EU-Funded 'EMBRACE: Rights for Reconciliation' Project Launched

On 28 March 2023, Cyprus Peace and Dialogue Center (CPDC) and Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Alternative and Innovative Methods (ICLAIM) started to implement the project named ‘Addressing discriminatory human rights violations in Cyprus which arise as a result of the conflict as a vehicle for reconciliation’ which was funded by the European Union under the Cypriot Civil Society in Action VIII Grant Scheme. Unlike previous projects, this project is a civil society partnership that aims to work, for the first time, bi-communally, to address the ways in which the ongoing Cyprus problem exacerbates discriminatory human rights violations on both sides of the divide. The objective of the research project is to support the reunification of the island, highlighting one of the main disadvantages of the status quo caused by continued partition. Moreover, while doing this bi-communally, it will serve as a trust-building mechanism that enhances the cultural competence capacity of the participants, instilling more trust between communities and thus supporting the EU's values of dialogue, cooperation and rights-based approach. Beyond the targeted legal aid for victims, the project will consist of anti-racist training for civil servants in relevant services across Cyprus, best practice sharing with other human rights CSOs in Cyprus, and established trust-building workshops for CSOs and a publicly held session to share the results.

Launch Event of the ‘EMBRACE: Rights for Reconciliation’ project was held on 22 June 2023 at the CPDC premises in Nicosia.

CPDC’s Founding President Dr Meltem Onurkan Samani opened the launch event by pointing out that the broader picture of the relationship between the conflict and the violations was not being adequately addressed. She explained that the project, which was funded by the European Union, will not only seek justice for violations and institutional change to the structures which allow them to occur, but also do so in a way which is visible, provocative, and confidence-building.

ICLAIM Founding Director Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou spoke more broadly about the impact of conflict on human rights landscapes, and about the need for full integration of rights in Cyprus for all inhabitants. She stated that “every crisis is exacerbated in a divided society like Cyprus", linking the aims of the EU-Funded project to ICLAIM’s overall mission.

Hüseyin Silman, Project Manager, then gave an overview of the EU-Funded project’s planned activities, which are to establish, under the guidance of a research consortium, a specifically bi-communal reporting mechanism on human rights violations, with published findings and policy recommendations that establish advocacy strategies at local and international levels.

Mihai-Florin Stoleru, Programme Manager with European Commission, emphasized that this EU-funded project is covering the most important functions of the civil society organizations in Cyprus which are also key elements of the settlement process: defending the human rights and promoting reconciliation and closer relationship between the two communities. He also pointed out its significance for the general confidence building process, because all project activities are carried out transparently and it include also raising awareness amongst the general public on this sensitive topic.

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This publication was funded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of CPDC and ICLAIM and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.