Communication From Action for Cyprus ( Midlands) Regarding the Kofi Annan Plan for Solving the Cyprus Problem
This is a position statement from “Action for Cyprus (Midlands)”(AFC), regarding the proposed plan by the UN Secretary General for the settlement of the Cyprus problem following the illegal invasion and occupation of some two fifths of Cyprus since 1974.
We would first like to emphasise that AFC is a non-partisan organisation without any political party affiliations. Our sole concern and aim is to right the injustice of the Turkish occupation which has created some 200,000 Cypriot refugees but has also prevented an equivalent number of Cypriots living abroad from returning to their homes and enjoying their properties in the north of Cyprus. We believe that all Cypriots should enjoy the same democratic freedoms and human rights as other European nationals and as provided for by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Such actions by the Turkish authorities or other parties seeking to restrict the rights of individuals to move freely within Cyprus and to enjoy their properties and democratic freedoms constitute a violation of our basic human rights. The Titina Loizidou test case, at the European Court of Human Rights, is both a vindication of the cries for justice by thousands of other displaced persons and a reminder to those negotiating the future of Cyprus that they should not compromise peoples’ basic human rights. Any compromise of human rights, for the sake of a constitutional solution that may be acceptable in the short term, undermines the very basis of a democratic state, which has to protect the interests and rights of all its people and particularly that of minority groups. As such we believe that any constitution or plan that compromises human rights, undermines the basic fabric of democratic institutions and as such renders the constitution unjust and non viable. If accepted there is a great risk of creating serious divisions between our people.
Action for Cyprus believes that the proposed plan put forward by the UN is inconsistent with the ideals, values and resolutions of the UN and also violates the EU Charter of Human Rights. One does not need to be a constitutional expert to recognise that the Annan plan for a Cyprus settlement is full of inconsistencies. The Foundation Agreement, which is the essence of the plan, has 14 Articles of which only Article 11, dealing with the Reconciliation Commission, is truly an attempt at uniting the people of Cyprus. The remaining Articles are divisive and incompatible with the aspirations of all the Cypriots to live in a reunited Cyprus, in peace and prosperity, where all its citizens enjoy the same human rights as other European citizens and have one recognised nationality. Any proposed solution must learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid a situation which perpetuates the distinction between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and provides the means for one side to frustrate the workings of government purely on ethnic lines. The Cypriots should strive, and be encouraged /guided by UN proposals towards achieving a common identity and learn to survive without the involvement of Greece, Turkey or England, and must not perpetuate the divisions of the past.
We look at the main Articles of the Foundation Agreement:
Article 1: Treaty of Guarantee: We do not agree with the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee. This has not prevented the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus and all three partners to this treaty have failed miserably in restoring the 1960 status of the Republic of Cyprus. We believe that the EU should play the role of Guarantor and none of the existing parties should have the right to a one-sided intervention in the affairs of Cyprus.
Article 2: State of Cyprus: The proposal for two component states of equal status exercising all powers not vested by the constitution in the common, and particularly the provision that the component states may have commercial and cultural relations with the outside world, is a recipe for disaster. There is a need to ensure that the Turkish component state will not become the entry point for thousands of migrants, who then displace the Turkish Cypriots to the south of the island and in effect constituting the Turkish component state a suburb of Turkey. The added danger of course is that these settlers also find their way to the more prosperous south with all the adverse ramifications this would have to the economic and political stability of the whole island.
Article 3: Citizenship: This article which has limits to the granting of citizenship status and political rights to the indigenous population of the component state contravenes the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European Union.
Article 4: Fundamental Rights and Liberties: This article limits the fundamental freedom of movement and residence, which is again a violation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and is unacceptable.
Article 5: The Common State Government: Parliament and the Presidential Council: We believe that the proposals for the legislative and executive institutions provide the foundations for future frustration of government policy because they are structured on ethnic criteria and not political affiliations. This very much relies on the assumption that the representatives from both sides will be democratically elected from within their respective communities. It is well known that our compatriots the Turkish Cypriots do not enjoy the democratic luxuries enjoyed by the Greek Cypriots. As such, it is reasonable to expect that until such freedoms can be guaranteed, the Turkish representatives will be very much from the extreme right currently controlling the north of Cyprus, whose allegiance is to Turkey and not the people of Cyprus. These are the very people who have been largely responsible for the ills that have befallen Cyprus and for suppressing the democratic freedoms of the Turkish Cypriots.
Article 6: The Supreme Court: The aim of this institution is to uphold the constitution and ensure its full respect. However, like the institutions of Parliament and the Presidential Council this very much relies on the establishment of a truly democratic process in the proposed Turkish component state. Unless this is guaranteed the appeals procedure will in effect place the running of Cypriot affairs in the hands of the three foreign (Independent) judges. Whilst there is a requirement for impartial adjudicators these must not be from the UK, Turkey, Greece or America as they have all been tainted with blame for the current state of affairs in Cyprus.
