Annual General Meeting May 2013
The 39th Annual General Meeting (80th GM) of the Association of Rizokarpasso held in the hall of the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green, was well attended, and gave the opportunity for the members present to discuss the many challenges faced by Cyprus and the specific issues regarding Rizokarpasso, especially in relation to the plight of compatriots who have been enclaved for nearly 40 years and denied basic human rights, including freedom of religious worship, by the illegal occupying regime. 2011-2013 Officers, Maria Karaolis, President, presented a report of the Association’s activities since the last General Meeting; Kate Christoforou, Treasurer presented the Financial Report; and Pavlos Pavlou, the Auditor, presented his report. Maria Karaolis thanked Kate Christoforou for her hard work, dedication and expertise in managing the funds as Treasurer in what was a difficult financial period for the banks where the Charity funds were held. Members at the meeting felt great sorrow at the sad news that Theodoulos Elia, had passed away at mid-day on the day of the AGM. Theodoulos had been a very active member of the Association from its beginning, had been a past Officer and past President of the Association and had always supported the Association events and meetings and been a reliable source of wisdom and advice. He will be greatly missed and our deepest sympathy and most heartfelt condolences are offered to his family.
The 10 Executive Committee members for the period 2013-2015 are shown below. The strength of the Association is evident by the fact that nearly half of the committee consists of young professional Cypriots and two thirds of the committee are second generation Cypriots born in England. This shows the success of the first generation in passing on their love of and commitment to Rizokarpasso, and Cyprus in general, to their children and grandchildren; all are proud of their roots and are dedicated to working hard to support the enclaved and promote justice for Cyprus as well as serving the members of their Association.
Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain delegation visits the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Officers of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain had a meeting at the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office on Tuesday 7th May. At the meeting were: Mary Karaolis, President; Michael Lidas, Vice President; and Yiannoulla Antoniades, Secretary. They met with Hinesh Rajani, the Deputy Team Leader of the newly formed Eastern Mediterranean Team, which covers Cyprus, Greece and Turkey within the Europe Directorate.
In a frank and open discussion the delegation once again raised many issues: the fact that Bishop Christoforos, Bishop of Karpasia, has, since March 2012, been refused permission to visit his congregation in Karpasia without any reason being given; the enclaved in Rizokarpasso had sacrificed a lifetime of normal existence, denied basic human rights, including religious freedom because they refused to leave their homes; the restoration work on Apostolos Andreas Monastery has not yet started; the denial to Greek Cypriots of access, use, benefit and enjoyment of their property in occupied Cyprus; the issue of the missing persons; the discouragement for Greek Cypriots to go to the occupied area by imposing “so called fines for speeding”. The delegation emphasised that Turkey’s policy was a waiting game since the passage of time will, in the end, see the natural destruction of the religious and cultural heritage and the demise of all Greek Cypriots in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
The delegation said that if Turkey was sincere in wanting talks to commence rather than merely trying to exploit the current economic situation in Cyprus then they would withdraw their 43,000 occupation troops and return to Turkey the 180,000 settlers from Turkey transported to Cyprus to occupy the homes and properties of the Greek Cypriots in violation of the Fourth Protocol to the Geneva Convention of 1949.
The delegation expressed disappointment that Britain and other powerful countries do not appear to be putting pressure on Turkey to comply with UN Resolutions. Cyprus, a member of the UN, EU and British Commonwealth was invaded and is under occupation, its capital is divided and its enclaved, who are European Citizens, are denied basic human rights including religious freedom, by Turkey, a country that refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus. The delegation felt that powerful countries should not ignore the moral, ethical and human rights issues because of Turkey’s strategic importance in the Eastern Mediterranean and felt that ignoring the lessons of history was a dangerous path to follow.
It was agreed that the meeting had been informative and had allowed an honest debate and examination of the numerous issues.
ASSOCIATION OF RIZOKARPASSO IN BRITAIN
The Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain held a very successful Dinner and Dance attended by first, second, and third generation compatriots from Rizokarpasso and their friends, making the evening a truly enjoyable evening out and creating a great community atmosphere. Special Guests were Rt Rev Bishop Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou; the Honourable Representative of the Cyprus High Commission, George Georgiou, Consul General; Marina Yannakoudakis, MEP; Mike Freer MP for Finchley & Golders Green; Andy Love, MP for Edmonton; David Burrowes, MP for Southgate and prominent members, across the age range, of the Cypriot Community in the UK.
Guests commented on and were very impressed with the large gathering of Cypriots from all age groups and the obvious fact that there were many British born Cypriots present, enjoying themselves in the company of family and friends, proud of their roots and not prepared to forget that Rizokarpasso belongs to them. The food and service provided by the Cypriot Community Centre, as always, was superb whilst the music performed by the Venus band had people of all ages enjoying themselves on the dance floor.
