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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Cypriots admit to widespread discrimination ]

Cypriots admit to widespread discrimination

HOMOPHOBIA is rampant throughout Cypriot society, according to a recent EU survey, which found that almost three-quarters of all Cypriots admitted to discriminating against homosexuals.

The figure puts Cyprus higher than any other member state of the European Union, according to the Eurobarometer survey on discrimination.

Of the 506 people who were surveyed in March 2008, 61 per cent of respondents said they had issues with people of other races.

According to the study, the highest level of discrimination in Cyprus is reserved for sexual orientation, with 73 per cent of those questioned saying they discriminate against homosexuals. The figure puts Cyprus 20 per cent higher than the European average.

The second highest level of discrimination is ethnic origin (61 per cent), which is in line with the 62 per cent European average.

Around one in three Cypriots admitted to negative feelings towards people with disabilities, which is lower than the EU average of 45 per cent.

While admitting prejudices, Cypriots buck the EU averages when it comes to socialising with people from different minorities, with 63 per cent of respondents saying they had friends of a different religion and almost 75 per cent saying they had friends of a different race. The EU averages are 61 and 55 per cent respectively.

The figure for having a friend of a different race forms a bell-curve when split into age-groups, with the current generation of overseas university graduates (25-39), having the larger percentage (86%). Even though only 63 per cent of people over 55 said they had a friend of a different ethnic origin, this was still way above the EU average for the same age group of 41%.

Those surveyed were also asked if they had experienced discrimination over a twelve month period. Around 85 per cent felt they were not but of the 14 per cent who said they had felt they a victim of bias, most said it was for reasons other than age, ethnicity, gender or religion.

No one had felt discriminated for their disabilities or sexual orientation.

Comfort with having a minority group as one’s neighbour varies in Cyprus, depending on which minority was presented: respondents felt they would be most comfortable with having a disabled neighbour; a person with a different religion or belief or having a homosexual as a neighbour. They seemed more hesitant about having a Roma as a neighbour.

Concerning politics, Cypriots feel most comfortable having a person from a different religion, a woman or even a disabled person elected in a political position rather than having a homosexual. According to the results, Cypriots feel more comfortable with a political leader aged under 30 than one over 75 years of age, though both these figures are betrayed by a quick look at our House of Representatives.

One in two Europeans feel that enough effort is made in their country to fight all forms of discrimination, with two-thirds of Cypriots agreeing.

Cypriots aged 25-39 feel that the efforts to stop discrimination are not enough. Those who have finished their education (aged over 20) are the most aware that not enough effort is made.

The majority of Cypriots are more in favour of providing equal opportunities for employment in the areas of disability, age, gender, religion, and sexual orientation than the rest of Europe. Cypriots and the EU are in equal favour for providing equal opportunities for ethnic groups.

As far as knowing their rights go, Cypriots are split down the middle, with half saying they do and half saying they don’t know their rights.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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