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Cyprus slow in introducing gender identity legislation

ΥΠΟΥΡΓΕΙΟ ΑΜΥΝΑΣ ΑΣΚΗΣΗ ΚΥΠΡΟΥ ΑΙΓΥΠΤΟΥ «ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΣ/2021»

Cyprus is probably the last country in Europe to introduce legal gender recognition in its national legislation to allow people to change their name and gender marker in official documents, Law Commissioner Louisa Christodoulides Zannettou said on Tuesday.

She added the draft gender identity bill, a revamp of a previous version that was drafted in 2019, will be subject to consultation with all competent stakeholders before it is sent to parliament.

There are people who are not comfortable with their biological gender, Zannettou said and rubbished claims that LGR will be used by some to avoid their national guard service.

The commissioner, who was speaking at a National Guard workshop, said the law would allow these people to be “born again” and be able to present their identity everywhere.

For her part, the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights Maria Stylianou Lottides referred to sexual harassment at the workplace and the need for employers to “access vocational training to introduce effective measures to prevent all forms of discrimination based on sex.

“Employers have an obligation to take all appropriate and timely measures to prevent such acts… and failure to introduce such a code creates liability for employers.”

A code of conduct at the workplace informs workers on the relevant legislation and the actions they can take in case they are victims of harassment or sexual harassment.

Lottides added it was deemed necessary to introduce a code of conduct in the public service, which was approved by cabinet in July 2018 and is applicable to all in the public service regardless of their employment status. Similar codes are now also part of the collective labour agreements signed in the private sector, she said.

Sexual harassment is the most widespread form of violence against girls and women in the European Union, Lottides said citing a survey by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. She added that 32 per cent of women surveyed in the EU identify someone in their workplace as the perpetrator.

In total 90 per cent of victims of sexual harassment are women, it was added.

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