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Cyprus Problem - Enclaved

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Resolution 1333 (2003) [1

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Enclaved Person

The deplorable living conditions of the Cypriot enclaved can be demonstrated by the simple recounting of their numbers following the Turkish invasion of 1974. In July of that year the Greek Cypriot population of the area presently occupied by the Turkish army was 162,000. At the end of the second phase of the Turkish invasion in August 1974, 142,000 Cypriots were expelled or forced to flee. The majority of the 20,000 Cypriots who remained, mostly in the Karpas peninsula (Report S/11488 of the UNSG to the Security Council dated 4 September 1974), were gradually forced to abandon the area. According to the latest report of the Secretary General to the Security Council the number of Greek Cypriots living in this area to date, has diminished to 384 Greek Cypriots and 142 Maronites (S/2007/328, 04 June 2007, par. 27). As a consequence the total number of Cypriots expelled from their homes rises to over 160.000, that is one third of the total population of Cyprus in 1974.

The diminution is all the more striking considering the fact of the agreement reached in Vienna on 2 August, 1975, by which the Turkish side undertook to give the enclaved population every help to lead a normal life, including facilities for education and for the practice of their religion, as well as medical care by their own doctors and freedom of movement in the north. In practice the Cypriots were subjected to constant harassment, including physical assaults, restrictions to their movement, denial of access to adequate medical care, denial of adequate educational facilities, especially beyond the elementary school level, curtailment of their right to use and bequeath their immovable property and curtailment of freedom of worship in their churches and monasteries. This was therefore a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing, forcing the enclaved to abandon their homes, so that all traces of Greek Cypriot presence in northern Cyprus would be eradicated.

The United Nations Peace Keeping Force, mindful of the plight of the enclaved, reviewed the situation and made several recommendations for the amelioration of their situation, as reported by the Secretary General to the Security Council (Report of 10 December, 1995, S/1995/1020, par. 24). Some of the most important recommendations are as follows:

That all restrictions on land travel should be lifted, that access to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery should be unrestricted, that Greek Cypriots should be allowed to travel in their own cars, that they should be allowed to receive visitors from outside the occupied area, that children of the enclaved forced by the Turkish side to live in the government-controlled area for educational reasons should be allowed to visit their parents without hindrance, that they should be allowed to bequeath their property to their next of kin that they should be allowed to have secondary schools, that the constant presence of police in their lives should end, that they should have unrestricted access to telephones, that they should be allowed visits by Greek Cypriot doctors, that UNFICYP should be allowed unrestricted freedom of movement in the Karpas peninsula and liaison posts should be established.

Similarly, with regard to Maronites, UNFICYP recommended the lifting of all restrictions on their freedom of movement, the establishment of a medical centre for their needs, the provision of private telephone services, free and unescorted access to UNFICYP, improvement of water supply to their villages and improved access to their places of worship (Report S/1995/1020, par. 25). Though following UNFICYPs concern the Turkish side allowed certain minor improvements in the lives of the enclaved, their living conditions remain deplorable and unchanged. This conclusion is fully in accord with the findings of the European Commission of Human Rights and the judgment of 10 May 2001 of the European Court of Human Rights, which examined the plight of the enclaved as part of the Fourth Interstate Application of Cyprus against Turkey. The CommissionsReport, published on 4th September 1999, noted inter alia:

Taken as a whole, the daily life of the Greek Cypriots in northern Cyprus is characterized by a multitude of adverse circumstances. The absence of normal means of communication, the unavailability in practice of the Greek Cypriot press, the insufficient number of priests, the difficult choice before which parents and schoolchildren are put regarding secondary education, the restrictions and formalities applied to freedom of movement, the impossibility to preserve property rights upon departure or death and the various other restrictions create a feeling among the persons concerned of being compelled to live in a hostile environment in which it is hardly possible to lead a normal private and family life. As these adverse circumstances in the living conditions are to a large extent the direct result of the official policy conducted by the respondent government and its subordinate local administration, they constitute factors by which the above interference with the rights of the enclaved Greek Cypriots under Article 8 of the Convention are aggravated (par. 489).

Furthermore the Commission found that this multitude of adversities, constituting aggravated interference with the enclaved persons right to respect for their private and family life and for their home, were discriminatory practices specifically directed against Greek Cypriots and, to almost the same degree, against Maronites, because of their ethnic origin, race and religion. This discrimination, the Commission concluded, amount(s) to degrading treatment (par. 499). The interferences with the normal life of the enclaved, coupled with the severity with which they are applied, justifies the conclusion of the Report that they amount to an affront to their human dignity (par. 498).

