On the 10 November 2015, a seminar was organized at the European Parliament by the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Institutions, the MEP Dr. Eleni Theocharous and the Conference of the European Churches under the title: “Cyprus: Freedom of Religion and its Cultural heritage.” The seminar was under the high auspicious of her Excellency the Commissioner for Regional Policy Mrs. Corina Cretu. Religious Leaders or their respective representatives and European official participated. His Beatitude the Archbishop of Nova Justinian and All Cyprus was represented by His Eminence the Metropolitan of Ammochostos and Constantia Mr. Vasileios while Mgr. Nareg archbishop of the Armenians and Mgr. Yusef the archbishop of Maronite’s participated too. His Eminence Mgr. Yusef represented also the vicar of the Roman Catholics in Cyprus Mr. G. Kraz. The Moufti of Cyprus despite his positive respond did not attend. The Republic of Cyprus was represented by Mr. Spyros Attas and the Conference of European Churches by Mag. Elisabeta Kitanovic. During the seminar they also spoke Dr. Eleni Theocharous, Mr. D. Stier, both MEPs and members of the European People’s Party.

All speakers underscored that Turkey with the ongoing occupation of the 37% of the northern part of Cyprus for the last 41 years, continues to violate the Human rights of the legal residents (Greek-Cypriots, Maronites, Latins and Armenians) of the island, while the Turkish-Cypriots enjoy all of their religious rights in the part of Cyprus that is under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus. There is no free access to all of the monuments, the possibility of their maintenance by their legal owners and the celebration of religious ceremonies is also restricted. It was also stressed out that indeed the last two years there was improvement by permitting celebrating religious ceremonies due to the ongoing dialogue of the religious leaders under the auspicious of the Embassy of Sweden in Cyprus. Due to the dialogue of the religious leaders there was also the possibility of cleaning some monuments during 2014.

It was also underlined that the financial aid that is provided annually by the European Union and reaches the amount of 2 million is the most important financial aid provided for the rescue of the cultural heritage of Cyprus and should be reinforced.

Finally it was asked by the European Commission and the European Parliament that they make clear to the Turkish government that the respect to Human Rights and the cultural heritage in the occupied part of Cyprus is compulsory for the smooth accession course to the European Union.

At the seminar they attended many European Parliamentarians, representatives of churches that are in Brussels as well as European employees and friends of Cyprus.

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