VISIT WORTHING & LANCING
Members of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain filled to capacity a large coach and enjoyed a day trip to Worthing and Lancing.
The outing was an opportunity to relax, pass the time with friends, exchange family information and to remember the wonderful times spent in Rizokarpasso more than 34 years ago. Although the weather was not ideal a good time was had by all, with opportunity to shop in Worthing and enjoy a meal together at the Meze Meze Restaurant in Lancing where the owner Loulla made everyone welcome and provided a traditional Greek meal which was delicious and appreciated by all.
The Association's next opportunity for family and friends to meet will be at the Trafalgar Square Rally on Sunday 20th July, the Annual General Meeting on Sunday 2nd November at the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green, and the Association's Dinner and Dance on Saturday 8th November at The Penridge Banqueting Suite, 470 Bowes Road, London N11 1NL.
21 enclaved students from Rizokarpasso visited London from 7th – 12th July together with the Headteacher of the Gymnasion, Christos Valerkos, and teachers of English Daniella Daniel and Eleni Papayianni. They stayed at the Royal National Hotel, which provided a good base for their numerous visits to places of interest e.g. Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, Natural History Museum, London Dungeon, London Eye and British Museum. They also visited Legoland and Windsor Castle and enjoyed a day in the shops in Oxford St, Bond St and Regent St. The students, aged 12 to 18, consisted of 11 boys and 10 girls. On the evening of Thursday 10th July they attended a dinner at the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green, hosted by the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain. The students and staff were collected by coach from their hotel and were accompanied by Vice President of the Association, Michalis Lidas and Minutes Secretary, Yiannoulla Antoniades. At the Community Centre they were met by President of the Association, Mary Karaolis, Committee Member, Nikos Kolatsis and Honorary President Theodoulos Elia as well as other Rizokarpassides. An enjoyable and relaxing evening was had by everyone; the excellent food, the music, some dancing and the opportunity to socialise in a comfortable environment with friends and family was a superb way to spend the evening and for the visitors from Cyprus to meet fellow Rizokarpassides.
Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain celebrates Ayios Synesios and protests against the continued attack on their basic human rights.
Rizokarpasides attended St Demetrios Church, Edmonton, London on Sunday 25th May 2008 to participate in the liturgy and celebration of the patron saint of Rizokarpasso, Ayios Synesios, the actual Saint's day is 26 th May.
However, at the same time they were thinking of their enclaved compatriots and the continued attack on their basic human rights and the rights of all the refugees both in Cyprus and in the diaspora:
26th May 2008
Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Dear Mr Miliband
The enclaved in Rizokarpasso are not allowed to practice their religion freely and permission is rarely granted to the current Bishop of Karpasia to conduct a service in the church of St Synesios or St Andrew's Monastery. St Andrew's Monastery is in urgent need of renovation, the funds and plans are available but the illegal administration refuses permission for work to proceed. Rizokarpasso has always been a totally Greek Cypriot village even in the time of the Ottoman Empire, St Andrew's Monastery has always been a revered place of pilgrimage for Christians from all over Cyprus. We know that the occupying Turkish forces have demolished over 100 houses belonging to Greek Cypriots in Rizokarpasso, in order to create house building plots for settlers from Turkey to apply for. This is in addition to the occupation and building that has already taken place on Greek Cypriot owned property. Our properties in Rizokarpasso are being usurped by settlers from Turkey backed by a Turkish occupying army the aim being to obliterate the religious and cultural heritage of our area.
The members of our Association, are British citizens, many of whom are second and third generation, and we hold our government, which is a Guarantor Power for the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, responsible for the exploitation of our properties in Cyprus, because it allowed Turkey to invade Cyprus; we will not accept any solution that does not involve the return of our properties under conditions of safety. We also expect our Government to have an ethical foreign policy and not to subordinate human rights matters and the principles of international law to political concerns and strategic geopolitical interests.
We hope that you will be able to make progress on the issue of St Andrew's Monastery. No doubt you are aware of Andrew Dismore's letter, dated 13th October 2006, to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, regarding the denial of Human Rights to the enclaved. Your FCO website states "As a member of the United Nations it is our obligation to promote: 'the universal respect for, and observance of the human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion'." Currently this does not apply to the Greek Cypriot enclaved or refugees.
We look forward to receiving your response to these very urgent problems.
Mrs Mary Helen Karaolis BEd(Hons) MA NPQH
President of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain on behalf of the Executive Committee
See letters in response to Prof Perry Anderson's
article "The Divisions of Cyprus"
by Dr William Mallinson
Baron Hannay of Chiswick
The 70th General Meeting of the Association of Rizokarpasso held in the hall of the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green, gave the opportunity for the members present to discuss the many issues regarding Rizokarpasso, especially in relation to the plight of compatriots who have been enclaved for almost 34 years and denied basic human rights by the illegal occupying regime. Maria Karaolis, President, presented a report of the Association's activities since the last meeting. Yiannis Chronias, Treasurer, presented the financial accounts of the Association. The members debated a range of issues and then were able to socialise and catch up on each others news over "nistisima" refreshments. Once again, the members vehemently upheld that the return of the refugees to their homes and properties was a human right, morally correct and totally non-negotiable and expressed their steadfastness with a Resolution to be sent to the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council and the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council:
Adopted on the 20th
April 2008 at the 70th General Meeting of the members of The
Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain
The members of our Association were either born in Rizokarpasso or their parents or grandparents were born in Rizokarpasso. Most of our members are the legal owners of homes and properties in Rizokarpasso and since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus have been denied the use and enjoyment of their properties. We believe that the continued occupation of Cyprus by settlers from Turkey is denying our members human rights, fundamental freedoms and social justice and the very principles at the heart of democracy. Furthermore, Turkey is in flagrant violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions including General Assembly resolution 3212 (1974).
We believe that Britain has failed in its treaty obligations with the Republic of Cyprus; Britain failed to take decisive action to stop the Turkish invasion and subsequently to prevent the illegal sale and advertising of Greek Cypriot property. According to the Treaty of Guarantee, Britain, Greece and Turkey undertook "to prohibit, as far as lies within their power, all activity having the object of promoting directly or indirectly either the union of the Republic of Cyprus with any other State, or the partition of the Island."
In 1974 Turkey illegally invaded Cyprus and ethnically cleansed 200,000 Greek Cypriots, who made up 82% of the population, from 38% of Cyprus territory in the north, and still occupies their land and homes with 40,000 troops and 160,000 illegal settlers transported to colonize and change the demography of northern Cyprus. Only 263 enclaved Greek Cypriots remain in Rizokarpasso and they are denied basic human rights by the illegal administration. UN Security Council resolutions 541(1983) and 550(1984) declare the self proclaimed "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," "legally invalid" and call upon all states not to assist this illegal secessionist entity in any way since to do so will lend credibility to the invasion, occupation and colonizing of northern Cyprus it will ignore the human rights abuses carried out since 1974.
Our Association believes that the interests of democracy and international law require the following:
a) The removal of all Turkish troops from Cyprus.
b) The repatriation to Turkey of the over 150,000 illegal settlers in Cyprus.
c) The restoration of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots.
d) The reunification of the island and people of Cyprus.
e) The return of the refugees to their homes and properties in safety.
f) The return of properties to their lawful owners.
g) The end of the suffering of the enclaved.
h) The full and effective
investigation of the fate of all the missing persons.