The Commission also found interference with their freedom of religion, violation of their right to free expression arising out of the fact that schoolbooks for elementary schools are subject to excessive censorship, violation of Article 2 of Protocol 1 because of the denial of secondary school education for their children and a continuing violation of their right to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions arising out of the practice of the Turkish Cypriot authorities to take over possession of the property of all enclaved who leave from the occupied area or die.

The European Court of Human Rights has, in its judgment of 10 May 2001, on the case of Cyprus v. Turkey, Application no 257 (81/94), for the first time, pronounced itself on the overall legal consequences of Turkey
s invasion and continued military presence in Cyprus. The Courts findings about the treatment of the few Greek Cypriots and Maronites still resident in the occupied area are quite significant. The Court notes that the right to respect for family life of the enclaved Greek Cypriots was seriously impeded by measures imposed by the TRNC to limit family reunification denying the possibility of leading a normal family life (par. 292-293). The Court noted that Greek Cypriots community were monitored in respect of their contacts and movements and that surveillance extended to the presence of State agents inside the homes of Greek Cypriots on the occasion of social or other visits (par.294). The Court held that such highly intrusive and invasive acts violated the right of the Greek Cypriot population in the Karpas region to respect to their private and family life (par.295). The Court endorsed the Commission s conclusion that
The restrictions which beset the daily lives of the enclaved Greek Cypriots create a feeling among them of being compelled to live in a hostile environment in which it is hardly possible to lead a normal private and family life. The Commission noted in support of this conclusion that the adverse circumstances to which the population concerned was subjected included: the absence of normal means of communication (); the unavailability in practice of the Greek Cypriot press (...); the insufficient number of priests (); the difficult choice with which parents and schoolchildren were faced regarding secondary education (); the restrictions and formalities applied to freedom of movement, including, the Court would add, for the purposes of seeking medical treatment and participation in bi- or inter-communal events; the impossibility of preserving property rights upon departure or on death.

The Court added that such restrictions were factors aggravating the violations (par. 301). What is more the Court noted the view of the UN Secretary-General that the severe restrictions entailing the exercise of basic freedoms had the effect of ensuring that inexorably, with the passage of time, the Karpas community would cease to exist. This would be the consequence of the prohibition on bequeathing property to relatives outside the north and to the denial of the right of ultimate return of children who left in order to obtain secondary education (par. 307). The prevailing situation led, according to the Court, to the inescapable conclusion that the interferences at issue were directed at the Karpas Greek-Cypriot community for the very reason that they belonged to this class of persons. The treatment to which they were subjected during the period under consideration can only be explained in terms of the features which distinguish them from the Turkish-Cypriot population, namely their ethnic origin, race and religion. The Court would further note that it is the policy of the respondent State to pursue discussions within the framework of the inter-communal talks on the basis of bi-zonal and bi-communal principles (). The respondent States attachment to these principles must be considered to be reflected in the situation in which the Karpas Greek Cypriots live and are compelled to live: isolated, restricted in their movements, controlled and with no prospect of renewing or developing their community. The conditions under which that population is condemned to live are debasing and violate the very notion of respect for the human dignity of its members.

In the Courts opinion and with reference to the period under consideration, the discriminatory treatment attained a level of severity which amounted to degrading treatment (par. 309 and 310). The Court also found that the Greek Cypriots of the Karpas had had their rights to freedom of religion under Article 9, violated by restrictions which prevented organisation of Greek Orthodox religious ceremonies in a normal and regular manner (refusal to approve appointment of priests and restrictions to access to Apostolos Andreas Monastery, as well as restrictions on to access to places of worship outside their villages) (par. 243-346). The Court also found that Article 10 (freedom of expression) was violated, because of excessive censorship applied to primary school-books, large numbers of which, no matter how innocuous their contents, were unilaterally censored or rejected by the TRNC authorities (par. 252 and 254).

The Court noted the fact that the immovable property of Greek Cypriots in the Karpas who left the TRNC permanently was deemed as abandoned and therefore liable to allocation to third parties. This was a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol 1. Refusal to recognise the inheritance rights of persons living in southern Cyprus to property of their deceased relatives in northern Cyprus was also a violation of Article 1, because peaceful enjoyment of such persons
possessions is not secured (par. 269 and 270).

