RTCYPP facilitation team attends the 13th round table of the Trilateral Strategy Group TSG13, in Stockholm, focusing on Turkey after the coup attempt; Cyprus, the global disorder, migration crisis, Brexit, USA after the elections, Russia and the Middle East. The TSG is a multi year project undertaken by the German Marshall Fund of the USA in partnership with Turkish Industry and Business Association, Koc Holding and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden. The round table includes 40 experts from the private and public sectors to discuss critical issues affecting Turkey, the EU and the USA.
Office of RTCYPP warmly congratulates the Association of Historical Research &Dialogue( AHDR) for receiving the prestigious Max van Der Stoel Award at the official ceremony today for its” Sustained commitment to building multi-cultural, multi-faith society, promoting mutual respect and diversity, and including all of the communities of Cyprus.”
Executive Coordinator attends the first “Religion and Diplomacy” conference hosted by the U.S Department of State Office of Religion and Global Affairs (S/RGA )from 26-27 September 2016 in Washington DC, USA.
The two day event explored ways in which religion matters to foreign policy across a range of regional and functional priorities. The conference is bringing together 250 government officials, scholars, religious practitioners and community leaders and representatives from civil society. The S/RGA works to advise US State Secretary Kerry on the intersection of religion and key foreign policy issues, and support US diplomats in engaging religious actors and assessing religious dynamics around the world.
Office of RTCYPP expresses its sincere appreciation and gratitude to H.E. Archbishop Nareg of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Cyprus for his immense contribution to the Religious Track, excellent leadership, sincere collaboration and cooperation with all the religious leaders of Cyprus, in particular his genuine commitment to dialogue, human rights, peace and the reunification of Cyprus. Unfortunately , for personal reasons, Archbishop Nareg ends his tenure in Cyprus today, to return back to the headquarters of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. Office of RTCYPP is joined by the religious leaders of Cyprus in wishing His Eminence all the best and looking forward to continued friendship and cooperation in his new capacity.
In the wake of yet another barbaric act of terror against innocent people, this time in Nice, France, Office of RTCYPP expresses its deep grief and condemnation, reiterating its commitment to continue to work with the the religious leaders and faith communities of Cyprus for human rights and peace, united against all forms of violence and terror.
“We, the religious leaders of the five main faith communities of Cyprus, Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Armenian Orthodox, Maronite and Latin Catholic” categorically condemn all forms of violence against innocent civilians. No war, no act of terrorism, atrocities or violent attacks against innocent people can be justified in the name of God Almighty or any religion or humanity. War begets war. Violence begets violence. All people of good will must stand together to respect, support and care for one another. Violence in the name of God is violence against religion itself. As religious leaders we have a responsibility not only to speak out and work united against all forms of violence but also understand and address diligently the root causes that lead to such conflicts, violence and wars and to always promote and protect peace. Our sacred texts call us not only to combat injustice but also to uplift the poorest in our midst. Where inequality is entrenched, instability and conflict are far more likely to erupt. Inspired by our shared values we embrace the moral imperative to reach out to the most vulnerable among us, uphold human dignity and advocate for human rights.” November 2015
The 6 month report of the UN Secretary General is released to members of the UN Security Council.
On the RTCYPP and on the prohibition and restrictions to the right to worship announced by the Turkish Cypriot authorities in May 2016 , the UN Secretary General states the following:
“In May, the Turkish Cypriot authorities proposed policy changes that, if implemented, would lead to a reduction in approvals for religious services in the north of the island. In an effort to ensure continued access to religious sites, my Special Adviser and Special Representative intervened in support of access to all religious sites and a continued increase in the number of religious services being conducted by Greek Cypriots in the north. UNFICYP will continue to monitor this issue closely, and to advocate for freedom of worship for people of all faiths across the island”, the report said.
In his observations, while he commends the ongoing dialogue among the leaders of the religious communities, he urges both sides “[to support that dialogue by ensuring that the trend continues towards full access for worship to the more than 500 churches and other places of worship in the north, and the some 100 mosques in the south.”
Office of RTCYP launches a new initiative “ Know Your Neighbour: Respect One Another”- an informative and educational program for the public including state officials, policy makers, clerics and citizens.
Part of living together is to know and respect each other’s cultural, literary, musical, religious traditions and more. In the case of religion, knowing what is holy and significant for the other enhances respect for the other. Respecting each other’s differences contributes to the promotion and protection of religious freedom and belief, a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“We are always asked what and when are the significant religious holidays celebrated by different faith traditions in Cyprus and their significance, “ says Salpy Eskidjian, Executive Coordinator of the Office of RTCYPP, “ We have repeatedly witnessed policies or practices of violations of religious freedom in Cyprus, sometimes simply because of lack of knowledge or understanding on what is significant or even holy for the other.”