Tuesday, February 2, 2016

OWAAT Cyprus Launches World's First Greek International Human Rights Self-Help Website For Abused Women

ONE WOMAN AT A TIME (OWAAT) furthers the U.S. Fulbright global mission to demonstrate how Cyprus became the first nation to declare the international human rights campaign, "Zero Tolerance of Abuse Against Women."

OWAAT is a sustainable, community-court collaboration to prevent all forms of non-physical, non-violent abuse against women, as unwanted contact interference in violation of their international human right to privacy.

OWAAT was initially launched between August 2014 to May 2015, in Cyprus by a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship grant to Patricia M. Martin, a Denver Colorado attorney who modeled her project after Denver’s County Courthouse “Project Safeguard” and Denver Legal Nights. Today, Ms. Martin continues to help guide OWAAT volunteers in Cyprus to achieve its aims also encouraged and supported by the President of the Supreme Court of Cyprus, a newly elected Justice of the European Court of Human Rights from Cyprus, President of Family Courts in Nicosia and the President of Family Court in Larnaca.

OWAAT aims at empowering women to first know what human rights they have and then be guided to self-help as self-represented civil litigants seeking immediate civil protections court orders for no contact to end their own abuse. 

OWAAT outreach extends to predominantly impoverished women who are usually isolated and need easy, inexpensive ready access to self-help legal options for emergency civil protections and legal enforcement.

OWAAT trained pre-law students on international human rights law; developed self-help civil protection application templates forms for emergency protection order application and self-help divorce applications; conducts human rights legal research and related community program development; facilitated Cyprus Complaint Centers also in cooperation with NGO’s; provides OWAAT Website Training Workshops for NGOs, educators, medical professionals and social services; and offers English and Greek language, web-based hyperlink access to human rights information in simplified, downloadable Powerpoint presentations, complete with pdf fill-in-the-blank self-help forms and related instructions.

The OWAAT website was created by women in Cyprus who volunteered their specialized internet technical expertise to help launch it on December 24, 2014, a gift to their Nation. The website provides the first international, replicable self-help toolbox that allows abused women to learn how to fill-in the legal forms, which previously precluded them from gaining access to court for emergency civil protections. 

 OWAAT volunteers refer abused women to the website’s help guide to obtain more information or disseminate information on applicable international treaties, such as the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights, which require that member states like Cyprus ensure and secure citizen human rights protections. 

In January 2016, OWAAT volunteers launched its website in Greek, and plans for this year include translation to Russian and Arabic.

OWAAT’s goals are also furthered in collaboration with state NGOs, like Freedom Dolls Initiative (FDI) to prevent sex trafficking; Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family (SPAVO); Cyprus Bar Association Members; UN Women-Cyprus; Cyprus Certified Meditators Association; Cyprus government and municipal officials; Cyprus church and religious leaders; Cyprus law school, middle school and grammar school educators and guidance counselors; and numerous other professional services providers throughout the nation. For more information, visit OWAAT at www.owaat-cy.com.

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