In the summer of 2005 the occupation regime informed the Greek Cypriot enclaved persons in the Karpas area, that they were required to pay the occupation regime for the consumption of electricity since 1974.This demand was deemed as unacceptable and inhumane, considering the fact that since 1974, the government of the Republic of Cyprus has been providing electricity, of a total of CYP 150m, to Turkish-Cypriots uninterruptedly, without even demanding any payment. During the same period the occupation forces suspended the right of enclaved persons to use their vehicles in the occupied areas and demanded that the owners pay the required import tax to the occupation regime. Both demands were recalled, after strong demarches to the UN and to foreign governments.

In September 2005, three months after the adoption of an Interim Resolution by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and four years after the adoption of the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Fourth Interstate Application of Cyprus against Turkey, a secondary school was allowed to operate in Karpas. Contrary to the assurances given for the full and unimpeded operation of the school, the occupation forces only allowed the operation of the first three grades of the school.

 Furthermore, delays which continue to occur in the delivery of books to the school and the prevention of appointed teachers to start their teaching assignments, has seriously inhibited the full and efficient operation of the school.

In conclusion, the plight of the enclaved Cypriots, both Greeks and Maronites, continues unabated despite the protestations and calls of the Cyprus government for the need to fully implement the 1975 Vienna III Agreement. To this moment, a literature teacher appointed to the Rizokarpaso secondary school is yet to be allowed to cross to the occupied areas (no reason given) although all relevant documents and information have been submitted to UNFICYP since December 2005, while the occupation forces do not allow a second appointed priest to cross to the occupied areas to perform his duties.

Turkey is required to take further action for the amelioration of the unacceptable living conditions of the Cypriots enclaved in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus. The continuing affront to human dignity of the enclaved, as the Commission found, is an affront on the human dignity of all people.

PIO
June, 2007

Cyprus Problem - Enclaved

The aftermath of the Turkish invasion in 1974
In the aftermath of the Turkish invasion in 1974, about 20,000 people - mainly Greek Cypriots including just over a thousand Maronites - found themselves cut off behind enemy lines in their villages in the north-eastern Karpass peninsula and in the Maronite villages west of Kyrenia town.

This group of people known as the enclaved remained in their villages in the hope that, following the ceasefire, they would be able, unperturbed, to carry on with their normal way of life. Unfortunately their hopes were soon frustrated. The illegal Turkish occupation regime adopted a policy of oppression, human rights violation and harassment, in an effort to drive these people out of their homes and properties.

By December 1974, 12,000 people had chosen to remain in their homes in the areas occupied by the Turkish army, instead of moving to the Government-controlled part of Cyprus. Over the years, these people became victims of a policy of ethnic cleansing by the Turkish occupying forces. The denial of their basic human rights by the occupiers, the harsh living conditions and the constant harassment they were forced to endure, had the consequence that many of them abandoned their homes and properties in the occupied area and crossed over to the Government - controlled area as displaced persons. The result of these human rights abuses was that the number of the enclaved gradually declined and, sadly, now only 546 people, mostly elderly, remain in the occupied area. A humanitarian review undertaken by the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (
UNFICYP) in 1995 (S/1995/1020), documents in detail the situation. It observes: "The Greek Cypriots of Karpass are now a small minority in a part of Cyprus, which was once almost totally Greek Cypriot, and they are subjected to a system whose long-term aim appears to be directed towards the eventual extinction of the Greek Cypriot community in Karpass".

The Government of Cyprus brought up this serious matter during negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side, held under the auspices of the United Nations on 2 August 1975 in Vienna.

Under mounting international pressure, the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Denktash signed, in the presence of the then UN Secretary-General Mr Kurt Waldheim, a humanitarian agreement, the implementation of which would improve the living conditions of the enclaved.

The agreement, known as the
Vienna III Agreement,
stipulated that the Greek Cypriots and Maronites, who had remained in the occupied part of Cyprus, would be free to stay, be reunited with the families and given every help to lead a normal life, including facilities for education and for the practice of their religion, as well as medical care by doctors of their own community. The United Nations would have free and normal access to Greek Cypriot villages and habitations in the north.

The Turkish side, however, did not implement any of the measures it had agreed to. The enclaved are still denied access to their doctors, no secondary schools are allowed to operate and in the two existing primary schools the textbooks are severely censored. Moreover, the enclaved are not allowed freedom of movement. They are restricted to their villages and immediate surroundings and members of families living in the Government-controlled area, who are over 18-year-old, are not allowed to visit them.

