International Women’s Day 2021

Cypriot Women of Faith Making a Difference in a COVID-19 World

To mark International Women’s Day, the Office of RTCYPP under the auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, will be hosting an online discussion with women of faith in leadership in order to highlight & celebrate their efforts in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

RTCYPP News 26.02.2021

RTCYPP News 26.02.2021

The Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) was one of the three case studies highlighted at a seminar on “Freedom of Religion or Belief in Practise” organised and hosted by the “Faith & Belief Forum” on 25 February 2021.
Peter Weiderud, Sweden’s Special Advisor on Religion in Peace & Conflict and Moderator of the RTCYPP presented the RTCYPP elaborating further how promoting ForB can be an essential tool in peacebuilding. “The dedicated trust of the religious leaders, combined with the long term support from the facilitation team and international recognition are the main reasons for the success of the Religious Track”, said Peter Weiderud in the seminar.
Kishan Manocha, Director of the OSCE Department of Tolerance and Non-Discrimination; Radia Bakkouch, President, Coexiste France and; Zainab Mohammed Ibrahim from the Development Initiative of West Africa also addressed the seminar.
Faith & Belief Forum is, an organisation in the United Kingdom that, for over 20 years has worked to build good relations between people of all faiths and beliefs. They were founded in 1997 as the Three Faiths Forum. Over the years their work expanded to include people of all faiths and beliefs, both religious and non-religious, hence the change in name in 2018, to the Faith & Belief Forum to better reflect this inclusive ethos.

RTCYPP News 23.02.2021

RTCYPP News 23.02.2021

Executive Director of the Office of RTCYPP, Salpy Eskidjian participates in the webinar on “Diplomacy and Religion” and shares her knowledge and experience of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden(RTCYPP).
During the webinar, organised by the Swedish Dialogue Institute for the Middle East and North Africa, four prominent speakers reflected on the importance of “religious literacy” for diplomats, the role faith-based organisations play in peace and security, as well as socio-economic development.
Illustrations from Cyprus, Jerusalem and Riyadh showcased why it is important for diplomats and staff of intergovernmental bodies, development agencies and others to have basic knowledge on religion and its interface with human rights, peacebuilding, development & human security.
“Initiatives that introduce and enhance religious literacy in the world of diplomacy are extremely timely, needed and very welcome”, said Salpy Eskidjian. "We note the positive impact of various aid programmes when EU, the UN and member states involve or engage with faith communities and their religious leaders, especially in places where faith and belief play a large part in shaping customs, practices, identity and frameworks of well- being. Grateful to have had the opportunity to share about the RTCYPP which remains a unique example of religious diplomacy in a protracted conflict, not just in the region but globally, supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden since 2010. “
The virtual meeting brought over 40 participants from the Swedish Foreign ministry, embassies, SIDA and other specialized agencies.
The session was moderated by Ambassador Charlotta Sparre, Director of the Swedish Dialogue Institute; with Prof. Azza Karam - Secretary General of Religions for Peace, Ambassador Ulrika Sundberg - Sweden’s Special Envoy to OIC for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Mr Georg Andrén - Governor and Head of the County Administrative Board in Värlmand and Mrs Merete Bilde, policy advisor at the EEAS on issues at the cross section of religion and foreign policy as panellists. (RTCYPP News 23.2.2021)
Photos from RTCYPP Archives 2018 - Ambassador Olsson Vrang of Sweden hosts the first High Level meeting of the RTCYPP with the 5 main Religious Leaders Of Cyprus and the diplomatic corps.

RTCYPP News 16.02.21

Please take a look at the video made by the OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions for Human Rights (ODIHR) launched to deepen understanding of the Freedom or Religion or Belief (FoRB).

The Office of Democratic Institutions for Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE and the Office of RTCYPP have been working closely together since 2017 when ODIHR partners listened to a presentation by the Director of the Office of RTCYPP in the Rabat-plus10 Conference in Morocco.

The cooperation with OSCE-ODIHR will continue in 2021, especially since Sweden has taken over chairmanship of the OSCE as of January 2021. We are deeply honoured to be working together with OSCE ODIHR partners and to be under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden in Cyprus!

