Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

Excellency, President Mr Joe Biden,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

From the outset, I wish to commend the President of the United States, Mr Joe Biden, in undertaking the timely initiative that will allow us, during the deliberations of the Summit for Democracy to exchange views and ideas on fostering, as President Biden mentioned, “a more democratic, equitable, inclusive and sustainable world”.

These past two years we have been witness to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented effects of climate change and the increasing trend of reversals to all the progress that's been made on human rights, social cohesion, gender equality and women’s rights.

My Government has placed the protection and promotion of human rights as a top priority, announcing Cyprus’ candidacy as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the period 2025 to 2027.

In this regard, I am pleased to introduce a series of commitments by my Government. These pledges are composed of three clusters: the first is the protection of children and education; the second is the advancement of gender equality; and the third is the dedicated protection of labour rights.

We firmly believe that a sound education is the key to building a better future and we have launched, amongst other measures, specialized services to support children within the spectrum of autism and their families, as well as reforms of the judicial system to promote education for dropout children.

As regards gender equality, while we have achieved sound progress over the past few years, we need to further reinforce our efforts.

To this end, we have created a National Coordination Agency whose main task will be to observe the implementation of the Conventioncombating violence against women and domestic violence.

Moreover, we are strengthening our support of first responders to recognize and treat victims of violence.

Lastly, on the protection of labour rights the global pandemic has brought with it a new reality, undermining and eroding labour rights.

To this end, we take advantage of international partnerships to ensure that regulatory policies are upheld and strengthened for the optimal protection of all workers, making full use of digital technologies.

In this framework, my Government is dedicated to continue the social dialogue in process so as to secure the traditional working environment, protect the most vulnerable and their labour rights, through amongst others, using new technologies and introducing a national wage for all.

Today’s summit becomes even more pertinent as ever, as it presents us with a great opportunity to respond and address the challenges we are facing so to shape a better and more humane world, build on respect of the rights and aspirations of all the people.

Perhaps it was best said by Pericles, the pre-eminent Statesman of classical Athens, the cradle of Democracy, who said:

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others”.

Thank you.

For the President's video message press here.