European Region of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI Europe). Notably, she emerges as the only woman among the seven Directors on the Board.

The election, conducted by secret ballot, saw the participation of over 90 Ombudsmen/Ombudswomen and Human Rights Institutes from the IOI European Region. Ms. Lottidi's appointment marks the first instance of a Cypriot Commissioner joining the Board of Directors of the European Region of the IOI, signifying a momentous occasion for Cyprus. This move enhances the country's influence in European affairs, reinforcing Cyprus's commitment to the rule of law on a European scale.

Established in 1978, the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) serves as a global platform for collaboration, uniting over 200 independent Ombudsman institutions from more than 100 countries worldwide. The IOI is organized into six regions, with Europe being one of them.

The primary objectives of the IOI Regions include promoting regional participation in IOI activities, decentralizing IOI work and activities, and safeguarding human rights and good governance. The Board of Directors of each IOI Region is committed to upholding the fundamental principles of the IOI, including independence, objectivity, and fairness.

Ms. Lottidi's election not only highlights her individual achievement but also underscores international recognition of the Commissioner's dedication to the defense of human rights in the Republic of Cyprus, coupled with a commitment to good administration and the principles of the rule of law.

The IOI, beyond its regional activities, actively fosters cooperation with international partner organizations. It facilitates capacity building through conferences, training, and the exchange of best practices among its members. The institute provides practical support to Ombudsmen/Commissioners facing threats or operating under adverse conditions and contributes expertise in promoting good governance and the rule of law.

In a statement, Ms. Lottidi's election was hailed as a groundbreaking achievement: "Ms. Lottidi is the first Cypriot to be elected to this position and is also the only woman on the existing Board of Directors." This historic milestone not only reflects the Commissioner's individual accomplishments but also serves as a testament to Cyprus's dedication to advancing human rights and governance on the European stage.

Cyprus  |  Europe  |  human rights

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