The UN Secretary-General has repeatedly noted in his reports to the Security Council that the Greek Cypriots and Maronites in the northern part of the island are far from leading the normal life they were promised under the agreement reached between the two sides at Vienna.


The European Court of Human Rights finds Turkey guilty of human rights violations of the enclaved

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly found Turkey guilty of human rights violations during and after the invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. In its judgment on May 10, 2001, in the case of Cyprus V. Turkey (application no.25781/94), the Court found Turkey guilty, by sixteen votes to one (the Turkish vote), of 14 violations of the European Convention of Human Rights. Out of these, seven violations concerned the living conditions of the enclaved people in the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus. More specifically, the Court held that Turkey committed the following violations:

  • a violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) in respect of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus, concerning the effects of restrictions on freedom of movement which limited access to places of worship and participation in other aspects of religious life.
  • a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) in respect of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus in so far as school-books destined for use in their primary school were subject to excessive measures of censorship.
  • a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in respect of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus in that their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions was not secured in case of their permanent departure from that territory and in that, in case of death, inheritance rights of relatives living in southern Cyprus were not recognised.
  • a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) in respect of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus in so far as no appropriate secondary-school facilities were available to them.
  • a violation of Article 3 in that the Greek Cypriots living in the Karpass area of northern Cyprus had been subjected to discrimination amounting to degrading treatment.
  • a violation of Article 8 concerning the right of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus to respect for their private and family life and to respect for their home.
  • a violation of Article 13 by reason of the absence, as a matter of practice, of remedies in respect of interferences by the authorities with the rights of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus under Articles 3, 8, 9 and 10 of the Convention and Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol No. 1.


PACE adopts Resolution for the enclaved condemning Turkey and T/C occupation regime

On 24 June 2003, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution condemning Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot occupation regime for violations of the rights and freedoms of the enclaved. Resolution 1333 (2003) was adopted, with an overwhelming majority, following a presentation and joint debate of the report of PACEs Rapporteur on the Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of Cyprus, Swiss MP Mr Dick Marty.

In Resolution 1333 (2003), PACE expresses its extreme concern and shock over the status and living conditions imposed upon the Greek Cypriot and Maronite communities living in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and insists that the Turkish Cypriot administration controlling the northern part of the island, as well as Turkey which assumes de facto legal co-responsibility in this part of the island, cease all humiliation of the Greek and Maronite communities and put an end to the climate of intimidation.

The Assembly further demands that the occupation regime and Turkey end the dispossessions affecting members of these communities, ensure freedom of education and worship for Orthodox Christians and Maronites, end the restrictions on movement across the demarcation line, grant all inhabitants the right to an effective remedy, ensure equal access to medical care and permit the communities to freely choose their representatives themselves.

The resolution also conveys the Assemblys agreement with the conclusions of the European Court of Human Rights in its aforementioned Cyprus v. Turkey judgment establishing violations of the human rights of the Greek Cypriot and Maronite communities living in the Turkish-occupied areas.

It concludes by expressing the position that, as history has shown, the different social, political, religious, cultural and linguistic constituents present on the island are perfectly capable of living together in peace and harmony.

PIO

______________________________________________________________________________

The Third Vienna Agreement - August 1975 

Communique issued after the third phase of the intercommunal talks in Vienna

The third round of talks on Cyprus was held in Vienna from 31 July to 2 August 1975.

Preliminary discussions were held on the powers and functions of a federal government on the basis of the original Greek Cypriot proposals submitted at the first round, the Turkish Cypriot paper of the 21st of July and the more comprehensive paper presented by Mr. Clerides at this meeting. Further examination of this subject will continue in Nicosia with a view to a final discussion, together with the other aspects relating to the solution of the Cyprus problem, at the next round of talks. Mr. Denktash expressed his views on the comprehensive paper submitted by Mr. Clerides and also on his own proposals for a transitional joint government submitted by him on 18 July. Mr. Clerides referred to his previous position in this regard.

A discussion of the geographical aspects of a future settlement of the Cyprus problem took place. It was agreed that Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash would have further private talks on this subject prior to the fourth round of the Cyprus talks with a view to preparing the discussion of this matter which will take place at that time.

