Turkey violates human rights in Cyprus, says Ambassador to UN
United Nations, Nov 3 - Cyprus has had the unenviable privilege of occupying the attention of the UN Security Council for many years but regrettably, Turkish political expediencies and the sheer lapse of time seem to have diverted attention from the human rights dimension of the issue, which actually lies at the heart of it.
This is what Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis said while speaking at the Third Committee at the 60th Session of the General Assembly.
He also said that no definitive remedy to the persistent violations of human rights in Cyprus by Turkey can be envisaged without termination of the artificial partition of the island, which has been imposed along ethnic lines and in full contradiction both to the island's traditionally multi-ethnic character and to the will of the Cypriot people.
Mr. Mavroyiannis stressed that no settlement can be achieved without the withdrawal of all foreign troops and stressed that the rule of law and application of individual human rights standards must be an integral element of any comprehensive, functional and sustainable solution to the Cyprus issue.
Ever since Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974, he said, nearly one third of the island's population have been illegally and arbitrarily deprived of their property rights, and forcibly displaced from their ancestral abodes.
The occupation forces have constantly denied them the right to return and peacefully enjoy their properties and possessions ever since. Colonization with settlers from Turkey, destruction of the cultural heritage and a systematic policy of denial of basic human rights have been the consistent pattern of behavior of the occupying forces ever since.
The responsibility and the obligations of Turkey in this matter, he added, have been repeatedly and clearly affirmed by a series of rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.
The continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, he added, affects not only those who were forcibly expelled from their homes but also those who remained enclaved in their land under the control of the Turkish army and Turkey's subordinate administration.
He pointed out that the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey responsible for fourteen violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, seven of which concern the living conditions of the enclaved Greek-Cypriots in the occupied part of Cyprus.
These violations, he concluded, relate to the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the freedom of expression, the right to education, the right to peaceful enjoyment of one's property, and the right to respect of one's private and family life.