We believe that the proposed structure of the central government is such that it renders it powerless. Politicians of any substance will not be attracted to it but will prefer careers within the “component” state government. This we believe will further polarise power within the component states, leading to further divisions among the two communities and the possibility of de-facto partition with adverse consequences for the two communities including the possibility of war between Greece and Turkey.
Article 8: Demilitarisation of the Island: We believe that the island should be completely demilitarised, with no Cypriot, Greek or Turkish Forces on the island. The presence of a Greek and Turkish contingent, however small, is not compatible with the aim of unifying the Cypriots to think of themselves as one people and one nation. There should be a UN peacekeeping force present until such time that all the citizens of Cyprus decide that there is no longer any need for their presence. These should have the duty to maintain the peace between the two communities and prevent extreme elements from either side undermining the confidence of the people to live in a reunited island.
Articles 9 and 10: Component State Boundaries /Land Issue: We believe that the essential requirement is that every citizen’s basic human rights should be respected. This means that every person has the right to return to his or her village, home and enjoy their property under conditions of safety, protected by the EU and the UN peacekeeping force. The issue of who controls the territory should not be used as an excuse to violate our basic human rights. It is a person’s fundamental right to choose whether they return to his or hers home /property or whether they should sell it. Forceful appropriation and/or compensation are unacceptable.
The provision in Article 10 (b) that “Current Users may apply and shall receive titles to properties” in effect legalises an illegal state of affairs, that is the colonisation of Cyprus by Turkey with settlers from Anatolia and the de-facto ethnic cleansing of the north of Cyprus. This is recognised as a war crime and contravenes International Law. This is clearly not acceptable to the Cypriots. The International Community has declared on numerous occasions that the forceful demographic change of Cyprus is an abuse of human rights and has called for the settlers to leave the island. It is therefore very clear that the inclusion of this article by the UN Secretary-General constitutes a fundamental breach of his terms of reference and should be rejected outright.
We would like to see the use of a greater number of cantons to facilitate the return of all the refugees and displaced persons to their villages and a speedier and more efficient restoration of human rights. It is possible for all villages that had no mixed populations to be grouped in cantons and run by their respective authorities. The negotiations as to who should exercise authority over particular areas should only be restricted to those villages and towns where they were of mixed abode. With time and the application of the European Acquis, people should be allowed to move and settle freely wherever they chose.
Article 12: Past Acts: This legitimises any act whether it is of a legislative, executive or judicial nature taken prior to the entry into force of any agreement provided they are not inconsistent with other provisions of the agreement. This is very likely to result in a backlog of legal cases trying to establish what is inconsistent with the provisions of an agreement, especially where it concerns property rights and naturalisation.
Overall AFC View about the Kofi Annan Plan:
It is evident that the Secretary General’s Plan does not conform to the instructions of the UN that the proposed plan for Cyprus must conform to UN Resolutions and be compatible with the European body of legislation (the Acquis Communautaire) particularly that dealing with human rights which constitutes primary legislation. It sets the foundations for an unworkable constitution; it proliferates the division among the people of Cyprus; it maintains the influence of the three powers that have been instrumental in bringing about the invasion, occupation and division of the island; it violates the basic human rights of all the Cypriots and constitutes them second class citizens of Europe. We do not believe that the plan as it stands should be accepted and if the unacceptable elements of the plan cannot be amended the plan should be rejected.
We should not allow the proposed UN plan to make our application to join the EU conditional on signing away our human rights and democratic freedoms. Our support for joining the EU is so that all the citizens of Cyprus enjoy the same basic human rights and freedoms currently enjoyed by our European neighbours. It is totally unacceptable that we should forgo our human rights in order to join Europe.
We appeal to the EU leaders responsible for taking a decision on Cyprus’s accession to help prevent a situation that compromises the rights of the Cypriots, even though we may be a small nation. True democracies are judged by how they treat their weak and minority groups. We would like to believe that once we are full members of the European Union, all the fears and concerns of the Cypriots will diminish and with time disappear. With the help of the EU and the true friends of Cyprus and our confidence in the EU institutions, this will restore the mutual trust of the Cypriots and their determination to strive for the common good of Cyprus. We are determined to live as one people united by the love of our country, and renounce forever using nationalistic sentiment to divide the nation. The old guarantor powers have a duty to help the Cypriots promote and achieve this goal and the best way of doing so is to relinquish any constitutional involvement after the solution of Cyprus and promote a constitution that unifies the people and the island rather than divide us
ACTION FOR CYPRUS STANDS BY THE PRINCILPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL THE PEOPLE OF CYPRUS. YOU HAVE A DUTY TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. INSIST ON THE RIGHT TO PARTAKE IN A REFERENDUM.