In addition the following was agreed:

1. The Turkish Cypriots at present in the South of the Island will be allowed, if they want to do so, to proceed North with their belongings under an organized programme and with the assistance of UNFICYP.
2. Mr. Denktash reaffirmed, and it was agreed, that the Greek Cypriots at present in the North of the Island are free to stay and that they will be given every help to lead a normal life, including facilities for education and for the practice of their religion, as well as medical care by their own doctors and freedom of movement in the North.
3. The Greek Cypriots at present in the North who, at their own request and without having been subjected to any kind of pressure, wish to move to the South will be permitted to do so.
4. UNFICYP will have free and normal access to Greek Cypriot villages and habitations in the North.
5. In connection with the implementation of the above agreement priority will be given to the re-unification of families, which may also involve the transfer of a number of Greek Cypriots, at present in the South, to the North.

The question of displaced persons was also re-examined.

Although both sides again affirmed that they were not knowingly holding undeclared prisoners-of-war or other detainees, it was agreed mutually to extend full facilities for searches in response to information given by either side.

Both sides declared that the Nicosia International Airport, which has been repaired by the United Nations under the agreement reached at the first round, can be used, as a first step, by the United Nations for its needs.

The fourth round of talks will take place, due to the Secretary Generals commitments in regard to the General Assembly, at United Nations headquarters in New York on 8 and 9 September 1975.

2 August, 1975

_________________________________________________________________________________

Resolution 1333 (2003) [1

Rights and fundamental freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of Cyprus

Provisional edition

Resolution 1333 (2003) [1]

1. The Assembly once again expresses its serious concern, noting that the island of Cyprus continues to be rigorously and arbitrarily divided into two parts and that such a situation has lasted for more than thirty years, without any improvement.

2. All the people living in Cyprus, in the northern as well as the southern part, are protected by the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights, since the Republic of Cyprus acceded to this Convention on 6 October 1962.

3. The Assembly agrees with the opinion expressed by the European Court of Human Rights in its judgment of 10 May 2001 in the case of Cyprus v. Turkey, that Turkey's responsibility under the Convention also extends to actions of the Turkish Cypriot administration: Turkey therefore has a general obligation to secure respect for the human rights safeguarded by the Convention for all persons in the territory controlled by the Turkish Cypriot administration.

4. The Parliamentary Assembly is extremely concerned by the status imposed upon the Greek Cypriot and Maronite communities that have remained north of the demarcation line and by the resulting violations of human rights, as established by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

5. The Parliamentary Assembly nonetheless welcomes the recent positive developments in Cyprus, especially the opening of borders and granting of the freedom of movement, which could considerably ameliorate the situation of the Greek Cypriots and Maronites that have remained north of the demarcation line.

6. The Assembly considers that a general settlement of the Cypriot conflict should never be at the expense of the communities that have opted to continue to live there where they have always resided.

7. The Assembly agrees with the conclusions of the European Court of Human Rights in its aforementioned Cyprus v. Turkey judgment establishing violations of the human rights of the Greek Cypriot and Maronite communities living in the northern part of Cyprus.

8. The Assembly is particularly shocked by the imposed division of families, the prohibition on young people returning to their homes, the arbitrary confiscations and expropriations and the general climate of apprehension and uncertainty, even fear, to which members of these communities are deliberately subjected.

9. The Assembly insists that the Turkish Cypriot administration controlling the northern part of Cyprus, as well as Turkey which assumes de facto legal co-responsibility in this part of the island, as indicated in paragraph 3 above:

a. cease all humiliation of the Greek and Maronite communities and put an end to the climate of intimidation;

b. end the dispossessions affecting members of these communities, by returning to the members of these communities the property and possessions of which they have been arbitrarily dispossessed, individually or collectively, or failing that offer them just compensation;

c. ensure freedom of education and worship for Orthodox Christians and Maronites;

d. end the restrictions on movements across the demarcation line and immediately grant Greek Cypriots living in the northern part of Cyprus at least the same rights as those already granted to Maronites;

e. grant all inhabitants the right to an effective remedy;

f. ensure equal access to medical care;

g. permit the communities to freely choose their representatives themselves.

10. The Assembly urges all the representatives of the civil society of Cyprus, independently of the community to which they belong, to do their utmost to bring about a climate of mutual understanding, of dialogue and of tolerance between the different social, political, religious, cultural and linguistic constituents present on the island, who, as history has shown, are perfectly capable of living together in peace and harmony.

 

[1]. Assembly debate on 24 June 2003 (19th Sitting) (see Doc. 9714, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Marty). Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 June 2003 (19th Sitting)

PIO
 

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