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Cyprus

Laws passed against sexism, and bullying in schools

The House on Thursday passed a bundle of three bills which create a legislative framework criminalising public manifestations of sexism.

The bills – legislative proposals brought by MPs from three parties – will have the result of incorporating into criminal law sexist behaviours that are manifested in public “against a specific individual or a specific group of individuals.”

Likewise criminalised are sexist behaviours which demean, insult or single out an individual or group of individuals.

In addition, under the changes, the spread of sexist content online – directed at a person or group of persons – will be deemed a crime in and of itself.

The bills were passed with 43 votes in favour.

MPs said that, other than the prosecutorial facet, sexism must also be tackled by changing attitudes.

Disy MP Annita Demetriou said that the law provides not only for the criminalisation of sexism but also the corresponding education that must be provided.

Opposition Akel deputy, Skevi Koukouma said that the legislative recognition of sexism and sexist rhetoric was a turning point for Cyprus. “Today we are building the consciences of the new generation of men and women,” she said, adding that sexism should have consequences and should not be treated as a joke “or something we should tolerate”.
Diko MP Christiana Erotokritou called it “an historic day”.

Also on Thursday the plenum passed a law that establishes mechanisms to prevent and deal with bullying and intimidation at schools.

Each school will be required to set up a special committee dealing with these issues.

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