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Refugees' right to return must be basis for Cyprus solution

Propose and discuss specific solutions to aspects of the Cyprus Problem

Refugees' right to return must be basis for Cyprus solution

Postby Sotos » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:23 am

Refugees' right to return must

be basis for Cyprus solution

says CoE's new Russian president

Angelos Marcopoulos reports from Strasbourg

THE right of refugees to return must form the basis of a solution of the Cyprus problem, the new Russian president-in office of the Council of Europe said here yesterday.

"The refugees' right to return is a fundamental human right and an inextricable part of the solution to many international problems, including that of Cyprus,'' Ambassador Alexander Orlof said.

He was replying to my question about Turkey's refusal to allow Greek Cypriot refugees to return to their homes in the Turkish-occupied north of the island.

"The refugees right to return is one of the most important questions, and that is why we are going to pay great attention to it. Our stand is that the right of refugees to return is a fundamental human right and we (as the current CoE presidency) are going to base solutions on that fundamental principle," in connection with conflicts in Europe like the one in Cyprus, he said.

The refugees' right to return has been repeatedly reaffirmed by UN Security Council resolutions, as well as by several separate judgements of the European Court of Human Rights that are completely ignored however by Turkey.

In this respect, the local government elections due to be staged in the occupied north are both illegal and undemocratic because the Greek Cypriot refugees are not allowed to participate.

This was stressed by Svetlana Orlova, the head of the Russian delegation to the current Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe (CLRAE) being staged here.

"Violations of human rights are incompatible with the staging of democratic elections and this is why the CLRAE must take that into account everywhere, without double standards,'' she said.

The continuing division of Cyprus was raised repeatedly during the CLRAE Congress with delegates and senior officials stressing the need to end the violation of the human rights of the refugees that has been allowed to continue for so long.

This criticism was stressed in a summing up by the Mayor of Strasbourg, Senator Fabienne Keller, in an address to the CLRAE delegates on Wednesday night.

She said that last week's denunciation of the continuing divisions in Cyprus by the outgoing CLRAE president, Giovanni di Stasi, during his visit to the island, "perfectly embodies our wish to build together a Europe of stable, sustainable peace."

Stasi had said: "We can no longer accept situations in Europe where divided towns or ghost towns exist." (See page 8)

Halvard Skard, of Norway, who has taken over from Stasi as the new CLRAE President, followed up on his predecessor's words by telling The Cyprus Weekly, in an exclusive interview, of his determination to work for the reunification of the island.

"We will have to think hard about constructive proposals for the reunification of the island, in consultation with local representatives,'' he said.
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Postby despo » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:24 pm

Sotos, what is your actual source for this article? It's really weird and makes no sense. For a start, the Council of Europe doesn't actually have a President. It has a General Secretary, who is currently Terry Davis, who welcomed Mehmet Ali Talat's election as Turkish Cypriot leader, so he obviously accepts the validity of elections in the north. I did a search for "Alexander Orlof" at the CoE website ( and nothing came up.

More to the point, the Parliament of the CoE has, since 2004, accepted two Turkish Cypriots as observers for Cyprus, and the European Court of Human Rights, part of the CoE has recently judged that the issue of Greek Cypriot property in the north of the island be dealt with by a Turkish Cypriot committee, and that this committee can also propose compensation or that the status of some properties will only be resolved once there is a UN-negotiated settlement to the island's political problem.

If Svetlana Orlova believes that Giovanni di Stasi's embodies her positions, then she also believes that Turkish Cypriot Municipalities should be represented on the CLRAE, because the precise reason di Stasi made the visit to Cyprus during which he made that statement was "devoted to discussions concerning possibilities of lasting and permanent involvement of local representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the work of the Congress."

And, don't forget, the only reason the ghost towns exist is because we rejected the UN settlement, which the CoE strongly encouraged us to support.

“We can no longer accept divided or ghost towns”, says Congress President

Strasbourg, 29.05.2006 – ““We can no longer accept situations in Europe where divided towns or ghost towns exist, stated Giovanni Di Stasi, President of the Congress of local and regional authorities, after his official visit to Cyprus. “This state of division is harmful to the quality of life of Cypriot citizens, whichever community they belong to,” he stressed.

The visit was devoted to discussions concerning possibilities of lasting and permanent involvement of local representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the work of the Congress.

During his meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, the President of the Congress also raised the question of stronger involvement of Cypriot citizens and local authorities in resolving the situation there. “Our fellow citizens and the municipalities should perform a more active, constructive and complementary part in this process, thereby allowing us to rebuild in time the necessary mutual confidence between the island’s Greek and Turkish communities,” the President of the Congress concluded. “I should like all parties to enter into a constructive dialogue.”

On 25 May Giovanni Di Stasi also met the Minister of the Interior, the country’s delegation to the Congress, the representatives of the Unions of Cyprus Municipalities and Communities, and the political leaders of the Turkish Cypriot community. The question of the latter’s representation in the Congress will be on the agenda of the 13th plenary session in connection with the Resolution on the credentials of national delegations.
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Postby andreasv » Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:09 am

I wonder what would happen if the refugees from both sides packed up their belongings and returned to their properties. Of-course each side would need to be willing to allow each other to move into their homes. Those with nowhere to go can be put up in current refugee accommodation. As a family moves out and into their homes in the occupied areas and those in the free areas, one can move in the current refugee accommodation in Anthoupolis.

This would require brave people on both sides.

As did the old Cypriot man who moved to the north.
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