Video Credits @OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions for Human Rights (ODIHR)

RTCYPP News 11.02.21

RTCYPP News 11.02.21

On the occasion of the feast of St Vartan, the Religious Leaders of Cyprus and the RTCYPP facilitation team send a message of congratulations and their best wishes to H.E. Archbishop Khoren of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Cyprus on the occasion of his Nameday.
(RTCYPP photo archives 2019-2020)

RTCYPP News 3.2.21

RTCYPP News 3.2.21

The Religious Leaders of Cyprus sent a joint letter to President Joe Biden of the USA congratulating him and Vice-President Harris for their assumption of high duties.
The five Religious Leaders of Cyprus had the privilege to meet with then Vice-President Biden in 2014, during his visit to the island and were grateful for his interest and support to their joint peacebuilding efforts, upholding and respecting religious freedom in Cyprus within the framework of the RTCYPP.
The letter was handed over to H.E Ambassador Garber of the USA by the facilitator of the dialogue and Executive Director of the Office of RTCYPP, Salpy Eskidjian. During the meeting with Ambassador Garber, Mrs Eskidjian shared the main concerns of the Religious Leaders for religious freedom in the island, co-existence between Christians and Muslims and the peaceful settlement of the Cyprus conflict. Mrs Eskidjian assured the Ambassador that with the help of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Office of the RTCYPP will continue to accompany the Religious Leaders and would welcome the support of President Biden’s administration
“The Religious Leaders are conscious that mistrust feeds on unattended memories of the past full of pain and continued violations of religious freedom, only to create obstacles to peaceful settlement of any conflict, including Cyprus.” Said Eskidjian. “We appreciate the genuine interest of Ambassador Garber and her support to the RTCYPP. We look forward to continue to work together with the US Embassy to advance religious freedom and build on our cooperation to tackle human trafficking.”
(RTCYPP photo archives 2014)

RTCYPP News 7.12.2021

We strongly condemn the misuse of the Church of Archangelos Michael this weekend by the village’s Municipality, EVQAF Foundation and EVQAF Goodness Volunteers organization without the consent of the respective religious leadership.

While the cause and intention of the bazaar is a positive one, the organizers ignored that they were misusing a place of worship of another and disrespecting a faith community.

On 6 December 2020, a bazaar of homemade products took place in the Archangelos Michael Church in the village of Lefkoniko, known as Geçitkale in Turkish.

The Church was renovated in 2017 by the UNDP-PFF on behalf of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage with EU funds.

The event at Archangelos Michael is the first of a series of bazaars organized by the EVQAF Foundation and Volunteers Association, announced by the former on December 1 on their Facebook page, stating they will be taking place on the first Saturday of every month organized with the consent of the EVQAF General Director Dr Ibrahim Benter.  We ask the custodian and organizers to stop using places of worship  without the consent  and approval of the religious leadership for such activities.


RTCYPP News 4.12.20

RTCYPP News 4.12.20

RTCYPP facilitation team meets with Turkish Cypriot Community Leader

Executive Director of the Office of RTCYPP Ms Salpy Eskidjian and Sweden’s Special Advisor on Religion, Peace & Conflict , Mr Peter Weiderud joined Ambassador of Sweden H.E. Mr Anders Hagelberg in a meeting this morning with the new Turkish Cypriot community leader, H.E Mr Ersin Tatar.

“We very much appreciated the opportunity to meet with the new Turkish Cypriot community leader and grateful for the friendly and frank conversation”, said the Director of the Office of RTCYPP. “We look forward to working together with His Excellency, the religious leadership of the island as well as other representatives of faith communities to ensure the full respect of religious freedom or belief in the island”.


Press Release: Webinar on Violence Against Women & Girls, Freedom of Religion or Belief & Gender Equality

Press Release

Webinar on Violence Against Women & Girls, Freedom of Religion or Belief & Gender Equality

23 November 2020

Two of the world’s top experts on freedom of religion or belief, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and Dr Nazila Ghanea, Director of International Human Rights Law Programmes of the University of Oxford, will address a webinar, this morning at 11.00 Cyprus time, organized and hosted by the Office of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden (RTCYPP), in cooperation with the Office Democratic Institutions & Human Rights of the OSCE (ODIHR/OSCE).

For the first time, the closed webinar will bring together a selection of Cypriot women from faith-based communities and secular civil society organizations that have worked with the RTCYPP during the last ten years.

The discussion aims to initiate a reflection process to understand better and clarify the relationship between freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, held within the framework of the UN OHCHR’s Faith for Rights initiative which RTCYPP supports.

This initiative follows on the historic 2017 Joint Statement of the Religious Leaders of Cyprus condemning all forms of violence against women and girls and marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, starting on the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and ending on the International Human Rights Day.