As a response to the written request the Office of RTCYPP received from the Kibris Gazetesi (Kibris Media Group) on May 23, 2016 regarding reports of possible new restrictions imposed on the right to worship mainly referring to the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus the following statement was released.
The Office of RTCYPP serves as the facilitation for the dialogue of the religious leaders of Cyprus, known as the Religious Track. It does not make statements or comments on their behalf, unless asked by them only and agreed by all.
Office of RTCYPP was informed of this decision through the media late this Friday. The referred to change of policy, once confirmed, will be put on the table of dialogue for further discussion at the next meeting of the religious leaders.
One of the main aims of the Office of RTCYPP is to ensure that the religious leaders work together to ensure the respect of human rights, in particular freedom of religion or belief, as one of the conditions that builds on the foundations of trust, peace and reconciliation.
It is always advisable that any change of policy is based on dialogue with all the stakeholders directly involved instead of unilateral decisions. If a policy change is in contradiction to human rights standards and principles, serious dialogue is even more critical.
The Office of the RTCYPP has been working on a revised mechanism of worship applications with the religious leader of Cyprus for two years now and has been facilitating dialogue with all key stakeholders in this regard. We are willing to continue to facilitate the much-needed dialogue on this matter with all relevant actors and reach a mutually acceptable solution that is based on human rights principles.
Nicosia, May 23,2016