UN expresses support for joint efforts, made by religious leaders, advocating religious freedom

UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus and head of UNFICYP Elizabeth Spehar has expressed her support of religious leaders’ joint advocacy efforts for religious freedom, coexistence, peace and reconciliation.

She was speaking in the context of a visit on Wednesday to a number of religious monuments and cemeteries high on the agenda of Cyprus’ religious leaders, a press release issued by the Office of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) says.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus and Talip Atalay, Mufti of Cyprus welcomed the visit and the support of UNFICYP, it notes.

It adds that Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis and Imam Shakir Alemdar of Hala Sultan Tekke briefed Spehar on the state of the religious monuments visited, and some of the challenges the faith communities face with regard to accessing and restoring these sites of worship.

On her part Elizabeth Spehar thanked the office of RTCYPP for organizing the visit and took the opportunity to express her support for the joint advocacy efforts of the religious leaders of Cyprus for religious freedom, coexistence, peace and reconciliation.

The visit took place on the last day of World Interfaith Harmony Week, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly to acknowledge that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace, the press release says.

The joint field visits to religious monuments are a positive example of how the religious leaders of Cyprus, within the framework of RTCYPP, are working together in solidarity “to advocate for religious freedom and the protection of all religious monuments in Cyprus, it adds.

Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Sweden Peter Kvist and RTCYPP Executive Coordinator Salpy Eskidjian also took part in the visit.

Source: Cyprus News Agency