House of Lords written question – answered on 15th January 2015.

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Photo of Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Independent Ulster Unionist

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the 29 December 2014 statement by the Greek Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos II in respect of civil and human rights for Turkish Cypriots; what recognition they accord to the role of the Archbishop in Greek Cypriot decision-making; and what impact this statement will have on their current policy towards the Cyprus.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The Government is aware of the statement made on 26 December by Archbishop Chrysostomos II. While we have not made an assessment of that statement, we recognise that the unresolved political situation in Cyprus has also given rise to human rights challenges for both communities and for religious minorities on the island. The recent UN “Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of human rights in Cyprus” notes that the persisting division of the island remains an obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights by all Cypriots. The report concludes that the human rights situation in Cyprus would be greatly improved by the achievement of a comprehensive settlement. The Government shares this assessment.

We recognise the importance of the Church of Cyprus in Greek Cypriot society. Civil society, including religious leaders, can play a vital role in supporting efforts towards reunification by building bridges between communities. Archbishop Chrysostomos II has himself played a role in nurturing inter-faith dialogue, notably through his role in the 2014 Good Friday service in Famagusta.

The Government continues strongly to support UN-led efforts to end the division of the island through a lasting and just settlement.

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