Sixteen couples have entered into a civil partnership agreement since last December when the relevant law passed by Cyprus’ Parliament came into force.
Eight of them were same-sex couples.
A workshop organized on Monday in Nicosia showed that despite significant progress in the legislative framework of Cyprus, much remains to be done for the social protection of LGBT people.
The workshop was organized by the Interior Ministry and the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights, in cooperation with the Cyprus Academy of Public Administration.
Natasa Oikonomou, from the Interior Ministry, said the law includes aspects new to contemporary social realities of Cyprus and under these circumstances, refraining from actions and behaviors that could be construed as a violation of the principle of equal treatment is an obligation.
“We, therefore, consider education and knowledge as the tools to achieve a high level of service provision,” she noted.
The civil partnership law and the law criminalizing acts that cultivate hatred against LGBTI people are among the most important laws passed during the past few years, added Aristos Tsiartas from the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights.
He noted that civil partnership does not establish another type of marriage but guarantees an alternative way of living together with rights which are produced in a manner equivalent to marriage.
Tsiartas added that mitigating measures might need to be taken in cooperation with the Interior Ministry and the competent authorities to address problems that might occur.
Zenaida Orfanidou, also from the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights, said that Cyprus has made considerable progress over the past six years and that despite the delay the state gradually moves towards strengthening the principle of equality.
According to Orfanidou, Cyprus fails to provide social protection and equality for the LGBTI community, adding that especially transgender and intersex people still suffer intimidation, discrimination and even violence.
However, only 10 complaints were filed in the past five years.