The second annual based meeting had the subcommittee of Human Rights of the Church Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches in Nicosia, between 4 and 7 October 2012. The Church of Cyprus was represented by the Theologian Mr. Georgios Ioannou.

During the meetings of the subcommittee the members of the churches were informed about the problems that their countries are facing in concern with human rights. The representatives of the Evangelical churches in Austria and Germany explained the problem that has arisen with circumcision some months ago when these were held by non professional doctors. Both states have issued specific legislation for this new upcoming which is part of the Muslim and Jewish tradition and at the same time a part of their freedom of religion. The representative of the Church of Cyprus mentioned the ongoing violation of religious freedom in the north occupied part of Cyprus and also the decision of the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus that none of its members should visit the occupied site until the occupant regime permits to Bishop of Karpasia to access the occupied area and visit his flock freely.

The subcommittee discussed in detail the upcoming training in Human Rights for the region of Balkans that it will be held in Novi-Sad of Serbia. Furthermore it was discussed, the agenda of the conference for Human Rights and Theology that will take place in Helsinki of Finland in May 2013. This meeting will be held when the meeting of the subcommittee for Human Rights of CSC will meet. Finally it was decided that the meeting of the working group of November 2013 will take place in Palermo of Italy.

Because the meeting of the subcommittee took place in Cyprus, the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Institutions organised a seminar in corporation with CSC of CEC under the title “An Ongoing Need for Religious Freedom or Belief in Cyprus" on 5th of October 2012. Participants from all the Christians dominations in Cyprus were present such as: the Archbishop of Cyprus Mr. Chrysostomos II, the Archbishop of Maronites Mr. Youssef Soueif, the Archbishop of Armenians Mr. Varoujan Hergelian and the representative of the Anglican Archbishop of Cyprus and Gulf Mrs. Georgia Katsanoni. On behalf of the Muslim community it was present his Excellency Mr. Shakir Alemdar, Imam of the Halan Sultan Teke in Larnaka. At the same time they were present representatives of the European institutions (European Commission and European Parliament). All religious leaders stressed the need for religious freedom in the island, the free ability of holding worships in all temples and religious monuments. His Grace Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis during his speech stressed that " The Church of Cyprus requests the cooperation and assistance of you all: (a)In the form of an even more active intervention by the European Commission and the European Parliament to bring about the reinstatement of religious freedom in the north of the island. (b) To make it clear to the Turkish government and the occupation regime that the religious freedom of the European citizens of the Republic of Cyprus is a basic human right and its continuing violation is unacceptable, especially from a European Union candidate country." Same suggestions and speeches were made by the rest of the religious leaders that are sited in Cyprus. The European official, Prof. Dr Selmayr on behalf of the Commissioner for Justice and Human Rights and Citizenship Mrs. Viviane Reding stressed that the European Commission supports Human Rights and that restrictions of religious freedom should be justified well. On her behalf the Austrian MEP Mrs. Angelika Werthmann mentioned that religious freedom is part of the solution of the Cyprus problem and suggested the establishment of an inter-religious committee with the participation of all the religions sited in Cyprus. In addition all religious representatives and the European officials underlined the importance of involving the youth of Cyprus in religious freedom issues and therefore tolerance, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence are safeguard in the future.

On Saturday 6 October 2012 the Church of Cyprus organised a visit of the subcommittee of CSC to the occupied site of Cyprus so the members could witness the distruction of the temples and sacred places. The members visited the temples of Saint Antonios of the Maronite church, of Saint Anna of Syrkanias, the chapel of Saint George, the temples of Virgin Mary the Chardakiotissa, of Saint Marina, of Saints Andronikos and Athanasia, of the Holy Cross and the chapel of Saint Luck. Furthermore, the group visited the temples of Saint Charalambos in the village of Kythrea, of Virgin Mary in Trachoni Village and the cemetery at the yiard of the temple and finally the temple of Saint Nicolaos. The working group visited also the cemetery of Palekythro and the temple of Panagia the Galaktotrofousa. All members expressed their disappointment for the bad condition of the monuments and temples and promised the promotion of the occupation problem and the restrictions of religious freedom that the occupation regime imposes to their churches.








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