The following joint Declaration was issued at the end of a 3-day meeting in Brussels, which brought together fifty Greek and Turkish Cypriot women, four Greek and Turkish Cypriot women from the UK, two Palestinian and two Israeli women under the slogan "Give peace a chance - Women speak out in Cyprus ", initiated by the President of the non governmental organisation "Action in the Mediterranean", Simone Susskind, and former Belgian Minister and Senator, Anne-Marie Lizin.
Following the successful operation of the "Jerusalem" link between Israeli and Palestinian women, arrangements to establish a "Cyprus Link will begin in mid-May.
"We, fifty Cypriot women from both Greek and Turkish communities of the island and four delegates - Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot from the UK.
Having held a bi-communal conference in Brussels from 17 to 19 April 1997, at the invitation of the Non Governmental Organisation "Actions in the Mediterranean - give peace a chance", under the motto.
"Women speak out in Cyprus";
Having decided to participate in this conference according to invitations channelled through a preparatory committee composed equally by Greek and Turkish Cypriot women, without any interference of the European Commission as well as of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which have provided us the necessary material support, for which we are very grateful;
Having participated equally in the conference as members of both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities;
Taking inspiration from the existing "Jerusalem Link" between Israeli and Palestinian women whose assistance proved invaluable in the preparation and in the workings of our bi-communal conference;
Declare the following:
1. A lasting peace in Cyprus can only be found if the following fundamental
principles are fully accepted and implemented:
-Security for both communities
-Respect for humans rights and democracy
-Respect for the cultural heritage, characteristics and national identity of each
-Affirmative action against any kind of discrimination
-Freedom from any form of oppression.
2. In a joint effort to bring about a just and lasting peace and empowering women in Cyprus, a preparatory working committee will work towards the establishment of the "Cyprus link".
We are fully conscious that such a "Cyprus link" should primarily be a process conducive to a peace-oriented attitude inside each community and, in parallel, between both communities.
We, as women, wives, mothers, sisters, are in the front-line whenever antagonisms unfortunately thrive amongst people -- be it in Cyprus or elsewhere -- and therefore we solemnly claim our right to have a say and to develop our own initiatives concerning the promotion of peace between the two parts of our beloved island beside and even beyond the activities of our political leadership.
At the end of the day, "every other man is a woman" in Cyprus and elsewhere. Therefore, we, Cypriot women, have decided to speak out.
In the spirit of numerous United Nations resolutions and reports recommending these kinds of actions, we expect the international organisations (UN, EU, among others), foundations, etc... to support and to contribute to our joint activities.
3. In the spirit of the above, and in order to engage in practical
activities promoting understanding and solidarity between both communities
of the island, we suggest to study and to implement -- whenever possible
and according to ad hoc modalities -- projects elaborated by the following
A. The role of education - education for tolerance
B. The role of women in peace making and decision making
C. Women's co-operation for health, social services and environment
D. Media - their contribution to peace
E. Working together to promote women's rights empowering women.