Cypriots’ religious rights violated since 1974, House Speaker says

The religious rights of Greek Cypriots and of Maronites, Armenians and Latins are flagrantly violated since the Turkish invasion of 1974 in the Republic’s part which is occupied by Turkish troops, House of Representatives President Demetris Syllouris has said.

The House of Representatives President was speaking at an International Inter-Parliamentary Dialogue conference, organised by the Inter Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy and the Lebanese Parliament, in Beirut, on Tuesday, a parliament press release issued here today says.

In his address, delivered on his behalf by Cypriot MP Angelos Votsis, Syllouris said that Cyprus is one of the founding members of the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and that the country puts the defence of human rights, such as freedom of thought, conscience and religion as a top priority.

He also noted that Beirut has despite long-term conflicts which are mainly due to outside interventions has remained a city which is a symbol of the co-existence of cultures and religions.

The people of Cyprus has suffered greatly due to a foreign intervention, he said, adding that there has never been a problem between the two communities in Cyprus or the three religious groups on the basis of religious differences.

At the same time, he thanked the inter-parliamentary union for its firm support in the struggle of Cypriots in these matters and expressed Cyprus’ readiness, and in particular that of the House of Representatives to contribute to the union’s work in its capacity as a bridge of peace and stability in the Middle East.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Numerous UN-backed rounds of negotiations to reunite the island under a federal roof have not yet yielded result.

Source: Cyprus News Agency