Maria Karaolis, the President of the Association, in her speech gave a special welcome to the politicians whose presence at the event was a clear indication of their support and was much appreciated by all concerned. She then said: “This evening our thoughts are of Rizokarpasso, with our enclaved friends, relatives and compatriots, who have sacrificed the last 38 years guarding our rights to our properties whilst they, on a daily basis are denied basic human rights including freedom of religious worship as evidenced by the illegal regime’s refusal to allow the Bishop of Karpasia to visit his congregation since March this year”. Maria Karaolis continued: “The British 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 Cypriots enclaved in Rizokarpasso or to the refugees, the property owners, wherever they might be, who are denied access, use, benefit and enjoyment of their properties in Rizokarpasso and elsewhere in occupied Cyprus. We expect our British Government, which was a guarantor power for the freedom, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of The Republic of Cyprus, to actively work on our behalf to secure our properties - ownership of which is our basic human right. The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the EU, currently has the Presidency of the EU, is a member of the UN, a member of the British Commonwealth, we expect our British Government to be more proactive in securing justice for Cyprus and securing our rights as British Citizens”. Maria Karaolis concluded by thanking all the past Presidents, past and present Officers and Committee Members of the Association for their dedication and hard work and all the members and friends who have supported and sustained the Association since its formation in 1975. She also thanked the politicians and other high profile figures and organisations, who are champions of freedom, justice and human rights.
The evening included the raffle prize draws with top prizes being a return ticket to Cyprus, kindly donated by Cyprus Airways. Other raffle prizes included: pre-match table for 4 and table for 2 in the Directors Lounge at Barnet FC and Directors Box seats for the BFC game; BFC signed Shirt and football, (all donated by Barnet FC Chairman Tony Kleanthous): a basket of fruit, (donated by Despina’s Food Store).
Sunday 4th November 2012
The 79th General Meeting of the Association of Rizokarpasso held in 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 the last 38 years and denied basic human rights, including freedom of religious worship, by the illegal occupying regime as evidenced by their denial of permission to the Bishop of Karpasia to visit the enclaved since March this year. They deplored the ethnic cleansing which has taken place in occupied northern Cyprus which has reduced Rizokarpasso¢s Greek Cypriot population from 4,000 in 1974 to 260 enclaved now, whilst the properties of the Greek Cypriots who fled for their lives have been occupied by illegal settlers from Turkey. 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 asked that a Resolution be sent to the 5 permanent member states of the UN Security Council, EU, politicians and prominent world leaders expressing their steadfastness. Maria Karaolis, President, presented a report of the Association¢s activities since the last meeting and Kate Christoforou, the Treasurer, the financial accounts of the Association.
The members, once again voted to send a €50 Christmas present and card to each of the 37 enclaved school children in Rizokarpasso; the package, as usual, will be taken to the Cyprus High Commission, which will arrange for the transportation of the Christmas presents to Cyprus and delivery to the children in Rizokarpasso.
Maria Karaolis presented the book «Ζωη στην Ακρα Γη» produced by the Rizokarpasso Gymnasion students, price £20, (the proceeds going to the school), and read a moving piece from it by the enclaved Maria Karsa written in the Cypriot dialect. The 202 page book is rich with photographs, recipes and personal stories together with 2 DVDs. It was enthusiastically received by the members present some of whom ordered copies whilst others insisted that more orders and payments be taken at the Annual Dinner & Dance on 24th November before the final order is placed with the Gymnasion and transportation arrangements made to bring the books from Cyprus.The meeting finished with all the members enjoying souvlakia, exchanging family news and experiences and making their arrangements for their Association Dinner & Dance on 24th November at the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green.
Summer outing by the association of Rizokarpasso to Clacton-on-Sea
ASSOCIATION OF RIZOKARPASSO IN BRITAIN
SUMMER OUTING TO CLACTON ON SEA
Members of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain filled to capacity a large coach and enjoyed a day trip to Clacton On Sea.
The outing, on a glorious, sunny day, was an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful gardens along the Marina Parade and admire their floral displays to relax on the beach, go along the pier, pass the time with friends, exchange family information and remember the wonderful times spent in Rizokarpasso more than 38 years ago. Everyone had a great day and also enjoyed a fish and chips meal together at The Pier Restaurant, whose Cypriot owner provided a delicious meal which was appreciated by all. The coach journey had singing and laughter, provided the opportunity to sing Happy Birthday to one of the members and was made more enjoyable eating the traditional Shinnopittes and Eliopittes prepared by members for the outing which delighted the group.
The Association's next opportunity for family and friends to meet will be at the Trafalgar Square Rally on Sunday 8th July and the seminar on “The Enclaved” at Theatro Technis on Wednesday 18th July which will be attended by Bishop Christoforos of Karpasia who will travel from Cyprus for the event.