Cyprus - Social development

A social insurance and non contributory old age pension system is in effect for all employed and self-employed persons. It provides unemployment and sickness benefits; old age, widows', and orphans' pensions; maternity benefits; missing persons' allowances; injury and disability benefits. There is a universal system for a family allowance and child benefits.

Although women have the same legal status as men, women's groups maintain that the divorce law discriminates in favor of men. There have been reports of "honor" crimes, where a woman is victimized by relatives in retaliation for "dishonoring" the family. Sexual harassment is not proscribed by law in the government-controlled area. Spousal abuse is a serious social problem, and legislation passed in 2000 entitled Violence in the Family Law makes it easier to report and prosecute family violence.

Although human rights are generally respected, police brutality continues to be a problem. There are also reports of the mistreatment of domestic servants, usually of East or South Asian origin. Freedom of movement between the Greek and Turkish zones is restricted.

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