By Andria Kades
The National Guard will undergo major developments this year, with regulations for gender equality submitted to parliament, and a bill which stipulates that conscripts with a foreign father will now have to serve a full army service of 24 months, coming into force.
Although the matter was voted for in January 2015, it specified that as of 2016 conscripts with a Cypriot mother and a foreign father, even if they do not have Cypriot nationality, will do the full service of 24 months. Previously those with a foreign father served only six months.
The last conscripts who served the six months were included in the 2015 call-up, and concerned students who graduated the previous summer from high schools.
Prior to the amendment, the law stipulated people born between August 16, 1960 and June 11, 1999, to a foreign father and a Cypriot mother served a reduced term if they gained the Cypriot nationality through their mother.
Those born to a foreign mother and Cypriot father and who gained nationality through their father have always had to do the full service.
The amendment was deemed necessary after a Cyprus was reported Cyprus to the European Court of Human Rights for discrimination.
A spokesperson for the defence ministry on Thursday told the Cyprus Mail that regulations submitted to parliament also sought to ensure equal treatment between men and women working in the National Guard though there is no female conscription.
“Whatever privileges were in place for women will now exist for men as well.” For instance, male non-commissioned officers (NCO’s) currently cannot be promoted to officer status. They only receive that rank if they graduate from military school or pass a certain test whereas women have the ability to receive officer status.
Should the regulations be approved, men will have the same benefit.
Additionally, the promotions register will be unified into one and not be separated between genders, meaning whoever is next in line to get higher status will do so.
The regulations also stipulate that the number of volunteers who become NCO’s cannot exceed the 20 per cent mark of people expected to graduate from military academies every year.
Grades below ‘excellent’, ‘very good’ or in some cases ‘good’ need to be supported by evidence of an event, fact or relevant report.
NCO’s will need to be at their post for two years in order to be eligible for promotion while army and air force sergeants as well as petty officers will need to have their post for four years.